After the pork butts have been on for an hour, I always check the coals. There’s always a hot spot on a grill, and that makes the meat cook unevenly. I use that long fork on the table to move the coals around, and I also reposition the meat relative to the hottest areas. That’s a serving fork sticking out of the pork. It’s strong enough to handle a 10 pound pork butt. My barbecue utensils are not nearly strong enough.
From time to time I check the temperature of the grill. I have always done that by laying the flat of my hand on the grill lid. After a while, you know what the ideal temperature should feel like. Now I also have a grill with a thermometer on the lid, so I compare that temperature with the temperature on my hand.
If the grill feels too hot, I partially or completely close the top vents. That limits the air supply and dampens the coals. If it isn’t hot enough, I open the vents wider to let more oxygen in. I guess I do this at least every half hour or so, depending on what other chores I need to do to help get ready for 60 or 70 guests, and depending on how steady the heat seems to be.
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