"Hi my name is Eats, and I failed"

Discussion in 'Pork' started by eats, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. eats

    eats Newbie

    I need some group therapy. First time in 2 years of smoking I had a meal go in the trash last night.

    Did my 6th or 7th pork butt and followed all my usual steps; pulled off at 195, wrapped in foil and put in warming oven for an hour at 200. Got the Bear Paws out and it was like I was trying to shred a Michelin. Couldn't shred anything but the edges and the meat had no smoke flavor at all. It's almost as if I had boiled it all day in a pot of water.

    Only variable to my normal procedure was this was a frozen piece of meat that I thawed over two days. It had been double wrapped and kept in a large zip lock and showed no signs of freezer burn at all. Normally I do fresh meat but this was a Costco spare that I decided to freeze.

    Might have to call in sick today, just to distraught....

    Sent from my typewriter.
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Doesn't sound like you did anything bad-----Maybe just a tough piece of meat???

    Like I used to tell my Little League team after a loss------"We'll get the next one".

  3. It could be the pigs fault or the center could have still been frozen.

    Happy smoken.

  4. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    More details...

    Cooking Temp? Time? Type of thermometer? Calibrated?

    What size? I have thawed a 7-8 pound Butt for 5 days or more.

    What do you mean Costco Spare?

    I have had more tender meat from a frozen butt/picnic than a fresh.

    Only thing I can come up with from the post is that it was way undercooked.
  5. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I recently had a very dense 6 pounder that took 16 hours and was not tender until almost 210 degrees. All butts are different but it sounds to me like something was off with the smoker as well if there was no flavor, or your rub maybe. More details needed. Fresh unfrozen butts from the market are almost always thawed from frozen by the way so unless it was still frozen hard in the middle for some of the cook. Well, even that wouldn't do it if your thermometer is right. Check your probe in boiling water. 212 degrees at sea level.
  6. eats

    eats Newbie

    it was a 6 pound butt from Costco where you get two boneless in one package. I cooked the first fresh and put the spare one in the freezer. (Usually I do both for a gathering but this time didn't have the need for 2 butts)

    Cooked on my Traeger set at 220 started at 8a and the probe hit 195 at 630p. (Typically I'm around 11-12 hrs for an 8 pounder so the timing seemed reasonable). The temp probe is the same one I've used 3-4 times a week for over a year and never an issue with over/under cooked meat.

    I'll try the boiling water just to make sure that's not the culprit.

    Sent from my typewriter.
  7. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That is odd, could you have probed it incorrectly? I know that sounds crazy but did the probe insert with some restriction or like butter?
  8. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    Sounds to me like something up with the temps.  I pull my butts at 203-205 and rest an hour or two before pulling.  The only time I had a tough butt was when my meat thermometer was off by 15 degrees causing me to pull way too soon. 

  9. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    No matter what the temp probe said, your butt was under cooked. As Sqwib said 4-5 days to thaw a butt. If you had cooked at a higher temp, 300°-325° is my preference, you would have had a better chance at success. 220° is too low a temp at which to cook a butt IMHO. YMMV.
  10. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Pellet grills don't give much smoke flavor by themselves either. Of course you might know that. Many around here use a supplementary smoke generating device to actually make a pellet grill into a smoker.
  11. Bad deal when a smoke goes bad, It's happened to everyone at one time or another

  12. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    nothing worse than a tough butt...lol... I think everyone here can tell you about a bad smoke., it happens., but not very often...just like last week I was making some pastrami, and Smokin Al's recipe says it take 12 hrs..,naw,,I figure I can do it in 7-8,,,well guess what 11.5hrs spot on.., so lesson here is practice makes perfect...:)

  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    C'mon Cliff,

    Maybe too low for a frozen or partly frozen Butt, but 220° to 240° works fine for me. Never had a problem.

    Actually 275° is my Max smoker temp, along with probably at least half of the members of SMF.

  14. I've been smoking Pork butts and briskets for a long time   Run my smoker at 225º  always turns out for me ?

  15. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes, my friend I know it works well for you and many others. I still cook low and slow ribs myself. But I see far too many threads on SMF where there are these types of problems when cooking pork butts, tough meat that won't pull is just one example. The other all too common one is the low and slow butt that takes forever because of the stall and dinner is delayed or missed, not to mention the angry spouses. There are almost too many of these threads posted here. I've read more than a handful in the past few days and I believe that the problems can be resolved most easily by cooking pork butts at higher temperatures. Even the max of 275° on an MES will cook a butt at a rate of 65-70 minutes per pound and the quality will not suffer. In fact I have come to the conclusion that the quality of the final product is better when I cook at higher temps than it was when I cooked low and slow.

    There are several distinct advantages to cooking butts at higher temperatures-

    1. Depending on the cook temperature cooking time is cut to between 45 and 70 minutes per pound of pre cooked weight

    2. The cook time is shortened making it more predictable- I usually allow 7 hours cook time for an 8 pound butt cooked at 300°-315°, with a rest of another hour, if dinner is at 5PM then the butt will go on no later than 9AM. I have not had a delayed dinner yet cooking this way.

    3. There is no stall, no stall means no foiling at 165° to get through the stall or waiting an indeterminate amount of time for it to end.

    4. No more "overnighters" where lack of sleep or otherwise impaired judgment can mean crisis or failure.

    5. No more "overnighters" where the power goes off or the fire goes out while the cook is asleep.

    Bear, I want, as much as anyone here, to see people succeed and I sincerely believe that anyone who is cooking a butt for the first time should not cook it at 225° because It hurts their chances for success.

    I know a lot of people who like Hot and Fast, I'd say if it gives you the results you like , that's what I would continue to do.

    There are a few BBQ places down in the Hill country (Lockhart and Austin area) who smoke hot and fast, but the majority there and most everywhere else smoke low and slow .

    Don't know a lot of people who have problems with low and slow on pork butts,

    Like I have said numerous times there is no exact, right or wrong way, just what works for you

    I don't claim that my way is the only way Just has worked for me for over 40 years of smoking pork butts, briskets, ribs and just about anything else I could get on my smoker

  17. bbquy

    bbquy Smoke Blower

    I have had a successful smoke with hot and fast but I much prefer the low and slow method. With comparing the two I have noticed the fat renders down to a more buttery taste which makes it way more tender. When you go to pull it you barley have to put any effort cause it just falls apart. Just my preference is all. Good luck with getting it figured out.
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Gary pretty much sums it up, plus what Cliff said. Add the 2 together and my conclusion is:

    Smoke your Butts in a smoker running between 220° and 325°. Whichever you prefer is the best way for you.

    I have read a number of problems lately too, but it seems to me most of them were caused by faulty therms, or pulling too soon due to lack of knowledge, or even starting with a partially frozen Butt ??.

    So like I said the best temp is what works best for you.

    For those with MES smokers, I see no problem with going to 250° or even 275° (MAX), but as long as your therms are working properly, there's nothing wrong with 220°, as long as you get it through the Danger Zone. As a matter of fact, using 275° would make it much easier to get through the Danger Zone if you decide you must inject your Butt or insert the temp probe in before you start.

    I never had to do an all nighter, but I might start using 250° or 270° just to shorten my day for maybe an hour or so.

  19. Good morning eats, sorry we got sidetracked on your post, as you can see there are a lot of opinions, and methods of smoking.  Try several different ways, wrap, no wrap, high temp , low temp, heavy seasoning, light seasoning, etc.  JUST FIND WHAT YOU LIKE AND WORKS BEST FOR YOU.

  20. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hmmmm.. Yeah I'll jump in. Everybody's wrong but me, let me explain! (That was a joke)

    I really don't see much difference other than time in 225 - 275, however, however (yes I said that twice!) Higher temps will give a more darkened (blacker) bark when there's a lot of sugar in the rub.

    If you do Butts naked, there should be no noticeable difference between 225-275.

    Higher temps and you should be careful of your rub.

    I do try to keep my ribs around 225-235 I worry if they get over 250.

    Doing PP I don't worry if the temp creeps up to 300, I just dial it back slightly as I prefer 250 - 275.

    This is from a stickburners point of view... your mileage may vary.

    So to open up another can of worms, where is the cutoff from "low and slow" to "hot and fast"... that's a rhetorical statement, please don't answer that I'm just being a smart @ss

    Smoke on guys...

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