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2 Butts, Too Long

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I did two 8 lb. Boston Butts in my Propane Smoke Vault over the weekend -and I mean weekend - started them at 9 on Friday night and didn't take them out until 6pm on Saturday. I used a Redi-Chek thermometer and kept the temps between 210-250 with 225 as the ultimate target. Never could get the meat temp above 178 degrees. With company coming I finally had to take them out and let them sit for ~ an hour before pulling them apart. Now, mind you, they tasted good, pulled apart relatively easy, nice bark, but was hoping I didn't have to spend so much time separating out the fat. I would have thought so much time cooking would have rendered almost all the fat. Is that not a realistic expectation? Has anybody else had to go far beyond the 1.5 hour/lb guideline?
I guess the obvious solution is to try to keep the smoker between 225 and 260. I found the ribs I did the previous weekend were less fatty and much more flavorful. Comments would be most appreciated. Thanks.
post #2 of 11
my first suggestion would be to smoke at 240-250, even 260 wouldn't be out of line - toward the end, after the plateau, i see no reason why you cna't bump it up a little more if company is coming. i would never go over 300, but i see no problem with getting close to it for a little while toward the end.

some more experienced folks will come along and offer better advice, but that seems like a awfully long time ~
post #3 of 11
I do 250 to 275º for smoker temp. Did you foil? Once you get into the 160º internal range, if time is short, spritz and foil. You'll see your internal temps improve greatly.
I have actually foiled and put the temp up towards 300º +. No problems
post #4 of 11
Have you checked the thermo on the smoker thats a long time for two butts I think most of us have had a butt plateau for a weird amount of time but for two to do it during the same smoke is very odd.
post #5 of 11
I hear ya...that's a long time!

Last Sunday, the 7th, I was doing pulled pork for a going away party of around 30 - 40 people. Kroger had the whole picnics on sale for 88 cents a pound! Now, I normally prefer the Boston Butt/shoulder cuts, but they were $1.39/lb, plus the butcher had cut some of the picnics in half (probably thinking the smaller cuts might move faster) so I bought 3 picnic halves - only about 5-6 lb.s each.

I hit "the stall" at around 150° of so, and 2 hours later my temps hadn't moved ONE degree...finally, I cranked it from 240 to 270 and eventually got the internal temps to 180, where I then foiled and coolered for 30 - 40 min. before I HAD to pull it otherwise I was gonna miss the party!

The finished product was a little hard to pull, and it was very dry compared to my usually fabulous pulled pork tongue.gif

I never did foil until I pulled them off...

Here is my take, Guiness:

#1 - it IS ok to run a little hotter than 250°. The other replies are correct, I've done it and it works well IF you do this too

#2 - Foil after the internal is 165. Because I was doing smaller cuts, I thought I'd get to my 190° target a little faster, which is the only reason I didn't foil on my last cook. I won't ever do that again - foil is your friend

#3 - Most important. Take the foiled butts and put them in the cooler with the old towels...like everyone talks about here. If you leave them in at least an hour, they will be so tender AND the fat will be super-easy to remove once you go to pull. That cooler/towels/resting stage really works well. The time BEFORE this last cook - a few weeks ago - I did everything by the book (foil @ 165, take it to 190 or so, cooler for at least an hour) and it was by far the best pulled pork I had ever tasted and the nasty stuff was EASY to remove from the meat.

Good luck!
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
The Redi Chek remote thermometer was pretty close to the one on the face of the smoker. I'm doubtful they were both off though I'll do a test.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions. I've read a couple books by some barbeque purists that discourage the use of foil - ("you're braising/roasting not barbequeing"" so I've tried to achieve the desired temps without it. However, from these posts and others I've read, it does seem to work well so in addition to bumping up the temps, I'll give it a go on the next smoke.
Again, thanks for the comments. Trying different methods makes this hobby interesting.
post #8 of 11
Yeah....that's what makes this hobby so great - the debate over methods!

For example, I think using an electric or propane smoker is fine...but then again, when it comes to the ORGINS of bbq...I doubt there were any such devices back then! So would a bbq "purist" poo-poo on the idea of using a MES or a GOSM?!? Maybe so, but screw 'em...do what works for ya!

Foiling is a similar debate. Personally, I'm with you...I try to not use the foil and braise the meat, but if you've smoked the damn butt for 9 hours, you REALLY aren't breaking any "rules" as far as I'm concerned.

I quickly got over what the so-called "purists" have to say, as long as my finished product has great smoke flavor, is moist, has a nice smoke ring, good bark....and has all the neighbors drooling tongue.gif

My final thought would be, you CAN skip the foil...but you need to cook at 250 - 270°, and then you need to let the meat rest a LONG time after it hits temp...in order for the magic to happen as far as the fat separating, etc.
post #9 of 11
>>>Personally, I'm with you...I try to not use the foil and braise the meat, but if you've smoked the damn butt for 9 hours, you REALLY aren't breaking any "rules" as far as I'm concerned.<<<

i tend to try to be a purist too, but there is some wisdom to that statement! i've never foiled (except after it's reached "finished" temperature) and lean toward traditional myself.

>>>you CAN skip the foil...but you need to cook at 250 - 270°, and then you need to let the meat rest a LONG time after it hits temp...in order for the magic to happen as far as the fat separating, etc.<<<

anohter good bit of wisdom here. i would say to try this if you want to keep the "foil-less" theme - i've smoked at 250 with no problems and frankly prefer it ebcause i beleive some very magical flavors happen at that range that you just won't see at 225.
post #10 of 11
Yes, agreed all the way, and then some! PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #11 of 11
I agree with Tas. It seems like the fat renders out better at temps closer to 250° than 225°. It doesn't seem like there is any huge benefit from smoking briskets, ribs, and butts at 225° the whole time as opposed to 250° or even higher towards the middle or end of the smoke. Smoking in the lower ranges just seems to prolong the process and increases the possiblility of drying out the meat.

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