Learning Curve 2?
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Learning Curve 2?
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Thread: Learning Curve 2?

  1. #1

    Learning Curve 2?

    There's this thread and the lessons from a long brisket cook that was ruined by radiant heat from the drip pan.

    Learning Curve?

    So, I got the upper grate and used a maverick to monitor the grate and meat temp. I'm happy there's only a 5f difference between the upper and lower grate. A 9lb pork shoulder went on at 10:30pm, 225f, at 6am it was 150f and I was concerned it would be done before noon (messing up plans). Well it started to stall and after the stall the increase was very slow. The 1 Star kept doing it's thing and at 6pm, at 188f, I turned the temp up to 275f to get the job done, which happened.

    So my question is...almost 20hr to smoke a 9lb shoulder? What is there to know about using the upper grate?
    Last edited by Vision; 04-19-2017 at 05:17 PM.

  2. #2
    You didn't say what temp you had it before you bumped it to 275. If there's only a 5 degree difference between upper and main grate then there shouldn't be anything special about using the upper grate, as far as I know. I just did a little over 7 pound pork butt on my Davy Crockett, put it on at midnight at 225 and about 7am it was at 160, only increased to 173 by 10am so I pulled it off put it in a foil pan with 1/4 cup of apple juice, foiled it and into the oven at 225 till it hit it of 205 which happened at noon.

    Nevermind, just read your other post and see you had it at 225 for the first part of the cook. I'm new to pellet grills as well so I really don't have an in depth answer to your question. Sorry.
    Last edited by skidog; 04-18-2017 at 06:23 PM.

  3. #3
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    Its not the upper rack. You are learning about the stall. The stall is misunderstood by most. The old school explanation is that it is the magic time where the collagen in the meat is turning into gelatin. WRONG It is evaporative cooling The cooker is working on the meat and the meat is sweating cooling the meat Once the surface moisture has evaporated it takes off.

    My .02 is that I dont ever cook at 225. 250 sometimes and mostly 275. When you get the color and bark you like put it in a pan or double wrap in foil. It will cut about 30-40% of your cooking time and pellet consimption There are a lot of things you can include at foinling A good search will cover that.

  4. #4
    I agree with what BP said. I almost always foil and pork shoulders are usually done within 7 - 8 hours. The only time it takes longer is when I am filling the MAK with 8 butts/picnics for a large cook. That usually adds a couple hours of cooking time, just because there's so much meat.

    Here's my typical method:

    I start in smoke mode for about 30 - 45 minutes, then bump the temp up to 245, because 250 is when the fan revs up to the higher speed. You get more smoke at 245 than at 250 (a good trick to know with a with a MAK ).

    After 3 - 4 hours at 245 and the bark is looking good (usually around 160 internal temp), I foil (either a pan or double wrap) adding a just little liquid (Cider Vinegar always works well, so does beer), and bump the temp up to about 300 - 325 to braise for 2 - 3 hours until tender. Oh and DON'T worry about foil ruining the bark. I always end up with plenty of bark, and the juices you catch are so good added back into the pulled pork!

    For me using this method gives me pretty predictable results cooking pork shoulders.


    I just did a small pork butt last week and here was the result:
    Last edited by TentHunter; 04-20-2017 at 03:49 PM.
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  5. #5
    Has anyone ever seen a piece of meat still stalling at 189f? Not me. Usually somewhere in the 170's you're out of it and the temp starts to rise again as expected.

  6. #6
    There are no rules to how/when it stalls. That's why I foil. No evaporation = no stall; the temperature just keeps climbing upward.

    Now having said that as the I.T. of the meat climbs and gets closer to the pit temp, the rate of climb does slow down. The lower the pit temp the sooner it slows.
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Vision View Post
    There's this thread and the lessons from a long brisket cook that was ruined by radiant heat from the drip pan.

    Learning Curve?

    So, I got the upper grate and used a maverick to monitor the grate and meat temp. I'm happy there's only a 5f difference between the upper and lower grate. A 9lb pork shoulder went on at 10:30pm, 225f, at 6am it was 150f and I was concerned it would be done before noon (messing up plans). Well it started to stall and after the stall the increase was very slow. The 1 Star kept doing it's thing and at 6pm, at 188f, I turned the temp up to 275f to get the job done, which happened.

    So my question is...almost 20hr to smoke a 9lb shoulder? What is there to know about using the upper grate?
    My technique is to smoke it for up to 8 hours, then crank the heat to 300F until the internal temp hits 195-200F. If it gets done early, wrap in foil, then put into a picnic cooler and cover with newspaper or old towels. The meat will stay hot for up to 5 hours. Then pull it out of the cooler, unwrap and shred the meat.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by mrbbq View Post
    My technique is to smoke it for up to 8 hours, then crank the heat to 300F until the internal temp hits 195-200F. If it gets done early, wrap in foil, then put into a picnic cooler and cover with newspaper or old towels. The meat will stay hot for up to 5 hours. Then pull it out of the cooler, unwrap and shred the meat.
    Will give it a try, thanks.

  9. #9
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    I never ever ever smoke anything for 8 hours Sorry Bruce...if it works for you fine.

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