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Nuprin

2nd Attempt at Boston Butt

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Learning from my error of not using enough charcoal on my first try, I loaded up the Vision Classic and set out to do an overnight cook.  The fire got away from me in the beginning and I had trouble keeping it below 270f for most of the cook.  The top vent was set at .25 and even with the bottom vent closed all the way, I was still hovering around 270f with an average temp probably around 280f.  Took about 10 hours for a 8.3lb shoulder but the results were very good. Good bark and still very tender.

 

I don't think I could have held it down at 225 because I basically have everything closed except for a sliver of the top vent.  Any suggestions or comments?  Is it because there's firebox is full?

 

 

 

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Glad it was an overall success!!

 

Perhaps you've already described this... but how are you lighting your fire, and in how many spots?  How long do you leave the lid up before closing, and once you close the lid, what then (how do use your vents when bringing up to temp)?

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Yeah, the amount of fire lit is everything. As you start learning, light just a small amount, and let the temp come up slowly. What works for me is set the bottom about where you think it should be, and open the top quite a bit, lid closed obviously, and as temp rises, close the top vent. That being said, 225° is not a magic number, I actually prefer 275°, the times are much faster and way more predictible.

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Yeah, the amount of fire lit is everything. As you start learning, light just a small amount, and let the temp come up slowly. What works for me is set the bottom about where you think it should be, an open the top quite a bit, kid closed obviously, and as temp rises, close the top vent. That being said, 225° is not a magic number, I actually prefer 275°, the times are much faster and way more predictible.

 

That makes total sense.  I was letting it light for about 10 minutes in the middle until the cube went out and I could see some lit coals but as I was fuddling with the grates and probes, the fire got bigger than I wanted and it shot up to 300f.  I couldn't get it much lower the rest of the time. 

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As you are finding out, it is easy to raise the temp, but if you overshoot by much it takes a long while for the temperature to drop. This is due, in large part, to the superior insulating qualities of the kamado. Of course it could be that you have an intake air leak also, but not as likely. Light your fire in only one spot (middle) and when the coal catches fire, close the lid and adjust the lower and top vents close to where you think they should be for the cook temperature you are looking for. As the temperature rises, start closing down the vents so that you don't overshoot where you want to be. It takes some practice, but not a whole lot of skill. Let your kamado stabilize for 15 or 20 minutes before making any adjustment so that you don't end up chasing temps throughout your cook. Up and down variations are quite normal. The important temperature is the probe in your butt (no pun intended). It's easier than it sounds. Enjoy.

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Yes, as previously stated, the amount of fire makes all the difference. 

 

For me, I fill up the firebox, 1-2 inches above the air holes.  Then I make a little crater in the middle of the coals.  I use the Weber Chiney, upside down, to start a few coals where the newspaper normally goes.  I stuff the rest of the chimney with newspaper.  I'd imagine a lighter cube placed directly in the center of the charcoal will accomplish the same thing.  But once the coals in the chimney are white hot, I use my tongs to take a few coals out, and I'll place them directly into my charcoal crater.  That way, I know I'm starting with a small fire (i.e., 2-4 white hot coals placed in the center of the firebox).  Then I place everything into the grill, close the lid with the vents wide open.  I wait until the thermometer hits about 180, and then I close off the vents, leaving only the tinest slivers open in the bottom vent.  Give or take some small adjustments,  I can hit 200-225, and maintain these temperatures, using this method without a problem.

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Just going to echo what everyone else has said.  Start your fire in the middle and let it come up slowly.  Much easier to hit your desired temp that way and it is more stable IMO.  I used to try to hit 225 every cook and it would drive me nuts.  Now I don't care so much anymore b.c I learned that I can't tell the difference between ribs or a butt cooked at 225 vs 275.  I cook all my "low and slows" at about 275 now b.c that is where my Big Joe seems to want to park once all the ceramics are saturated with heat.    

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The butt and ribs that I did later on both turned out great with an average temp of around 280f. Bark was nice and dark...again forgot to take a picture before I dove into it.  The Bull City Pig Rub, which is made locally, is great.  I think I'm starting to figure the lighting park.  Looking into getting a BBQguru or Stoker next so I can spend less time eyeing the temp gauge all the time.

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Don't drive yourself crazy with the grill temps. The most important part of great BBQ is the internal temp of the meat. When doing a low and slow cook if you are between 225-290 you are OK. Making sure your temp stays steady for the whole cook is also critical for a successful cook. You'll spend your whole afternoon adjusting vents with no difference in results to show for it trying to raise or lower your grill temp for a 10 or 15 degree change. Use the dome therm as a general guideline and spend your time testing your cooler and making sure your beer is cold enough 12oz at a time :-D

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I'm reading this as I cook my first brisket, and I had similar temp control issues, so this has been helpful.. I have been working the vents for the first few hours but having a hard time keeping it below 270

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