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Behold My Butt! (2007– )

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Nice work, Bruce. I have a probe thermometer that works well. It is a redi-check but I know I did not pay 40 bucks for it. I either got a different model from the one Marlene linked to or I bought it on sale. The one modification I made to my WSM was to buy the eyelet kit from the people who sell the guru unit to allow the cable to go into the cooker without having to be pinched by the lid. It was a very easy item to install.

Once I think I said that everytime one fires up the smoker there is always the chance of a pure disaster. I don't think that anymore. Smoking pork butt in the WSM is as close to a sure thing I can think of.

The transmitter and the display unit pictured.

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I also use the plain old meat thermometer stuck in the top vent hole to give a a reading on the cooker temps. The temp at the dome is a little higher than the grate temperture.

gallery_12506_1417_15700.jpg


Edited by lancastermike (log)

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Let me preface this post by saying that I know NOTHING about smoking and bbq'ing, and I realize that what I'm about to write mighy be considered heresy...

Last night I saw an episode of Good Eats where Alton basically made a Big Green Egg out of two huge ceramic pots. He used chunks of wood as his source of smoke, and in order to heat the wood he used an (here's the heresy part) electric hot plate.

Now this seemed to make perfect sense to me because it eliminates any problems in regards to maintaining temperature over a long period of time, but again, I know nothing. I'm sure any true barbecuer worth their salt would never attempt this method, but I'm still curious to how the results would be in comparison to the real stuff. Any thoughts?

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I don't think would be any more heretical than doing a butt in a low 250 deg F oven -- obviously no smoke and not true 'Q, but still a darn fine piece of meat.

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Awesome. I'm gonna have to try this at some point this summer...

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Let me preface this post by saying that I know NOTHING about smoking and bbq'ing, and I realize that what I'm about to write mighy be considered heresy...

Last night I saw an episode of Good Eats where Alton basically made a Big Green Egg out of two huge ceramic pots.  He used chunks of wood as his source of smoke, and in order to heat the wood he used an (here's the heresy part) electric hot plate. 

Now this seemed to make perfect sense to me because it eliminates any problems in regards to maintaining temperature over a long period of time, but again, I know nothing.  I'm sure any true barbecuer worth their salt would never attempt this method, but I'm still curious to how the results would be in comparison to the real stuff. Any thoughts?

There is no reason the method Mr. Brown showed would not produce good result. What one needs to produce good smoked pork is a constant low temperture sustainable for a long period of time and a source of smoke.

I use an WSM but there a a million ways to do it and AB's would work fine as do Chris's Bradley, Marlene's Vermont Casting smoker, and Susan's plain old kettle grill.

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There is no reason the method Mr. Brown showed would not produce good result. What one needs to produce good smoked pork is a constant low temperture sustainable for a long period of time and a source of smoke.

I use an WSM but there a a million ways to do it and AB's would work fine as do Chris's Bradley, Marlene's Vermont Casting smoker, and Susan's plain old kettle grill.

Mike's words are words of wisdom. No one should deny themself the joy of a nice smoky butt (or brisket or ribs) just because they don't have fancy expensive equipment.

And, let's face it, if you have a high maintenance smoker like I do (the trusty old Kettle) that requires more "fiddling," once the meat reaches about 140-150 degrees (F), there's no reason not to move it to a low and slow oven.

I'm doing the food for three HS graduation parties next month, and all three kids wanted me to smoke butt. Some want buns and sauce, and some want tortillas and salsa, but I'm thinking I'm helping raise another generation that will truely appreciate that nice smoky pork -- the succulent and crispy bits!

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After moving from an apartment to a big-kid house, one with a backyard garden and everything, I did the only natural thing: buy a grill and smoker! My induction into the Ancient and Secret Order of Smoked Butts came this weekend. After certain handshakes, Latin chants and unspeakable rituals (everything being unspeakable at 6:15 AM), I fired up my rig:

gallery_7432_3413_31728.jpg

Yes, I called it my "rig." At this point, the wife started rolling her eyes. What does she know, the unbeliever? I'd convince her later; as you can see here, however, the small creature who shares our house was much more impressed. Clearly she has impeccable tastes.

Anyway, the butt (brined 24 hours in salt, water, and a little eye of newt) went on the smoker at 7 AM. Maintaining a constant temperature of 225F was not without its challenges: the various spells, incantations and openings and closings of the damper were met, at times, with massive fluctuations. Eventually things seemed to reach an equilibrium and at 10:00, I left to pick up some supplies at the store.

Returning, I found a horror show: the temperature had spiked to 280! With curses on Vulcan, Pele and Agni, I closed the damper and opened the chamber briefly to cool things down. I thought I had things under control at that point, but those curses seemed to jinx things: the temperature started dropping, and I couldn't stop it. Opening the dampers, adding more coals... nothing worked. To make matters worse, it started to rain! Eventually, at noon, the temperature dipped to 190 and I gave up the struggle. My butt would have to languish in my kitchen oven.

Which worked fine, actually. After a couple of hours in the oven, my butt was ready to show to the world:

gallery_7432_3413_100236.jpg

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My contribution to the world of pork porn! And delicious, too.

At this point, I'm at the "lessons learned" stage of things. And I'm wondering: what made the temperature drop like that? The rain might have played a part. I think, too, that I may have choked the coals a little: there was a LOT of ash in my firebox. I suspect that I may have added too many coals and wood chunks. Next time, less of that, and more fiddling with the damper! But I'd like to hear any insights y'all might have.

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After moving from an apartment to a big-kid house, one with a backyard garden and everything, I did the only natural thing: buy a grill and smoker!  My induction into the Ancient and Secret Order of Smoked Butts came this weekend.  After certain handshakes, Latin chants and unspeakable rituals (everything being unspeakable at 6:15 AM), I fired up my rig:

gallery_7432_3413_31728.jpg

Yes, I called it my "rig."  At this point, the wife started rolling her eyes.  What does she know, the unbeliever?  I'd convince her later; as you can see here, however, the small creature who shares our house was much more impressed.  Clearly she has impeccable tastes.

Anyway, the butt (brined 24 hours in salt, water, and a little eye of newt) went on the smoker at 7 AM.  Maintaining a constant temperature of 225F was not without its challenges: the various spells, incantations and openings and closings of the damper were met, at times, with massive fluctuations.  Eventually things seemed to reach an equilibrium and at 10:00, I left to pick up some supplies at the store.

Returning, I found a horror show: the temperature had spiked to 280!  With curses on Vulcan, Pele and Agni, I closed the damper and opened the chamber briefly to cool things down.  I thought I had things under control at that point, but those curses seemed to jinx things: the temperature started dropping, and I couldn't stop it.  Opening the dampers, adding more coals... nothing worked.  To make matters worse, it started to rain!  Eventually, at noon, the temperature dipped to 190 and I gave up the struggle.  My butt would have to languish in my kitchen oven.

Which worked fine, actually.  After a couple of hours in the oven, my butt was ready to show to the world:

gallery_7432_3413_100236.jpg

gallery_7432_3413_149780.jpg

My contribution to the world of pork porn!  And delicious, too.

At this point, I'm at the "lessons learned" stage of things.  And I'm wondering: what made the temperature drop like that?  The rain might have played a part.  I think, too, that I may have choked the coals a little: there was a LOT of ash in my firebox.  I suspect that I may have added too many coals and wood chunks.  Next time, less of that, and more fiddling with the damper!  But I'd like to hear any insights y'all might have.

That's damn fine looking pork there, professor. Professor of Pork is a highly honored chair to hold. I don't use an offset smoker, like yours, but I have heard that ash buildup in them can be an issue so you may be on to something there. I believe I have read of guys doing modifications to their firebox to help solve this issue. And Andrew, when you start doing "mods" to the "rig" you have really entered the smoking world.

I have never found rain to be an issue in temp control for me and I have smoked in some fairly steady rain. And I do believe you are correct that your best temp controls are your dampers and not through adding fuel. Lots of butts have finished in ovens so don't fret over that.

You have, I'm sure, warmed the heart of Snowangel. Nothing like a new convert to the smoking world to make her smile

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Here's my smoker, courtesy of "Good Eats". I have babyback ribs on now that should be done around 11pm, and a big old butt that is brining now. I found a hot plate however it doesn't have an actually temperature setting, just a dial that goes from one to ten. I have it on 6 right now, and the charcoal and wood chips are cruising at about 225. This is very much going to be a lot of trial and error, but so far so good.

gallery_25575_5838_7596.jpg

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That smoker is made of awesome, Tim.  Kudos!

Thank you very much, sir. The ribs turned out surprisingly well and I'm shocked that nothing went terribly wrong. I didn't get pictures because 1) we were starving by the time they were finished and 2) we were so shocked that not only were they finally finished, but they were good, so they got devoured. The butt went on this morning before I left for work and my brother will be tending to it throughout the day.

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8 hours in, at 190 so we took it off and wrapped it in foil. Gonna start pulling in about 45 minutes...

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Any tried to cook pork belly in a smoker? I have a whole belly with ribs attached and I wonder how it would come out. I was thinking I could have big tray of beans below the pork belly.

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You have, I'm sure, warmed the heart of Snowangel.  Nothing like a new convert to the smoking world to make her smile

Yes, indeed, the cockles of my heart have been warmed during a spring that really hasn't been a spring.

But, due to several events for which I'm doing the food (gratis for a coupla teens HS grads -- the teens are very near and dear to me and actually requested some butts!), I'll be smoking either tomorrow or Friday.

So, for the first timeever, I'm going to do boneless and skinless (I've done a lot of bone-in, skin-on), but they do have very nice fat caps. I have two butts, totalling 18 (!) pounds). My butts have been rubbed and are loosely wrapped.

Tomorrow am, I will pour my first cuppa and tie them -- don't want butt cracks, do we?

And, snoke as the weather permits on the trusty Old Kettle. We got the Trusty Old Kettle as a wedding present 27 years ago come this Friday and is still going strong; I sort of think the reason it is such an ideal smoker is that the vents are a little looser than they were then -- unlike us :biggrin: .

Wood for the butts -- I'm going to do a 2/3 apple and 1/3 hickory. Let's just hope I have the sharpening ability of Paul and the axing ability of Diana (noted here). Or, perhaps I'll luck out and find some chopped wood in the garage!

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt.

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Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt.

Now that's a quote! May I use it as a signature line? giving proper credit to you of course.

When smoking the boneless skinless version I have found they need a bit more attention with the mop or spray or they can dry out quickly. It will look fine then all of a sudden sawdust. I think spraying them down every 20-30 minutes worked well for me.

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We smoked two boneless pork butts for a party this weekend. After tying up the butts, we rubbed them and refrigerated for 24 hours. Our go-to recipe is The Renowned Mr. Brown (click) from Smoke & Spice. Hickory chunks provided the smoke.

A brief thunderstorm rolled through around midnight as I fired up the smoker, but otherwise the weather remained calm and cooperative. The WSM held steady between 210F and 240F for 17 hours, requiring only the addition of about 30 hot coals after breakfast and in mid-afternoon.

The Redi-Chek thermometer arrived the night before the party (whew). The high and low temperature alarms remained silent while we slept peacefully through the night. As the outside air approached a muggy 100F, we enjoyed air-conditioned comfort while monitoring the meat and smoker temperatures. Props to Marlene and Mike for recommending the Redi-Chek.

The butts hit 185F just as guests arrived (whew, again). More guests volunteered for quality control than pork pulling, but many hands still made light work. No one left hungry and we are well-supplied with Snowangel’s “pantry gold”.

We served two kinds of barbecue sauce (vaunted vinegar sauce (click) and Kansas City-style struttin' sauce (click)); three kinds of “slaw” (doctored-up “Memphis mustard”, Mrs. C’s Asian-inspired cabbage salad, and Vietnamese pickled bean sprouts), and a variety of bread rolls.

The teen and ‘tween boys inhaled pork sandwiches with slaw and barbecue sauce before running off to play. Most of the grownups chose to construct pulled pork banh mi with mayonnaise, Maggi sauce, liver pate, chopped cilantro, thinly-sliced jalapeno chiles, and the pickled bean sprouts.

Guests brought prosecco, California syrah, and a rich coffee-flavored tiramisu. Mrs. C concocted Dark & Stormys. Grownups chatted after dinner while a pack of boys soaked each other with waterguns in the front yard.

Edited to corral stray words.


Edited by C. sapidus (log)

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Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt.

Now that's a quote! May I use it as a signature line? giving proper credit to you of course.

Absolutely!

For the first time ever, I did boneless and skinless butts last week, and also for the first time, I rubbed my butts (using this rub. I was surprised that these two butts (each 6 pounds) took longer than bone-in butts (perhaps the bone helps to conduct heat?). I put them on at 1:30 pm, and at 2:00 am they were just crawling out of the stall, and I was so exhausted I just yanked, foiled and fridged them. The day was windy, rainy and cool, so I struggled to keep the temp on the Trusty Old Kettle at 200-225.

The next morning, the morning of the party I was doing food for, I stuck one in the oven and the other in the freezer. Once the one in the oven was up to temp, I pulled the thing (from the oven and into shreds), stuck it in a crock pot and headed off to the party for which I was doing food. Butt, buns, sauce (this one); two kinds of slaw; the Thai cuke, shallot, vinegar, sugar and bird chili salad; fruit salad; and bars.

Now, this was not a big party, nor did we expect folks to eat a lot. It was a HS graduation party, and there were many other graduation parties that same day. Typically, folks just have a nibble at each party. Not this one! Folks ate and ate and ate, and four guests actually returned to the party for more.

But, most surprising was the vegetarian who "fell off the wagon" for smoked butt. According to the hostess, this person let her know that she had bacon the next morning.

Butt rules.

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....I was surprised that these two butts (each 6 pounds) took longer than bone-in butts (perhaps the bone helps to conduct heat?)....

I don't think so. When inserting meat thermometers they always tell you to stay away from the bones because the temperture near the bone is always cooler and you will get an inaccurate reading.

Where is that eGullet Food Science board? :laugh: Or perhaps an SSB will wiegh in on this.

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But, most surprising was the vegetarian who "fell off the wagon" for smoked butt. According to the hostess, this person let her know that she had bacon the next morning.

Butt rules.

Nice job, Susan. Even them non-meat eaters cannot resist the allure of smoked pork. In my time I have had some pretty good food. One look at me would confirm it. I must say that a nice plate of pulled smoked pork butt is very near the top of my list of best meals ever.

Smoke on smokers, smoke on

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I know it's off topic, but does anyone have any advice for smoking sausage?

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....I was surprised that these two butts (each 6 pounds) took longer than bone-in butts (perhaps the bone helps to conduct heat?)....

I don't think so. When inserting meat thermometers they always tell you to stay away from the bones because the temperture near the bone is always cooler and you will get an inaccurate reading.

Where is that eGullet Food Science board? :laugh: Or perhaps an SSB will wiegh in on this.

I thought that because the bone was denser, it would conduct heat better, thus giving you a high false positive. Kind of like the nail through the potato trick to cook them faster.

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....I was surprised that these two butts (each 6 pounds) took longer than bone-in butts (perhaps the bone helps to conduct heat?)....

I don't think so. When inserting meat thermometers they always tell you to stay away from the bones because the temperture near the bone is always cooler and you will get an inaccurate reading.

Where is that eGullet Food Science board? :laugh: Or perhaps an SSB will wiegh in on this.

I thought that because the bone was denser, it would conduct heat better, thus giving you a high false positive. Kind of like the nail through the potato trick to cook them faster.

Bones aren't dense. If anything, it would diffuse heat. You can read more at Wikipedia "Bones".

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I am so impressed with all these gorgeous butts!!! Mr. Kim requested BBQ for Father's day, but had to settle for kitchen butt rather than yard butt. He's the one who bought the insane grill (it is divided in two and you can't really do indirect cooking on it), so he had to deal with oven roasting. Here is my much more humble butt:

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It tasted really good and was very moist and porky. In VA BBQ is chopped, not pulled, so I chopped it up some after that picture.

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I'm "catering" a graduation party for a friend's child (oh! young adult!) who has requested butt, tortillas, and all of the fixings.

I'm trying to get a handle on how much folks will eat. This will be a stand-alone graduation party, at dinner time, and I know we'll offer hard and soft shells.

Although I think I can get my arms around now much cooked meat I will need, has anyone weighed a butt after smoking to know how much loss there is? I know that every butt is different (snicker), but anyone have any rough guidelines?

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