First smoke...and fail

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by chippad, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. chippad

    chippad Newbie

    I'm so bummed. Was all excited to smoke a pork butt....

    So I have a cheapo Kingsford Charcoal Water smoker I bought at Walmart. Stayed cheap in case I didn't like it.

    Got a 5.08lb pork butt with bone. Did a rub I found online, kingsford charcoal and apple wood chips.

    Got the smoker to 225 without much trouble. Added apple juice and water to water pan. Inserted a wired temp gauge (15 bucks) into pork. Added wood chips to the sides of charcoal piles and they smolder ed good. No flames.

    At about 4 hrs the temp was 140 so I stopped the chips and did a decent job of maintaining 225 ish.

    I hit that "stall" period I read about around 160 at maybe the 6 or 7 hr mark. I tried best not to freak out while the temp almost never moved. It finally did.

    Around the 9-10 hr mark the internal temp was still around 170 ish. Then at maybe 176 at the 10 hr mark the temp gauge shit the bed. Jumped to 280 out of no where and wouldn't move. Ran next door and grabbed an even cheaper one (9 bucks) at a cheapo type store. That one never read over 89...

    Paranoid I wrapped the pork in foil then in towel and put it in cooler.

    Soooo....meat was still tough so now it's in my oven at 250.

    Now I know cheap equipment doesn't help. I fully get that. The smoker ran through a 14lb bag of charcoal. Obviously not efficient. Would a welders blanket help the coals last longer??

    I also thought a 5.08lb pork butt would about 8-9's looking more like 12-14??? That right?

    I was so excited to do this...ended with such let down. :(

    Please help me
    bauchjw likes this.
  2. paul6

    paul6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    LIVE AND LEARN !!!!!! Everyone on this forum has had a Fail , with that said it is probably better then you think ??
  3. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    Not all is lost...You did some learning on your first cook. Sounds like you need a different tempeture gauge. You need to decide if you can get your smoker performing better.
    I'm not familiar with your smoker maybe someone who has one can help.

    Hang in there it gets better!
  4. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Don't give up!  A decent thermometer is a must for smoking.  That butt has a bone in it, when it pulls out cleanly with no effort, that butt is done.  I've had 10 lb butts take 24 hrs, a butt is done when it's done.  They can be butts!  

  5. bauchjw

    bauchjw Master of the Pit

    I'll give you points for effort! It doesn't sound like you really did anything wrong, just bad temp gauge. I think you should be pretty proud of yourself considering its your first smoke and you already knew what to do (temp to smoke, temp to maintain, HOW to maintain, what IT temp is!, etc) so don't be let down, be motivated you're that far ahead of 95% of America!

    Spend a little more on a probe, remember the toothpick test will help double check how done it is, butts cook at their own pace! Post some pics, maybe the taste won't let you down!

    Keep at it!
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  6. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think you did well.

    You learned some things.

    You got over your stage fright.

    You got the butt in the oven. I bet when you got it to temp in the oven it came perfect with a bone that pops out by itself.

    I think you need to give up on 1) the smoker, get a 22-1/2" Weber kettle off CL and 2) the thermometer, get a thermopop.

    You don't really need a wired thermo. I know; that sounds like heresy, but I've got 2 mavericks and ThermoGrill that I don't use any more. The thermo built into my Weber Performer and the thermopop do it all for me.

    When you get the Weber, learn the snake method for you fire. It's simply a ring of charcoal about 4-5 pieces touching each other around the outside of your kettle. Put chunks of wood on top about every 5-6". Light some briquette in you chimney - only need a dozen or so- and pour them on one end of the circle of briquettes when they get to the red- glowing white ash stage. Put the lid on your kettle and close your bottom vents to about 1/4th open and your top vents about the same. That should give you a good 250* fire that will take you right through. And it won't take a whole bag of charcoal either.
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    We all have problems from time to time.

    It will get easier!

  8. chippad

    chippad Newbie


    Pulled out of oven at 130am. So all in all about 14hrs for that little shit.

    Bone pulled right out and meat pulled apart nicely.

    Although the process took alot longer than I thought Im rather happy about it.

    mike5051 and rabbithutch like this.
  9. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  10. hammer77

    hammer77 Fire Starter

    Looks good from my seat! Like others said, it was a learning experience. Even when the situation happened it sounds like you knew what you were doing by wrapping it and getting it in the oven. Don't give up.
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks like you made the save. One thing to check that hasn't been mentioned is your stock temp probe on the smoker. More often than not the stock therms are not accurate, even on high end smokers. The only way to test it is with another accurate therm in the pit.

    So investing in a good multi-probe therm is important. I use the iGrill2 four probe. With probe therms you can place the probe at grate level and get your pit temp where you are smoking. The probe therms also are easy to check to see if they are accurate.

    An instant read therm is also a good tool to have. For $25 you can get the Lavatool instant read off amazon. Accurate and inexpensive. I use mine fir all kinds of cooking not just smoking.
  12. schlotz

    schlotz Meat Mopper

    Two things: know your true grate temp and the meat IT.  Both can be solved with a good multi-therm unit. Best advise is to not skimp when selecting one. You want a proven, calibrated device and in return it will serve you for many many years. [​IMG]  Glad to see the butt finally worked out for you.
  13. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit really did a great job and as we all know, there is LOTS and LOTS of trial and error in the world of Q!! BTW, that PP looks delicious!!
  14. Don't give up! As other people have said it is a learning experience. Even with a cheap smoker you can put out some really good 'que once you get used to it.
  15. chippad

    chippad Newbie

    Thanks guys for all the tips. Made the last of it for sandwiches last night and still was great.

    Gunna do another this weekend I think.

    I think I've become addicted to it..haha
  16. Great save, Chippa!! Glad that it turned out for you. As for the amount of charcoal that you went through, you might have more air getting in to the chamber than is desirable. I don't know anything about your particular smoker, but one of the common problems with cheaper smokers is the amount of air that is able to get in through areas other than the vents. The more airtight a smoker is, the more control you will be able to have over the incoming airflow and temperature. When I do a brisket on my WSM, I throw in a full 19pointwhatever pound bag and she'll burn for close to 16 hours without having to add anything! 

    Welcome to the world of smoking...addiction happens!
  17. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nicely done, my friend!

    That looks just perfect to me!

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