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problems with first time Low n Slow smoking


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 So last night i attempted My first Big smoking. i picked up a nice Pork butt to smoke. All went well until about four or five hours in. not sure if i made the fire to small, played with vents too much to try to control temps or what. I could never get them temp to stay at 225 as recommended. Temp  went to high around 230/235 degrees or went to low to 205/210 degrees. stayed up most of the night trying to control it. finally about 5 hours in the temp went lower and lower until i realized the fire went out, or so it seemed. i had to take the pork off, pull out the diffuser to find all that was left was embers in the center and some lump and wood chunks on the outside(did not soak as recommended by others on this sight). So i rebuilt the fire and put everything back and basicaly start over. now the temp  went up to 244 degrees. went outside about 20 mins ago and closed the lower vent to 1 and the top vent to just a crack. temp now reads 239/237 and hopefully dropping. At this point if i get it in the low 230's to high 220's I'll be happy. i hope the roast did not rest too much. meat temp seems to be holding at 144. not sure whats going on there.(using maverick ET-732) may use the old fashion meat therm  later when cooking time is up. Been up most if not al night with this thing.(I'm tired.LOL) Please tell me it gets better. LOL. Not ready to throw in the towel yet, Just looking for tips and ideas. what did I do wrong? Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

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First off, welcome to the site; you're sure to find a wealth of info here and success is just around the corner!

Now, for what you did wrong:

1. Always start off with a full load of lump, fill it up to the tabs! Light a small pile in the middle and put your smoke wood chunks around the center but outside of what you just lit.

2. Forget 225° in a Kamado! It just isn't necessary to turn out awesome BBQ in these cookers and is only best used if you're trying to delay the cook time for logistical reasons.

3. Don't fidget with the vents, park that sucker at 250° and let it ride! A few degrees plus or minus is ok, as the meat gets warmer the temp with rise a little and it will drop when you add that big, cold, mass into the cooker. It's ok and it's normal. Only make SMALL adjustments as needed and give 10-15 minutes for the result to take effect and then wait another 15-20 for it to stabilize.

The Akorn is pretty efficient and doesn't need to be soaked like a ceramic, it will recover quickly from an overshoot or snuffed fire because it doesn't have all that mass to retain or absorb heat. I'd generally let my Akorn stabilize for 30 minutes while I did prep work and was good to go. Success will come with practice, do as much cooking on the Akorn as you can and get to know it! You've got a great cooker and once you get familiar with it, you'll be smokin like a champ with ease!

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I too used to chase the temp with my Akorn when I first got it. Then I found that for fatty meats such as a pork butt or shoulder, a higher temp helps render some of the fat out of the meat easier. Now I've become a proponent of Ron Popeil - I set it and forget it! For this meat especially, there is no magic number, therefore no need to chase unless you are totally out of control. Keep cooking!

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Don't attempt overnight cooks until you mastered temp control in your kamado. All around bad idea.

With an Akorn you let it settle at whatever temperature it wants then roll with that temperature without touching the vents. Anywhere between 225*-300* is fine. Also realize the temperature may fluctuate + or - 20* during the cook. Leave the vents alone. Once you start chasing temperatures that is all you're going to do the entire cook.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

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Thank you all  for  your advice.

 

     I  did build the fire wrong and I did get hung up on chasing the temp.  Sleep finally gave in and I got a good 4 hour nap. when I got up I went out to check the roast. Fire had died down and temp was at around 175 or so.  Pulled the roast off and double wrapped it in foil and let it set for a while. when I went to pull it apart we found it turned out beautiful. IT juicy and tender,nice bark on the outside with a about an 1/8 th of an inch of smoke ring. The wife and I couldn't stop snaking on it. Afterwards we sat down Watched the Packers beat the Browns and enjoyed our  BBQ pulled pork sliders with some cold beers.   Next week I will attempt to smoke  some chicken thighs & legs. But I look forward to trying another pork butt in the near future.

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