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July 6, 2012
Smoke Day Is Here!

Today is the day I've been waiting for! I'll be smoking the meats for my daughter's birthday party tomorrow. Luckily she is only 3 so she doesn't have a say in what the menu will be! Today I'm smoking two untrimmed brisket flats and two big bone-in pork shoulders (Boston Butts). While I'm also live tweeting the smoke day I figured I might as well put up some photos here as well as some comments on how things are going. It's supposed to be 102 degrees F outside today so sadly I can't sit next to the smoker all day with a beer. Oh well.


Last night I dry rubbed with a typical BBQ dry rub and this morning I injected the pork shoulders with the "famous" Chris Lilly pork injection solution. I wasn't too sure if I was going to use this injection since I feel that it tends to make the bark a bit too black because of the high sugar. But oh well. My wife said that the last time I used this injection it was the "best pulled pork she's ever eaten" so that counts for something.

smoke day

At 7:30 AM the little 18.5 inch Weber Smokey Mountain was fired up and some apple wood was added. The temperature started off a little low so I opened up the side door for about 15 minutes to get things going. I wanted the smoker temperature to be around 275 before the meat went on. The meat was cold, which will significantly lower the smoker temperature.

smoke day

At 8:00 AM the smoker was ready for the meats. Two 8 lb bone-in Boston Butts on top and two 5 lb brisket flats underneath. I had to use my extra grate to get the additional brisket flat in there. It works well for the 18.5 in WSM.

smoke day photos with wsm bbq

The untrimmed brisket flats were pretty big. The smoke makes it a bit hard to see but here is what one looked like at around 8:00 AM.

smoke day photos with wsm bbq

At 11:00 AM the temperature dropped to 225. I just added about 20 unlit coals and propped the WSM door open for about 5 min to get things going again. Having 25+ lbs of meat on the smoker really sucks up the fuel!

scooter with the smoker

My dog loves the smell of pork and beef smoking. Here's Scooter sitting in front of my smoker.

smoker for bbq

I'm quite impressed with my speed. I made 45 stuffed jalapeno peppers in just under an hour! That's a record. Now they get foiled and put in the fridge for tomorrow.

smoker for bbq

The smoker is still dragging a bit a 12 noon. 235 dome temperature. Again I tossed a boat load of unlit coals into the smoker and left the door open a bit to let things get going. So far I've added three chunks of apple wood spaced about 1 hour apart.

I managed to take a peek at the pork shoulders and they look great! You can see that I put some foil on the edges of each shoulder so they wouldn't burn. The corners of the smoker get really hot and can dry out the pork a bit.

smoker for bbq

Above is a sneak peek at the brisket flat. I rotated the top brisket with the bottom brisket at 2 PM. I then put some temperature probes inside one of the pork shoulders and the brisket. So the first time point of internal temperature was 166 degrees for the brisket and 164 for one of the pork shoulders. Makes sense. I have a long way to go.

Wow. At 3:20 PM I just had a major temperature spike. 275! All vents closed to about 10% to hopefully slow the fire down. I guess the unlit coals from the beginning are starting to catch on and keep things going hot. I won't be adding coals for quite some time.

smoker for bbq

At 4:00 PM the internal temperature of the meats is in the dreaded plateau range. I'm guessing I'll be stalled here for a while. You can see just how juicy the pork shoulders are even with no mopping. Two reasons: 1 - this meat is so fatty and 2 - I have injected it with flavorful liquid. I had my hands too full to take photos of the brisket. I'm a bit annoyed by this but so be it.

You can sort of see how wet the brisket is. The pork is really dripping on it!

At 5:00 PM the internal temperature of the brisket is starting to move up. I'm guessing the brisket will be done near 6 PM. It's 187 degrees now. I guess I'll rotate them and test the other brisket with a Thermapen.

At 5:30 PM the briskets are way into the 190s. The Thermapen probe went in "almost like butter." I'm going to wait until they hit 201 since this is where I had great success last time. Look at these two briskets!!!! (see below)

smoker for bbq

smoked brisket photography

At 6:20 or so the briskets were both reading about 199-205 or so depending on where I stuck the Thermapen. So I wrapped them both in foil and put them in a cool oven to rest for an hour or so. Oh I hope they are tender when I slice them. The probe sure went in easy! At the 6:30 mark in the table below I now have two thermometers in each pork shoulder. So the brisket readings stop at 6 PM.

After an hour of resting, the brisket flats sliced pretty well! Very tasty. I was a bit heavy handed with the dry rub so note for next time to go EASY on the Myron Mixon dry rub since it is rather salty. The slices are now going to sit in the fridge until tomorrow when they will be slowly reheated at 250 with some melted butter and BBQ sauce!

smoked brisket for a party

smoked brisket photography

A 8 PM the pork is coming off the smoker and will be allowed to rest for an hour. Oh I hope it pulls well!

I rested the pork shoulders. Wow did they smell up the kitchen! Moist tender easy to pull pork. The Chris Lilly injection is A+. I had to stop eating it for fear of running out of food for our party tomorrow.

smoked pork for a party

smoked pork photography

smoked pork photography

I'm going to bed. I'm wiped.

Time (hr) WSM Dome
Temp (F)
Internal Temp (F)
Internal Temp (F)
8:00 225 - -
9:00 240 - -
10:00 240 - -
11:00 225 - -
12:00 235 - -
1:00 240 - -
2:00 245 164 166
3:00 250 169 169
4:00 230 175 172
5:00 260 178 187
5:30 250 183 195
6:00 260 187 198
6:30 260 Pork 1 - 189; Pork 2 - 185 201
7:00 260 Pork 1 - 190; Pork 2 - 194 -
8:00 250 Pork 1 - 197; Pork 2 - 200 -

Post party update: Everything was a big success! I'm glad that the injection did not cause the meat to be overly black this time. There appears to be no burnt sugar issue with this injection. I think the black char I was complaining about had something to do with fire ventilation and how clean the fire burned during the cook. I also could have over smoked it before. Not this time, though!

Here's a picture of the two tier chocolate cake we made for our daughter, decorated with a pirate theme. Yes, a little girl into pirates. Don't ask. It's a chocolate cake with a swiss meringue buttercream. A really tasty cake!

jake and the neverland pirates chocolate cake with buttercream

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