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Old 10-27-2007, 08:20 PM   #1
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Multiple butts/meats on WSM

I have just 1 maverick and am curious how you guys do so many butts at once, and also how you manage to cook on both levels of your WSMs at the same time, say you want to do some butts and some ribs at the same time? I tried to do ribs on the bottom rack mid-butt smoking but I did not account for the higher temp down there and I ruined my ribs

Any tips are appreciated as always, thanks a ton for the help guys.
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Old 10-27-2007, 09:48 PM   #2
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I don't cook with probes stuck in meat, I know what kind of time based on pit temps different cuts should take. Using that informatiom plus how the cut looks, feels and also the internal temp (use a Thremapen) you can make your call.

The rib cook you had, I would need to know your setup. Did you use water, sand or nothing in the waterpan? Did you cook without the waterpan?

If you were using a dry waterpan or the water steamed away to the point there was little or no water then radiant heat became a factor you didn't allow for.

If using sand in the pan and your pit temps were too high that could account for your problems.

I would have the Butts on the bottom rack, they can handle more heat because they have a lot of connective tissue and internal fat to keep the butt moist as it breaks down, ribs don't give you that condition. Also just getting the ribs into the cooker becomes more of a problem if on the bottom rack.
More info from you on the setup will allow for a direct responce.

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Old 10-27-2007, 10:08 PM   #3
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If you are attempting to cook both butts and ribs on a WSM to eat at the same time, the butts as Jim says would do better on the bottom rack, you can stand butts on their sides if you really want to pack them in and use bamboo skewers to hold them away from each other, (other wise the rub tends to rub off where they touch).

You can get 3 (7 - 8 lb) butts in this way, they will need to cook for 13 - 15 hours at a steady 225 - 250 F, the ribs will need 6 - 7 1/2 hours, (if your cooking spares, or less if St Louis or baby backs), so having to take the top grate off with 21 + lbs of meat on it and get it back without trouble is harder than I want to work on a WSM.

So stick the butts on the bottom and the ribs on the top about 4 hours after you put the butts on the bottom.

If you don't want to "waste" the heat from that first 4 hours on the top rack, take a look at things like "fatties" and "ABTs" and you can utilize the top rack with them for the start of the cook, taking them off when you put your ribs on.
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Old 10-27-2007, 11:35 PM   #4
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It would be incredibly easier to put the ribs on the top rack, but don't you not want the raw meat over the cooked?

I cook w/ sand in the pan. I was keeping temp on the upper rack only though and I think that was the issue, it must have been a bit hotter on the bottom rack, the ribs were not dry, they were mush.

Thanks for the tips so far guys.
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Old 10-28-2007, 04:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gomer
It would be incredibly easier to put the ribs on the top rack, but don't you not want the raw meat over the cooked?

I cook w/ sand in the pan. I was keeping temp on the upper rack only though and I think that was the issue, it must have been a bit hotter on the bottom rack, the ribs were not dry, they were mush.

Thanks for the tips so far guys.
Gomer as long as the ribs are completely cooked before or at the same time you pull the butts off, any juices that dripped on the butts will be okay because they are cooked. In other words, don't put the ribs overtop of the butts if the butts are gonna be done before the ribs are.

Do yourself a favor and monitor the temp on your WSM through the dome only. Keep your dome temp between 245* - 260*, if it goes a tad higher or lower don't worry about it.

You say the ribs were "mush". What kind of ribs were they? Were they enhanced? Did you foil? If so how long? How long did you cook the ribs? Did you marinade them in anything? If you answer these questions, I'm sure something is gonna pop out that caused the mushiness.
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Old 10-28-2007, 05:30 AM   #6
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They were just regular baby back ribs, definitely not enhanced. I foiled them after cooking them, I don't remember the lengths right now but it was the standard cook-foil-cook time for baby backs. I did no marinate either.

Also, if I wanted to serve the ribs with the pork, I would want the ribs to be done a few hours after the pork so I do not believe the best bet is to do the ribs on the top rack?

*yawn* 3:30am, have 2 butts on tonight.

Thanks guys.
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Old 10-28-2007, 05:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gomer
They were just regular baby back ribs, definitely not enhanced. I foiled them after cooking them, I don't remember the lengths right now but it was the standard cook-foil-cook time for baby backs. I did no marinate either.

Also, if I wanted to serve the ribs with the pork, I would want the ribs to be done a few hours after the pork so I do not believe the best bet is to do the ribs on the top rack?

*yawn* 3:30am, have 2 butts on tonight.

Thanks guys.
How long did they rest in the foil after cooking?? They will continue to cook, that could have caused the mushy factor.

After about 3 hours with the ribs on top they will be cooked sufficiently, any drippings on the butts would be fine. So yes you can serve both at the same time while finishing the ribs while the butts rest. The easiest solution to this dilema is to just buy another WSM!
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:03 AM   #8
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I think I must have just over cooked, I think it was 2 hours then 2 more with foil and you are telling me they are done after just 3 hours

I haven't tried ribs alone yet and I think I will give them a go next week for sure. I did not rest the ribs at all in foil.

I wish I had more people to feed I would love to get another WSM hehe.

Thanks again as always.
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Old 10-28-2007, 07:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gomer
I think I must have just over cooked, I think it was 2 hours then 2 more with foil and you are telling me they are done after just 3 hours
I'm not saying they're done (tenderwise), I'm saying the juices will be safe at that point.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnt Food Dude
Out of curiosity, how long have you had the WSM. I learned to use my WSM using the water pan for a long time before I went to other means. Know your cooker forwards & backwards.
I agree Steve! Start off with water, then use mods after you're comfortable with water!
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Old 10-28-2007, 09:36 AM   #10
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Normally I do spares at 275, backs at 325, foiling at the end (the last 45-60 min with spares, 30-45 with backs) with a little juice for an additional flavor layer. Butts I cook, usually, at ~240 if doing an overnight cook, 275 if cooking during the day.

However, this past Thursday, my last day home for a while, with 2, 5.8-lb bone-in butts and a rack of spares to cook, and NO time to dick around, I altered the usual plan. I filled the WSM's ring with WGWW briquettes, topped with some hickory splits, and set a half chimney of fuel to light. While that was happening I salted the butts (I do not trim) and left them to moisten while I made the rub (Aleppo, hot NM chile, onion, garlic, thyme, turbinado, marjoram, allspice, sage, green pepperorn, Vietnamese cinnamon). After rubbing, I assembled the cooker (using an empty waterpan) added the lit, and put both butts on the top grate. I stuck a therm in a vent hole.

Temps rose steadily over the next 45-50 min but the rise then slowed at about 275. I propped the door open a little and the temp rose to ~325 over the next 15 min where it settled; good.

Just before the 3-hour mark I removed the skirt and tips from the spares and removed the membrane. I salted the meat the fleshed out the scant remaining rub with some more Aleppo, onion, garlic and thyme to get it to a sufficient quantity then rubbed the meat when the salt drew its moisture a few minutes later.

Not wanting to deal with repositioning the butts, I simply removed the upper grate, stuck a rib rack on the lower, and stuck the spare rack, skirt and tips in the rack, replacing the butts on top. Temps still ~325.

2 hours later, not having gotten my usual pineapple-tamarind juice blend together for the ribs yet, I figured i'd give them a quick look and remove the skirt and tips. It dawned on me then that the lower grate was likely cooking hotter and that I'd better check the ribs. A probe check confirmed they were done. (I coould have removed the skirt and tips and foiled the rack anyway but it would likely have ended up fall-off-the-bone rather quickly, not something I am fond of.) I pulled them and wrapped all in foil. I checked the butts: The feel from the probe gave me the impression that they were both at the done/sliceable point, if not yet the done/pullable point so I tuned on the probe to see what the temps were: 184 and 185. I removed them, wrapped them and stuck all the meats in the microwave, stuffing a towel in as well.

About 3 hours later, having made sides, I removed the meats from their rest. Pile-o-pork (click any image for larger):


The ribs on top, the butts below, the tips in the middle.

The ribs were tender, moist and tasty, as was, suprisingly, the tips. The flap was a bit overcooked, as expected, but fine, tasty, dipped in vinegar finishing sauce (I also use for butt) which we ate while I sliced and plated the ribs.

Ribs, sliced:



Dinner (half eaten); sauteed kale with garlic and Aleppo, roasted sweets mashed with butter, maple, chipotle and sherry vinegar; vinegar sauce on side:




The pork I finished later, for storage in the freezer. Rather than slicing it I chopped it fairly coarsely, tossing it with finishing sauce and vac-packing it:

Bowl of chopped pork:




Many cook temps and cook configurations are possible. As Jim notes, you have to be aware of what you're doing vis-Ă*-vis temps and configuration (water, sand, empty, grate positions, etc.) so that you can figure out and allow for these variables. I'm with BFD too: get comfortable with the
cooker first, minimizing any changes to the variables for a while, so that in the future any changes you make you'll know what to expect.
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