Tag Archive for ‘weber smokey mountain’

Smoking 35 Pounds of Pork Butt on the 22.5″ Weber Smokey Mountain

An acquaintance asked me to smoke some pulled pork for her son’s high school graduation party. She said there would be twenty to thirty people attending. With that said, I rushed to a couple of trusty barbecue communities (forums) on the internet to look into just how much pork would be needed for that amount of people, and when it comes to pork I’ve come to find that it is a given average that there will need to be about one pound of finished product per 2.6 people (without knowing each person’s individual appetite).

So I headed over to my local Food Lion, bought roughly 35 pounds of pork butt and, at about 10 p.m. I got the smoke rolling in my 22.5″ Weber Smokey Mountain cooker.


I used a mix of hickory and apple wood. Personally, my favorite fruit wood to smoke with is cherry, especially for ribs and bologna. However, I feel like pork butts cry for hickory; there is just something about it when it comes to smoking pork butts where it fits the bill perfectly. As for the apple wood, it is the first type of wood I ever used to smoke anything with when I began my barbecue journey, and you can never go wrong with it.

One might say that pork was shoddily rubbed, particularly on the sides, and that one wouldn’t be wrong, but you really don’t need to go all out, especially if you are doing more than one pork butt at once. Let me know in the comment section if you think I’m wrong about that. I used the tried and true Caribeque Honey Heat Pork & Pultry rub by the man, the myth, the legend: Kurt Halls. Kurt released a brand new pork rub at the end of last year, as part of his Caribeque Signature Series, a dedicated pork rub that features more sweetness than anything. The Caribeque Signature Series Pork Rub is fantastic, but I still like Honey Heat on any and all kinds of pork as my go-to.

I woke up at around 8 a.m. the following day and the temperature of my WSM was sitting pretty at around 230 still, riding high on the Kingsford charcoal briquettes from the night before. Checking the temps of the pork butts, they were all in the 170-175 range and had a little ways to go, so I began cranking up the heat by opening all three of the intake vents as well as adding a little bit of fresh Cowboy lump charcoal to the charcoal ring.


I was curious about how much meat you could add to this big cooker. Back in November, I competed in my first ever barbecue competition in Castlewood, VA at Gent’s Farms, hosted by Brandon and Victoria Gent, the fine folks who run Appalachian Meats in Lebanon, VA. It was a blast and I had a fantastic time. There was another competitor there who was actually using a 22.5″ Weber Smokey Mountain (I used the Barrel House Cooker 18C on that day); he won the smokeoff for the ribs. Anywho, he told me that he had smoked 80 lbs. of pork butt in his WSM one time, and I can imagine that. As you can see, I had my WSM full on the top grate; it would have likely been more optimal for me to use both the top and bottom grates to my advantage, but I didn’t want inconsistent temperatures for my meat (even if that wouldn’t have been the case), so I opted to arrange them on the top grate. I can see how 80 lbs. could easily go down in the WSM, tight as a fit that it may be, however, with the pork butts arranged properly.

By the time the pork was ready to pull, I would estimate the overall shrinkage to be about 40 to 50 percent of the original weight of the pork.


Freshly smoked, freshly pulled.

I needed to have the pork finished by 3:30 p.m for their party that began at 4; it was picked up at 3 by two happy campers who walked away after giving it a sample first. “Awesome!”, they both said in unison.

If you are in the southwest Virginia area and interested in having fresh barbecue catered, contact me!

Spareribs, Baby Backs, Pork Shoulder, Chicken Thighs, Mac’n’Cheese, Oh My!

I finally had the chance to smoke again on Tuesday. It was heavenly.

I received my Thermapen Mk4 from Thermoworks on Monday. I’m still undecided about it. I’ll write more about it in a future post.

I smoked two racks of spareribs, two racks of baby back ribs, a 4.5 lb. pork shoulder, bologna, chicken thighs, mac and cheese, corn on the cob and cabbage.

A couple of the pictures aren’t great, but I never claimed to be a professional photographer!

Uncle Yammy’s Memphis style chicken & rib seasoning was sprinkled liberally on all the racks of ribs except for one, which I used the KC Masterpiece habanero rub… dry rub that could have also doubled as a sauce if I would have mixed it with beer. I’m not much of a sauce guy, so I used it as a dry rub by default. It was OK… I’ll give it another shot. It tasted like the Lays barbecue potato chips, something I crave every now and again, and reminds me of summer school from my elementary school days.

Tony Chachere’s Creole was sprinkled on the bologna. So good. Don’t write off smoked bologna until you’ve tried it. It’s fantastic.

Garlic Jalapeno by Weber on the chicken thighs. I’m just about out of my favorite — Garlic Habanero — so I went with the jalapeno option. I may have slightly overcooked them, but they were still juicy and flavorful, so it wasn’t the biggest deal in the world.

I used Caribeque Honey Heat on the pork shoulder. I love that stuff. I ordered some Calypso Kick seasoning from Caribeque the other day, and I can’t wait to hot’n’fast smoke some wings seasoned with it on my Weber Smokey Mountain.

Nothing but salt and pepper on the corn on the cob (not pictured). It was a favorite.

I added butter and Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning to the cabbage.

The mac and cheese was pretty good, though that needs some experimentation in the future. I only left it in the smoker for a little over an hour.

It was a successful smoke, albeit I’m still learning the ins and outs of the Weber Smokey Mountain. It ate up my Royal Oak charcoal (briquettes) pretty quickly, but the guys over at TVWBB (The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board) said that I didn’t use enough charcoal to fill the ring completely, and to try a different variation of the Minion Method. Their points were noted.

I used applewood for this smoke.

BBQ Myths: You Have to Season Your New Smoker

Credit to @aguyindallas (Instagram handle)

When I first received my Weber Smokey Mountain cooker, I posted about it on a page on Facebook, excitedly writing about my enthusiasm for my first smoke on the ol’ “WSM”. A few comments were from people saying to season it to “get remove any of the manufacturing materials inside”.

Every day or so, I see people on the same Weber Smokey Mountain page asking about what food to use to season the smoker with, and there are guys and gals wasting a chimney or two of charcoal to season their new smoker. I even saw one guy asking what food to season his smoker with, and that he’s only going to throw the food away when it’s done. What a waste of food and a time smoking!

My first smoke on my Weber Smokey Mountain was two racks of baby back ribs (pork loin back ribs), a bacon-wrapped pork loin, a medium sized tube of bologna and a family pack of chicken thighs. That is how you season a Weber Smokey Mountain for the first time. Each and every bit of the food was consumed rather than thrown out and wasted.

Oh, and the manufacture residue? It’s going to be burned off and replaced with grease during your first cook, anyhow.

Bottom line: The idea that you have to run a quick smoke session with charcoal to “season” you or “burn off the manufacture residue” of your Weber Smokey Mountain cooker is complete hearsay and a myth. If you want to, then by all means do it, but at least eat the food you ‘season’ it with or accept that you are wasting charcoal if you are running a load without food.

There is no reason to season. Repeat after me: “with my new Weber Smokey Mountain, there is no reason to season”. You’ll develop a natural seasoning in your smoker over time… y’know, by smoking food that you will eat and not wasting charcoal.