Today's the day of my biggest and longest cook. Not only that, this food is for family lunch, so a lot is on the line. I went to bed around 8pm-ish and then got up at midnight.
At 12:10am, I started off the chimney -- Santa's not coming down this one. Whilst waiting for that, I boiled a big pot of water. As I'm doing a long cook, I figured I would use the water pan to diffuse the overall temperature and to keep it consistent. Also, in case I dose off, the temperature isn't going to really fluctuate. And as a final measure, I also set my fitbit's silent alarm to go off every 2 hours.
At 12:40am, the boiling water was added to pan. Unfortunately, the chimney turned out to be half lit - stupid me for using paper again ... only about half the amount of coals were lit, so I spread them around as best I can and assembled the ProQ.
At 1:17am, I added some additional firefighters to speed up the coal firing process and boiled another pot of water and added that about 5 minutes later.
At this point, I added the pork to the top stacker with a drip tray underneath and 2 small chunks of Apple wood. The Apple wood was purchased a couple of days ago from Aussie BBQ, however, it's pretty moist to the touch when I got It out of the bag. It smelled like it was freshly cut. So not sure how this will go but doing it anyway. Too late now, as they say.
The pork shoulder's internal temperature was 11C. At 1:40am, the rangehood was reading 150F, so I guessed it was actually about 200F. At about 2:15am, the rangehood had dropped to 100F and I was starting to worry, even though the internal temperature of the meat continued to rise. I stoked the fire and even touching the door, I noticed it wasn't as hot as it should be. So, I fired up another small chimney and place those in the smoker around 2:40am.
At 3am, I checked the temperature, still not much higher. Internal temperature was now 25C. 20 minutes later, it was 29C. At 4:20am, it was 49C and the rangehood was sitting in the sweet spot of 250F. I then started to calculate based on the current temperature and time and it's starting temperature and time and when it would be cooked. I estimated it would be cooked by 5:40am.
At 6:20am, it was under temp and looked liked it had stalled, so I put the meat into an alfoil tray with it's jus and wrapped it and put back on. At this point, I removed the water pan and had a little accident whilst doing so. I took the stacker out, which had the water pan in it and attempted to empty the hot water / fat drippings onto the weeds in our garden. Unfortunately (somehow) this boiling hot mixture landed directly on my expose foot, causing me to then burn my arm (yes whilst wearing gloves) on the outside of the stacker I was carrying and had now dropped when my brain realised my foot was covered in boiling water (and some fat). Ouch. It's 6am in the morning on Christmas day and I suffered in silence. Stupidly, I grabbed an ice pack and put that on, before remembering that's the worse thing to do, so I put it under some running water. I can't feel my foot at the moment, which is both a blessing and a curse.
Now it's time for the chicken. I did say this was a multi-stage cook didn't I ? I took the chicken out of the fridge to get to room temperature and then at 7am, when the pork hit an internal temperature of 77C, the chicken was added to the bottom stacker and I shifted the coals to one side and put a water / drip pan next to that. It would be nice to have a second wireless probe for these multi-meat cooks; might have to look into that next year.
Anyway, at 8am, I checked the chicken. It had gotten a little singed, so I put it in a pan and closed 2 of the 3 vents and left the 3rd one half closed. The rangehood temperature started to go down from 350F to 240F. I then added a tiny hunk of cherry wood. Mmm, love that dark, rich smell. At this point, the pork was stilling at 95C. At 9am, I took the pork off to rest.
My foot started to hurt like hell and the pain was sent up and down my leg and through out my body. Then after about 30 minutes, it went dull again. Oh well, big blisters to show up no doubt, time to head over to the family's house for Christmas. We had so much meat there. My chicken and pork, my wife's ham, my brother also made pulled pork in the oven ... so it turned into a little pork-off. I saw him go back for seconds of mine, so I guess he liked it. We then headed home in a meat food coma with heaps of leftovers. All in all, a good cook.