New to the world of smoking, looking for all sorts of info.

Discussion in 'New England Members Group' started by providence, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. providence

    providence Newbie

    Hello all, this is my first post and I am quite excited to be here. I recently received a very generous Christmas gift from my parents of a Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker (18.5" with the water pan, like this ). I am a lover of all things food and am especially a lover of creating things on my own. I fell in love with charcuterie a couple of years ago and have been curing all sorts of meats with nothing but success (even with the more complicated stuff like salami and coppa). I am also a homebrewer and have 20+ batches of ale under my belt (some strike outs in those 20 though). I also make my mozzarella, pasta, breads, lquers, etc., etc. So, like most of you folks, I am passionate about the food and drink that I consume and that I make. Smoking was the next logical step.

    Enough with the biography, I have some questions for you all and would very much appreciate your guidance. 

    1.) What do you recommend as a quality cook book for a veteran of home cooking, but new to smoking?  
    I bought Weber's Smoke () and like very much what I see, however, many of the recipes are not for the type of smoker I have. I'd like one that focuses more on foods that are best prepared in my aforementioned contraption. Any suggestions?

    2.)  Any recipes for pulled pork where the pork butt isn't so large?

    First of all, full disclosure, I am not going to start by smoking a pork butt. I want to get a feel fro this thing and am going to start with something else (like a bone-in pork chop, so if you've got any quality recipes there, I'd love to see them). Second, I know, I know, if you're going to do pork butt you may as well do a lot of it, right? However, it's just my wife and I who will be eating this and having a 7-8 lbs. pork butt that many of the recipes I have looked at call for, is quite excessive. Are there any recipes for smaller pork butts? The Whole Foods on North Main St. in Providence often has smaller pork butts that run between 3.5 and 4 lbs. I'd like to smoke one of those but am not sure how it will change the cook time (which is something that surely is impacted by a variety of things like weather, but I am trying to get an idea so I can plan accordingly). Any recipes or guidance for cooking a smaller butt (insert Sir Mix-a-lot joke here)?

    3.) Anyone ever smoke mozzarella?

    I am sure you have. As mentioned previously, I make home made mozzarella. Nothing would make me happier than to smoke some of that mozzarella. However, I am a bit concerned as fresh mozzarella has much more water content than store bought stuff and I'm not sure if the recipes I have looked at for smoked mozzarella account for such. Any advice is appreciated.

    Anyways, thanks for reading all of that and thanks in advance for your feedback. Like I said, I am stoked to be here and am excited to take this next step towards high cholesterol and gout. 

  2. lamar

    lamar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the forum.  Your parents have set you up for some good times and good eating.

    Well.......lets see if I can add some thought to your questions.  These are my opinions only and others might disagree.  That's OK too.

    1.  All smokers are simply a heat and smoke source.  No two completely alike,  so no book could cover specifics of all.  You will learn more about your specific model by using it....over and over.  You will soon learn it's operational quirks and master it.

    2.  I cook 3-5 pounders lots of times.  Don't worry about the time as far as cooking is concerned.  The meat is done when it is done.  Go by the internal temperature only.  Get a good thermometer and don't go by the built in.  Factory units are generally always wrong.

    3. I have never tried cheese,  but a lot of others can guide you to success.

    Good luck and don't be afraid to ask questions of this group of experienced members.
  3. providence

    providence Newbie

    Thanks for the awesome info, I appreciate it. I should have clarified why I wanted to know cooking time on the pork butt. I have an excellent digital thermometer and am tremendously picky about meat temps (ask my wife, whom gets a chuckle out of how militant I am with it). Anyway, I for one definitely know that it's done when the thermometer says it's done. However, in regards to meal planning, in other words, how far ahead should I start cooking stuff for a specific dinner time, knowing length of cooking time is very important.
  4. lamar

    lamar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    From reading many posts here,   most people plan on1.5-2  hours per pound.  That's only a guideline, but should let you plan ahead.  As you know,  there are a lot of variables in smoking. 
  5. bamofnh

    bamofnh Fire Starter

    I use an 1.5 hours / pound at 225 degrees and it seems to be pretty close most of the time.  My smoker is electric and it keeps it close to that temperature all the time.  I never used one like yours so I'm not sure of how constant the temperature will be.  Like Lamar said all Smokers are a bit different and only through use will you really know.  I'm willing to bet that if you start your vegetables on the stove when your Pork Butt IT (internal temperature) gets to about 190* they'll be ready about the same time your Pork gets up to 205* if that's the temp you cook to.  Good Luck and I'm sure we'll see some of your results soon.[​IMG]  

    Well my wife just brought home some Sweet Italian Sausage which I didn't know about, so I'm smiling and going to the back porch to turn on the Smoker.  Time for some Rub. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  6. Welcome and how fun!

    I look forward to reading your posts!

    (I love buffalo milk mozzarella and haven't tried smoking it but now you plant a very fascinating seed of suggestion)!

    Cheers!!!!!!!!! - Leah
  7. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Welcome to the forum. Sorry I missed this , this is a great opening post and I would suggest you repost it in the general discussion forum and I bet you'd get a lot of answers to your questions. It's too bad regular members can't comment on these group postings. I know I read the other group postings and I'd chime in , but I can't.
    I think your plan is solid for getting to know your cooker. Good luck.

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