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applejack
04-13-2011, 05:35 AM
We got delivery of our ST1400 on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. We realized that it would be an absolute necessity to have a thermometer to measure the internal temperature when smoking such things as a pork butt or brisket. Our Maverick ET 83 dual probe thermometer arrived early Friday afternoon April 8, 2011. I picked up a pair of pork butts from Sam’s that we had elected to be our first item to go into our new smoker. We chose to follow the prep and cooking instructions presented on a video that was prepared by a gentleman who lives just a few miles north of us in Southlake, TX. His method of prepping is to inject the meat with a marinade, cover the pans and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours, coat the fat side with mustard and dry rub spices, and smoke/cook for 12 to 16 hours at 225 degrees in your ST over a drip pan containing liquids. In the demo video, the 2 pork butts weighed about 6 pounds each

It was about 3:00 p.m. on Friday when we started with the marinade injection process. Our goal was to let the butts rest in the fridge for 8 or so hours and then, since I normally get up when most folks have just gone to bed, I would start cooking with the thought that this wonderful meat would surely be ready to eat somewhere around 2:30 on Saturday afternoon. It didn’t exactly happen that way. Our planned lunch menu became a quickie substitute chicken salad sandwich instead. The actual cooking time was 23 hours and 25 minutes.

Began prepping pork butts @ 1:40 a.m.
15 lbs total meat weight with an internal temperature of 48 degrees f
Cooked ‘fat side’ up. Coated fat side with yellow mustard and a dry rub of 3/4cup paprika, cup sugar, and 2 Tbs garlic powder. Injected a marinade composed of 3 cups Head Country BBQ sauce, 1 cup Creole butter, and 2 Tbs liquid smoke.
Used 5-1/2 oz maple wood pieces.
A drip pan containing about 2 quarts of water and a cup of vinegar and some marinade was placed on the lowest rack. The two pork butts were placed on separate racks above the drip pan. Started cooking at 2:05 a.m. @ 225 degrees f

I had a temperature probe inserted into each pork butt in the center of each. The internal temperature reached 153f to 154f at about hour 5 and stayed that way to hour 10. I then raised the temperature to 235 f. I was really curious about what was going on inside the ST but I did not open the door. At 10:20 p.m. the butts were at 178 f and 189 f. Finally at 10:55 p.m. one of the butts reached 190 and I pulled that one out. At 11:30 p.m. the other one reached 190. That is a total elapsed time of 23 hours and 25 minutes. Took me twice as long to cook as anticipated.

I was beginning to fear that all I would find when I opened the smoker would be two lumps of pork charcoal. What I found was two finished pork butts that had a nice dark bark and felt really tender to the touch. The fats in the meat were rendered plus all the connective tissue is gone. Still moist, melt in the mouth tender, and has just the right amount of smoke. Not perfect but a very rewarding experience for the first try.

BillyBob
04-13-2011, 09:08 AM
applejack...glad to hear you had a good experience and enjoyed your cook.

If you want a good bark on them...trim the excess fat of the top to about 1/4 in and rub the whole butt with rub the night before and again right before you put them in th smoker...and smoke without liquid...give it a try and see what you think.

Good luck to you...and most inportantly...have fun!!!!

BillyBob

bigwalleye
04-13-2011, 05:41 PM
Not to hijack Applejack's thread, but maybe someone with more experience can add some more info here. I just did a 9 1/2 lb butt to a 195 internal temp in 16 hours. (see other thread) Applejack had 2 butts totaling 15 lb and they took almost 24 hours to a similar internal temp. So the question is, Is this normal? Is the time that much weight driven? It would be nice to have some more info. While I know it's strictly a temp thing, and it's ready when the temp is right, if I was shooting for a 6 pm dinner, and the butt wasn't ready until midnight, I'd have a riot on my hands. Any more info from the smokin' gurus?

BillyBob
04-13-2011, 08:51 PM
bigwalleye...I don't know why it took soo long to cook for applejack...the only thing that I can think of is the quality of the butts...it should not take that long to smoke 15lbs of butt's. Also remember...butts can be cooked at higher temp with no problems...230-240. JMO

BillyBob

applejack
04-14-2011, 01:20 AM
I know it took much longer to cook than I anticipated. This was my first experience with equipment that offers good control of temperature. I certainly have cremated a bunch of meat over 50 some years of using charcoal and gas grills of various designs. Making charcoal out of meat was what I wanted to get as far away from as I could when I decided to go with the ST. My initial results were most satisfactory toward that end.

What it seems to me is that the time required to reach the desired internal temperature surely must be weight/temperature driven. Secondly, since I prepared pork butts that were not only injected with a bit over 4 cups of liquid marinade plus that I cooked over a pan filled with over a half gallon of additional water.

There appears to be two distinct schools of thought regarding the use of liquids when smoking meats. Those who believe the only correct method is to not use additional liquid and those who believe a source of some steam is a must in order to break down connective tissue. What I hope to find is an acceptable path somewhere in the middle.

To my mind, it appears that if liquid is added - either in the form of an injected marinade or water in a drip pan - then some additional cooking time will be required to overcome the affect on temperature due to evaporation. Since the cooking temperature is comparatively low compared to normal oven settings, adding liquid may have a far more dramatic effect on time than one might think reasonable. I plan to test this theory the next time I cook a pork butt.

Thanks guys.

ronpat
06-07-2011, 04:04 PM
Applejack, I have had the 1400 for about 5 or 6 years and have smoked a ton of pork butts. I put in four (4) pork butts at one time set temp to 225 for 12 hours. Remove the butts after 12 hours and wrap them in double foil and put them back in the smoker for another 8 to 10 hours. Take them out and pull the meat for serving. It melts in your mouth. If you have a vacuum sealer, seal the left overs while still warm and frez. Remove from freezer later and microware still in the bag and it is like you just took them out of the smoker.

BillyBob
06-07-2011, 09:39 PM
ronpat...after that many hours in the smoker...what is the internal temp? I have never cooked that long to achieve my internal of 195-200. Please let me know how you can do this without over cooking them.

BillyBob

billy b
06-10-2011, 01:26 AM
It takes a lot longer to cook four than it does just one.