OaklandSteve
I recently bought an 18" Weber Smokey Mountain cooker. I've used it
three times with uneven results. Last weekend I cooked a 5 lb bone-in
pork shoulder. The recipe said it was done when the internal temperature
reached 200, which should take from 6 to 8 hours. I kept the temperature
of the smoker between 225 and 245. Because I couldn't continue cooking,
I took the roast off after 8 hours when the internal temperature was 180.

I let it rest 30 minutes before cutting. It was over done and dry. I've checked
the accuracy of both the built-in Weber thermometer as well as the instant
read thermometer.

I can only think of two things, both unlikely, that could explain the poor outcome.
One is that I just got a bad piece of meat. The other is that if I had left the roast
on another hour or so and let the internal temperature reach at least 195, the
meat would have become juicy.

Did I do something wrong? Any advice is appreciated.
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songdog
I recently bought an 18" Weber Smokey Mountain cooker. I've used it
three times with uneven results. Last weekend I cooked a 5 lb bone-in
pork shoulder. The recipe said it was done when the internal temperature
reached 200, which should take from 6 to 8 hours. I kept the temperature
of the smoker between 225 and 245. Because I couldn't continue cooking,
I took the roast off after 8 hours when the internal temperature was 180.

I let it rest 30 minutes before cutting. It was over done and dry. I've checked
the accuracy of both the built-in Weber thermometer as well as the instant
read thermometer.

I can only think of two things, both unlikely, that could explain the poor outcome.
One is that I just got a bad piece of meat. The other is that if I had left the roast
on another hour or so and let the internal temperature reach at least 195, the
meat would have become juicy.

Did I do something wrong? Any advice is appreciated.


I was hoping that someone who uses a Smokey Mountain would reply as I haven't used one in around 20 years.  You didn't say if you had water or another liquid in the pan or knot.  Maybe try pulling it a little sooner?  Keep experimenting, sometimes it takes a while to learn the best way to use a new cooker.
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QSis
This was either the picnic or the butt portion of the SHOULDER, right? Not the loin?

I usually cook bone-in butts which are very fatty and usually moist when done.   I have, however, had an occasional chunk that is drier than it should be.   I've chalked it up to a poor cut.

I also cook butts that are around the 8 pound weight.  If I have to speed up the cook, after they reach the internal temperature plateau (in the 160's), I wrap them in HD foil until they hit 195 and/or feel like a water balloon when you pick them up.

After holding them in a dry cooler for at least an hour, you should be able to just press on them with your fingers, so they fall apart.  Mix with your favorite sauce (mine is called Sugarbush Slather - a homemade vinegar-based sauce that a BBQ buddy introduced me to). 

Good luck!

Lee
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OaklandSteve
Thanks to both who replied. The water container was about 75% full. The pork shoulder was not a sirloin cut.

Not sure what went wrong, so I'll keep experimenting until I figure it out.
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Mark_in_NoVA
I used a WSM for many years.  I evolved to putting sand in the water tray and covered the sand with foil to keep it clean.  I found this made it easier to control the temperature, and saw no change in the finished product in terms of moistness.  I cooked pork shoulder with bone in and never had your experience, whether I took it to 195* or had it stall and took it off at 180* after 18 hours.  I would suspect it was not at 180* internal, but you stated you verified both thermometers.  I never had a shoulder get that hot that fast with a smoker temperature of 225*.  My shoulders would stall for 3-8 hours at around 160*.  I used two thermocouples in the WSM and a probe in the shoulder for temperature measurements.  Temperatures do vary in in different places in the WSM, and can be dependent on whether the "smoke" traveled over the cold meat before getting to the thermometer.  But that would not explain the shoulder getting to 180*, not overcooked.

Things I can think of.  I'm assuming the shoulder was not cured.  If it were, that could be akin to smoking a ham and could get dry taken to 180*.  

I'd say try another cut of meat or make sure your shoulder is not cured (ham-like).

Good luck and happy smoking!

 
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redc1c4

i too evolved to using sand in the water pan (not the original Weber pan, IIRC,  Brinkman, maybe?) but stopped doing it because A: it was too heavy and doing bad things to the tabs it hung on and B: grease would get past the foil, & into the sand, then go rancid. instead, i just saved up aluminum foil used for other things, then crumpled it up and covered with several layers of foil over the top.  w*rks just fine.

other mods i'd suggest are: a second charcoal grill, placed at 90* to the orientation of your first grill, to hold coals in place longer. you can wire them together if you want, but it isn't necessary.  a charcoal ring to hold your pile together is also a good thing, and, if you cut both ends out of a 1# coffee can, and place it in the center of the ring before you add the charcoal, you can then put your lit charcoal in the can, then remove it with a pair of channel lock pliers, and voila! you're using the Minnion Method of fame & legend.

Top vent wide open, control the temp with the bottom ones. once the smoker is at operating temp (225-250 for low & slow) you should only need 1 just a little open to keep things chugging along.  i just put a dial thermometer in the top vent to check the cook temp. if you have a Polder or equivalent, you can run the probe wires out the same way, and neither seems to bother the cooking process.

no idea why your shoulder was dry, but i usually do mine overnight, so i'm not sure what recipe you were using. as long as the meat pulled apart properly, it was cooked right, and remember dry pulled pork can be remedied with apple juice or cider in judicious amounts.

hope this rambling message helps!

 

"Enlisted men as stupid, but extremely cunning and sly, and bear considerable watching." Army Officer's Guide
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