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first attempt at pork butt

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
So, I found this site a bit late in the game -- an hour or two into my first pork butt. Seemed to work pretty well, though; I have high hopes that the next one will be better.

I'm smoking in a flower pot, which I understand is not too uncommon around here. It's electric, which conveniently gets around some prohibitions against "open flames" on my apartment balcony. As long as the wood doesn't flare up, I suppose.

So far, I've been impressed with the smoker -- not quite enough exhaust, which was a problem when I first tried smoking a chicken ("It tastes like I'm eating smoke", my wife said), but it's easy to regulate temperature and it seems to get plenty hot -- I smoked a 5lb butt in 40-degree weather yesterday, and the temperature was set near "medium".

Well, I think it was plenty hot. The catch was, the roast took a long time -- like 12 hours. It was a 5lb butt, so that seems pretty silly. I monitored temperatures with a wireless thermometer in the pork and a Taylor digital probe to measure grill temperature. But after a couple of hours the wireless unit broke, so I used the Taylor probe in the pork and the standard analog grill thermometer to monitor grill temps.

Either way, the grill was holding steady around 215 degrees, which was my target. I wrapped up the butt after 4 or 5 hours; after 7 hours I went ahead and put it in the oven because I was tired of going out into the cold to check on it.
I kept it in the oven at 235 (no oven thermometer, so perhaps temps were off there) for the next 5 hours. I moved the thermometer in the pork a couple times to make sure I was getting an accurate reading and not hitting a bone, but it didn't hit 195 degrees until 10 PM.

(taken upside-down, I think -- the fat side is up. The picture makes it look a little darker than it was)

Let me tell you, that's torture -- my wife had gotten home hours earlier and the first thing she said was, "Our house smells like a barbecue joint!". That's a good thing, coming from her. We were both starving, and smelling barbecue that was just so close -- but not quite there yet. We ate out for dinner because we felt that the pork was toying with us.

The good news was, at lunch today it was good. A little bland, actually, and bordering on mushy, but good. Last night when I pulled it I added SoFlaQuers's finishing sauce, and I'll probably add a little more next time I reheat. The rub was mainly peppers and salt. Could have used a kick, I think. My wife took some for her lunch at work, and I haven't heard her opinion yet.

So, that's a long-winded way of saying hello, and here's to many years of good barbecue ahead. And hopefully some that is done by dinnertime.
post #2 of 18
LOL... nice intro... and the finishing sauce is excellent. Welcome to the plateau- search that word.

I often do oven finishes, but I usually wait till I hit 160-ish on the smoker. Nice looking bark ya got, actually..

Welcome to SMF and your newest addiction.
On Edit: also search "cooler".
post #3 of 18
Welcome to the forum, looks like a nice job with the butt. The cooking time was probably extended due to the plateau and also the 215 degree temp. I aim for 225-250 degrees whic may not have been possible with your smoker.

As you know it's about cooking to temperature not to time. That plateau can last for half the smoke at times.
post #4 of 18
mossymo had a butt go over 20 sum hours due to the plateau

post #5 of 18
Welcome to the forum! Nice job on the butt!PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Wow, that makes me feel better.

I think I probably could hit 250...the hotplate (er...i mean Electric Smoker Thermostatic Control Unit) wasn't turned all the way up. I'll try going higher next time.

I will. I noticed the "how to roast pork butt" sticky mentioned resting in a cooler, but I got lazy -- it was late, and I didn't want to have to clean a cooler. I assumed it was for food-safety reasons, to keep the meat from dropping below 140 for too long. Which would be a good idea. I'll do a search.
post #7 of 18
I think its more for letting the juices soak back into the meat. If you have it wrapped good in foil, then wrapped in a towel or blanket, then gently placed in the cooler for 30 to 60 mins, you shouldn't have to clean your cooler afterwords.icon_mrgreen.gif
post #8 of 18
Welcome to SMF. I did my first port butt this last weekend. A 9 pounder in a MES. I put it on 235 and it cooked for about 9 hours before it hit 205, then I wrapped it, put it in the oven at 250 and it took another 2 hours, then an hour for sitting. Needless to say, it was after midnite when I was pulling it. BUT, it turned out so good. I say you did a great job for your first one.
post #9 of 18
Glad you found us........... Better late then never.......... Nice looking grub............

post #10 of 18
welcome to the site 9-30, looks like ya did pretty good for your first time with a flower pot!tongue.gif Just kidding!

Just think how good the next one will be with: a little more agressive rub /spice combo, A lttle higher cook temp, and a longer rest after your done with the chia pot, uh I mean smoker!icon_smile.gif Sounds like your pretty happy with your first attemp, I have no doubt that your next one will be twice as good, especially after spending a few hrs doing some searching/surfing on this site!

I gotta give ya some pts for using clay to make your dinner!
post #11 of 18
well, I guess not, seems I have been to spendy with my pts today, but ya got some on reserve, I'll spend em on ya tomorrow!
post #12 of 18
Welcome to SMF and congrats on the butt, looks great !!!

There is another SMF member of two that also smoke with similar clay pots (and post some good looking smokes), but for the lifeof me I can not recall their user ids..... Hopefully someone else will?
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
The terracotta doesn't have the ...er....sheer manliness of an offset firebox, does it? But it seems to do the job. For something that started out as a whim when big pots were on clearance, I'm getting pretty fond of it. It's insulated, gets plenty hot, and it's certainly cheap. The smoker cost less than some cuts of pork.

It has a capacity limit, though. I can't do more than one butt. But for future reference, I'll have to look up how to arrange a rack of ribs vertically...

Ha...chia pot. icon_biggrin.gif I like it. Thanks for the welcomes, all.
post #14 of 18
Welcome to the forumicon_exclaim.gif . Looks like a great smoke to me! Sometimes it takes longer than we expect, that's just part of smoking but usually well worth the wait. Keith
post #15 of 18
Welcome to the SMF, ninethirty, and congrats on your first smoke.
post #16 of 18
Welcome to the forum and good job on the butt. I have never heard of using pottery like that but I love it. Ingenuity is a wonderful thing, I can't believe I never saw this on McGyver.
post #17 of 18
Looks good, nice job.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
I wish I could say I thought of it. If you google "terra cotta smoker" you'll find a frightening number of hits. I believe Alton Brown on the Food Network popularized the idea.
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