Virgin smoker, attempting first Picnic

Discussion in 'Pork' started by aclinml, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. aclinml

    aclinml Newbie

    Hi, all!. Got a MES for my birthday, and have used it to cook some steaks, hamburgers, chicken thighs, and a pork tenderloin. Besides tweaking, temps, smokes, brines/rubs....this thing is great!

    Kroger has a sale on Picnics for .99 a pound, so I picked up a couple, and going to smoke one this weekend. I've read dozens of posts about picnics, so I think my gameplan is pretty solid. But I do have a couple of questions on some things I'm just not sure of.

    First, I am going to have a drip pan underneath the picnic to catch the juices. Do I need to start with any liquid in this drip pan or should it just be empty? I also know that people wrap their picnic at about 160-170, and there are juices contained in the foil wrap when it's done resting. do I combine these juices with the ones from the drip pan to put in the fridge to separate the fat from them?

    During the resting process in the cooler, does the towel need to be dry or damp?

    I have the A-maz-N smoker, do I need to refill it with wood if it runs out after many hours of smoking? Also, they suggest not putting in a water pan when using the smoker. Just leave it empty.

    I Plan to apply rub and stick in the fridge tonight, smoke it at about 230 -240 degrees Saturday, cook it to about 192 - 195, have it pulled and stored in Ziploc bags in the refrigerator and will use it for dinner Sunday, along with the juices from the cook. I do plan to foil at around 165 as I don't prefer a hard bark.

    Answers and any other pointers appreciated!

    Mike
     
  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

     
  3. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     
  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    If you are going to wrap it and save the drippings you should get one of these:

    [​IMG]

    A 4 cup fat separator. It allows you to have the liquid de-fated in about 5 minutes.
     
  5. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Mike has you covered but I would use a drip pan. You want to save that stuff and defat like you said to add back in. No smoke is needed after foiling unless you have something else smoking in there. I would take it to 203, after a couple hundred Butts that is my magic number. Dry smoker, dry towels, dry cooler. I also find it easier to use the foil pan you used to catch the drippings when foiling. My foiling always leaks. This is how I prepare my shoulders.




     
  6. aclinml

    aclinml Newbie

    Thanks, guys! I will shoot fo around 203 as I much prefer it pulled over sliced. Also, on an 8 pound picnic, what temps do you prefer to cook at? I really don't want a 12 hour cook. I would prefer around 8 to 10, but tender and moist are prerequisites!
     
  7. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I'm the wrong guy to answer this but I go 225 to 240 and figure 2 hours per pound plus a two hour rest. I also almost always foil at 165 and head for the oven. I would suggest you leave yourself plenty of extra time. Butts can stall for long periods of time. The biggest rookie mistake is inviting the inlaws over for pulled pork sammies and the thing isn't done until midnight. I never plan to have a big butt like that for dinner the same day anymore. I do mine saturday for sunday kind of deal.
     
  8. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    The shoulder in that picture took 23 hours at 240 just to let you know. 
     
  9. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Have you used a probe thermometer to check the temp settings? When I do shoulders in my MES I set it at around 220 which results in an actual temp of 240. I foil around 160 and it usually takes 1.5 hrs per pound. You could speed it up by raising the temp but you have to be careful not to get an MES too hot. If I set mine to 275 it runs over 300 degrees which could damage the door seals or electronics.
     
  10. aclinml

    aclinml Newbie

    Right, I've got an oven thermometer I will put on the rack to compare to what the Masterbuilt tells me. I decided to do this Saturday with plans on eating Sunday evening..........Timberjet....to make sure I understand....when you are ready to foil, you take the pan with drippings and place the Shoulder in it, then wrap foil around it all?

    And also, how big was that shoulder that took 23 hours, and was any of that resting time?
     
  11. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    that was a 9 pounder. I'm telling you, they can kick your butt some times. Masterbuilt probes are known to suck. Just so you know. I would test your oven probe in boiling water and see what it reads. there is a boiling point calculator here somewhere, I will see if I can find it for you. I would test all the probes in the MES as well then you will know for sure what you are dealing with. At your first opportunity like now if you can, go get yourself some Maverick probes or something similar. You need an accurate way to take the temp of your meat and smoker and the stuff that is in there is unreliable at best.http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Calib-boil.html This is the article and tables to figure out the boiling point where you are.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  12. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I take the pan into the house right before I foil and dump the drippings into a jar and put that in the freezer. Then I take that pan back out and load it up with pork and wrap it up. Then after 10 minutes or so I go get that jar and skim the schmaltz off the top and save it as well but the good stuff is what's left in the jar. Sometimes I add it to chef JJ's finishing sauce..... nevermind that I always do that! Good stuff man. I tell you it just adds that last thing that makes people go nuts for your pork.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  13. aclinml

    aclinml Newbie

    OK, guys......The launch sequence has been activated. Gave it a bath, threw some mustard and rub......wrapped it up, stored it in the fridge for about 12 hours.........Next stop....in the MES at about 8 a.m. At about 240..............

     
  14. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Be patient when the stall hits . . .
     
  15. aclinml

    aclinml Newbie

    Picnic in at 8:00. At 240. A-maze-n loaded with 3 rows.........Next stop is1:00 to put probes in (Masterbuilt probe, and Igrill2 probe).........

     
  16. aclinml

    aclinml Newbie

    Timber......... What's the recipe for the finishing sauce you use?
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
  17. aclinml

    aclinml Newbie


    Ok, guys I've got an issue.i pu in an oven thermometer that I calibrated with my oven. In the previous picture you can see it on the lower rack. With th MESSet to 240 the oven thermometer says around 180! I moved it to the top shelf, and it isn't much higher. I then moved it the bottom of the box, and it read 240 right on the nose! You can see my setup.....I've got an empty water bowl in it and a large foil pan in to collect juices. Do I need to take them out?
     
  18. aclinml

    aclinml Newbie

    OK, I took the empty water bowl out, and the temp on the upper rack jumped to around 200. I've try to bend my drip pan to make it smaller around, and not the temp on the upper rack is about 210. It's obvious the Masterbuilt thermostat is at the bottom of the unit, and the temp inside the box is pretty irregular between the bottom and top of the box........

    I wonder if this is why some cooks are longer than others?
     
  19. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Use your igrill probe for temp. I will see if I can find JJ's finishing sauce and post it for you. How did you calibrate the oven probe with your oven by the way?
     
  20. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

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