Can a pork butt be too small?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by iconnolly, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. iconnolly

    iconnolly Newbie

    I notice a lot of guys here cook amazing huge pork butts, but im only cooking for 2-3 people this weekend and can easily get a 2kg bone in butt (4.4lbs). Im thinkin 1.5-2 hrs per pound, but can a butt be too small to get good results from low n slow cooking?

    Looking forward to first pork butt cook on WSM!

  2. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't think size is a problem. But since you are spending prep time and fuel might as well get the most out it. Pulled pork freezes well.
  3. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Most pork butts are 7-9 lbs. Anything smaller than that has probably been cut down by the butcher and isn't technically a "butt". With that being said, if it still has enough fat in it, then the low and slow method will work just fine.
  4. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes a pork butt can be too small. Anything less than 10lbs is too small to mess with. You'll eat sandwichs two or three times, then there is the fun of experimentation. Tamales, Lassanga, potatoes, etc.... Also remember a 10 lb butt will probably only weigh 6 or 7 pounds when cooked.
    Size doesn't matter? <Chuckles> who you been listening to?
  5. sota d

    sota d Smoking Fanatic

    These are very good reasons given here for large butts. I have only done them in the 3-5 lb range, and if I take them to 205*F they pull apart quite nicely. My family enjoys our pulled pork sammies. It does cook down quite a bit and we don't have much leftovers, but that's just another reason why I have to smoke something again next weekend! I do like the idea of experimenting with the leftovers though. Tamales? Now I gotta try that! Happy smokin', David.
  6. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Now I am in a dilemma, I have just bought a 12 Lb butt and there are only 3 of us.  and have never cooked one before, go large or learn from my mistakes - decisions, decisions!
  7. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I suggest you smoke the whole thing. There really is no meat that freezes and thaws as well as pulled pork. Especially if you have a vacuum sealer. But works nearly as well in freezer bags carefully sealed with very little air. If you have the time that is. A twelve pounder will take you 24 plus hours to smoke unless you either smoke it hot and fast, which I never do, or foil it when you reach the stall, which only cuts a little time off. I would smoke it ahead of when you want to eat it. If you count on a Butt being done at a particular time you can and will get your BUTT kicked. Been there done that. Now if you want to cut your time in half cut the butt in half and smoke both halves at the same time. I am telling you it thaws and reheats just like you made it that day. There are a myriad of uses for pulled pork. Basically anything and everything. Bottom line is a Butt takes a long time to cook and be right. There is no reason to make mistakes when doing your first Butt as long as you use a tried and true recipe like this one. I also suggest you make sure you have a good reliable tested meat thermometer and one for the smoker. That is even if your smoker has them already in there. The units they supply with the smokers commercially available are well known to be off by as much as 100 degrees. It is good to do your ground work before you even get started. The best way to get started off on the right foot is to start a post of your cook that day. Start it a day ahead would be even better that way we can make sure you have all your ducks in a row. It really is easy if you have these things and follow this advise. Good luck and Happy smoking. Timber. PS; if you have any questions feel free to ask.
  8. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Thanks Timberjet for all the information, I really appreciate you taking the time and effort.  The step by step guide is excellent & very informative.  I think I will cut them in half as 24 hours is a hell of a long time, not to mention the amount of charcoal I will be using.  I am not sure yet when I will be cooking it, but I will let you know how I get on.

  9. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    Pay heed to what Timberjet mentioned about a butt being done when it's done.  (Regardless of the chef's time schedule).

    I recently smoked two 4 pound bone in butt's side by side, at 225* to 250*, using tried and true thermometers and they took 16 hours.  I would never have believed it.  I have smoked plenty of butts and never run into anything like that before.
  10. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have been known to take a large butt and cut it into smaller somewhat even pieces. Many advantages to this:
    1. faster cooking time
    2. More delicious bark
    3. Experimentation (I cut a large butt into three pieces once and did one with a pretty standard bbq rub, one with a Cuban rub, and the last Sqwib's Philly style.

    They have always pulled well, remained moist, and tasted great despite there small size.

    That being said, Foam nailed it when he said that pulled pork is so versatile (especially if you don't douse it all I bbq sauce). So smoking a huge butt can give you dinner the day it's done and many dinners thereafter.
  11. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

  12. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You'll be fine. pork butt is very forgiving. Has a lot of fat throughout to keep it moist.....As tJ said smoke it a day ahead or 8 hrs ahead then when its finished, Foil it, wrap it in a towel and place it in a cooler and it will stay hot for 6 to 8 hrs then serve

    Good luck

  13. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

  14. The one thing I like is what you don't eat freeze it for later on it really warms up good.

  15. arlis

    arlis Newbie

    When I did my first butt I got a smaller one to "test the waters" so to speak.  It was around 5 to 5.4 lbs I believe.  I figured it would be cheaper if I screwed it up lol.  Not to mention that I was doing it for only 3 people.  But overall it turned out really good.  When it comes to smoking I am a fan of a bigger piece of meat, but I think you can still get some good results from smaller pieces.  Some factors will make sway you to want to cook smaller pieces of meat.  Like cooking times, cost, space in your smoker and freezer, amount of people you are serving, etc.  Foamheart is dead on the money tho, if nothing is preventing you from doing larger cuts smoke'em because the meals to follow can be a fun experimentation of creative ideas.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015
  16. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I am well p*ss*d off.  After making all the preparations, I went to cook up my 12 lb pork butt, cut the outer wrapper and was hit by a nasty smell.... it had gone off.  

    so I contacted the wholesaler and vented my frustration etc. so I am going to have to reschedule the pulled pork for a later date.
  17. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    They will replace it correct? Our markets here don't even ask questions, they just take it and give you a new one. It happens. Now that said I have gotten some sulphur smelling pork before that had been cryovac packaged and after washing it was fine. In fact I have gotten ribs like that quite a few times. I don't know what causes it. 
  18. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I have not had that happen before but I have heard that if you get cryovac'd meat that smells funky you can soak it in water with a small amount of vinegar and it will eliminate the funky smell.
  19. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I don't know about the smell being funky, rancid springs to mind, its now in the bin as I can't really take the risk.  I don't think the family would appreciate me giving them food poisoning, but on the positive side, the wholesaler are going to refund my money.
  20. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    The nose knows

Share This Page