Third Smoking – Pork Butts and Salmon

I began prep on Sunday night with 16 lbs of pork butt split into three parts, and 5.5 pounds of salmon. I used the typical salmon recipe, this time I did one quart of brine and still separated things into 4 bags. I used this pulled pork recipe, and this dry rub recipe per Ben’s recommendation. The pulled pork recipe looked to be a reasonable beginner’s complexity, too… I considered this pork butt set to be just three of the one used in the recipe, so I had 1 cup of dry rub that I used on the three.

21 Jan 2018, 2020: Began prep of salmon and pork. Salmon was typical. I trimmed the pork, separated it pork and tied when necessary, then applied 3 Tbsp salt, dropped each in a gallon ziploc, and put them in the fridge overnight. I finished prep at around 2100.

22 Jan 2018, 1230: Prepped the dry rub, which made 2 or 3 cups. I used 1 cup of it over the three butt segments. To get the rub into a shaker, I used a sheet of paper from some junk mail as a funnel.

1315: Put butts in smoker at 225℉.

1345: Began fish drying.

1745: Butts have been on for 4.5 hours now at 225℉, time to check the temp! I want them to get to 203℉. Temp was 165℉. Unfortunately, Sarah and I need to eat sometime tonight, so I turned the temp up to 275℉.

1845: Butts are at 170℉. (Well, one of them, the other two were like 165℉).

2115: One butt was at 195℉, the other two were at 180℉. I removed the hotter one and we ate part of it – delicious. Very tender, but could probably be better.

2225: Two remaining butts are at 185℉.

23 Jan 2018, 0020: Removed the butts – one was at 195℉, the other 200℉. The 200℉ was extremely tender, next time I will go for the 203℉ temp.

0335: Put the fish on at 120℉. Just 1 or 2 min before putting them in, I cranked the temp to max to get smoke going. Next time I should give 5 to 10 min instead.

0740: In the intervening hours, I basted and modified the temp as per the recipe. I had little albumin – everything went beautifully. I took the fish off at 0740, one filet was at 135℉ and another at 142℉. Close enough – tastes good so far.

For the future:

  1. Plan for the butts to take 10 hours. They may even take longer.
  2. Dry rub was good, I think. Maybe leave a bit more fat on the butts next time – this time I tried to take it off, thinking of the brisket…
  3. A probe thermometer that can sit outside would be great… Multiple heads would help with the case where one butt was ready and the rest were not.
  4. Open the air holes for the fish. I think this might let more heat out, which will require the element to stay on more, which will generate more smoke. Just a thing to try, not sure it’ll work. I always get done with the fish with tons of wood still in there.