First Time with a Pork Butt (5.5lb)

Discussion in 'Pork' started by lewisbbq, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. Hey y'all,

    I picked up a 5.5lb pork butt on sale today and will be smoking this weekend for pulled pork.  I'll be using a kettle grill set up for indirect heat with hickory chunks for smoke and charcoal for heat.  Doing a basic rub, but my real question is this:

    I know that I should focus on cooking to temp not to time, and I've got the time, but I want to plan the day so  I can babysit and maintain temp (I'll be shooting for a constant 250F) and I have a solid instant read thermometer to check with as the cook process progresses, but does anyone have experience with a butt this size and have any tips on the aprox time I should allow to prep, cook and rest and to make sure that it is cooked to that 200F IT?

    Thanks for the suggestions!
  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    That is about the size that I usually cook since it is just the wife and I. I go by the 1.5 hour per pound rule for planning but I always plan on it being done early in case it takes longer (2-3 hours before we plan on eating). That would put your cooking in around 8 hours. If you have more time than that you should consider lowering the heat to 220-230. There is a lot of fat in that cut that needs plenty of time to render out. You need a minimum of 30 minutes for that size butt to rest but a longer rest will only help. 

    I always prep the night before. I think the end product tastes better when the rub as time to soak in (at least that is what I tell myself, really I like not having to get up an extra 30 minutes early to do my prep work). Then in the morning I pull the meat out of the fridge and let it rest for 30-45 minutes while I get the smoker going.

    Do you have a probe thermometer or just a regular instant read? I use a probe thermometer to monitor the temps without opening the smoker (and it sounds like most people on here do the same).
  3. Thanks for the response, bmaddox!

    Do you still use the 1.5 hour per pound rule if you're running at 220-230?  Good tip on prepping the night before.  Will be nice to get an extra hour or so of shut-eye.

    I've got a Maverick with dual probes, one for meat and one for cooker temp as well as a regular Weber instant read thermometer.  Should have made that more clear.  I can keep the Maverick in the entire time of the cook, I'd guess, without having to open to check internal temp, which will keep me from losing heat and adding to the total cook time.

    thanks again.
  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Yes my average time is around 1.5 hours per pound at that temp range but that is based on wrapping in foil at 160 degrees to get through the stall. I have seen plenty of posts on here about people being stuck for hours around the 160 mark.
  5. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

  6. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    I have done a decent number of butts on both my 18.5" WSM and 22" Weber kettle.  The WSM  is a little easier to maintain steady temps in but the kettle is not too bad,  (Just takes more constant vigilance).  I try to keep the temps close to 225* but they will swing in both cookers to 250*.  I don't stress over that amount of swing in temp's but don't like to see it go over 250*.  The kettle will demand far more attention to maintain a steady temperature.

    I have settled on figuring 2 hours per pound smoking in this temp range.

    If your butt finishes earlier than 2 hours per pound double wrap it in foil and put it in a cooler surrounded with old towels.  It will still read 150* or higher after a 2 hour rest,  (Assuming a decent cooler).

    Butts generally finish in the 200* to 210* range for me and I do watch the temps, but gauge finish by tweaking the bone till it slides out easily.  (I start tweaking the bone at 200*)

    Best luck with your Pulled pork smoke.  Butts are pretty easy and quite forgiving so don't sweat it too much.

    Here are a few pics of my most recent "Kettle Butt".

    Comparing thermometer's is the reason for two probes in the butt.

    Bone slip.

    Where did I put those Kings Hawaiian rolls?


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