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Two Cookers in Two Weeks

 
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johnnc



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01 12 5:55 am    Post subject: Two Cookers in Two Weeks Reply with quote

Hey All,

I have been lurking for a month or so and just wanted to say thanks for all the great information on this site.

I am a complete noob to slow cooking and smoking. I felt it was time to retire the propane and slow down a bit and enjoy the process. I was going to buy a cheap offset smoker but found this site during my cooker research. Since I was so new to everything I didn't want to spend a bunch of money so I was going to go with a UDS. But then I found the WBS threads and knew I was on to something.

I happen to have a dozen wine barrels at the house so I went to work and threw one together after soaking the barrel for a full week. It had been sitting outside for a few years and was very dry. I also put together a coal bucket from some pretty thick expanded but it came out alright.







I got two fairly successful cooks on the WBS but the barrel was so dry I was having a hard time controlling the fire. After the second cook, the gaps between the staves was more than 3/8". I got desperate and threw the thing in the pool but it was not to be. I couldn't get the barrel to fully seal again. I was able to cook 3 tri tips and numerous sausage and I ruined a small pork shoulder.

The family loved the smoked food so much they wouldn't let me give up so I immediately went on the hunt for a 55 gal drum. I found one locally and went to work on building a UDS. I burned out the liner but I sprayed the inside and outside with high temp BBQ paint. I did one cook on the UDS but didn't feel great about the inside paint job so I had the inside of the barrel sandblasted.





I have since removed the thermometer in the lid and put a 3/4" nipple and cap on the small hole and installed a true smoker thermometer in the side under the bottom rack.

The UDS has two cooks on it. 2 beer butt chickens, many sausages, 4 tri tips and 1 almost alright pork shoulder. It didn't fall off the bone and was a little dry but the flavor was incredible. I can't seem to get the pork right. At 160 internal temp it starts to get very dry even though I spray it every 30 minutes or so. I would sure appreciate any tips on the pork.

I have been using only 4-5 lbs of lump per cook and I am able to maintain 225-250 for more than 7 hours, plenty long for the cooks I am doing now.

Sorry for the long post but I wanted to communicate my appreciation for all the information I got from the site.

thanks for reading,

John


Last edited by johnnc on Fri Mar 02 12 8:03 am; edited 8 times in total
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Wreckless
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Joined: 15 May 2009
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Location: New Braunfels, TX

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01 12 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fine job on both but I love the barrel. Very Happy Fix it, make it work. Wink Welcome to the Ring.
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Maniac
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Joined: 02 Oct 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01 12 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1 get that barrel swelled up.....2 in one week....must be drinking redbull Wink
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johnnc



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01 12 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved the WBS but I just can't figure out a way to soak it without running the hose all day. Water is expensive here, I am on city water.
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Maniac
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01 12 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnnc my friend put towels around inside and out and just kept the towels wet....also can you tap your steel bands tighter with an oak block that sometimes helps...
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johnnc



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01 12 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maniac - I did bang the heck out of the bands before I put all the screws in. I will give the towel idea a shot but I did toss it in the pool for a week. Not a brilliant idea with chlorine and all, plus I totally screwed up the chemical balance, but it still didn't swell the wood enough. I do love the barrel though so I will work on it this weekend.
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polishdon
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Joined: 05 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01 12 11:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Two Cookers in Two Weeks Reply with quote

johnnc wrote:
At 160 internal temp it starts to get very dry even though I spray it every 30 minutes or so. I would sure appreciate any tips on the pork.


Are you using bone in pork shoulders? You want to cook a shoulder to about 195-200 internal temp to pull it, what temp did you cook it to??
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johnnc



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02 12 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Polishdon, yes, I am using a bone in shoulder and I cooked it to 175 iirc. I put a fork in it and it seemed very dry so I pulled it. I will let it go to 190 next time. Also, I understand it is difficult to get a smaller shoulder to come out. The ones my wife has been buying are only 3.5 lbs. I am going to try one twice the size next time.

should I wrap it in foil or put it in a foil tray at anytime during the cook or just leave it directly on the grill?

thanks for the help.
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bud-wie-ser
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02 12 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At 160° you are just starting to render the fat and connective tissues. The pork will still be tough and may seem dry. Just be patient and let it go until your temp probe will slide in like a hot knife in butter (should be right around 200°)
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Blazer
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02 12 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as the wood barrel, how about putting a humidifier in it with the lid closed for a couple days? Just a thought. Very Happy
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02 12 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please read PMPNLT650pxOTLS!

OTLS On The Longest Side... please!
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johnnc



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02 12 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My apologies Ezzy, I actually resized the images but PB must have cached them as it took quite a while for the smaller images to appear. It's all good now.
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02 12 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your understanding!
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1buckie
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02 12 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might give these folks a call or e-mail & see what they suggest on your barrel.......

http://www.recoopbarrels.com/index.html
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johnnc



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02 12 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bud-wie-ser wrote:
At 160° you are just starting to render the fat and connective tissues. The pork will still be tough and may seem dry. Just be patient and let it go until your temp probe will slide in like a hot knife in butter (should be right around 200°)


Thanks bud, that makes a lot of sense. I will let it go next time and report back.
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johnnc



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02 12 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blazer wrote:
As far as the wood barrel, how about putting a humidifier in it with the lid closed for a couple days? Just a thought. Very Happy


I have read about a guy trying this but the humidifier doesn't put out enough moisture. I am going to give the wet towel idea a shot. Thanks for the thought, I appreciate it.
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johnnc



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02 12 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1buckie wrote:
You might give these folks a call or e-mail & see what they suggest on your barrel.......

http://www.recoopbarrels.com/index.html


Thanks 1buckie, I will see if they have any ideas.
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Wreckless
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Joined: 15 May 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02 12 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know Jack, or Jill for that matter, about wood. We don't get along well. However, I may be in the same boat someday. I really like the barrel cooker. So....what about wood filler to seal it up? Is that blasphemy? Too much movement / swell and shrink to work?
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johnnc



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03 12 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wreckless wrote:
I don't know Jack, or Jill for that matter, about wood. We don't get along well. However, I may be in the same boat someday. I really like the barrel cooker. So....what about wood filler to seal it up? Is that blasphemy? Too much movement / swell and shrink to work?


I don't think wood filler will stand up to Mother Nature. From my experience, the barrel staves can expand and shrink up to 3/8". It may be possible to completely dry the barrel and then apply some type of filler but I can't imagine it would look good and I don't know how it would hold up to the heat.

I am going to soak mine again starting this weekend and keep it wet for a couple of weeks and see if I can bring it back.
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Kronk
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03 12 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dig the WBS too. My thoughts are that you can swell the barrel now and the gaps may nearly close. But it will absolutely dry out and shrink again. And sooner than later because you're cooking in it. I would maybe cut some long wedges of wood and pound them between the gapped barrel staves for a more permanent fix.[/list]
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