Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Haven't blogged, but have been smokin!

It's been some time (almost a year!) since I posted, but that doesn't mean my grills have been quiet. No, in fact, in the interim, I've picked up a 22.5-inch Weber Smokey Mountain (called WSM for short) along with a variety of tools. (I also bought a handy little Aussie grill from Home Depot which is my go-to beach grill.)

Let's start with my most recent cook -- 48 lbs of pork shoulder (six butts) on the WSM, and two large pans of baked beans on the Char-Griller COS. Why so much? Every winter, our church opens its doors to host homeless folks in the community through a program run by the county. And for the past two years, my buddy Dave and I have volunteered to do a big cook to treat our guests to a special meal on their last night with us. That was Saturday. Saturday was also cold. And windy. I was getting low 20s on my ambient air thermometer and the wind was pushing between 10 and 20 mph, so I knew I'd have some issues keeping the COS hot without burning through my entire firewood pile. So I opted for the WSM for this cook.

 This WSM held all six butts, three on the top and three on the bottom, fat cap side up. Temp control was tough given the cold and wind. I tried to block the wind as much as possible, but wasn't very successful. I also put my new Pitmaster IQ110 into service for this cook. The IQ110 is a handy little tool which is basically a thermostatically controlled fan which attaches to your bottom vent (see the mental cone thing at the bottom of the second picture) and blows air across your charcoal when it needs to stoke the fire. I found the IQ110 very easy to use, but I think it was struggling in the temperatures I was facing. I think on a warmer day it would have been better. The instructions caution over and over that the smoker must be tight for it to work. Mine's tight, but I don't think it was enough to overcome the cold and wind. I ended up setting the temp around 240 to keep it at about 230, but it seemed to be struggling to keep the temps hot enough to cook. I blame that on the WSM and the outside temps more than the IQ110. I'll try again when it's a little warmer.

The pork took longer than expected and I eventually had to throw it in the oven to get it above the 175 mark, but it was supremely tasty. Here's some pics:

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