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Boneless vs. bone-in pork butt smoke times

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Greetings all,

   I'm smoking my first Pork butts this weekend for a party Sat. night. I picked up a 2 pack at Costco for a good price and am going to try my hand at it. These are boneless butts, and most of the threads I have read recommend bone-in. I have already trimmed off the excess fat, coated with mustard and rub, and they're in the fridge now.

My question is, how long are the cook times for a boneless vs. a bone in butt? A bone-in butt is quite a bit thicker chunk of meat than the boneless butt. I've read to allow 1.5 hrs per pound @ 225 for bone-in, is it significantly less for boneless? These are 7 lb butts, so I don't want to screw up and overcook 14 lbs of meat!! PDT_Armataz_01_18.gif

post #2 of 8

Do you have a digital probe that you can put into the butt to know when it is done? If you have a probe you won't have to worry about over cooking or under cooking the meat. 1.5 hours per lb is a rough estimate on time and the only way you will know for sure when it is done is by knowing the internal temp.

I'm trying to remember if I have ever done a butt without a bone and I don't think I have. I don't know if they would differ that much.

post #3 of 8

Hi there, looks like you've got a good sized smoke coming up. I would not recommend cooking by time, that will only give you a  somewhat ball park figure, and can create a possiblilty for an error. If you go by internal temps, you can't go wrong. This won't be too hard if the butts are pretty much the same weight. You didn't mention if you were going to slice or pull the meat, this can change the total amount of time to smoke the meat. When using an internal meat probe, be sure that it has been calibrated before use. It's all good my friend.

post #4 of 8

Bone-in is best...better flavor and the bone acts as a doneness indicator due to pull-back of the meat from the bone end (shrinkage). Bone-in can also be treated as intact whole muscle meats (if not injected or tampered with) in which the guidelines for safe cooking are much more forgiving than non-intact meats.


Being de-boned you need to follow the 41-135*/4 hr internal temp guideline (danger zone, used to be 40-140*).


Time shouldn't change a huge amount being boneless vs bone-in on ~7lbrs...not enough to factor into the equation, IMO.


Internal temps are the best indications, but probing with a small blunt object to check tenderness is the best final check. 200* plus for pulled pork from a shoulder cut such as the boston.


The best part about pulled pork is when you foil/wrap/rest, you can build-in a time cushion with the resting period before pulling. If you get it done early, just let it rest a bit longer before pulling. If it runs an hour or two later than you planned, you can let it rest that much less before pulling. I've rested my shoulder cuts anywhere from 2-5 hours and they all pulled just fine as long as my finished temps were over 200* and they probed tender before I rested them.


Don't worry about screwing it up...pulled pork is actually one of the easiest smokes I've ever done. Other than taking a long time in the smoker, that is (I've had 8-9lbrs take over 15 hours to reach 200*).



post #5 of 8

Here's my opinion.

If I had a party scheduled for Sat night, I would have those butts in the smoker cooking by 5 am.

You can let  them rest in the cooler for a long time if you have to.

Have fun!



post #6 of 8

My last couple pulled pork smokes have been with boneless butts. I follow the same 1.5 per lb estimate (not to actually cook by but to get a rough estimate of when i should start them). I usually add about 2-2.5 hrs on top of that. 1 hr for the rest in the cooler. And the other 1-1.5 hrs just as a precaution (if you are done early, it can rest in the cooler longer without loosing that much temp). But again, i cook to certain temps not by time, i simply use that to get a rough estimate of when i should start it if i know im going to want to eat it at a certain time.

post #7 of 8


I'm with everyone else here and say that you need to smoke by temp and not time. You will need a couple af probe thermometers thou. Now I would also recommend you buyu the bone-in butts for they are cheaper. Also the bone will pull right out after you are finished smoking it anyway. Heck if you see the shoulders they are usaully even cheaper then the butts. I use them all the time.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks gang,

   I have a digital thermometer and will rely on that for correct temps. I was looking to see if I can start them later or about the same time. Im going to go for pulled pork and use the formulas mentioned here and other sites about smoking @225 until they hit 160 degrees, spritzing every hour, and foil them when they hit 160 with more apple juice until they hit 190-200, rest for at least one hour and pull them. Given that they are large hunks of potential pulled goodness, Im guessing they should be in the smoker by 5 am for a 5:30 pm party. Surprisingly, I picked up these boneless butts at Costco for cheaper (1.75/lb) than I could find them bone-in at the local grocery stores. And I've never been disappointed with Costco meat here in Phoenix.


Wish me luck on my first Pork Butts! My Camera shot craps, but I'll see how good I can do with a cell phone and try to get up a Q view.


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