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Pulled pork cook time? (And coals running out.)


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Hi all, been a little while since I posted, but still grilling up some delicious cooks.  I've got a pork butt on my Kamado Joe Classic right now, and it's taking considerably longer than I expected.  I put it on at about 9:00 last night, and now at nearly 6 in the evening it's just now breaking 195*F internal temp (I'm gonna let it get to 197, but I don't think I have the patience for 200 after nearly 21 hours on the grill :-D).  I think the butt was only 7-pounder at that (maybe 8).  That said, most of the cook has been at or below 225, which is a bit lower than what I could sustain on my Akorn.  Not sure what's to be gained, so that's why I'm trying.

 

Additionally, this is the second time I've actually had to add charcoal mid-cook.  The first time was completely my fault, as I didn't clean out my Joe before getting it going, and I used a bunch of old charcoal that had small bits that quickly turned to ash, blocking the air intake.  This time though, I cleaned it out and used completely new charcoal, and they were some REALLY big chunks as well, so I thought I'd be fine.  I woke up to find my fire a little low (210?), but still humming along pleasantly (FYI I'm using a Thermoworks Smoke, which has been working beautifully).  Meat was smack in the middle of The Stall, so I opened the vents a little more and then headed off to church.  When I got home, I was a little dismayed to find my grill temperature lower yet, making me think my fire was going out.  I pulled the meat off and wrapped it in foil, then pulled my grate assembly out.  I still had a few live coals, but so much had burned through that the ash build-up was blocking almost all of the fire grate.  I used large pieces of lump, and had the "volcano" arrangement as best I could.

 

Anyone else had this problem?  Thoughts and possible solutions appreciated.

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3 hours ago, King19 said:

A 7lb butt took 21 hours?

 

Crank it up and be done with it

 

It's pulled pork the only thing the Carolinas  almost get right. Jk

 

 

 

 

Lol, that's about where I'm at now!  It did turn out quite delicious, but 21 hours is a bit excessive.  From my Akorn experience, I never could hold at 250.  I'd always end up jumping to over 300, so I'm a little (more) OCD than usual with the vent settings once it hits 200.  I haven't had any problems with my Joe overshooting.  It's always been a little harder than I'd expected to get it to the elusive 250 and hold it.

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2 hours ago, KismetKamado said:

Not sure about the "volcano" arrangement....  just fill the firebox - no worries about any sort of specific configuration of the lump.

The "volcano" arrangement is from @philpom's definitive guide to low 'n' slow.  He recommends putting large pieces of charcoal in a volcano arrangement in the fire box, put a firestarter inside the crater, light it, and then put another piece of charcoal over that.  I usually have pretty good luck with it.  So far, the ash buildup has been the only issue, which ironically doesn't happen with my Akorn because the fire grate allows the spent charcoal to fall more freely into the waste collector.  The tight holes on the Joe, not as much.

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6 hours ago, zero said:

 I still had a few live coals, but so much had burned through that the ash build-up was blocking almost all of the fire grate.

 

For the future consider getting a kickashbasket. It will behave more like the fire grate of your previous Akorn as far as letting ash drop through and maintaining better air flow throughout the cook. 

 

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Sneaking suspicion that you are running the grill too low to get through the stall. My understanding is that you have to overcome evaporative cooling to get through it, which does mean the grill needs to be greater than 212 degrees to accomplish that. 

 

Found this at amazingribs.com talking about the stall

http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/the_stall.html

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What rchang said. 225 to 250 is ideal for low and slow. As you've demonstrated that range is unable to get you to the desired temp in a reasonable time.

same as Sous Vide cooking it takes a loooooooooooong time to get to temp.

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225° is no holy grail of lo/slo cooking, especially for butts. This is probably the single most forgiving cut in the bbq world. 

 

I suggest just loading your firebox with as much coal as is recommended for your grill, establish a temp of anywhere between 225°-275°, and let it cook. Butts can stand higher temps, but it's the sugars in the rubs that start giving you problems much higher than that. 

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Whether  the high end is 250 or 225 is splitting hairs and doesn't matter. Relative to the OPs question is the low temp. If it's below 225 as I mentioned it will take a looooooooooong time to get done

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9 hours ago, rchang72 said:

Sneaking suspicion that you are running the grill too low to get through the stall. My understanding is that you have to overcome evaporative cooling to get through it, which does mean the grill needs to be greater than 212 degrees to accomplish that. 

 

Found this at amazingribs.com talking about the stall

http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/the_stall.html

 

@rchang72, thanks so much!  I heard the stall is caused by evaporative cooling, but didn't consider the impacts a temperature that's too low would have on it.  Will definitely keep that in mind for future cooks.  I think I'll start out the same, and keep it around 225 for the first couple hours, but after getting that smoke ring I'll crank it right up to 250 for the majority of the cook.

 

Thanks everyone else for chiming in.  Always appreciate the Kamado Guru community. :) 

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12 hours ago, ckreef said:

 

For the future consider getting a kickashbasket. It will behave more like the fire grate of your previous Akorn as far as letting ash drop through and maintaining better air flow throughout the cook. 

 

 

I may finally have to consider one of these...

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