Plateau from Hell

Discussion in 'Pork' started by hokiesmokie, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. hokiesmokie

    hokiesmokie Fire Starter

    We had a family get-together to celebrate my mom's 75th birthday, so I decided to smoke two eight to 8.5-pound pork shoulders for pulled pork. I used my standard rub, a mixture of salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, CBP, dry mustard, and cayenne. I started the smoke at about 7am, thinking they would be done by 5-6pm. The party was the next day, so I planned to reheat the pulled pork before everyone showed up.

    The smoker was loaded with lump and a mixture of apple and hickory and was cruising along at 220-235F for several hours. I was spritzing with a mixture of apple juice and bourbon every hour or so, after the first two hours.

    It was going fine until I reached the plateau from hell. These things locked in about 156 F for over FOUR hours, and at one point, I got the dreaded DECREASE in temperature to about 145 F. I thought it would never end. The smoker temperatures were steady throughout this nightmare.

    It got to the point where I just wanted to get to 170F, so I could foil 'em and stick 'em in the oven to finish. That point finally came at about the 15-hour mark. Four hours after that (2am), they finally reached 200F, and I wrapped them in towels, threw them in a cooler, and went to bed.

    The next day, I pulled the pork from the cooler at around noon - the butts were still too hot to touch until I let them cool down a bit.

    They pulled beautifully. I applied finishing sauce about an hour before serving, and the results were outstanding. One of my daughters absolutely loves pulled pork, and she said this was the best she had ever had. Many rave reviews from the attendees. I guess good things DO come to those who wait.

    So, to prove it actually happened, here's some Q-view:

    About four hours in:

    Finished product (one of two):

    Pulled and ready for sandwiches:
  2. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Looks great! Glad you stuck it out.
  3. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    I've hit that plateau more times than I care to remember and you just have to ride it out. A lot of people panic and pull it too soon at that point or stick it in the oven. Just goes to show you that good bbq just takes patience. Good going.
  4. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks great! I had the opposite prob today. 10 lb Butt was finished and in the cooler after 6 hrs at 225-250. Crazy!
  5. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks great. Gotta hate the stall from hell. Way to pull thru it.
  6. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One of the things out of the many I have learned on SMF is when doing Pulled pork or a Chuckie is to make something else to fall back on.

    I always put on some ribs scheduled to finish right at supper time. Then when the pork or beef stalls for like 6 hours longer than I thought it would the folks have something to gnaw on.

    My Worse....... ( I had plenty of ribs standing by... whew! ) I got up at 4 am , had the fire up the thin blue blowing and the meat a cooking by 5am. The Dammed thing was supposed to be done by 3pm with 2 hours in the cooler for a 5-6pm chow down time. It finished at 205f at 11pm after everyone had all gone home. Luckily it was Friday night and it is mondo easy to get relatives to come over the next day, Saturday, for Pulled Pork Sammies with cole slaw.
  7. erain

    erain Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    my very first butt did that to me... i was wondering what i had got myself into. but like you did i waited it out and all was well, not on schedule but some great pulled pork!!! great job for hangin in there and riding the storm out...[​IMG]
  8. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It looks excellent. As they say "Good Things Come To Those Who Wait".
  9. Man, Old Man, Old Friend of Mine.... All Good Things In All Good Times.

    Temp, not times.

  10. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You have to hate thoses stalls It hard to wait them out but you did and the outcome looks very yummo. Great job hokie [​IMG]
  11. planeguy

    planeguy Smoke Blower

    I had this happen to me on my first pulled pork attempt. I hit a stall at the 150 mark for 4 1/2 hours. I thought I was doing something wrong. I finished it up in the oven and put in the cooler. It came out ok - I will give it another go soon.
  12. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    you did great my first stall from hell ended up in the trash when the temp 4° from 157° to 153° on a 3 1/2 hr stall.
    the wife said meat was bad thats why it stalled.
    then i ask the ? on smf and found out all about plateaus.[​IMG]on sticking with it.
  13. I'm in the middle of a 3 HR stall right now. Onceit comes out of the stall, how long will it take before its done? I don't think I will make dinner on time tonight. It's 4pm at 160 degrees. I put this 5LB butt in at 8:30am this morning. Figured it should be done around 4pm or so. Only at 160 right now.
  14. It's only at 165 deg now. It's 5:05pm. I gues I can try and get it up to 180 and have sliced pork. I'm afraid the 200 degree mark will take too long.

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