Where did I go wrong?

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Where did I go wrong?

Post  Deno on Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:01 pm

I received my Excel 20 last week and just HAD to test it at the weekend...with mixed results however!

The only charcoal I could get locally was some Big K briquettes from Wickes. I bought 2 10kg bags thinking they would last for at least 2 or 3 sessions.

I 3/4 filled the basket and scattered a chimney full of lit coals on the top. I half filled the water bowl with hot water, added the stacker, closed the lid, opened all the vents fully and waited for the temp to rise.

My plan was to run it for an hour to burn off any nasties, then add a 2kg pork shoulder and later a chicken.

The problem I had was the temperature never rose over 200f it remained steady at about 190f.
After 90 mins I decided to add a chimney of lit coals to see if this would help. The temp rose quickly to about 220f so I put in the pork. I closed the bottom vents to about half open thinking my problems were solved but the temp dropped steadily back down to 190f.

I opened the vents fully again expecting the temp to rise but it didn't. In fact after an hour or so the temp started to drop further! So I added more lit charcoal and had to keep repeating this to keep the temp up.

To cut a long story short, after 6 hours of cooking time and a staggering 15kg of charcoal, I gave up and put the pork and chicken in the oven to finish off.

The pork had obviously started to cook, but there was no "bark" like I expected after 6 hours cooking.
However, when I came out of the oven it was delicious. My first taste of pulled pork, complete with home made BBQ sauce and coleslaw Smile

I had calibrated the lid thermometer and was using a second cheapie meat thermometer to double check . Unfortunately the ET-732 I had on order hadnt arrived.

I admit the day was cold, about 5c but there was virtually no wind.

So where did I go wrong? Was it down to poor charcoal? There was a lot of ash when I cleaned it out but I had put a total of 15kg of charcoal in it!

Any ideas??

Deno
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Re: Where did I go wrong?

Post  Mack on Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:39 am

Hi Deno, welcome to the forum!

It sounds like it may be dodgy briquettes, this time of year is quite bad, as most places (if you can find it) have had it sitting around since summer. Briquettes can and do absorb moisture, which will affect their burn. The large amount of ash left, means there were lots of "fillers" used in making the briquettes. I recommend getting some cocoshell briquettes and some good quality lumpwood charcoal, use a 50/50 mix.

You won't get bark on a pork shoulder after only 6 hours, it usually takes around 10-12 hours to cook a shoulder.

Where did you order the Maverick from?
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Re: Where did I go wrong?

Post  Deno on Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:16 am

I suspected that was the problem Mack. I will try cocoshell next time.

I got the Maverick from Amazon 54.99 plus delivery. I'm impressed with it, the range is particularly good. I haven't tried it in the Excel yet though.

Do you think it's ok to smoke in cold weather, with cocoshell?

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Re: Where did I go wrong?

Post  Mack on Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:16 am

Smoking in cold weather is fine, we have people who use them in 4 foot of snow! Wind is the main heat thief.
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