First smoke advice

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First smoke advice

Postby Kickback » 26 May 2016, 21:35

Sorry if these questions have already been posted I did a post earlier but it doesn't seem to have appeared so suspect I did something wrong - I'm new to the forum!

I'd be really grateful for some advice ...

I'm doing my first smoke this weekend on my new smokey mountain. It will be a pork butt.

How much charcoal should I put in? I'm using heat beads and they come in 4kg bags should I use a whole one? Can you cause problems by putting in too much?

What do I do if the fuel runs out? Take the smokey mountain apart to load up or try and do it through the door?

I'm planning to use the minion method as I think I'm less likely to mess it up than the snake method. There seem to be different schools of thought about whether to spread the lit coals all over the top of the unlit or to dig a hole in the middle. Does it matter? Has anyone used one method and had problems?

How much fuel should I light? A whole chimney?

I've got the 22 inch smokey mountain.


Thanks in advance!

Chris


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Re: First smoke advice

Postby Lord Grim » 27 May 2016, 11:57

I can't comment specifically on the WSM because I haven't used one. But when I do a pork butt on the Weber kettle, I start with about 1/2 a bag of Aussie heat beads, split 2/3 in the kettle and 1/3 in the chimney.
This lasts about 6 hours at which point (and I know it'll be different for the WSM), I just open the hatch in the grill and lob some more beads in.
This might be controversial, and I'm still fairly new to all this myself so stand to be corrected, but I never worry too much about minor temp fluctuations when adding charcoal, woodchips or topping up water pans as (1) it'll soon come back up, (2) it shouldn't drop by enough, for long enough to cause an issue with bacterial growth and (3) I work to the philosophy of "it's ready when it's ready". If my time was on a budget, I wouldn't light the barbie in the first place!

Hope this helps in the absence of other replies as yet.

Oh, and welcome to the forum!
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Re: First smoke advice

Postby Kickback » 27 May 2016, 13:00

Thanks lord Grim. Appreciated


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Re: First smoke advice

Postby essexsmoker » 27 May 2016, 20:20

I'd go with Lord Grim. I normally light about 6 to 10briqs in the OTP kettle. I dont have a WSM either. But I'd suggest filling the basket up full then take about half a chimney full out and light it. Inlet vents about half way open, top full open.

Then adjust inlets from there once stable.

Just have a play.
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Re: First smoke advice

Postby Kickback » 27 May 2016, 22:49

Perfect will do - thanks


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Re: First smoke advice

Postby BraaiMeesterWannabe » 28 May 2016, 09:19

Hey mate. I have a WSM. Aussie heat beads are the way to go for long cooks so you've made a great choice there. Get you minion right and I swear you will not need to worry about topping up. I've done 14 hour cooks without filling up and not burned through the whole basket.

I fill the whole ring with coal. With my 47cm that takes a whole bag or more. Then I take out the coals in the middle to create a crater all the way to the bottom leaving a thin layer of coals at the bottom of the crater. I then light no more than half a chimney starter which I pour into that crater, and put the barrel on top.

Sounds like a lot of coal, but when you have finished your cook close down all your vents. It will kill the fire and when you do your next cook you'll be starting with half a basket of coal still unused.

Allow an hour after lighting to adjust vents to get right cooking temp stable before putting butt on. For cooking temp of 225 to 250f I have my bottom vents 2/3 closed and my top vent half closed to start and the. Twiddle my top vent to get to desired temp. If struggling to get temp up high enough or down low enough I might play with the bottom vents a little but I try to avoid this.

Good luck with it
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Re: First smoke advice

Postby Kickback » 28 May 2016, 15:06

That's really helpful and exactly what I'll do. Pork butt is rubbed and wrapped in the fridge. Will go on about midnight I hope!

Thanks!


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Re: First smoke advice

Postby BraaiMeesterWannabe » 28 May 2016, 15:30

Good luck. You'll want to light chimney starter around 10.15 to 10.30 to drop in minion by 10.30 to 11pm to give plenty time to get to stable desired cooking temp by midnight.

Also remember that if temp is due to drop tonight the wsm's are not well insulated so that may drop the temp. So if your desired cooking zone is 225 to 250f I would start it at the higher end of that range so that as the night air cools your bbq will be more likely to stay within that range. As things warm up in the morning you may then need to adjust your top vent a little to keep temp within your desired range. Hope this makes sense.
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Re: First smoke advice

Postby Kickback » 28 May 2016, 17:20

It does - thanks!


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Re: First smoke advice

Postby Lord Grim » 30 May 2016, 05:33

So, how did it go?
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