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16 hours for 7# butt to reach 190.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Planning on having company this afternoon, started my 7 pounder this morning about 4:30, smoker temps stayed around 225-235 most of the day, some spikes up to around 250 but not for long.

8:30 tonight I finally decided it had been long enough & pulled it, it was nearly falling apart when I pulled it, foiled it & let it set.

It looked great, but the bark was "chewy", not what I usually get & doesn't have the flavor that I usually get.

I didn't have any bourbon to make a 3/1 bourbon/apple juice spray so I used a "apple fruit punch" we had in the frige.

I thought my probe may be giving me a false reading, tested it in boiling water, 210, stirred icy water & 33 (both smoker & food probes).

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 14
You may have heard me say this before but I won't smoke a butt for more than 10 hours. If it hasn't reached 195 in ten hours I pull it out, wrap it in foil and slam it in the oven at 350 -375 until it hits 200. I honestly haven't had a bad one yet doing it like this. I would feel safe to say you could pull it at 160 - 165 and slam it in the oven to hit 200. I've done this a number of times and my butts are excellent.

Added note: If you finish off in the oven at those temps, you need to be watching it very close. It will only take an hour to an hour and a half depending on your butt. If you don't want to keep an eye on it and you have the time... set it on 200 and go to sleep.
post #3 of 14

16 hours?

Dieselrealtor, That is a long time but it happens. One reason may be that Indiana weather! At any rate it wasn't smoked long enough. Apple fruit punch, not sure about that.
What grill do you have?
post #4 of 14
The different spritz/mop may have altered the bark and flavor but not the time. It may very well have just been a "weird" butt and no matter what you did it wasn't going to come out the way you wanted. Those pieces of meat are rare but sometimes you get one
post #5 of 14
I had a similar exp while smoking a turkey. I am using a big chief, not the best, but its what I have at the present. In order for me to maintain a higher temp in this Minnesota weather, I had to wrap my smoker in 6" thick insulation. It did the job. Temp was holding at 224-240 and ended up with an internal temp on my turkey of 170 after 8 hours. Hope maybe this helps or gives you some ideas.
post #6 of 14
Try bumping the temps up to 250* & holding it between 250*-260*. I found it shaves about 1-3 hours off the smoke. Amazing that a 25* difference would be that dramatic, but it significantly cuts down the times.
post #7 of 14
Same experence here 17 hours to 195. Falling apart when it came off. I don't know about the bark yet, It is resting awaitint a good pulling. It got to safe temp within 5 hours but from 155-195 took 12 hr. Odd. Maybee it was in the Indiana weather last night.
post #8 of 14
I just did a pair of 7lb butts. One was 10 hours to 200 and the other was 11 hours. Smoked up to 165 and then put into the oven indoors for the remainder once I foiled them.
post #9 of 14
You can even go to 325 - 350 for the first few hours with no real problems (especially if you put the butt on the fire directly out of the 'fridge, which is even better for food safety and some think is better for good bark development). That's a big piece of thick muscle and the higher temps don't affect the final tenderness.

I like a good black bark (I use a sugar based slather to hold the rub) and I initally thought that a black bark is the result of an initial high temp, which is a good result if you like black bark but not very good if you want a nice mahogony color, but I've done it the other way too and have found that the bark color is about the same at the midway point and the blackness develops most in the last 3 or 4 hours regardless of whether you use an initial high temp or not. I suspect that if you absolutely have to have a mahogony "contest-approved" color, that you *do* need to go 225 for a much longer time.

Based on my experience, I've found that people freak out too much about steady temps or "temp spikes". While it's perfectly fine to use "steady temps" as a technique because it's familiar or helps with the "comfort level", the implication that it's essential for a great pulled pork is off-base (except for the above exception, of course). The main thing is to keep the temps lower in the final half of the cooking, and 250 is just fine for that. And, since most of the smoking effect is already done by that point, it's fine to finish in the oven for the last 1/2 to 2/3rd of the cooking.

Also, I don't even bother to take an internal temp until about the point where it's gone 3/4 to 1 hour per pound. First of all, this helps with the food safety issue because if you don't pierce the skin, you don't have to worry about the 4 hour rule (a big shoulder doesn't get to 140 internal temp within 4 hours a lot of the time). If you don't insert a probe, you don't have to worry about the 4 hour rule. Second, it's not going to be overcooked at that point (or even anywhere near being finished, so why bother? About the only reason to do it even at that point is to get an idea of where you stand in relation to the end. Now, I usually take a temp only at the point where I'm going to transfer it to the oven or I'm at that 1 hour per pound point if I'm going to keep it on the fire. That's the point where you bump up against the plateau anyway, so you have to be a bit patient after that point. If you have a fixed probe, it's fine to leave it in, but resist the temptation of sticking it every hour if you're using a pocket probe because you're just going to release juices and you're going to get frustrated as you sit through the plateau. For example, if I take the temp at 4 hours for a 5 lb butt (or 7 hours for an 8 pounder), it's usually only around 140 - 150. I've been erring on the side of caution, but I'm probably going to wait until well after the 1 lb per hour mark in the future. I know that it's not going to hit 190 for at least 2-3 hours, and possibly more if you have one of *those* butts that is just plain stubborn. So I won't take another temp for probably 2 or 3 hours.

All of this is based on doing a lot of temp taking in my early efforts (documented on this very forum) and at this point, I've got it down to not having to do that anymore. One thing is, I never trim fat. If someone trims a lot of fat, they might have slightly different results. Of course, I never defat at the end either because I think it makes a more succulent pulled pork. I was talking to a Q-buddy of mine yesterday about this idea of defatting at the end (his father-in-law open-pit smokes 10 butts every Friday morning at 3am for his general store's weekend BBQ offering, which sell out before Saturday afternoon) and he said, "Why would you want to do that? That's the best part". I agree, although I know that there are people who are concerned about their fat intake. And, we're both from the South so there's a certain tradition of flavor that the fat brings to the table.

The bottom line is, I wish more people would stop worrying if the temp gets over the approved 250. It's virtually a non-issue, unless you're spiking the temp in the final stages, and I'm not convinced that a short term spike would do a lot of damage anyway.
post #10 of 14
You didn't mention at what internal temp you pulled it out of the smoker. It might have been just an wierd cut you bought.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
I finally pulled it out of the smoker at 190, I put it in the oven for a short time & then decided that since it was tender enough to fall apart pulling it off the smoker then it was tender enough to eat.

The family thought it tasted great, except the bark which most of them don't like bark anyway.

I thought it tasted better the next day, but maybe I wasn't as hungry when I first tried it at about 9:30pm.

Anyhow, I started an 8 pounder today for company at about 4:00.
I did the lazy approach & set it up last night on a timer to come on at 4 this morning. Outside temps were low 30s so I wasn't worried about meat temp, one benefit to winter biggrin.gif .

Trying a spritz of aj & spiced rum.

Wish me luck.
post #12 of 14
Good luck with the shoulder. I think I would have put it on around midnight. If it got done early then it could be wrapped and coolered for a couple of hours. I would rather have it get done earlier than later.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
May have been better, but the others that I have done have been around 10-12 hours. I really didn't want to have to tend it at night by adding chunks, spraying or watching temps. I figure that I will put it in the oven at around 10 hours if it doesn't look like it is going to be ready by 5.
post #14 of 14
I have concluded that Pork Butt is the easiest thing to date I have smoked. Put it in, mind the smoke and water, go to sleep, get up go to the bathroom,, Mind the smoke and water,, go back to bed,, Get up watch some cartoons after minding the smoke and water,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Finally take it off right before lunch..... I had one go 17 hours last weekend....
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