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New guy with questions on Boston butt

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm smoking a Boston butt and two chickens this weekend for some family and friends.

I have a Brinkmann vertical gasser that I've used several times before but never for an audience. The timing has me a bit nervous. I'd like to have food out by 4:30 with plenty of time to eat before losing daylight around here.

The butt is 10.5 lbs and my previous attempts with picnic shoulders took about 1.75 hrs/lb. I'm looking at anywhere from 15 to 20 hours to smoke this thing.

I'd like to get it out of the smoker around 1pm so I can put the chickens in at 350* for a nice crispy skin.

I can start it at 6pm the night before, but if I'm at the low end of the cook time it could be finished Saturday morning.

That's a long time in a cooler, which will most likely be re-purposed for ice/beer later in the day.

What are my other options to keep this thing warm?

I can pull it and put it in a large crockpot on the warm setting, or I have a kitchen stove with a warmer drawer that does a good job for such things.

Or is it better to keep it wrapped in foil in the warmer draw and pull at the last minute?

Or should I put the chickens in with the butt at 225* and just cook them for 4 hours, rubbery skin and all.

What do the experts think?

post #2 of 12
I did a couple of butts a couple of weeks ago. They were Smoked to 190 and then wrapped an placed in the cooler for 4hrs. Actually took them to my sisters across town. After 4hs off the heat they were still too hot to pull without thermal gloves. You should be fine.
post #3 of 12
There are several ways you could do it. You could leave it foiled and place it in the warmer and pull just before serving. You could smoke the chickens for about 3 hours and 225 then put them onto a hot grill or into the oven at about 350 to finish them and crisp the skin. 3.5 hours in a cooler foiled and wrapped in a towel shouldn't be any problem either. Whatever method you choose good luck with your smoke
post #4 of 12
Here is what I would do. Start the butts at 9 PM the night before. That gives you 15 hours till noon the next day, allowing yourself up to 4 hours resting in a cooler. I double wrap in foil and wrap with a beach towel, put in the cooler and fill the cooler with towels. I've pulled them out over 5 hours later and still smokin hot. If it's getting done faster than expected, drop your temp on the smoker and if you haven't already wrapped in foil... wrap it. It's impossible to get a butt to smoke faster and still be low and slow but you can get it smoking slower once you have passed the 140 degree mark.

If your butt hasn't hit the 200 degree mark when your ready to put the chicken on... put it in the oven set on 200 degrees. As long as it is foiled it isn't going to dry out on you in the amount of time your talkin. If your gettin really close to dinner time and it's just not gettin there.... bump the temp up to as high as 275. Your not gonna hurt anything. I've finished them off in the oven when I've run out of time at 325 and they were great. This lets you put the chicken in your smoker at the temp your wanting to smoke it at. I'm thinkin your gonna be ok startin the butts anytime between 9 and midnight. Should be no problem.

I would also suggest keeping your smoking temps close to 250 on the butts. I've honestly never spent 20 hours smokin a butt. I smoke a whole pig in 16 hours. Keep the door shut and resist the temptation to look at it.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone!

I think I'll take PignIt's advice and start at 9pm @ 250. My temps were probably a bit too low on my first attempts. 20 hours on a butt does seem a bit excessive now that I think about it. I hadn't thought about finishing in the oven as a backup. Thanks for that tip!

When it comes to peeking, I'm guilty as charged. It'll be mostly overnight this time, so aside from a couple of scheduled checks to fill the water pan and add a few wood chunks, the door should remain closed.

Thanks for the advice, and I'll let you know how it goes.
post #6 of 12
bwd, PignIt gave you some excellent advice. In this case the oven/warming drawer can be your friend.

Let us know how it goes and take pics. You know what Bubba says-No pics; didn't happen!!biggrin.gif
post #7 of 12
Well i have a vertical gasser as well and just did a 10.4lb butt today....i put it in at 5am and the temp stayed at 250 the whole time....i checked the internal temp at 11:45am and it was at 170....i was amazed...i foiled it and let it go....i figued it would stall any time.....well i checked it again at 2:30pm and it was at 210....all the way to 210 in 8.5hrs.....i have no clue?
post #8 of 12
What Jerry said will work for you.
post #9 of 12
I would just smoke it as usual and you can double foil it and put it in the coolerand let it set there for ( I've had them in a coolerfor up to 8-9 hours and the thermometer was still reading 95*) so you can leave them in the cooler for a while just make sure that you have the cooler full to the hilt with towels. On the other hand you since you have an audience do like piney said and put it in the warmer draw and then pull it and put it onto a hot grill and then your guest will be able to see the big hunk of meat believe me they will like it then youcan ser the outside and then pull it. Good Luck with your indeiver.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the advice. There are a few options I didn't know I had.
post #11 of 12
The butt will stay a good long time time in the cooler. As long as the internal temps stay above 140 you are fine. I've had butts in a cooler all day and they were still way above 140.
post #12 of 12
PignIt is right on! I like his thinking and his style!
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