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Reply to "Offset smoker questions..."

I bought a New Braunfels last year and a 009 this year. I like the New Braunfels (best pork butt I ever cooked and even better tasting than on my Cookshack), but it is very labor intensive. I plan on using the same marinade and rub on my boston butt this Saturday and see what smoker makes the perfect butt. The good news is I only smoke my pork butt about 6-hours. I modified the smoker and I'll send you some pictures by private e-mail. I think the small modifications will make a big difference. Here is how I cook on it.

1) I start with a chimney of charcoal. Do not use lighter fluid or a brand that has lighter fluid imbedded in it.

2) When the coals are ready, spread them out right in front of the offset box door. This keeps the heat by the door. Make sure you have a grate and foil the fire box for easy clean-up. The grate will allow the ashes to fall through and get air under the fuel. The door will be hot so use gloves or modify the unit with a wooden door knob or you will burn yourself.

3) When the unit is hot, I switch to apple and hickory. Hickory is very intense, so I soak one small piece that I plan on using every 1/2 hour. A 6-hour smoke will use about 12 pieces of hickory. I start soaking the hickory the night prior.

4) I place a disposable aluminum pan over the fire and fill it with apple juice. This way the apple juice will add steam to keep the meat moist. I use about 1 1/2 gallons of juice for a good 6-hour smoke. Make sure the pan remains full. If not, the apple juice will foam and you will have a black lava looking mess.

5) I place my pork butt closest to the fire box opening in the meat chamber. Watch out as the hot air will be the hottest when it goes from the smoke chamber to the cooking chamber. I also do two beer can chickens at the same time. I use a beer can chicken stand, but no can. The apple juice will provide enough moisture, but I add some extra later. Wal-Mart sells beer can chicken stands for about $3.50.

6) Every 30 minutes I rotate and flip the pork butt. I also rotate the chickens. I take the chicken closest to the fire and turn it 180 degrees. I do the same thing with the second chicken. After 1 hour, I will put the first chicken (originally closest to the fire) away from the fire. The second chicken now becomes closest to the fire.

7) When I move the food every 30 minutes, I have a spray bottle filled with apple juice that I apply to all meat. This insures moist meat.

8) I have not made a pork butt with a remote temp gage, but the temp gage on the unit should read about 220 degrees. Go low and slow.

9) I take great pride in preparing the meat. I make a marinade and cook it for about 2 1/2 hours. This way the water is burned off. I marinade the meat the night prior. I use the same marinade for the pork that I use for the chicken.

10) Purchase Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue Sauces: 175 Make-Your-Own Sauces, Marinades, Dry Rubs, Wet Rubs, Mops, and Salsas. Find a good marinade and rub you feel comfortable with. My only advice when you make the marinade is when the marinade boils, lower the temperature to low and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. make sure you stir often. You need to get rid of some of the water from the ingredients.

11) Keep an eye on the fire. A remote temp gage is a must. I purchased mine when I bought my 009. Plan on adjusting the fire every 20 minutes. That is why I went to a Cookshack. If the fire gets to hot, close the fire box door. It takes experience to keep a good fire at a steady temperature. You do not want to be always chasing the fire (to hot or to cold).

Good luck and I'll send you some pictures.
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