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Behold My Butt! (2003–2006)


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Good Choice of the WSM

as to the questions.

1. Chicken on the botton pork on the top, reason being the contamination issue.

2. Skin side up on both, however this does not really make a big difference either way.

3. Wow 4 probe thermometers. Pretty cool Melissa. I think one would be fine. The Weber Virtual Bullet is full of modifications that many of the truly geeky smokers have made. The only one I have done is to buy the eyelets that go in place of the screws for your probe wire to go through. You could get temps from all over the thing and chart them and all those other things the true believers do. I would urge you not to do those thngs as I believe they are really more than is needed. I do use a candy thermometer in one of the top vent holes to give me my dome temp. 250 or so at the dome gives me about 230 at the grate. I would start with all the bottom vents open half way and adjust as needed. On a hot day once it gets going you will most likely be closing at least two of them.

4. I always use the minion start. I would still fill the ring up most of the way before you dump your hot coals on. 20 coals to start should be fine on a hot day

5. You can sort of bury some wood in to the coals in the ring and than lay some on top after you dump the hot coals on top.

6. No problem leaving it alone, I often do that. The chicken may be done before you leave but the pork will do fine sitting there.

I would urge you to foil your water pan for ease of cleanup. And for the cook you describe I would indeed use water. I do not always do so.

Your ease of construction correlates with ease of use. I can start mine with a full ring minion start, get it up to temperture and leave it alone for 12 hours or so. Once it is going there is no need to fidget with it.

Other good advice is not to peek to much. I love smoked chicken thighs. They make wonderful chicken salad.

Have fun Melissa and drink lots of that good home brew.

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Melissa, Mike gives you the right advice. But, I wouldn't leave the thighs on while you went out for a while. Either get them on and off before you go, or on and off after you get back. They will go fast. Skin side up. Repeat after me. Skin side up.

What I'm surprised by is that your shoulders are so small. Mine usually average 8-10 pounds, but maybe they wacked them in half or something. And, if in doubt, smoke way more pork that you think you'll need. It is gold to have in the freezer. Warmed up, on a tortilla, with some fresh pico...well, you've got a quick and heavenly dinner.

The cockles of my maternal heart are so warmed when someone enters the realm of smoking butt. You'll now be able to talk the talk. Do let us know at what temp yours stalls!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Huh. I always put the chicken on the top rack of my offset-firebox smoker. I like to let the chicken baste the pork, rather than the other way around. I really don't see the potential for contamination since the temp is always going to be over 140 in there. What am I missing?

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Huh.  I always put the chicken on the top rack of my offset-firebox smoker.  I like to let the chicken baste the pork, rather than the other way around.  I really don't see the potential for contamination since the temp is always going to be over 140 in there.  What am I missing?

I think you are most likely correct. I know you are professionaly certified in food safety and i am not. My position is probably overly cautious. If the temps of the lower level meat reach that necessary to kill the ugly little things dripping form above all is well. I also think the pork will give up alot more than the chicken to drip down.

But the real thing is this: Smoke that meat!! All these other questions are secondary. Low steady temp with some hardwood smoke and all will tuen out fine

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Well, if Abra (with her certification) says it's OK to put the bird on the top rack, where it will be easy to get at, I'll do so. I'm all about easy.

Snowangel, I think these shoulders have definitely been whacked in pieces. Which leads me to wonder: with a little advance notice, could they save a whole one for me?

I actually still *have* some smoked pig in the freezer, from the New Year's Misadventure. And it won't be long before the local tomatoes start to come in for some nice pico. We always have tortillas on hand!

I talked with my friend Bruce just now. He's going to join me for the smoking adventure tomorrow, so I'll have an extra pair of eyes for my lunchtime swim. And maybe smoked duck rolls for lunch afterwards? :wink:

Now, if I had a laptop with functioning USB ports, I could be really geeky and attach a thermocouple probe to chart my temperatures throughout the cooking period. But even I won't go that far.

In any case, I'll try to be sure I have the camera charged and ready to go for tomorrow!

I wonder if tea leaves would burn too quickly to use in the WSM. I keep thinking that would be nice with birds of all kinds.

I'm hungry!

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Now that I think about it, I think you want the pork where the temp is the lowest. Don't forget to put your meat on really, really cold! Ignore the bring to room temp and smoking at 325 ( :shock: ) like so many cookbooks and recipes will tell you.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Now that I think about it, I think you want the pork where the temp is the lowest.  Don't forget to put your meat on really, really cold!  Ignore the bring to room temp and smoking at 325 ( :shock: ) like so many cookbooks and recipes will tell you.

OK, that would imply putting the pork down below, right? (Until proven otherwise with a myriad of probe thermometers.)

Do you think I need to go so far as to put the pork in the freezer beforehand? Or is straight out of a very cold fridge good enough? Can I get away with just removing it from its packaging and plopping it straight onto the grate, or do I need to at least give it a rinse first? Chicken I always at least rinse, but I plan to brine that overnight anyway, which should take care of it.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Now, if I had a laptop with functioning USB ports, I could be really geeky and attach a thermocouple probe to chart my temperatures throughout the cooking period. But even I won't go that far.

I was kidding about all that stuff. Those guys on the Virtual Bullet site who do all that crazy stuff are really around the bend. It is alot more info than you will need. But you being a scientist I thought you may have a need for all that data!

I wonder if tea leaves would burn too quickly to use in the WSM. I keep thinking that would be nice with birds of all kinds

Never heard of anyone doing this. For it to have effect you would have to do it without the wood ans the smoke would overwhelm it. Tea leaves in a dry water pan? That may work to generate the tea smoke. I'll have to think about that

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Melissa, I always stick my meat in the freezer when I start the trusty old Kettle. I'm not sure what the scientists say, but over here, we happen to think that pork quits absorbing the smoke when it reaches a certain temp (140, as I recall). We've never gotten sick from anything I've ever smoked, in fact, it has made our life richer, and me more alluring (according to Paul!).

Sides for the pork?

Edited to add: I'm so old fashioned I use a regular oven thermometer on a Weber Kettle, and an old-fashioned meat thermometer for the meat!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I wonder if tea leaves would burn too quickly to use in the WSM. I keep thinking that would be nice with birds of all kinds

Never heard of anyone doing this. For it to have effect you would have to do it without the wood ans the smoke would overwhelm it. Tea leaves in a dry water pan? That may work to generate the tea smoke. I'll have to think about that

Yeah, I should have been more specific; I meant tea leaves in place of wood, not in addition to. I know you can tea-smoke indoors, but even with a new megahood in the kitchen, I think smoking's probably better done outside since I have the option.

Melissa, I always stick my meat in the freezer when I start the trusty old Kettle.  I'm not sure what the scientists say, but over here, we happen to think that pork quits absorbing the smoke when it reaches a certain temp (140, as I recall).  We've never gotten sick from anything I've ever smoked, in fact, it has made our life richer, and me more alluring (according to Paul!).

I'll check my freezer space, then, if chillier is better. I should also find a good place for the smoking tomorrow, to try and keep from smoking the inside of the house.

Sides for the pork?

I haven't really gotten that far yet. Some of it's probably going to depend on what we find at the market tonight. We have some smooth-textured salsa verde from a couple of nights ago that was quite nice, and some fresh mango/canned pineapple/dried apricot chutney that my husband concocted last night to go with pork tenderloin. (Should really come up with a zippier name for that: Three Fruit Three Way Chutney?) Other than those? Certainly chips and salsa of some kind; if I get really inspired I may actually hydrate some masa harina to make my own tortillas. If we find good tomatoes and cilantro, some salsa roja or pico de gallo or whatever you want to call it. We have potatoes, so maybe a potato salad of some kind; the issue of Fine Cooking that arrived at our house not long ago had a bunch of suggestions but we also have an old favorite that we do with a vinaigrette dressing. Maybe some anadama rolls like I did at New Year's or focaccia or pita bread or other bread, if I get inspired and don't mind turning the oven on. Cherry galette along the lines of the one with plums from my foodblog, with crushed gingersnaps to catch the juices instead of breadcrumbs, if I get my act in gear enough to make the dough tonight. Smoked chicken summer rolls, perhaps. :biggrin:

If we don't have the ingredients in the house after tonight's visit to the market, then it's not going to happen. The traffic is already getting crazy, and Harborfest isn't even in full swing yet.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Now, if I had a laptop with functioning USB ports, I could be really geeky and attach a thermocouple probe to chart my temperatures throughout the cooking period. But even I won't go that far.

I've got my eye on THIS bad boy that logs the temperatures into a Palm Pilot. Also available in wireless!

I wonder if tea leaves would burn too quickly to use in the WSM. I keep thinking that would be nice with birds of all kinds.

Try soaking the tea leaves and wrapping them in a foil package. Pierce the foil to allow the smoke to come out, and then toss it on the coals. I'm thinking you'd have to replace the package a few times as the tea leaves would likely burn out before much flavour got in.

About the chicken on top or bottom ... I've always put them on top as they take less time so will be removed from the bullet sooner. The heat of the bullet is more than enough to kill any nasty bugs.

A.

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I wish a real pro would weigh in on the temp question. My 12 hour class and subsequent exam gives me the certificate, but I can't claim to be a true expert. I'd be mortified to be wrong, but I'd rather find out about it sooner rather than later, especially since it's a safety issue.

On the tea smoking, I've only done it once, indoors in a pot. That recipe had brown sugar mixed with the tea leaves, and I think the sugar is what really kept the whole thing smoldering. I'm not sure how tea leaves alone would work. Also, in the recipe I did, it was lapsang souchong tea, which, as we know, is smoked. I actually think that might have been only to produce a smoky flavor, and would be redundant if you're smoking over a real fire. Again, just my non-expert opinion.

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Well, I think I've figured out a way to get around the safety issues, at least in part.

Friday morning started with a bang, literally: I was jolted out of bed at about 5:30 AM by a thunderstorm. I'd planned to light the chimney on the order of 8 AM (with the intention ONLY of having things cooked before dark, ready to eat for Saturday) but the pouring rain decided otherwise for me. I didn't really want to set the WSM up on the downstairs patio, where it would be sheltered by the upstairs deck but perfectly set to pump smoke into the whole house. That left somewhere in the yard, which was quite soggy thanks to all the rain we've had of late. So we (in this case, "we" meaning our friend Bruce and I) put things in a rain delay for a few hours.

Finally by about 11:00, the downpour had tapered to a trickle, so we hauled the cooker out to the lawn, loaded the ring about half-full of charcoal with a handful of hickory chunks interspersed throughout (sorry, no pictures; it was still raining enough that I didn't want to bring the camera outside, and the hand that otherwise would have been free was holding an umbrella) and put 22 briquettes and 2 pieces of newspaper in the chimney starter.

I decided to light the chimney on the grate of the gas grill, as there wasn't really anywhere else to do it. It left lots of little fluffy black ash, marginally readable, in the gas grill. Must get a big brick paver for the next time, because the grill's still a bit messy. But at any rate, the chimney did its thing, and we dumped the lit charcoal into the ring, tossed on another couple of wood chunks for good measure, added the middle ring and water pan, filled the foil-wrapped water pan with water, realized that we'd managed to get one leg of the cooker in a depression in the yard so the whole thing was not level, stuck a rock under the leg to help level it out, nearly suffocated ourselves with the smoke as we put the two chunks of pig down on the bottom and the chicken up top, added the lid, and finally stuck the analog thermometer in its cork into one of the holes in the lid vent. All the meat went in straight out of the fridge. I did rinse the chicken first, but things got a little crazy on Thursday night so they never got brined beforehand like I'd intended. Oh well.

After a little experimenting, we had very little trouble controlling the temperature, to keep it at about 220 degrees F near the top of the dome (the max reading on our thermometer; I'll be looking for one that goes up a little higher before long, I think). But we did have a little trouble with uneven burning, because Bruce adjusted the three bottom vents to "take advantage" of the slight breeze blowing. When we peeked in through the door to see how things were burning, we discovered that most of the charcoal on the side that had been opened more was gone, but there plenty of unburned, unlit briquettes remained everywhere else. Next time, if anything I think I'd close down the vent on the side towards the wind a little more, to try and get more even burning.

I wound up sticking one probe thermometer in the larger hunk of pig, and another in a big chicken thigh. Both thermometer bodies went into a quart-size ziplock bag, which I sat on top of an overturned dead laundry basket, and I carefully wound the probe wires into drip loops just below where they entered the corner of the bag. By 1:00, the rain was over and the sun came out.

I know we peeked inside way too much. But everything looked so gorgeous, we had to keep looking at them!

I'd set the chicken thermometer alarm to 165, and the one for the pork to 190. (Two different temperatures made it easy to tell the thermometers apart.) Both thermometer readings rose steadily for quite a while. After a few hours, the chicken thermometer seemed to get "stuck" at 150, and the pork at 140. We checked the cooker's temperature, which had dropped down below 200, and opened the vents a touch. (That was when we noticed the uneven burning pattern.) An hour later, the cooker temperature was up to over 220, but both thermometers read what they'd read an hour before. So I guess my butt stalled at 140, as it stayed there for over 2 hours. But after the spike, the temperature went down below 200 again, and stayed there. We took another look in the fire chamber, and discovered that from the edge well into the center, the coals were gone. But everywhere else we could still see black. The choice was to either add more hot coals (and maybe turn the cooker) or to say uncle.

By then, it was about 7:30, and it was time to eat dinner. (My cousin cooked. Steak au poivre and fried potatoes, salad my husband made, and a peach-gingersnap galette I'd put together for dessert.) Because I figured it would be dark by the time we finished with dinner, I removed all the meat from the smoker and closed all the vents. The chicken thighs seemed like they were mostly done, and I figured they'd be plenty dead if they'd been sitting at 150 degrees for an hour. So I pulled on a pair of gloves and stripped the meat off the bones and skin into a pot. The bones just about fell out of all the thighs except the two largest, one of which had the thermometer probe in it. I did, of course, give some of the meat a taste-test, and while it was nicely smoky, it was pretty boring (probably because I didn't brine it first). So I added a sprinkle of salt, a splash of water, and about half a cup of =Mark's sauce to the pot, brought it up to a boil and turned it down to simmer on the stove while we ate, to try and infuse a little flavor...and be sure it was completely cooked. When we moved on to dessert, I pulled the chicken and sauce off the stove, transferred it to a rather shallow Rubbermaid container to cool, and then into the fridge it went.

As for the pig: I put both pieces on a sheet pan, covered with heavy-duty foil, and stuck them in my oven at 250 degrees F. I figured that if it's really true that once the meat hits 140 it's not going to absorb any more smoke, why not speed things up a little? At any rate, in the oven the temperature stayed stuck at 140 for another 45 minutes, and then finally started to come up. By the time we were done with dinner, it was up to about 152 and it was getting really late and I was getting really tired! So I decided I'd let it go to 165, and then take it out of the oven to rest. It actually got up to 165 relatively quickly once the temperature started moving again, but I was more than ready for bed by then so I pulled it out to rest. While it rested, I took a much-needed shower. By the time I was done with my shower, the temperature had maxed out and was on its way back down. The two roasts (cooked but definitely not tenderized yet) went into containers of their own, and headed into the fridge.

Next time, I'd load the ENTIRE cooker ring with charcoal. I'd also do what I could to make things burn evenly. And next time if it's raining, I'll choose another day so I can start at a more appropriate hour!

At any rate, the next morning I woke up refreshed. My husband and our friend Jeff were brewing a batch of beer, and the tradition is that after they brew, we eat. First thing, I went out to the cooker to clean it up. The racks were an absolute mess, but most of the gunk cleaned off reasonably well with a brush and some soap. (The racks are the one thing I've found that don't fit into my new gigoonda sink.) The foil on the outside of the water pan (thanks, Mike!) meant an easy cleanup job. But I'd been careful to keep water in the pan, and in the morning (thanks to the humid weather and the low temperatures towards the end of the on-bullet cooking time) I was faced with a nearly-full pan of water topped with fatty greasy drippings. Yuck. I was able to carry it to our dumping ground without sloshing it on my feet, thank heavens. And the pan does fit in the sink, and cleaned up easily. I think a Brinkmann pan, with its larger capacity, may be in order, so I can fill it once at the beginning and then forget about it.

As for the pig, I remembered what I'd seen last fall when we took a weekend trip to Montreal and had sandwiches at Schwartz's :wub: : the meat was spiced and smoked, and then steamed. So I thought: the meat's been smoked, so why not steam it to finish cooking it and make it tender? So I rigged up a steamer from a pot, a rack, and a couple of custard cups, added water and one hunk of pig from the fridge, stuck the thermometer probe back in, and put it on the stove. I let it steam for about 3 hours, during which I made up a batch of corn tortillas from some of the masa harina in our freezer. By the end of the steaming time, the meat was up over 190, and the skin and bone came right out and the meat easily shredded by hand. There was a beautiful smoke ring, terrific flavor, and it wasn't dry at all. My husband, UNPROMPTED, pronounced it "excellent," which he doesn't often do.

We ate the pig and fresh tortillas with =Mark's sauce, the last of the salsa verde from a couple of days ago, the chutney (not at the same time as the salsa verde), the last of the leftover rice, but no slaw of any sort because there was no cabbage to be had at the market.

The other hunk of pig will be frozen whole, ready for steaming another day. The chicken will probably go into tonight's dinner in some way.

Next time I want to do a beer can chicken, I'll be using the WSM, in part to learn how to control it and in part to figure out if it's better than the gas grill for such endeavors.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Well, I think I've figured out a way to get around the safety issues, at least in part.

Friday morning started with a bang, literally: I was jolted out of bed at about 5:30 AM by a thunderstorm. I'd planned to light the chimney on the order of 8 AM (with the intention ONLY of having things cooked before dark, ready to eat for Saturday) but the pouring rain decided otherwise for me. I didn't really want to set the WSM up on the downstairs patio, where it would be sheltered by the upstairs deck but perfectly set to pump smoke into the whole house. That left somewhere in the yard, which was quite soggy thanks to all the rain we've had of late. So we (in this case, "we" meaning our friend Bruce and I) put things in a rain delay for a few hours.

Finally by about 11:00, the downpour had tapered to a trickle, so we hauled the cooker out to the lawn, loaded the ring about half-full of charcoal with a handful of hickory chunks interspersed throughout (sorry, no pictures; it was still raining enough that I didn't want to bring the camera outside, and the hand that otherwise would have been free was holding an umbrella) and put 22 briquettes and 2 pieces of newspaper in the chimney starter.

I decided to light the chimney on the grate of the gas grill, as there wasn't really anywhere else to do it. It left lots of little fluffy black ash, marginally readable, in the gas grill. Must get a big brick paver for the next time, because the grill's still a bit messy. But at any rate, the chimney did its thing, and we dumped the lit charcoal into the ring, tossed on another couple of wood chunks for good measure, added the middle ring and water pan, filled the foil-wrapped water pan with water, realized that we'd managed to get one leg of the cooker in a depression in the yard so the whole thing was not level, stuck a rock under the leg to help level it out, nearly suffocated ourselves with the smoke as we put the two chunks of pig down on the bottom and the chicken up top, added the lid, and finally stuck the analog thermometer in its cork into one of the holes in the lid vent. All the meat went in straight out of the fridge. I did rinse the chicken first, but things got a little crazy on Thursday night so they never got brined beforehand like I'd intended. Oh well.

After a little experimenting, we had very little trouble controlling the temperature, to keep it at about 220 degrees F near the top of the dome (the max reading on our thermometer; I'll be looking for one that goes up a little higher before long, I think). But we did have a little trouble with uneven burning, because Bruce adjusted the three bottom vents to "take advantage" of the slight breeze blowing. When we peeked in through the door to see how things were burning, we discovered that most of the charcoal on the side that had been opened more was gone, but there plenty of unburned, unlit briquettes remained everywhere else. Next time, if anything I think I'd close down the vent on the side towards the wind a little more, to try and get more even burning.

I wound up sticking one probe thermometer in the larger hunk of pig, and another in a big chicken thigh. Both thermometer bodies went into a quart-size ziplock bag, which I sat on top of an overturned dead laundry basket, and I carefully wound the probe wires into drip loops just below where they entered the corner of the bag. By 1:00, the rain was over and the sun came out.

I know we peeked inside way too much. But everything looked so gorgeous, we had to keep looking at them!

I'd set the chicken thermometer alarm to 165, and the one for the pork to 190. (Two different temperatures made it easy to tell the thermometers apart.) Both thermometer readings rose steadily for quite a while. After a few hours, the chicken thermometer seemed to get "stuck" at 150, and the pork at 140. We checked the cooker's temperature, which had dropped down below 200, and opened the vents a touch. (That was when we noticed the uneven burning pattern.) An hour later, the cooker temperature was up to over 220, but both thermometers read what they'd read an hour before. So I guess my butt stalled at 140, as it stayed there for over 2 hours. But after the spike, the temperature went down below 200 again, and stayed there. We took another look in the fire chamber, and discovered that from the edge well into the center, the coals were gone. But everywhere else we could still see black. The choice was to either add more hot coals (and maybe turn the cooker) or to say uncle.

By then, it was about 7:30, and it was time to eat dinner. (My cousin cooked. Steak au poivre and fried potatoes, salad my husband made, and a peach-gingersnap galette I'd put together for dessert.) Because I figured it would be dark by the time we finished with dinner, I removed all the meat from the smoker and closed all the vents. The chicken thighs seemed like they were mostly done, and I figured they'd be plenty dead if they'd been sitting at 150 degrees for an hour. So I pulled on a pair of gloves and stripped the meat off the bones and skin into a pot. The bones just about fell out of all the thighs except the two largest, one of which had the thermometer probe in it. I did, of course, give some of the meat a taste-test, and while it was nicely smoky, it was pretty boring (probably because I didn't brine it first). So I added a sprinkle of salt, a splash of water, and about half a cup of =Mark's sauce to the pot, brought it up to a boil and turned it down to simmer on the stove while we ate, to try and infuse a little flavor...and be sure it was completely cooked. When we moved on to dessert, I pulled the chicken and sauce off the stove, transferred it to a rather shallow Rubbermaid container to cool, and then into the fridge it went.

As for the pig: I put both pieces on a sheet pan, covered with heavy-duty foil, and stuck them in my oven at 250 degrees F. I figured that if it's really true that once the meat hits 140 it's not going to absorb any more smoke, why not speed things up a little? At any rate, in the oven the temperature stayed stuck at 140 for another 45 minutes, and then finally started to come up. By the time we were done with dinner, it was up to about 152 and it was getting really late and I was getting really tired! So I decided I'd let it go to 165, and then take it out of the oven to rest. It actually got up to 165 relatively quickly once the temperature started moving again, but I was more than ready for bed by then so I pulled it out to rest. While it rested, I took a much-needed shower. By the time I was done with my shower, the temperature had maxed out and was on its way back down. The two roasts (cooked but definitely not tenderized yet) went into containers of their own, and headed into the fridge.

Next time, I'd load the ENTIRE cooker ring with charcoal. I'd also do what I could to make things burn evenly. And next time if it's raining, I'll choose another day so I can start at a more appropriate hour!

At any rate, the next morning I woke up refreshed. My husband and our friend Jeff were brewing a batch of beer, and the tradition is that after they brew, we eat. First thing, I went out to the cooker to clean it up. The racks were an absolute mess, but most of the gunk cleaned off reasonably well with a brush and some soap. (The racks are the one thing I've found that don't fit into my new gigoonda sink.) The foil on the outside of the water pan (thanks, Mike!) meant an easy cleanup job. But I'd been careful to keep water in the pan, and in the morning (thanks to the humid weather and the low temperatures towards the end of the on-bullet cooking time) I was faced with a nearly-full pan of water topped with fatty greasy drippings. Yuck. I was able to carry it to our dumping ground without sloshing it on my feet, thank heavens. And the pan does fit in the sink, and cleaned up easily. I think a Brinkmann pan, with its larger capacity, may be in order, so I can fill it once at the beginning and then forget about it.

As for the pig, I remembered what I'd seen last fall when we took a weekend trip to Montreal and had sandwiches at Schwartz's :wub: : the meat was spiced and smoked, and then steamed. So I thought: the meat's been smoked, so why not steam it to finish cooking it and make it tender? So I rigged up a steamer from a pot, a rack, and a couple of custard cups, added water and one hunk of pig from the fridge, stuck the thermometer probe back in, and put it on the stove. I let it steam for about 3 hours, during which I made up a batch of corn tortillas from some of the masa harina in our freezer. By the end of the steaming time, the meat was up over 190, and the skin and bone came right out and the meat easily shredded by hand. There was a beautiful smoke ring, terrific flavor, and it wasn't dry at all. My husband, UNPROMPTED, pronounced it "excellent," which he doesn't often do.

We ate the pig and fresh tortillas with =Mark's sauce, the last of the salsa verde from a couple of days ago, the chutney (not at the same time as the salsa verde), the last of the leftover rice, but no slaw of any sort because there was no cabbage to be had at the market.

The other hunk of pig will be frozen whole, ready for steaming another day. The chicken will probably go into tonight's dinner in some way.

Next time I want to do a beer can chicken, I'll be using the WSM, in part to learn how to control it and in part to figure out if it's better than the gas grill for such endeavors.

MelissaH

From your timeline it seems the pork really had about 6 and a half hours at temp. That truly will not do it. Whenever I plan on a butt smoke I allow myself 12 hours in the cooker. If it takes less, cool.

I'm sure you were grateful to your pal Bruce for his help. However, next time you see him he deserves a dope slap for that “take advantage of the wind" advice. Your idea that you should keep the vent facing the wind closed is the way to go. The wind is no friend of the WSM. However, if he is helping with the beer, I'd give him a pass.

You will get the WSM to work the way you want it to as you already understand what occurred on your first effort. Plus, you are an experienced and very smart cook, plus you have the most important thing one needs to be a successful WSM operator, that being a good supply of beer.

The water in the pan also serves as temperature control. With Minion starts it is not as critical as you are starting low and building temp. With a standard start, which I don't use much the water is much more important as a heat sink till you get your temp stable. So, maybe don't fill it all the time and let it see how it does with little or even no water.

As to the beer can chicken, if you use the WSM I would use a foiled empty water pan. There is no need to keep your cooker temp at 225 or so with the chicken. You can do it with temps of 325 or so as you would normally. I love smoking chicken, but I have never done beer can chicken on the WSM. It should work fine, I did a whole turkey just last week and smoked poultry is great stuff. I like fruitwoods with poultry.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thought I'd share a photo of a recent bone-in butt that I smoked in the Bradley. As you can see, I scored the skin and kept it on, which lead to a truly succulent butt:

gallery_19804_437_228980.jpg

This was also the butt that got me thinking about the pink smoke ring.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Beautiful, Chris. Have you smoked a skin on butt without scoring the butt? I just smoked a butt, but it turned out not to have but a bit of skin. I also smoked it on the Kettle after smoking a brisket, and at 20 hours of constant tending, I just stuck the whole damned thing in foil, and froze it when it was cool (I'm sure I'll pay a price for that). Do you have any pics of the butt pulled?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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You guys are lucky - I've never seen a skin-on butt here.  I might be able to get the butcher to do one for me.  Is it a big improvement?

I'll let you know a week from now, Abra. I've never done a non-skin on one before, and the one I did is sitting in the fridge. After 20 hours of non-stop tending, I was too tired for anything to "accidentally" fall off the butt. The meat counters here don't ever have them on display, but I can almost always get them if I ask; they have them in the back cooler.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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So I need to smoke some serious butt next week for a big party. Here's my question. How many butts can I do on the WSM at one time, 2, 3 4? The WSM has two racks but I don't know if I should just stick to using the top rack, (in which case I will have to do two at a time) or can I use both racks and get 4 going at the same time. Is that pushing it? Assume each butt will be 9 or 10 lbs.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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So I need to smoke some serious butt next week for a big party.  Here's my question.  How many butts can I do on the WSM at one time, 2, 3 4?  The WSM has two racks but I don't know if I should just stick to using the top rack, (in which case I will have to do two at a time) or can I use both racks and get 4 going at the same time.  Is that pushing it?  Assume each butt will be 9 or 10 lbs.

You can do as many as will fit. I have done as many as four, or I guess three and a half, but over on the Weber Bullet site there are stories from folks about even more by doing mods to the cooker. Both racks are meant to be used. 4 10 pounders may be pushing it for space, but I would do whatever fits

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So I need to smoke some serious butt next week for a big party.  Here's my question.  How many butts can I do on the WSM at one time, 2, 3 4?  The WSM has two racks but I don't know if I should just stick to using the top rack, (in which case I will have to do two at a time) or can I use both racks and get 4 going at the same time.  Is that pushing it?  Assume each butt will be 9 or 10 lbs.

You can do as many as will fit. I have done as many as four, or I guess three and a half, but over on the Weber Bullet site there are stories from folks about even more by doing mods to the cooker. Both racks are meant to be used. 4 10 pounders may be pushing it for space, but I would do whatever fits

You should be able to fit 2 butts of that size onto one rack. It really depends on the shape, but there's usually a fat end and a skinny end, so if you stagger them they'll fit. The only trouble is on the top rack where the dome shaped lid on the WSM makes the surface area a little smaller.

MMMMMMM. 4 butts at once!

A.

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