Thanks Chris A: Successful first Pork Butt Cook on WSM

Chris Jones

New member
I got a WSM about a week ago, and did a first test cook with no meat that went poorly. I had trouble registering for this forum, and by way of explaining that I was legitimate, emailed about my attempt to register and the issue I wanted to post about. This was the extraordinarily helpful reply I got from Chris Allingham:

As for your question...you don't say what kind of fuel you used or how much you used, but whatever it was, it wasn't enough if you ran out at 2 hours. Still, it's not a realistic test to run the cooker without meat, because when you add cold meat, that 350*F you experienced at the beginning will plunge to 200*F and you'll be writing back to me asking why you can't get the cooker temperature UP HIGH ENOUGH. :)

You can run the WSM at 270*F using the Minion Method and with the water pan empty, and that would be my recommendation. Place 3-4 smoke wood chunks on the charcoal grate, fill around them completely with charcoal all the way to the top of the charcoal ring, leaving the tops of the wood chunks exposed. Then light 30 briquets and spread them over the top of the unlit charcoal and the chunks. Put the water pan in the cooker but leave it dry. Put the meat on the top grate. Set your Flame Boss to 270*F and adjust the vents per Flame Boss recommendations. You should have enough fuel for 9 hours at 270. For that last hour at 295*F, you can try bumping up the Flame Boss to that temp and giving the coals a stir to see if there's enough fuel left to get the job done, but you may consider just moving the foiled butt to a 295*F oven...at that point, a foiled butt doesn't know the difference between a charcoal fire and your gas/electric oven...BTUs are BTUs.

I followed his instructions exactly yesterday, along with using a bunch of stuff I learned from the virtual weber bullet website, and it was a huge success. So, many thanks Chris!

For the record, I was using the Kingsford charcoal recommended on the website, plus pretty much everything else recommended there (starter cubes, gloves, chimney, etc). I will post my notes from my cook in the next post.
 

Chris Jones

New member
Pork Butt Cook Notes: October 1

This was an attempt to reproduce the Franklin BBQ pork butt cook from masterclass.

5 lb bone-in pork butt, outdoor temp 50 degrees at start, 65 degree high, clear with little wind
Slather was mustard, rub was about 30% salt, 60% pepper, 10% paprika.

5:45am: Woke
6:00am: Lit Chimney with 30 coals
6:05am: Meat Seasoned
6:10am: Poured coals on nearly full coal disk in WSM, no water in water pan
6:25am: Closed bottom vents at 250 degrees and closed top vent most of the way. Allowed flame boss to take over.
6:40am: Meat on at 275 degrees, pit dropped to 222 after, but recovered quickly
9:40am: First opened top and spritzed with cool apple cider vinegar, spritzed hourly after that
2:40pm: Took off smoker to wrap, meat was at 194 degrees
3:40pm: Pulled at internal temp of 205 degrees, found some internal temps at 203 degrees, but near edges at 209 degrees, brought in wrapped in a towel to rest
5:05pm: Unwrapped, and served

Total cook time was 9 hours. Plan had called for 10, with the last hour at 295, but that last hour proved unnecessary. The cooker was really going strong at that point. Had the meat needed it, I was eager to try bumping it up to 295, but it wasn't necessary.

Result: Meat was delicious and the family loved it. It was a huge success and a lot of fun, especially for a first ever cook.

That said, if I learned anything:
  • The minion method was great, grill was still going strong at 3:40pm. Given that, I might put the meat on a little later. The smokey flavor was good, but I’d like to give the smoke more time to clear next time.
  • The outside edges of the but were slightly dry. Not a disaster, but not as extremely juicy as the inside. I’d like to try pulling it earlier (I wish I had pulled it at like 201 maybe?). I’d also like to try using a lower temperature and longer cook overall if that does not work.
  • I did not wrap the water pan in foil as suggested on TVWB site. I wish I had, because the fat coming out of the pork butt makes a real mess.
  • Overall, cooking a pork butt has a feel similar to thanksgiving. Myself and the family were anticipating it all day, I was nervous about how its going to come out, and when it came out well it was super fun. Also, by the afternoon, and during the indoor resting period, it smelled spectacular.
 

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Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Well, there are so many things you will find here to help you on your smoking journey. This one went, I’d say, very well indeed! Barbecue can be a very touchy and sometimes cruel endeavor. This went well, the next one might be more challenging. So far, I’ve had some go so smoothly I might as well have taken a longer nap. Others have fought me hammer and tong! Be patient, enjoy the ride!
Chris is aces to say the least!
 

Chris Jones

New member
One thing I realized I did not mention, the grate temp was at 270 all day. The flame boss screenshot shows a set temp of 240, but that was because just before I pulled it, I reduced the temp in the hopes of extending the cook.
 
Chris,
Welcome to the community, and congrats on a great first smoke. I love pork shoulder! I had been doing my shoulders at the 275 range for a while now, but just took my last two shoulder cooks down to around 235 - 245 and have really liked the results. I like to start late at night (around 11 and get the meat on by midnight, I don't go to bed until 1ish) and let it go into the next day.
So what is up next to smoke? I recommend some pork ribs!
 

ChristopherC

TVWBB Super Fan
I am doing the same cook this Friday. 5lb pork butt bone in. Did a 4lb pork butt (no bone) a month or 2 ago that turned out great.

I plan on:

1) Going at 250d target with Minion method with Weber briquettes and cherry wood chunks. Water pan with water. Spritz with apple juice or acv / water mix every 45 mins.
2) Undecided about binder and run as of yet.
3) Pulling at 160-165d and wrapping in foil to oven at 275d until probe tender (usually around 203-207d).
4) Resting for about 45mins.

Thoughts and suggestions for binder and rub?

Last time I used the following:

Binder - Lime juice and tequila and water and Apple Cider Vinegar

Rub - Clubhouse Tex Mex, Coriander, Cumin, Granulated Garlic, Kosher Salt, Coarse Black Pepper, Chili Powder
 

Darryl - swazies

TVWBB Super Fan
I generally go for mustard and worcestershire sauce, although the mustard has no residual taste for the meat if that is what you are after.
I use this on pork ribs always, and last time on the butt.
I also am a fan of killer hogs flavors as may have noticed. The outside surface area is minimal compared to the entire roast so I go fairly heavy on AP Rub and very heavy the BBQ rub. Meat comes out dark in colour because of the BBQ rub and I generally like the taste of this combination.
I also have many other rubs but so far nothing has tasted as good for me, there is a Canadian supplier for killer hogs as shipping from the killer hogs website to us is a no go. If you wanted to acquire some killer hogs check out the RUB SHACK, it's based out of London ON and I get my order in a matter of 2 to 3 days after placing it. He carries KOSMOS too, I have never tried it though. Right now there is a 10% discount code found on the main page before entering the rub shack. Good luck on the cook Friday, not sure if you ordered today if you would get it in time though.

 

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