Since I began barbecuing, I’ve upgraded smokers a few times with my latest one being a Stumps vertical box type cooker. I got it because I didn’t want to spend so much time tending the fire in my offset pipe smoker. The Stumps uses charcoal and has a self-feeding feature that allows it to run almost a full day without attention. A while back, I reduced my cooking temps from the 275* range to the 230* area and it increased my cooking times by quite a bit – butts that used to take 9-10 hours now need more than 12-14. As a result, I end up not finishing my cook until past my bedtime (which I admit is kinda early), so a change was in order.
The other thing I use is a BBQ Guru pit minder, composed of a temperature probe, mini computer, and fan, which maintains the temperature in the smoker just like the thermostat on your home HVAC system. As a result, the charcoal bin can be filled, the temperature dialed into the Guru and the smoker will run unattended until it runs out of fuel.
Since I want to have my BBQ day done by mid afternoon, especially as the weather gets hot, I’ve decided to try cooking the big pieces of meat while I sleep. I got all of the meat prepped by late afternoon, fired up the smoker at 7:30pm and put it on about 9:00pm at a pit temp of 225*. I checked it around 10pm to be sure all was well and headed for the sack.
When I got up at 6am, I checked everything found the smoker was still dead on 225* and the internal meat temps were 165*-175* and the bark color the way I wanted it. So I wrapped it in foil, got the other items out of the frig, applied their rub, and drank a little coffee and checked a few blogs while they warmed up a little. I put everything on around 8am and went back to drinking coffee while I read the paper – this is old guys queing at it’s finest.
At 9am, after breakfast and coffee, I put the ribs, chicken & bologna on and then the breakfast sausage and pork tenderloin when the chicken was done. I could have put them all on at the same time, but I didn’t want to have two more probe thermometers in service (5 was enough) and they would still be done before the ribs. Most of the items were for others, but some pork and one of the briskets was for me. I had the briskets on the hottest part of the smoker during the night and they were done in time for a brisket lunch - it was delicious.
I pulled all of the pork, mixed it with the collected juices, and packaged it for the customers and we ate some for dinner - again delicious.
For my next cook, I’m going to try yet another plan. In addition to my Stumps, I also have a wood burning Klose offset pipe smoker that has not been used in a while. So I’m going to cook the big meat on the Stumps overnight, then fire up the Klose in the morning for the short-term items. This way, I won’t have to spend all day tending the offset fire but will get to do it for a few hours and while it’s cooler (I actually enjoy a little playing with the fire – maybe a boy thing) – plus I have a big pile of hickory I hate to just use as firewood. Also, this time the big meat ended up taking too long, so next time I’ll cook at 235, which is my normal temp, but I wanted to be overly cautious this time and not have the meat get done before I got up. I BBQ once a month and believe I learn a little something more each time.
I didn’t take any pics as everything just looked like BBQ I’ve posted about in the past. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.