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Putt the meat on about 10 am.
Took it off at 8:30 pm with an internal temp of 175.

Not what I was going for, but still some damn good eating. It was absolutly the best thing that I've ever cooked.

I'm going to chalk up the low finishing temp to it being damn cold outside yesterday.

When I finally took the meat off, I noticed that my water pan had went dry. What effect may this had on my low temp?
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What smoker are you using? If it's a water pan, it's not a CS, so knowing will help. And if the outside temp affected the smoke, there are ways to help that. I used to wrap my bullet smoker in a space blanket to help prevent thermal loss.

For me, you took it off too soon. I'll be it was a little tough to pull apart wasn't it. You need to let it go long enough to get to the tender stage, typically above 185 to 190.
I used a CharBroil electric.
I started out trying to keep the cooking temp between 210 and 220. I was pretty successfull doing that, but the meat temp stuck at 140 for about an hour. I bumped the cooking temp up to 250 and things started to move again.

Like I said, by 8 pm we were starving. I was shooting for 190, but it was time to eat.

It made good meat, but it certainly wasn't pulled pork.

Like I said in my other post about my charbroil; I have found the water evaporates on long smokes like butts and is hard to refill without losing a lot of heat. Once it evaporates the dripping grease can smoke and burn with an acrid taste on the meat. I have filled my water pan about 80% with sterilized playbox sand and put foil over that for the drippings. This acts as a heat sink (described in several other forums on waterpan smokers).

As others have said, it's done when it's done. You need to get the butt up to 190 to pull it. The time factor has many variables. I cannot get my charbroil above 200 deg. Usually my butts get to 190 deg in 6-8 hours. I have done several butts in my Weber kettle at 300-350 with smoke on the rotisserie and taken them off at about 170 deg. They slice and taste great but you can't pull at that temp.
As Tom said, it is already pre-bagged and sterilized. You don't want to use a sand with a lot of chemicals or dust in a cooking environment. The sand will heat up to help maintain temps but not hot enough to vaporize the grease that drips onto the foil covering it. Just change the foil after the smoke for easy clean up. Also, you don't have to open the cooker to check if your water pan is empty.

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