So far I've done two smokes on my new propane smoker.
Bought a 2 pack of 8+ lb pork shoulders from Costco.
With the first one, I made a rub and brine (apple cider and part of the rub) following this recipe. Left in fridge for about 15 hours to soak in the brine/rub mixture. Took out, patted dry, covered in mustard and then the rub. Put on at midnight. Took 15.5 hours at 225 with mixture of apple/hickory chips. Removed, wrapped in foil with some apple juice and put in the cooler for an hour. Fall apart tender. Bark was a bit mushy though. Did not trim the fat cap before or after smoking. It tasted great, but felt like something was a little off.
With the second one, two weeks later, I did not use a brine. This one I had frozen. Thawed out in fridge. Trimmed the fat cap. Used this rub recipe with a couple modifications. Added some onion powder and subbed half the paprika for ancho chili powder. Big difference on this smoke is that I found out that my propane tank has about 30 hours worth of use. Started at 6pm. Woke up at 8am expecting it to be close to finished. Steady at 225. Internal temp was 171. Came back out an hour later and my smoker was at 175 degrees. My propane tank was empty. S###!!! I was making this to take for a NASCAR tailgate. We were leaving in an hour and a half. In a panic, I wrapped in butcher paper, tossed it in an aluminum tray and threw it in the oven at 275, praying that I'd get to temp before we had to leave. Luckily, I checked the internal temp an hour and a half later and we were sitting pretty at 197-201 in a few spots. I pulled it, threw it in the cooler, covered it with a towel and we left. I was worried the whole drive to the race. That it was dry or would be tough. It was even better than the 1st one! The heat from the rub was perfect. I also noticed that I had a more even, thicker bark than I got with the brine/mustard/rub approach.
I learned a lot with the first two smokes and I look forward to continuing to experiment. Picked up this probe thermometer with Bluetooth (Prime Day Deal for $35) to hopefully prevent any surprises in the future.
Few questions for you guys:
How do you prevent/fix the mushy bark?
Do you smoke fat cap up or down?
I changed out my wood chips 3 times during the first 4 hours. They seem to burn through so quickly. Do you recommend this approach or is there a better way? Soak the chips?