stuck butt?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by pitrow, May 6, 2008.

  1. pitrow

    pitrow Smoking Fanatic

    Hi all. I thought I'd try my hand at pulled pork today, so yesterday I picked up a small shoulder blade roast, about 3.5 pounds if I remember right. I rubbed it last night and it sat in the fridge over night. This morning I put it in the smoker at 225 and let it go. It's now been in there for almost five hours, the last hour and a half or so it's been stuck at 150-151 degrees. I've heard of a plateau but I didn't expect such a long one on such a small piece of meat. I'm worried that it's going to dry out too much. The outside is showing signs of drying out and I've stepped up my spritzing schedule accordingly. Should I wrap it in foil now instead of waiting for 165, or just let it go?
  2. cinnamonkc

    cinnamonkc Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Any chance your thermometer is on the fritz? Might want to check it in ice water and then boiling water...
  3. pitrow

    pitrow Smoking Fanatic

    oh yeah, I forgot to add that part. I just checked the thermometer yesterday and it was within 3 degrees of boiling water. I am going to go double check the meat with my backup dial thermometer though.
  4. cinnamonkc

    cinnamonkc Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Not to be obvious and I'm sure you've checked but are you sure on your fire temp?
  5. pitrow

    pitrow Smoking Fanatic

    double checked with the dial thermometer and it only showed about 145. :( I'm pretty sure the smoker is at the right temp, my electric probe shows both internal meat temp and external oven temp and both were within a couple degrees of 212 in the boil test last night. The digital probe does show about 10 degrees warmer than my MES's control unit shows, so I go by the digital since that seems to be close to correct and is right next to the meat.

    Thanks for the help guys. Any other ideas? Maybe I should bump the temp up a little? Say 235 or 240?
  6. geob

    geob Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    you can wrap this anywhere between 150 and 160 to keep moisture in. Keep on the spray and make sure you got water in the pan. I have a MES and have had no problem doing the butt.

  7. pitrow

    pitrow Smoking Fanatic

    well, I fear something maybe drastically wrong with this one. Since my last post the temperature has dropped to 144. I took it out, doused it with spray and wrapped it in foil and put it back in the smoker, and bumped the smoker temp up to 245. We'll see what becomes of this, but I have a feeling it won't be that good.
  8. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It will be fine. Now that its foiled, just leave it closed.245 won't hurt it either,might gain ya 15 minutes of the whole 8-10 hr smoke. Just be patient and let it go in the foil till 200, probably gonna be another 4-5 hrs.
  9. pitrow

    pitrow Smoking Fanatic

    well, you were right capt dan, I had nothing to worry about. I took it out when it hit 195 and wrapped it in a towel for about an hour. I just got done pulling it, and it is nice and juicy and flavorful. Now to go put the finishing sauce on it.

    My question is, is it normal for these things to take that long? I mean my 3.5 pound shoulder was in there for roughly 9 hours. I was figuring the standard 1.5 hours per pound, which should have put it closer to 5 hours. I have a couple 4.5 pounders that I'm going to do for some friends this weekend and I kinda want to know when I should start. I guess the earlier the better huh?
  10. justsmoke2

    justsmoke2 Smoking Fanatic

    I have done 3 to 4lb butts and they have always took as long as larger size butts. Why I do not know but it seems to be the norm. Then it again the butt will be done when it is ready to be done. To me the hardest part was not worrying thinking I was about to screw up meat.
  11. meowey

    meowey Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    On days when I've done multiple butts, I've had butts of identical weight finish at different times. (One time 3 hours different!) Each piece of meat is different and finishes in it's own time. Imagine what it would be like if each of us was the same as everyone else.

    It's hard to have patience while waiting and worrying that you will ruin the meat. You did the right thing by foiling a little early.

    Hope this helps!

    Take care, have fun, and do good!


  12. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Glad it all turned out! I think the time it takes is relative to the breakdown process. All Butts have colegen, fat and connective tissue. The process takes a certain amount of time reguardless of weight. Like Meowy said, I have had the same thing happen, 6-8 butts on at once, maybe 2 would finish together, the rest would be all different. Some at 9-10 hrs, often most at 11-12 hrs, and there always seems to be a 13-14 hr one in the mix![​IMG]
  13. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Glad to hear it turned out okay. I don't know if I'd have the patience to wait on a 3-4 pounder. Have two big ones in the freezer ((8 1/2-9 1/2 # each). Maybe I'll get one out for the weekend.
  14. newb

    newb Smoke Blower

    I'm the same way...worry about how long some things take. I just foiled suggested and all turned out fine...I had an 8.5# take 17hrs from start to 200 deg finish. 8AM to 1 AM the next day.
  15. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    As has been said so many times. Time is an estimate. The 1.5 hours/lb is just an approximation. There is NO way to know EXACTLY when it will be done.
  16. teeotee

    teeotee Smoking Fanatic

    My first pork butt was a 4.5 lb, think that was in for 10 hours. Two weekends back i done a 10 lb in 12 hours. Just always plan on having plenty of extra time. It'll stay warm wrapped in a cooler for hours if it finishes up early.

    Glad your's turned out ok in the end. That plateau can be a real worrysome time huh!!! [​IMG].

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