First pork butt smoke, boneless but not tied- problem?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by manman, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Hey all

    I've had my 22.5 WSM for almost a month now, and this is my third smoke; first time trying pork butt.  I'm trying the Chris Lilly injection recipe.

    One thing I'm a little worried about is that these are boneless butts, and I don't have any kitchen twine.  I had only read the process for bone-in and didn't realize I might need that.  The only twine I have is defintely not cotton only as I tried to burn a little and noticed some bubbling up and foul smelling smoke..

    For the one on the left It's a little more solid as I left more of the fat cap on, but the one on the right is almost falling apart even WITHOUT being cooked, so I'm worried about that one.  Should I not even try to flip/turn that one while cooking?  Will it be a lost cause to foil that one (possibly both) when they're ready to come off the cooker?

    Any advice would be appreciated!

  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I wouldn't flip them, some folks foil & some don't. We like the bark so we don't foil at all. You could make a quick run to Wally world & get a ball of cotton twine to tie them up with. 

    Also would you do us a favor & update your profile info to include your location. Thanks!
  3. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Thanks Al!  Just updated, I'm near the Seattle, WA area (and the rain just started pouring!).  It's a little late for the twine now, but good to know I don't need to flip them.

    I had read that you needed the foil for the last part of the cook to let the temp rise a little more and further break down the fat/connective tissue.  If I don't do that, should I let it stay on the cooker a little longer?  I'm definitely one that likes a crispier texture on the outside, so if I can go without foiling I'm good with that!
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I'm hoping you have a temp probe to check the internal temp of the meat. The butts need to get to 200-205 to be tender enough to pull them. Another way to see if they are done is to take a toothpick & if it goes in without any resistance they are done. If you had a bone in butt, the bone should pull out clean when they are done. The other issue is since you injected the meat it must get between 41 & 135 degrees in 4 hours or less to be safe. So my hope is you have a temp probe in it & are monitoring the temp. Good luck & let us know how it turns out.
  5. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    wow, I didn't know that about the injection that is good to know, thanks.  I have both a maverick 732 and a thermapen so I should be good there.  The mav has been a bit of a pain, I've found it a little buggy (talked about that in another thread), but the cooker temp seems accurate, so hopefully the internal probe will be too.  I'll check with the thermapen in a while to check that.

    I'm about an hour and a half in and the meat is reading 115 right now, does that sound right?  I've had some trouble dialing in the WSM on this one, it climbed up to around 275 about an hour ago and I've been trying to get it down since.  All vents are shut now and got it down to about 255 on the mav, showing 215 on dome, but mav just began climbing again back to 264..  

    EDIT: eh, just checked the dome again it's around 205... in my short experience using it so far, the real temp is usually around 20-30 degrees hotter than the dome reads, so my maverick might be bugging out on me again....
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    115 in an hour & a half sounds right on schedule. I replaced the lid therm on my WSM with a Tel Tru therm & it's spot on. Are you running the probe wires under the lid or do you have holes drilled in the WSM? I know crimping the wire is not good. Also try wiggling the connector and making sure it's in all the way. Finally changing the batteries sometimes helps. Have you tested it in boiling water lately to see if it reads 212? The WSM is so efficient that it is real hard to get them to come down in temp once you over shoot it. You will find that starting a smaller fire in the beginning is better. I usually start with 8-12 lit briquettes depending what the outside temp is. It may take 45 minutes to get up to 225, but you can keep it under control much easier.
  7. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the tips.  Here's the thread where I originally talked about my issues with the maverick, what I tried etc.  I didn't do a boiling water test because I read you weren't supposed to submerge it in water, but basically it just seems a little erratic.  Sometimes it is spot on and then at one point it will just be 10 or 20 degrees higher out of nowhere.  I am pinching the wires under the lid so that could be part of it though...

    I usually do try to start with a low temp and bring it up, but I must have messed up somewhere this time.  I think it was partly because I took too long trying to make sure the mav was reading right, etc.  With time I hope I will learn to rely less on that and get a good feel for my WSM :)    Things are looking under control right now though finally.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  8. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Creeping up on 12 hours now, and the Maverick  food probe is reading 189, but thermapen reads about 177...  Thermapen has been boiling water tested so I guess that's accurate, but I thought I should be closer to 189 after 12 hours (butts are about 8.5 lbs each).  Does 177 at this point sound normal?

    EDIT:  here's a pic of what they look like now

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  9. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds about right. I've had a couple that size stall at that temp for 3-4 hours. And remember the longer you look the longer you cook. 
  10. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    they look good . I have had butts hit 205 in 9 hours and have had them take 16 hours. once the butts go on the only time i open the lid is to probe them.

    or if i have something else on that need to come off. otherwise i never look at them. it takes a while for the temp to get back up after you open the lid.

    you will add 15 + minutes to the cook time after opening the lid and losing all that heat.
  11. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the help guys.  Yup, that was the first time I took the lid off, since it was around 12 hours I wanted to check if the thermapen and mav were reading the same...glad I did.  Also had to open the door around 7 hours to move the coals a little and dislodge some dust.  Temp was dropping even though there was plenty of fuel left, and that did the trick.

    It's taken a bit more messing around than it probably should have, but for my first long cook sounds like it's going ok :)
  12. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds like they are right on schedule to me. With butts you never know some will cook fairly quick and others will take forever in a day. 
  13. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Your doing great for your first long cook. Be patient. It will be worth every minute once you sink your teeth into it. 
  14. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    One more question-  if i'm pulling them off at 200-205 and not foiling them, do I still need to let them sit for 30 min, or should we just start pulling it?  
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  15. scooper

    scooper Smoking Fanatic


    You might want to familiarize yourself with the search tool.  The answer to almost anything you want is here.  All you have to do is look.

    There are so many experienced smokers here who have shared tons of valuable knowledge.

    A quick search will pull up stuff like this:

    I read those instructions like it was a Bible when I found this site.
  16. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the link.  I did do some searching on this and other forums (even long before I had my WSM), and was following a similar guide to that one as I did this smoke.  Still, people do some things different ways, so there are some things that are unanswered.  Plus I think it's always good to hear other people's personal experiences or thoughts.  

    For that particular question, I had read that many people pull off at 195 and foil to wait till it's around 200-205.  I wasn't sure if you don't foil and just leave it on to that temp, if there's any other reason you would still want to let it rest for a while before pulling it..  I'm sure it's not going to make a huge difference, but just wondering.

    I can appreciate where you're coming from though, there are other forums where I'm the experienced guy instead of the newbie, and I've found myself giving the same advice.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  17. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Thanks again for all the words of wisdom.  Here's some pics of the finished product. The fam is stuffed and happy!


  18. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Nice job, they look great!!
  19. berninga87

    berninga87 Smoking Fanatic

    That does it, I've gotta make some more pulled pork this weekend [​IMG]

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