40 pounds of Pork Butt in the 18.5" WSM (with lots of photos)

Discussion in 'Pork' started by dward51, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    The Big Boss and one of the other Bosses asked me about smoking pulled pork for our entire office floor as a reward for the recent team effort everyone had made in a special project.  Of course I said I would do it.  So this is the story of that smoke.

    For those of you who ask "can you do 4 large pork butts in the 18.5" WSM", the answer is yes.  I do it all the time for smokes like this one.  I have done 6 (3 per grate), but I think that might be tempting fate too much.

    So lets get started......

    I loaded the fire ring completely with Kingsford blue bag. I embedded some nice hickory chunks along with some special oak.  This oak is cut sections of used Jack Daniels whiskey barrels.  Nice char on the inside and oh such a wonderful aroma.  I have no idea if this will impart any of that aroma to the meat, but oak and hickory are a great blend for smoking pork.  Lit about 1/2 chimney of charcoal around noon. My goal is to have the pit stable and meat on around 1:30 to 2PM.

    Picked up the meat at the local Sam's Club.  Two of the 2 pork butt cryo-packs total weight was around 43 pounds (big butts!!!). Trimmed and prepped to just over 40 pounds of pork butt.  Rub is a special mix I make up just before use.

    Yes, that is a lot of meat for a 18.5" WSM.  Fills both grates.  I chose the two smallest butts for the bottom grate as it tends to run a little cooler.  I've done it this way before and the smaller butts are generally done about the same time as the larger ones on the top grate.  It's not a huge difference in temp, but by selecting them by weight this way, I don't have to rotate them around throughout the cook.

    One loaded WSM!!!!  And we are off by about 1:45PM.  Right on schedule.  I expect to this to be done around 6 to 8am, depending on what sort of stall I get.  I'm running the WSM with a foiled clay flower pot base sitting in the old model water bowl, with no water or sand.

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
    driedstick likes this.
  2. nstoltzner

    nstoltzner Newbie

    Lookin' Great!  I have never thought about throwing four on there but I often do two large butts along with some other stuff such as ABT's or Fatties as a little appetizer.  It's amazing what you can fit on that size smoker.

    Nathan S.
  3. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Dave sounds good so far,almost makes me want to toss my mini (NOT LOL) what was the price on the Butts if u don't mind me asking,heading back down late next week.

  4. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Case price was $1.28 a pound, but the freezer is full so I had to pay the higher $1.49 per pound price at my local Sam's Club for two of the 2 butt cryo-packs.  I could have got them for less at restaurant depot, but Sam's is right next to my office.  I just toss a cooler in the car when I go in that morning, and pick them up on the way home.   Restaurant Depot means I have to fight Atlanta traffic at 5pm both ways.  No other way to put this, Atlanta traffic sucks badly.
  5. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dang it man that is going to be a ,,,,,,,,


    Great job and congrats on the project getting done..... Love it when a plan comes together!!!! 

  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What times dinner? If  I pick up Driedstick and WaterinHoleBrew in Idaho, Foamheart in Louisiana, probably have enough time to swing into PA and grab Bearcarver I think we could make it in time!
  7. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Should of told the boss you would love to smoke the meat for the party but, I would need a bigger smoker. Then the company could of bought you a 22.5 WSM! Thumbs Up
  8. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Don't think I have not considered trying that.....  He would probably do it, but I can see the next audit being a problem [​IMG]
  9. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Audit!? He can just lose the receipt! Last time that happen only had to pay a fine as far as I was told! Now I'm sure if it's a big total then I can see issues, but paying for catering isn't cheap it's an investment!
  10. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Midnight update.....

    Ok, pit has been lit nearly 12 hours.  Yes I know, a WSM can run all night on a single load.  On the other hand, charcoal is cheap and I like to sleep soundly and not worry about the temp crashing. So here is what I do.  I pull the body of the WSM and set it in a metal water heater pan to protect the deck boards from heat and grease.  Then I shake the lit charcoal to clear the ash.  Some people stir the coals to do this through the WSM body door.  I prefer the meat to be off the coals so I don't have to worry about even the possibility of ash landing on the meat.  Then I use a metal shovel to collect the remaining lit and move it to a metal bucket which is sitting on some spacers to again protect the deck (the metal bottom of the bucket will get hot). Then I reload the fire ring with fresh unlit blue bag Kingsford.  Then I dump the lit back on top and spread them out.  I prefer the lit over unlit method as I think you get a cleaner smoke that way.  The smoke from the unlit travels through the fully lit coals and IMO it burns out some of the acrid smoke you can get from the unlit as it first lights.  It's a little more work to do it this way, but it only takes about 3 minutes and it works great.  Going to give the pit an hour to make sure it is stable and then it's off to bed.  Not too bad for an overnight cook as I actually get to sleep!

    Here is the midnight photo of the top rack butts.  Internal temp is at 164* so depending on what sort of stall I get, these should be done around 6 to 7am.

    We have these new really bad ass food transport containers at work.  They are made for NATO by Sintplast and it's a model GB7.  They are like the Yeti cooler of food storage and are supposed to keep stuff hot like nothing else.  This will be the first time I've used them so I'll also report on how this works.  I'll post photos of the GB7 later but there is the heat retention chart from their website.  This thing says a 205* pork shoulder will still be above 140* 36 hours later.  Wow!!!!!!

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  11. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    9AM update....

    Stall.... well it is, what it is.  Still at 185 after 19 hours on the pit.  So time to pull them, foil them and into the convection oven while I take a shower.  I tasted a piece of the bark that pulled off on the grate and it was wonderful.  Sorry no photos.  I will take more once we unfoil them to pull at the office.
  12. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Come on your killing us here !!!! 

  13. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Apologies for the delay.  Been a little hectic around here after the work BBQ.  My youngest daughter is trying to move into her first apartment, so you can imagine....

    As to the pork butt smoke.....

    Tossed the foiled butts into the convection oven while I took a shower.  By the time I got to work and got everything set up, I had 15 minutes to spare.  Meat was still just as hot as fresh off the pit thanks to the military grade food container.  These things are sweet.   I've seen them on unclesamsretailoutlet.com before, and may have to pick one or two up for myself (the one I used today belongs to the office).

    Here are the containers.  Weigh about 40 pounds empty.  They have a 7 gallon stainless steel food well inside with a stainless top.  Top has a silicone seal and air vent and the container top also has another silicone seal and two locking latches.  Totally liquid tight so if you dropped it with 7 gallons of Brunswick stew, nothing could spill.

    Ok, back to the BBQ comments.  Pulled 3 of the pork butts and got them set up for the luncheon. All 3 big bosses came down.  Everyone loved the pork and the home made sauce was again a hit (2nd time I've made this recipe).  Another co-worker made a huge pan of his pasta with cheese (way better than mac & cheese, but I don't have the recipe - I know it has Mexican Parmesan in it). I guess it's a good sign when "the" top boss comes back in and asks if there is any BBQ left (she usually does not come back for seconds).  I was working with the meat and asked a co-worker to get me a photo of the pulled pork.  I should have asked her to take one of the pasta, but forgot.  Here is one of the 3 serving pans of BBQ we had set up.  Great bark and flavor.  Overall a very successful two day process.

    tropics likes this.
  14. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Well after what seemed like a week,You did a good job.Meat looks fantastic.


  15. garyhibbert

    garyhibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great smoke.  Man that is a lot of meat in a small smoker.  VERY well done  [​IMG]

    That army food container looks pretty interesting


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