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smoking my first large butt

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

We're having a late holiday potluck party at our house Saturday afternoon so I decided to smoke some pulled pork for it.  (also doing some tri-tip but that's another thread and will go on around noon tomorrow)  I've smoked some small 5lb chunks before but this time I picked up a "monster" 8lb bone in from the local grocery store.  They had up to about a 6.5lb in the main meat case so the butcher went in back to look for a bigger one.  I saw him walk out with what must have actually been about a 14-16 pound bag and basically slice me off an 8lb chunk including bone.  

 

I've had it going for about a little over 4 hours now.  I will admit I'm not up for an all night smoke on a charcoal smoker before a party so I will be cheating and putting it in a foil pan and into the oven in an hour or so to finish overnight on "autopilot".  Just as well since the weather website I was referencing is way wrong and the local station is calling for 10mph winds with gust to 20 overnight (going to be like that tomorrow and make the tri-tip "fun").  The website I was originally looking at called for 2-4mph winds which would have been fine but those gusts are causing problems.  Anyway, here's a pic of the before all rubbed up and ready to go.  It's being smoked on Wicked Good weekend warrior lump (first time using it, probably not the time to try new charcoal but oh well) and using a mix of hickory and cherry for smoke.

 

post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 

Just a couple more pics, just went in the oven at about 145 IT after 5 hours on the smoker.  One of these days I'll do an actual all night smoke, but this method will have to do for tonight :)  2nd pic shows the color much better.  Yeah I know it's not 15 hours of nice dark bark, but maybe it will darken even in the foil in the oven.

 

 

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well, apparently I'm following Jeff's "best mistake I ever made" version.  My wife came downstairs about an hour and a half ago and I guess the temp was around 198, then she fell asleep and I hear her yell up about 20 minutes ago that it was at 210!!  Apparently I forgot to turn the alarm on when I set the temp on the thermometer.  Not cool.  I guess worst case it was on sale $1.99 a lb so not a huge loss, and I still have tri-tip and the rest of the potluck stuff people are bringing.

post #4 of 17
Hopefully it all turns out, can't wait for the tri tips!
post #5 of 17

Next time hack that puppy in half. Half the time of cooking. More time in the smoker. You probably didn't get much smoke flavor in 5 hours. Hopefully you double wrapped it in foil and rested in a warm place with some liquid like apple juice to rehydrate after overcooking it.

post #6 of 17
You have no worries. 5 hours of smoke will give it plenty of flavor and 210° will make the meat a little softer, but I guarantee it'll be delicious. As for the bark, meh. I'm not a fan of biting into black cinders when I'm eating a sandwich, so I don't go for a thick crusty bark anyway.
Here's where I'll sound like a broken record if you've ever seen another of my posts. If your smoker is capable of it, get your temp up to around 300°. Your cook time will be DRASTICALLY shorter, there will be no stall, you'll end up with a crispy, caramelized crust rather than a black shell, and all this can be accomplished in the time between lunch and dinner. I get that the whole overnight cook thing and all the worrying and fussing is sort of a rite of passage...BUT IT IS SO NOT NECESSARY!
Sure, I guess it's fun sitting up all night drinking beer and fussing over your smoker. Once.
But after that, I'd rather get the damn thing smoked, enjoy eating it and get on with my life.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Here's the final pics of the tri-tip (no new thread) and the pulled pork.  The pork turned out amazing actually.  So it went in the cooler with towels stuffed around it about 9:15am and didn't come out until about 2:30 almost.  It was still around 170 degrees IT.  I had not touched it at all other than removing it from the oven in it's foil container.  I opened it up, and the pan was full of juice and the pork barely held together as I lifted it out and removed the bone.  OMG it turned out amazing.  I would have liked a bit more smoke flavor, but it was super tender and juicy.  I only need forks to "pull" it because it was still so hot.  I used a finishing sauce on it that "Chef Jimmy J" posted a while back and it definitely was worth it (have not tried a finishing sauce before and always felt something was missing).  The tri-tip had about 1:45 on the smoker on just hickory and was rubbed with SPOG.  There was two I just took a picture of one along with a pile of the pork on the serving tray.

 

 

post #8 of 17
Looks great, glad it still turned out great. That's one of the best parts with smoking, it can be very forgiving. Like others said, cutting it in half will give you more smoke surface area and cut down on time.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BombDawgity View Post

Looks great, glad it still turned out great. That's one of the best parts with smoking, it can be very forgiving. Like others said, cutting it in half will give you more smoke surface area and cut down on time.

 

Yeah I hadn't thought about cutting it in half.  I've done 5lb'ers before and they took 8-9 hours and seemed a bit dry................definitely drier than today's by a long shot.............so I was thinking I needed to get a larger chunk to get it to come out tender and juicy.  Maybe that's wrong?  If so I'll definitely chop them down next time.  I'd much rather do a 8-9 hour smoke because I can do that during daytime easy.  Definitely liking the Wicked Good WW blend lump.  After some problems with it with the pork I learned to light more and larger chunks today when I did the tri-tip.  I've only used Royal Oak lump before this and the WGWW has some absolutely HUGE chunks in it.  One piece I might need to get a sawzall and cut in half it's like 18" long and 5 inches in diameter!  Has an amazing smell too.  I hope the CA Backyard store near me continues to stock it.  I visited WG's website earlier and was happy to see they had it in stock and it was $26 for 2 bags, except that the only available shipping was $54 on top of that!!

post #10 of 17
Are the smaller ones you get boneless?
I can only speak from my experiences but I've done a few 4-5lb boneless butts and they all came out drier than my bone in butts. I usually buy around 10lb bone in butts and never have an issue with juiciness. Sometimes I foil sometimes I dont (really just depends on how much time I have) and with bone in my results are all always close, minus cooking time and bark but the wife tends to like the softer bark so I foil more now a days. Interested to see what others have to say.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdboatbum View Post

You have no worries. 5 hours of smoke will give it plenty of flavor and 210° will make the meat a little softer, but I guarantee it'll be delicious. As for the bark, meh. I'm not a fan of biting into black cinders when I'm eating a sandwich, so I don't go for a thick crusty bark anyway.
Here's where I'll sound like a broken record if you've ever seen another of my posts. If your smoker is capable of it, get your temp up to around 300°. Your cook time will be DRASTICALLY shorter, there will be no stall, you'll end up with a crispy, caramelized crust rather than a black shell, and all this can be accomplished in the time between lunch and dinner. I get that the whole overnight cook thing and all the worrying and fussing is sort of a rite of passage...BUT IT IS SO NOT NECESSARY!
Sure, I guess it's fun sitting up all night drinking beer and fussing over your smoker. Once.
But after that, I'd rather get the damn thing smoked, enjoy eating it and get on with my life.

 

Glad to see that someone other than me is finally talking about cooking at higher temps on this forum, especially to the newbies.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BombDawgity View Post

Are the smaller ones you get boneless?
I can only speak from my experiences but I've done a few 4-5lb boneless butts and they all came out drier than my bone in butts. I usually buy around 10lb bone in butts and never have an issue with juiciness. Sometimes I foil sometimes I dont (really just depends on how much time I have) and with bone in my results are all always close, minus cooking time and bark but the wife tends to like the softer bark so I foil more now a days. Interested to see what others have to say.

 

Nope I always look for bone in, although the small ones it just seems to be a small bone.  However those were pre-trimmed and packed by the butcher at the store.  When I was trying to by this large quantity for this last smoke they actually had packer sealed bags with 5-6.5lb butts with bone in.  Don't know how the bone in those would have been.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffcarter View Post
 

 

Glad to see that someone other than me is finally talking about cooking at higher temps on this forum, especially to the newbies.

 

Yeah that sounds interesting.  I'll have to try that out next time and see how it goes.  Going OT a bit, do you know if that kind of technique would still work for something like brisket or does that just flat out need the low & slow to be tender?

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyinion

 

 

 

Yeah that sounds interesting.  I'll have to try that out next time and see how it goes.  Going OT a bit, do you know if that kind of technique would still work for something like brisket or does that just flat out need the low & slow to be tender?

 

Yes it does, lots of cooks cook at temps of 275° and higher for everything, myself included(except ribs, I still cook around 250° for pork ribs.)

post #14 of 17
Well then my idea is not helpful, I'm out of guesses :-/ Honestly though ever piece of meat is different, you could do another 100 perfect before you get a dry one again. It was probably a fluke, I wouldn't change your ways if your happy with your normal outcome. I've also been experimenting with the higher temps and I haven't noticed a difference except less smoke flavor on the shorter 2hr smokes. So short ones I went back to the lower end. But I do like the quicker results of the 275-300.
post #15 of 17
Looks delicious !
post #16 of 17

Does it help to brine the butt before smoking?

Curious

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BombDawgity View Post

.... I've also been experimenting with the higher temps and I haven't noticed a difference except less smoke flavor on the shorter 2hr smokes.

 

If you want more smoke flavor use more wood. Cooking at higher temps should not effect the smoke flavor, at least it hasn't yet for me.

I sear burgers and steaks and then cook indirect at 450°-500° with one wood chunk and always get plenty of smoke flavor. 10-12 minutes in the smoke tops. YMMV.

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