Planning First Smoke

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by wildemc, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. wildemc

    wildemc Newbie

    Supposed to be nice here in MN this weekend so I'm planning my first smoke with my Mastebuilt 30" Propane Smoker.  It's seasoned and I've purchased a cast iron pan instead of the disk as I witnessed flare ups right away during my season.  

    My plan is to buy 3 racks of spare ribs and a pork shoulder from Costco.  I have applewood chunks and want to try to maintain around 230-250 the whole time.  Obviously the shoulder will take longer so I plan on putting that on in the morning and then do the 3-2-1 method on the ribs. I like sauced ribs so I plan on saucing during the last 30 minutes. A couple questions:

    1. Is my plan solid or any advice?  Am I safe to do both shoulder and ribs?

    2. What do people do to freeze the pulled pork?  I don't have a vacuum sealer yet.

    3. Any estimate on how long the shoulder will take?  I know it's always different but ballpark?  I think the Costco ones are about 8 pounds.

    Any other advice?  Can't wait!!!
  2. smokinal

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

    Good luck!


    Here's JJ's

    Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    Foiling Juice

    For each Rack of Ribs Combine:

    1T Pork Rub, yours

    1/2 Stick Butter

    1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

    1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

    1T Molasses

    Optional: 2T Apple Cider Vinegar. Add 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more of a KC Glaze.

    Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

    Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

    run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

    the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

    in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.

    For a Sweet Finishing Sauce for Pulled Pork:  Make a Double batch, skip the Butter.

    If you plan to Foil the meat, add 1/2 the batch to the Foil Pack or place it in a Pan with your Butt, when the IT hits 165*F.

    Cover the pan with foil and continue to heat to 205*F for pulling.

    At 205* rest or hold the Butt in a cooler wrapped in towels until ready to serve.

    Pull the Pork and place it back in the pan with the pan Juices and any additional reserved Foiling Juice to moisten, the meat should be shiny and juicy but not swimming in sauce. Serve while hot...OR... Bag and refrigerate until needed.

    If you choose to Not Foil or Pan the Butt. Add the Finishing Sauce to the pulled meat before serving. Add the hot Finishing Sauce a little at a time until the Pork is moistened, again the meat should be shiny but not swimming in sauce.

    When re-heating place the Pulled Pork in a Pan or Crock pot and add reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider, as needed to make up the Juice that was absorbed while the pork was refrigerated. Cover and re-heat in a pre-heated 325-350*F oven or on High in the crock pot to 165*F and Serve.

    I was AMAZED...No additional sauce needed. ENJOY...JJ

    Tangy Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    This is more of an Eastern North Carolina style Finishing Sauce...

    2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

    2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

    1/4C Brown Sugar

    1T Smoked Paprika

    2 tsp Granulated Garlic

    2 tsp Granulated Onion

    2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

    1 tsp Celery Salt

    1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Red Pepper Flake. Add more if you like Heat.

    1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice

    Combine all and whisk well. This is a thin sauce, bring just to a simmer and remove from heat. Adjust sweetness by adding Brn Sugar or additional Vinegar as desired...Makes about 2 Cups.

    For a Lexington Style Dip  add, 1/2C Ketchup and 1-3tsp Red Pepper Flakes...JJ
  3. slimc

    slimc Smoke Blower

    I would advise putting the butt under the ribs. As the ribs cook the fat will fall onto the butt and help with flavor. 3-2-1 method is pretty foolproof so that should be fine. 

    For freezing, I usually just use ziplock freezer bags after letting the pulled pork cool a little, after thawing for reheat I add finish sauce while heating it up then only use BBQ sauce when I'm about to eat it.

    I just did a pork shoulder (12 lbs) from costco and it took me 11 hours at 225-250. I usually cook for 6 hours on smoker and try to maintain 225, then I add apple juice and foil and finish it in my oven at 250 until the internal temp reaches 203 degrees. Then I let it rest for 1 hour and pull and then add finish sauce just before serving.
  4. wildemc

    wildemc Newbie

    Thanks for the responses.  1 more question.  I really don't like mustard and I know that's the general approach as a "base layer" to help adhere the rub to both ribs and shoulder.  What can I use as a substitute?  Squeeze butter?  Olive Oil?

    Tomorrow's the day...
  5. slimc

    slimc Smoke Blower

    If you use mustard it completely cooks off and you don't taste it at all, I use it all the time and you can't tell it was ever on there. You can also use olive oil or anything else that is wet that allows your rub to stick to the meat.
  6. I use pump spray butter quite a bit. As a base and periodically during smoking.
  7. wildemc

    wildemc Newbie

    I'm off and running.  Had the 8# Shoulder in at 8:15 and have been running at about 240 all morning and I'm up to 124.   I expected to have problems keeping the temperature low on my smoker due to all the posts about needing to modify it, but it's worked really well.  The only snafu was when I put out the flame adding water...oops..  It's extremely windy here today so they may be helping keep the temperature down.

    Planning on putting on the ribs soon and let them baste the shoulder and then I'll foil everything after 3 hours.  I'll get some pictures soon.
  8. wildemc

    wildemc Newbie

    Got too busy to keep posting. For my first time time, I give it a B-/C+. So I need some help.

    I have the Masterbuilt Propane 30. The only modification is I used a square cast iron pan to put the wood chunks in, which seemed to work really well. They smoldered and produced good TBS. I thought I'd have problems maintaining temperature but was able to keep it between 225-240 all day, even in windy conditions.

    Shoulder- first of all, I screwed up and got a boneless one but didn't want to start over so after reading several posts on the forums, figured it would be the same. I put the shoulder on the second to bottom rack with a foil pan below it. I sprayed with apple juice periodically (maybe every hour). I smoked it for about 6 hours and then when it reached 165, I put it in the foil pan, added some of the finishing sauce to the pan, and covered it. By that time, there was already a pretty solid bark on it. Within another 4 hours, it was up to 200 so I took it off. I let it rest for about an hour.

    When I started to pull it, it was tender, but there was really thick bark on it and in areas where the boneless portion "fell apart" it was completely charred. Where it was not charred, it was very tender, juicy and flavorful, but I threw away a good portion that was simply burnt. There was very little liquid in the pan as it had burnt on.

    Overall, what I got out of the shoulder was great and I'm very happy, but it's obvious something went wrong.

    My ideas are: 1. I had my bbq thermometer near the middle rack, so I'm thinking the temperature at the bottom rack, near the flame was well above 225-240 and this caused it to burn. 2. I used too much wood and produced too much smoke? I don't think this is the case as I only used about 3 chunks at a time and replaced every hour or so during the first 5 hours.


    Ribs: I used the 3-2-1 method, but also got too much bark on them. For the 1 hour portion, I opened up the foil and then lightly sauced for the last 20 minutes. They were very flavorful and texture wise, just the right mix between fall off the bone tender and some bite. The flavor was great, but just too thick of a burnt layer. I included two pictures:

    My only idea here is that when I took out the shoulder, took it upstairs, by the time I looked at my thermometer, it was at about 320. Obviously the shoulder was blocking the heat? I quickly got the temperature back down to 230.

    Sorry for the long message but looking for ideas. Overall, happy with the flavor and results, but can improve for next time.
  9. wildemc

    wildemc Newbie

  10. slimc

    slimc Smoke Blower

    For ribs that don't have too much fat on them you will probably need to wrap a little sooner based on the temp of your smoker. If your smoker gets over 275, then you will need to spritz and look for color, once it is dark enough for your liking, foil the ribs and add some moisture such as butter, juice or whatever to help keep the meat moist.After 2 hours in foil, check for done-ness using bend test if they bend and begin to break apart slightly they are ready for finishing, add sauce and finish for 1 hour without foil. If they fall apart then you can just add sauce if you want it or be done with it. If then barely bend they need more time. Baby back ribs will be done a lot sooner since there is a lot less fat. Country ribs will take longer. Ideally you want to keep the temp 225-250 for ribs IMHO

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