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Back after an absence - smoking an 8.7lb butt for tomorrow (Q View)

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Bought an 8.7lb butt at Save-A-Lot for $1.99lb. I've got to smoke it AND a rack of ribs for tomorrow's Titans - Colts game. As a reminder, I've only got a 22" Weber. Plus, I've got to work tonight at 4pm. So, as usual, I've got time issues. I started this morning at 8:20 CDT. I know that I won't be able to finish before I go to work, but I'll have 7 hours to put a good smoke on it. I'll stick it in the oven at around 180 while I'm at work and see where I'm at when I get home.

 

I used Kroger's Signature Texas rub and a very light slather of maple syrup. For once, I'm not going to mop it. I want to see if I can get a really light bark. Being from Memphis, I tend to like a really heavy, crunchy black bark. But I'm going to experiment and go lighter this time.



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I'll keep you guys posted.

post #2 of 22
Looks like you have a good start and a good plan.


David
post #3 of 22

teleburst, morning and welcome back....  this place has sure grown in the last few months....   Looking forward to your q-views and the outcome of the oven finish....  popcorn.gif ...  Dave

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

As an aside, here's a picture of what I consider the best BBQ sandwich Memphis has to offer. You always hear about Central BBQ, Neeley's, Interstate, Rendezvous, etc. but Memphis insiders know to go to Payne's. 

 

 

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And yes, you can get it without slaw <chuckle> I personally like slaw on my sandwiches and was skeptical about a mustard slaw, but I loved it. You can also get it chopped, but I prefer pulled. The thin, light mahogany bark has a little bit of candy flavor that works great with the sweet, mild smokiness of the meat. Highly recommended, even though it's in a bad part of town. http://www.yelp.com/biz/paynes-bar-b-que-memphis
 

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Just added a few more hickory chunks about 20 minutes ago. Normally, I'd be spritzing with rub-infused apple juice at this point, but I simply sprinkled on more rub. Just added about 6 more
fresh briquets. That should let me button it down until around 11:30 - 12.

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post #6 of 22

241.png I always like to see good q come from those kettles. Lookin good.

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

OK, so now it's almost 4 hours. Since my last update, I've added a few briquets and a few small hickory chunks and a scattering of hickory chips. I also turned the butt 180 degrees. And here is the current state of the butt.



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I forgot to mention that the Save-A-Lot butts didn't seem to have the added liquid that you find with Smithfield and other brands. I like that.

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

A little over 5 hours in and here's what the butt is looking like:

 

 

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At 2:30, I'm going to go ahead and put it in the oven at 180. Probably put some cut down BBQ in there with it. It will sit there until I get home tonight at around midnight. I'll probably leave it at that temp until around 8am and then I'll turn it up to 195. I'm planning to put the rack of spares on around 4am. I'll probably scheck to butt at that time and see how much wiggle I've got in the bone.

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

So, now that I have 6 hours of smoke under the belt, I've put the butt into a foil pan and added some Sweet Baby Ray's cut with some cider vinegar and water. I laid a loose piece of foil over top. I set the temp of my oven at 180 and I even added a little sauce over the top for good measure.

 

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post #10 of 22

Lookin good!
 

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

So, it's 5am. The butt seemed to hold up fine at 180 in the oven. I just cranked it up to 200. I'm going to tug the bone about every 30 minutes. I started my rib rack around 4:30.  As soon as it's light, I'll snap a pic or two. I need to leave for my buddy's house between 10 - 10:30am so I'm cutting it a little close. I can always finish it up in his oven if I have to.

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm stunned. My first half rack is finished after only 2 hours. Basically, I had the Kroger guy cut down a rack of spares into a KC cut. He cut it into two portions, with a "main rack" and a secondary rack with the extra meat on it but smaller ribs (plus the point separately - I guess that's what you might call it). I guess my heat was too high. I don't have any light on my porch and when I checked a few minutes ago, I panicked because the closest rack to the coals looked black and burned. When I picked it up, it started to tear. Oh hell. I must have burned it to a crisp because my fire was too high. When I got it inside, I was surprised that it looked ok. All I did was rub the meat. I didn't use any slather or anything. So basically, I've got dry ribs, ala Memphis. When I brought the rack inside, it basically tore around a single rib, so I used it as a sacrificial taste test and was surprised that the meat was just fine and not at all dry. Here's are some slightly out of focus photos (partly because I myself am slightly out of focus):



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I think I got very lucky. I decided to foil them and put a little pan drippings from the butt that's still cooking. It's gone into the 200 degree oven, which should help keep it moist and render the last little bit of fat that I see. The other rack I've moved to the furthest space on my rib rack and I've opened the kettle dome halfway. As for the butt, it's getting really close. 

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

Man o man, that butt turned out perfect! As you can see from the first photo, the natural pop-up thermometer told me that it was ready. I took a few shots before foiling for later this morning. In one, I turned it upside down to show the intact fat cap. I peeled a little back to show the gelatinous fat. I know that some of you remove this, but when it's in this state, I like to let it melt into the pork when I pull it. I broke it into a third and two thirds for foiling and quality control purposes (ya know I gotta!). The pork was really moist and tender. The bark had a nice snap to it. And the smoke ring was very nice.

All in all, I can report that you can indeed smoke an 8 and a half pound butt for 6 hours at a moderately high initial temp, pull it and hold it overnight at 180. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I started the butt at 8:20 yesterday morning. I put it in the oven yesterday afternoon at 3:15 and didn't turn it up to 190 until 4:00 this morning (obviously almost 13 hours!). I then cranked it up to 200 about 6:30. Keep in mind that I have to cook at higher than normal temperatures in the kettle for the first few hours (although the temp does drop after about an hour) so, if you are cooking exclusively at 220, your timings might be different. But really, since 6 hours is about the max for the butt taking smoke, you can pull it and stick it in the oven for hours at 180 without worrying. I didn't take a single internal temp, but I'm pretty sure that internal temps were probably hanging around 180. The nice thing about this is that you don't worry about plateauing, since that's going to happen during the night. If you keep it in for 8 hours, there shouldn't be any danger. Then, all you have to do is raise the temp to 190 for a couple of hours and let the temp come up. Finally, crank it up to 200 for an hour or so. Obviously, you have a big fudge factor, but you probably don't want to leave it in there for much longer than that for fear of it drying out.Total "cooking time" was around 20 hours. At that point, you can foil it and keep it intact for pulling for another 4 hours with the foil/towel/cooler method.

So, here's another technique you can use if you're cooking for 24 hours out but don't want to cook a butt and hold it in the fridge for reheating. This way, you can do the tending the fire thing for 6 hours, drink lots of beer, and then just stick the thing in an aluminum pan with a sheet of foil loosely laid over the top and go to sleep. Pretty cool.



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post #14 of 22

Perfect...... don't get no better than that.....   Dave

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

When I wrote "All in all, I can report that you can indeed smoke an 8 and a half pound butt for 6 hours at a moderately high initial temp, pull it and hold it overnight at 180" I meant pull it from the smoker, not pull it pull it, if you catch my drift. Just didn't want to confuse anyone. And now, I'm about 30 minutes away from leaving for my buddy's house to hang out for a few before heading out to LP Field for the Titans/Colts game. I'm going to have a cooler of BBQ (butt and ribs), but I also have a package of Clifty's country ham for his missus so that she and the kids can have a "normal breakfast" if they want. PS, gonna whip up some soflaquer's finishing sauce when I get there...

post #16 of 22

Nice job!  Makes my mouth water...drool.gif

post #17 of 22
Looks good!!
post #18 of 22

Good job. I like doing Butts:

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700  and when they fall apart...even better.Yummodrool.gificon_exclaim.gif

post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

Nice, oldschool!

post #20 of 22

Looks great!

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