Last night smoked the chickens, and the original wiring and ring connectors burned to nothing during the smoke. The cabinet sat at 125*, which prompted me to look into it further and found that the elements weren't powered. Pulled the chickens and finished them in the oven at 375*, pulled and refrigerated. After finishing the chickens, I still had to smoke/cook the pork butts, so I spliced and wired up my high-temp wire into the leads in the back of the smoker (one side of the element spliced in after the sensor -- do people generally continue to use this in-line sensor/fuse or whatever it is?). I didn't have ring terminals, so I used the same method to power the element(s); I twisted the lead from the back of the smoker with the lead going to the second element and secured them with washers and nuts, then did the same to the second element. I plan to get ring terminals for all connections this week now that I have a break in my smoking (maybe not for long, food turned out great!).
I heated up the cabinet again, adding Hickory (2) to Apple (1) bisquettes for 3.5hrs of smoke, and put the butts in. I set the PID to run at 225 for 1hr, then 220 until IT probe of 190*, and then to run at 195 for 10hrs (arbitrary number). I tried to go to sleep, but with the wiring fiasco and my uncertainty of whether the PID was doing what it's supposed to do, I found myself with less than 3 hours of sleep total.
The butts got to around 165* and stalled for a good 3 hours, which had me antsy to meet my timeline. I added more smoke (apple for 2hrs), and watched the IT run up to 190*. Pulled the butts from the cabinet, let sit for 10minutes on the counter while I cleaned up some of the smoker parts, and then foiled tightly, wrapped in a towel (3 butts in one towel), and placed in a towel-lined Igloo cooler, and headed for the 'party'.
Got to the party, got the chicken re-heating in a roasting pan, got the baked beans heating in a crock pot and drank some beer. Once it was time to eat, I pulled out two of the butts and pulled them with two forks (it completely fell apart, it was very difficult to move from the alum foil to the foil pan for serving). Served with BBQ sauces on the side in condiment bottles (need better bbq sauce recipes, they weren't great). The Jan's rub on the pork was amazing and the 'crust' I could have eaten it all while pulling the meat before it touched the table.
I also learned today that the family who hosted the party, will be taking down an apple tree soon, and it made me think that I should build the smoke box to accommodate a plate burner which would allow me to use 'chunks' to add smoke instead of the generator. Is this the best way to go about making use of wood chunks on the Bradley, or is there a better way?