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Pork Butt - Terrible

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Need advise desperately,

Very disappointed in the pork butt I attempted to smoke this weekend.  It was beyond terrible.  He's the specifics...where did I screw up?


  • 10 lb pork butt (bone in) from local meat market
    • I'm thinking it was way too big and I should have looked for a 4 lb one?
  • Trimmed fat cap, covered in mustard and then with rub. Covered with plastic wrap and in the fridge overnight.
  • Got Gas smoker fired up (see pic below).  Temp around 225 (has gaskets on the door so no heat loss there.
    • I did 'not' put water in the water tray but did put chips in the chip tray
    • I used the Amazing Smoker 'tray' and lit both ends (on bottom rack).   Possible I had too much smoke?
    • I did put an aluminum foil tray with plenty of water under the meat but over the Amazing Smoker tray (2nd to bottom rack).  It added water mid way.
    • Meat went on the middle rack.
  • I used my digital thermometer (one probe for the meat, didn't hit bone)...one probe for the smoker internal temp.
  • Smoked for 6 hours and 'tried' to keep the smoker temp as close to 225 as possible.  It seemed to swing up and down but I was monitoring close as I could to try to keep it as constant as possible.   The internal was approaching 160 but wasn't there yet.  I pulled it off because I was thinking it was getting too black?
  • Wrapped is in two layers of heavy duty foil and put in a pre-heated oven at 225 (with probe).
  • In oven for 4 hours...(10 hours of cooking time at this point).  It didn't want to get to 190 degrees so I upped the temp to 240 in the 9th hour.  Finally reached 190 degrees (it was midnight by this point, got started late due to rain in AM).
  • I let the meat rest about 30 minutes...and opened the foil.   About 4 + cups of liquid.
  • The meat internally was 'gray' like a cooked steak...wasn't light pork colored as I was expecting?
  • The meat was tuff.   Bone did not lift out.  No way could you shred it.
  • I tossed the whole thing today....


If you guys can tell me what I was doing wrong I'd appreciate it.  I am going to try again Sunday with a smaller butt.  I'm not giving up.



post #2 of 16

Don't worry about it "getting black". That's just a nice bark forming from the rub you used- you want that. Your pic looks normal.

I would cook that thing at 275 degrees & expect it to take an hour to an hour & a half per pound (probably 12 hours or so for a 10 pounder).

It should stall at around 160, especially if cooking below 275 degrees. If at that time you want to speed it up, then wrap once in foil with your apple juice, butter or what-not (I don't wrap at all). But I wouldn't wrap until I had the bark formed like I would want, either. Cooking at 275 (or higher) would minimize the stall, though & speed things up.

I don't know about the pellets, as I only use wood chips.

If you're making pulled pork, then cook until internal temp is around 205 or when you can twist or wiggle the bone right out cleanly.

I do a 30-45 minute rest wrapped in foil after hitting the 205 & before pulling it apart.

I also do not use water in the pan. My MES 30 is small enough that the meat will produce more than enough humidity inside the cooking chamber.

Also- remember the more you open the door, the more time you're adding to the total cook for heat recovery.

Hope I was of SOME help here.

Don't give up.



post #3 of 16
Myself.. I don't think you need all that smoke... ether just the chip tray or the pellet's.. but not both ... you say you pulled it out of the oven at 190`.. that temp is good for slicing but not to pull it.... as mentioned above.. 205` for pulling.. I also don't think you need to go a smaller butt ether... I do not trim the fat cap ether as this helps to keep meat moist... I do cut cross hatches in the fat cap tho and put rub down in the cuts.. maybe some nice pieces of garlic as well....

Try it again only next time starting really early (5 am or so),,, cook to in IT of 205` before pulling to rest in cooler ...
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply.

Is there a reason the meat was gray color internally throughout? I would have thought light brown with a smoke ring?
post #5 of 16

It was tough because it was definitely not cooked long enough.  In my WSM I aim for 203-205F IT.  If the bone don't wiggle or a fork go in it like butter, keep smoking!


Black?  Yeah, they get that way.  They don't always come out a nice mahogany color.  Black as a meteorite is not unusual.   


You didn't say how it tasted.  Did it taste like licking an ashtray?  Have a bitter taste?  Or just smoke? 


Gray meat?  Pork is not graded like beef is, but color plays a big part in how pork is priced and distributed, or so I've read.  Once cooked I've seen reddish, pinkish, white, gray, and a combination of all the above in one cut of pork.  The color doesn't impact the flavor, just the visual appeal.


Unless it tasted REALLY bad and tainted, like a bad piece of meat, taste the insides.  If it is fine you can always cut away the outer layer, rinse it off then salvage it in the oven, slow cooker, or stovetop.   


You weren't that far off.  Next time will be perfect!      

post #6 of 16

190F internal temp was too low.  I take mine to 203F.  No foil, nothing.  I budget 2.25 hours / lb.  Set it and forget it.

post #7 of 16

Agreed, you might have more than enough smoke.  Probably chips or pellets would suffice. 

- trimming cap usually not needed unless VERY thick. You can always trim it off prior to pulling/serving.

- foil or not, your choice, BUT keep it going until approx 203-205° before you pull it. In a time crunch? Once at the stall, foil it, with probe in tact, put in an aluminum disposable pan and place in oven at 300°. Keep a close eye on temp.

- when done LET IT REST! IMO, at least 2 hours. Wrap in multiple beach towels or place in a cooler with some towels at bottom and one on top.


PM me if you want a good starter BUTT recipe/process.


Good luck this coming weekend!



post #8 of 16

Most of what has been said above, I agree with.


Most important was too much smoke. If you aren't careful it's easy to get too heavy a smoke from chips, even without the AMNPS. As for the AMNPS---I have only ever lit both ends of mine once, and it was too thick, so I snuffed the one end out.


Also Mine usually end up between 203° and 208° IT.


So try using a lighter smoke (not heavy). Many hours of light smoke is good, but even a short time of heavy smoke can be Bad!!


And take it to about 205° IT, or when the bone pulls out easily.


Here's some info on Butts:

Pulled Boston Pork Butt        



post #9 of 16
Last 3 butts....310*, about 45 minutes a pound. No stall....no foil until the rest. Have yet to take my butts over 198*, all started to self pull when lifting out of the Egg. Very juicy and tender...
post #10 of 16

I just watched Aaron video again.  He said that once you can lift the butt with your bare hands, then its rested long enough, otherwise it will dry out the second you start pulling it.  I think I made this mistake this past weekend.  I started pulling it while it was too hot.  Good tip. 

post #11 of 16
Another thing, if you don't want a super black bark, don't use a rub it sauce that has sugar in it. The sugar is the main reason the bark turns black. I typically only rub with salt pepper garlic onion chipotle. Get a great bark, not burnt.

Have you tested your therms to make sure they are accurate? Even at 190, you should've been able to shred some of the meat.

As for smoke did you have TBS (thin blue smoke) or white grayish smoke. You should barely be able to see the smoke.
post #12 of 16
The experts here have covered everything except for one....

Don't through meat away because it is dry , tough, or too smokey!

Make other stuff with it! I use pulled pork all the time for spaghetti, chilli, tacos, Shepard's Pie, barley/vegetable soup and bean soup. If it's tough, use it in sauces and soup you simmer a long time, or, as I do, fix in the ptrssure cooker. You will never notice dryness or over smoked flavor in these dishes. Lots of other uses if you think about it. Heck, it cheaper than hamburger, tastes better, and it better for you! I'll smoke a butt and freeze in one pound batches just to cook with. I've even used it with hamburger helper!
post #13 of 16

I dont know Steve.  That sausage I made over the weekend was a disaster hahahahaahah!

post #14 of 16
Originally Posted by mummel View Post

I dont know Steve.  That sausage I made over the weekend was a disaster hahahahaahah!

Chop it up in the food processor and add it to a meatloaf. :biggrin
post #15 of 16
Google the renowned Mr Brown. Follow that recipe. I don't know what steaks you're eating that are gray inside but I'd probably throw it out too.
On second thought the meat next to the bone can have a strange color, cook a boneless one next time. Should be pink and red all through.
post #16 of 16
Originally Posted by valleypoboy View Post

Google the renowned Mr Brown. Follow that recipe. I don't know what steaks you're eating that are gray inside but I'd probably throw it out too.
On second thought the meat next to the bone can have a strange color, cook a boneless one next time. Should be pink and red all through.

I believe the OP was doing a Boston Butt... not steaks ...
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