I see smoking time frames of 10+ hours mentioned for a 9# pork butt. but mine is only 4 1/2 #s. How many hours should I plan for one that size?
Dee in FL
Remember this is a general rule. Also factor in the time you plan to let it rest cooler or not. Like has been said, Temp not Time. I just did a 5.48lbs & 5.51lbs as listed on the packaging. Both of them were Hormel Boston Butts. One took 10 hrs and the other 11hrs to reach 195 before I removed them. Resting times in the cooler can be varied to meet your eating needs. Some have let them sit for up 4-5 hrs.
Thank y'all for the quick responses! I'll let you know how it turns out. I probably won't be doing it until Friday or Saturday and this time I'll try to remember to take pictures. ;->
Dee in FL
Ohhh...I just noticed that you're from Port Orchard!! We lived in the Silverdale area close to the Fairgrounds for 20 years (1977-1997) before relocating down here. I sure miss the beautiful weather and scenery of the Pac NW. <sigh>
Well, I made the 4.5# pork butt yesterday yesterday on my new Traeger Jr. This was the 4th time that I've used my new toy and this time it gave me some trouble maintaining a consistent temperature. The pork turned out to be a little dry due to swings in temp of as much as 100 degrees at times. By the time I called the support people, it was too late into the cooking period to successfully get the problem figured out so I'm supposed to get with them sometime today. We'll start with a cold unit and see if we can pinpoint the problem. It's probably operator error.
I got the meat ready Friday nite. After I removed the skin, there was very little fat left. I rubbed it down with McCormick's Memphis Pit Rub <http://www.mccormick.com/Products/GrillMates/Dry-Rubs/Grill-Mates-Slow----Low-Memphis-Pit-BBQ-Rub.aspx>, wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the refrig overnite. I got up at 3 a.m. and put the pork on the counter to come to room temp. At 4:15 a.m. I fired up the Traeger using Hickory wood pellets and got the meat ready to put on the grill. I decided to try cooking it in a foil pan versus putting it on the bare grate. I also decided to add some apple juice to the water bath that I was going to sit next to the pork. After the initial start on the Smoke setting for 4-5 minutes, I turned the temp to 225, closed the lid and waited for the temp to settle in before putting the meat on. (I gather that there's sort of a turbo-charged burn that happens early on and that the temperature is then supposed to settle back down.) But since the temperature still hadn't calmed down after 30 minutes from when I had initially turned it on, I decided to turn it down to 180, put the meat on to cook and go back to bed.
When I rechecked it 3 hours later the temp was 173 so I figured that I probably should turn it back up to 225. Over the next hour or so is when the temp really started to fluctuate a lot so naturally, in my infinite wisdom, I thought that I should then turn it back down to 180 before I ended up with a cinder block of meat. I already knew that it's not a good idea to keep opening the lid up since the temp probe then detects a cooler temp and therefore tells the thingey that operates the auger to pump down some more pellets in order to get the temperature back up, so I was careful to only open it up twice during the cooking process. Once at 3 hours and again at 7 hours. Hmmmm.....I was just going to say "Long story short", but then I realized that there just isn't any way to make it short. Sorry 'bout that, but if you're really tired of reading my tale of woe, please feel free to scroll down to see the pictures and ignore the rest.
Now as I was saying.....I repeated the turning temp up and then down again process once more during the next few hours until I decided that perhaps I should check in with the Traeger Support team. The nice thing is that they're on call from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST 7 days a week. The first person I spoke with suggested changing the P-setting from the default of P-2 down to P-1 and if that didn't help then to further drop it down to P-0. So I tried the P-1, but it seemed to be worse so then I tried the P-0 setting for a while and that didn't help matters any either. An hour later, which was over 7 hours into the cooking time, the second person I spoke with asked if I remembered the name of the guy that I spoke with earlier since he had given me incorrect info. If anything, the P-setting should have been increased....not decreased. So we turned it up to P-3, but by this time he and I both agreed that the poor grill's brain had to be totally befuddled so it would probably be best to just cross my fingers that the meat was edible when I was finished and that we'd try again today from a cold start to run the grill thru it paces to make sure that there isn't an underlying mechanical problem.
The P-3 setting did seem to help keep the temp more under control so I was able to finish the cooking time with the temp set at 225. I made sure to leave the meat on until the internal temp said 205. I then removed it, wrapped it in heavy-duty foil and then a heavy towel. That bundle went into an insulated cooler for a couple of hours before I pulled it apart to serve for dinner. Like I said earlier, it was a little dry for my taste, but I just put a dollop of K.C. Masterpiece brand Smokey Bourbon BBQ sauce on when I made my sandwich and that helped.
I did remember to take some pictures....just not all of the ones that maybe I should have like what the meat looked like after application of the rub and then just before I started tearing it apart. Oh well....this is all part of the learning curve I guess.
Anyhow...here are the ones that I did remember to take. The first one is at 3 hours, the second at 7 hours and the last one shows some of the bark and the smoke ring. Since I'm not sure just how much bark is good or how wide the smoke ring should be, I'd appreciate some input on that please.
Dee in FL
1.5 hours per pound at 275-300
205 int temp is perfect for pulled and 170-175 sliced
dont forget that it can take 2 hours per pound pending millions of variables
such as elevation, humidity, type of smoker, insulation, temp variance with wood smoker, temp outside. etc.