New to Smoking

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by niallam, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. niallam

    niallam Fire Starter

    Evening all,

    Niall's the name and i'm from sunny Ireland :)

    Mostly a chicken thigh smoker and have it down to a good art now, have done 1 pork shoulder which actually turned out very tasty if i do say so myself.

    I've always been a big BBQ person but tried my first ever "Pork Butt" or shoulder as we call it on a cheap offset smoker i picked up for €125 off amazon :)

    I started off with a full 7kg pork shoulder.

    My rub consisted of coarse salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, brown sugar & white sugar.

    My injection, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, water, white sugar, salt & Worcester sauce

    I deboned the shoulder, took all the fat off and applied my rub on 1 side, 40 mins i wiped off the excess and applied to the other side. 

    I rolled it up very loose enough but tried to keep an even thickness throughout.

    Added my injection throughout and wrapped in cling film. Left it all overnight. 

    First i lined my smoker with tinfoil and 2 drip trays.

    I was using hickory wood chunks and apple wood chips

    I also had a foil tray over the charcoal with apple cider vinegar and water. The pic of this is more for just showing and was fresh chips put on.

    Opened for the first time after 2 hours

    I kept the temp in the smoker at about 250f for 6 hours, was very hard to control the temp but managed. 

    Adding wood every 30 mins, used about 2kg hickory chunks and 1kg apple.

    After 6 hours of rotating every hour and spraying with apple juice it was ready for the next step.

    Wrapped it in foil and sat in a tray. Inserted the probe inside now and temp was at 154f, injected it again which brought temp to 150f. Covered it and fresh charcoal (cleaned out full heat box at this point) for the next 3 hours. Monitored the temp to make sure it wasn't climbing too fast and my target internal temp was 190-200f.
    2 hours 45 mins later it reached temp.

    Left to rest for 45 mins.

    Pulled it all, sprayed again with apple juice a few times and added the injection juice from the tray from the last stage.

    Got perfect smoke ring for my first attempt, served it with a red onion marmalade :)

    So what did i learn?

    Offset smokers need more attention than my kids, a lot of wood as well. Started at 6am on a sunday and i'd say 10 hours or so later i was done.
  2. Welcome to the "family Niall.  Glad to have you with us.  That looks a great meal to me!  Darn fine job!

    Those offsets can be a bugger to deal with when it comes to temp control.  Used them for many years.  You may need to do a few modifications to that smoker to help with temp control.  Without meat, get a fire going in there to create smoke.  Small fire, BIG smoke!  You can even spray a little water on the coals to create BIG white smoke.  What you want to do is see where the smoke leaks are.  Mark the leaks, open the lid and allow the fire to burn down or go out.  When the smoker cools seal every leak you can using stove rope, high temp silicone, bbq gasket and such.  Next, if you have a thin flimsy fire grate use it as a template and build or have built a grate out of 1/2" concrete reinforcing steel ( rebar ).  That thin grate will sag with heat and will rest on the ash cutting off air flow to your coals.  No air flow no heat.  Other option is build a charcoal basket.  You can find baskets in the build section.  Leave that exhaust fully open and use the intake vent to control the heat.  Last tip is go buy a cheap garden trowel.  Knock the wooden handle off and weld a 2-2 1/2' piece of that rebar to the shovel.  Now you can gently scoop out the ash without them blowing all over your meat and you won't burn your hands.  Hope this may help you.  If you have any questions, you know where to find me.  Keep Smokin!

  3. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Niall. And I bet it was sunnier in Ireland than it has been in Kent today [​IMG]

    From the photos it looks as if you got off to a great start with the pork shoulder. One thing that you will learn quite quickly is that, although there are wrong ways to smoke, there is no single right way. We all develop the ways that work for us and so if you ask on here for advice on how it should be done you well get as many different answers as people who respond. 

    A couple of comments about your smoke

    7kg is a nice size. From the picture it looks as if you have a good balance there between meat and fat.

    Sounds like a nice rub mix. Why did you only apply the rub for 40 minutes per side and then wipe it off. Most of us apply the rub all over and then wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight. The salt in the rub helps to soften the proteins on the surface of the meat and helps it to form a nice bark/crust. I usually vac pack mine with the rub on. To inject or not to inject is also a personal preference.

    You can smoke it rolled or flat. If it is rolled then it will take a little longer. I mostly smoke mine flat.

    From the photo of the coals with the wood chips, you seem to have the whole bed of coals alight. This will create quite a lot of heat. You may want to look at adding a fire basket and maybe try using the Minion method to control the burn. You can see the heat intensity from the fire box side in your first photo of the meat. The side nearest the fire box is noticeably more well done. Next time you could try moving the meat more to the other side of the cooking chamber and maybe adding in a small foil heat baffle to try to even out the chamber temperature.

    Do you know what the internal temperature of the meat was when you finally took it out?

    The end result looks great and has a good mixture of moist meat and crunchy bark.

    Yes, One of the first things you have to do when getting a new smoker is take time to learn how to manage the temperature. I think that by controlling the fire in the fire box a little more and using a digital thermometer on the cooking grate you will get that cracked in no time.

    Great looking pulled pork - Well done [​IMG]

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