Newbies first post other than role call. 4th smoke help wanted and appreciated!!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by zdawg801, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. Hey everyone!
    About to start my first "long" smoke tomorrow, 10.5 hrs. That's long for me at least. I have so far completed 2x 3lbs pork butts (no bone) and a 3lbs tri-tip. All have turned out great and I have kept data on all of my smokes and preparations.
    Tomorrow I will be smoking a 7lbs pork butt, hopefully starting 0700 central time. The butt is already marinating in the fridge and I have my thoughts, beliefs, and plans on flavor already.
    I post this for your entertainment/information, but also for my flaws and that is heat and fire preparation. I do have trouble with the temp getting ahead of me and me rushing to get coals in there to keep temp up. I have read up on charcoal, briquettes, and lump coal. Right now I have charcoal and briquettes at the ready.

    I know that was a lot but to sum it up. What type of lighting has worked for you (I do not have a charcoal basket yet but do have a standard tray raised with bricks)? When do you start to supplement another light before it cools down?

    What I have is a smoke hollow 4 in 1. I will be using the side smoker of course. My MODS include a chimney extension internally to lower it, a lava rock gasket on the grill and smoker, and bricks in the smoker under the tray for air flow and I always have cooked with a tray with 1/2 inch or less of water to catch drip and help with moisture.

    Any help is always greatly appreciated. If I have failed to say or do something admin wise let me know please
    I am new.

    Thank you!
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    It's hard to give a definitive answer like, " Add 2 Pounds lit Coals every 2 Hours..." Just too many variables. Outside temp, wind, rain, sunny or dark, thickness of the firebox and cook chamber metal. Unfortunately a Stick/Charcoal Burning Smoker has the longest learning curve. It can take a season or more of frequent smokes, in all weather, to quantify how much fuel to add and when. Then what works for me in NJ will be different for guys in FL or in MN. Your best bet would be to try a variation on the Minion Method. Cover the Charcoal tray with a layer of charcoal mixed with some wood chunks. Light one corner and get things rolling, all vents wide open. As you approach the desired set point, close the firebox fresh air damper all the way shut. When the temp starts to drop, open the damper 1/2" to let more air in and the fire will heat up. Keep tweaking the damper to maintain temp.You should get 4 maybe 6 hours from this depending on tray size and weather. When the charcoal is 75% used add another layer of unlit charcoal " next " to burning coals and the process should continue with the burn working it's way back to the start point. Sorry I can't be more help. Other's should have some ideas as well...JJ
  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Chef JJ is too modest. He forgot to mention his Pork finishing sauce.

    This finishing sauce every good smoker keeps in their reefer. Add just a little, very little and let the spices marry with the pork. If you don't over do it, no one ever realizes its even on there, all they realize is your butt is better than there's. ALL even old vets ocassionally mess up for one reason or another, if so, JJ's finishing sauce is like an eraser, it removes the mistake and your pork is juicy, flavorful, just delicious. 

    Pork is an amazing piece of meat, its like few other foods, it gets better with age. Seriously, I never cook for a meal time, I'll always cook a day or three on advane. It allows you to get it all done, and be cool calm and relaxed at your party. Chef JJ's sauce just marries with the meat. Then just heat it up to be served. Place it in a crock pot, and place a bowl of hot BBQ sauce next to it. The real afficionados probably will pass on the BBQ sauce. Seriously the finishing sauce makes it that good.

    I bet if it was thread asking how many have Chef JJ's finishing sauce in the reefer right now, more than half would.

    Everyone puts their own little twist to his original recipe, call it culinary license. Me, I add a little Tony Chachere's "More", 1/4 C Honey, and 1/4 C Apple cider. 

    I won't serve Pulled pork without Chef JJ's finishing sauce. Most sauces I usually pass on, but the finishing sauce accents the meat with adding a defining taste to it.

    Good luck with your smoke. Make the Sauce, you can thank me later.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  Lol Thanks Foam...JJ
  5. Chef JJ that is more than enough help and thanks. I do understand there's no definite answer (guess I just needed to hear it). I will take your approach and allow more time to understand what works when. I have read a little into the minion method but will give it a try tomorrow I have heard a lot about it.
    Also you sauce sounds great a lot of flavors I like to use can't wait to try it.

    Thanks again
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  6. Kind of late but the pork butt turned out great that day. Used the minion method and I have continued to use it since than. Thanks for all the input.
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Glad to hear everything worked out well for you!


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