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WTF???? 3rd pulled pork attempt...

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Hey all....Im hoping someone out there can help me salvage my sanity.

Right now I am on my 3rd attempt at pulled pork. Also, my 3rd smoking attempt with the 36" master forge from lowes, first smoker ever.

This is also the 3rd time now I have failed to cook pulled pork. For some reason I cant get it cooked!

This time its a 4 pounder with bone. Cooking at between 220 and 250 using a probe thermo through wood block literally right next to meat (verfied accuracy with 2 thermos in boiling water). I put it on at 11:30am and it is now 8:00pm. Going on 9 hours and it is only at 160*F! This happened the other 2 times also.....

What in the world is going on? I have read all the basics, primers, stickies, and a few books (which all say 1.5 - 2 hrs per pound). This is mighty discouraging!

Thanks for any insight!
post #2 of 46
I am sorry for your troubles. You are almost there. 5 more degrees, then you can pull it & foil that puppy to either go back on the smoker until 195 - 205 or just drop in a cooler for a couple of hours. An hour at least. I thought I read or heard somewhere that those models don't hold heat well. Someone with more info will be along to correct me or back me up. Hang in there bud!!! Have another cold one, no matter what it is, soda, water, beer, tequila, etc.

P.S. You could also finish in the oven if necessary.
post #3 of 46
Don't sweat it bro, it's all a tasty learning process. I had the same troubles when I started off. Butts are tricky but once you get it, you got it. I usually plan for 12hrs when smoking a butt. I'm usually doing a 8-9 lber too. So figure on 10-12hrs at 225-250. Good luck & try to enjoy it, even if it isn't perfect.
post #4 of 46
It might have stalled out. Butts tend to do that every once in awhile then all of sudden the temp shoots up like crazy. Usually happens a couple times per butt smoke for me. With the foil time added, I usually end up between 10-12 hours for a medium size butt. Those things take patience. Just gotta wait it out...then foil 'er up! Good luck!
post #5 of 46
Thread Starter 
I guess I am confused. It is only 4 LBS. why would it take 10-12 hours like an 8 lb butt?

I actually have to pitch it since I have to leave in an hour. I thought giving myself 10 hours was plenty of time!!!!

Its the second time I have put all this work in only to have to throw it out because it is not cooked and wont finish. icon_neutral.gif
post #6 of 46
Throw it out?! Can't you just foil it and come back later or foil it and freeze it? That's a lot of awesome meat to just throw out!

Anyway, with all the butts I've made, it's always between 10-12 hours no matter how big the butts have been, at least for me.
post #7 of 46
For the love of all that is smokey, don't pitch it!!!!!!! Throw that puppy in the oven. Give it a proper burial!!
post #8 of 46
160 degrees - you should NOT pitch it. Throw it in the fridge and reheat it in the oven.
The "problem" with BBQ is it's done when it's done. You can't rush it. If you are going to cook, allow way more time then you think like 4 hours more then you think it will take. If it's done sooner, wrap it in foil and a twoel, then throw it in a dry cooler. Don't get discouraged, practicing is half the fun.
post #9 of 46
Don't give up, I agree on allowing more time. The end result is way worth it
post #10 of 46
What she said. PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif

It usually takes me 9 hours to do 4.5 pound butts on my UDS. I usually start them at 6 am. If they finish before dinner, they go in the cooler with some towels.

post #11 of 46
Don't throw it out put it in a ziplock bag or foil it then when you get back home double wrap it in foil and put it in the oven at 250 degrees and let it come on up to 200 internal then put it in a warm dry cooler for at least an hour and then pull it.
post #12 of 46
Thread Starter 
Funny thing is, I gave 4 more hours than I thought it would take. UGH! Are you saying I should put it in the fridge at 165 then cook it tomorrow the rest of the way? Wouldnt it taste funky? I have only 1 more hour here.
post #13 of 46
I know this doesn't sound right but I often find the smaller cuts take just as long or longer than a larger cut. It seems every time I try a small cut whether it be a butt or a chuck roast the plateau times are crazy. On the next one I would suggest running the smoker at 250 the whole time the butt will be fine at that temp and should help speed things up a bit
post #14 of 46
Thread Starter 
Im not trying to second guess anyones advice here, but, has anyone else out there cooked a 4'ish LB butt and how long does it take??

I HAVE to figure out if I am doing something wrong. If I say its just the way it is and I am in fact doing something wrong, I will never correct the issue!
post #15 of 46
It takes as long as it takes. That's just the way it works. What's good for me, at my area, with my smoker is different from what will work for you. Hell, what works for me today, may not work tomorrow. But, the meat will always tell me when it's done.
post #16 of 46
I have come to the conclusion that there are 2 factors that influence the amount of time that it takes to cook a piece of meat.. Pounds and thickness.

When it comes right down to it, it is the thickness that matters more than the weight. Usually a large weight transcribes to a lot of thickness but not always and this is something that a lot of folks don't pay attention to.

When I am shopping for meat, I look at the thickness just as much as the weight because this affects the time it will take to cook/smoke.

I have not seen this 4 pound butt but I have a feeling that it is thicker than most 4 pound butts.

There are also pieces of meat that are just plain ol' tough and it just takes longer no matter what.

I can't believe I am saying this but I am almost tempted to tell you to throw that baby in the crock pot while you are gone. I think it would be a good save with less loss of moisture than a complete recook later... just my opinion.

At any rate, don't throw it away!! I am gonna have nightmares tonight about thaticon_rolleyes.gif
post #17 of 46
First time...8# butt. Took 6 hours, 4 9 pounders at one time took 13 hours. I knew to open the smoker and grab it when the internal temp hit my target number. Not before...

as said above - it takes as long as it takes. Line up 10 people with the same weight meat and they will all be at different times. All meat is not the same - each cow, pig, whatever lives a different life than the one next to it.

It does not sound like you are doing anything wrong other than trying to cook via time instead of temp.

Don't give up!!!
post #18 of 46

Keep at it

Don't throw out good meat, I'm new to the smoking world also, and so far what I've learned from the fine folks at smf is priceless. Listen to what these people are telling, I'm sure most of them have been where you are, when they started also. Smoke some ribs next week, just to rebuild your confidence, and remember, nothing in life ever goes as we plan, but that's life, and that's how we learn, there is science involved in cooking, but mostly it's an art, so keep on keeping on. points.gif
post #19 of 46
Crazy isn't it, i just got done smokeing 2 pork butts, and here is the crazy deal about today's smoke. I had a 10lb butt and a 8 pound butt. OK, the 10 lb butt took 14 hrs to get it to 195-200 degrees, the 8 pound took, get this 16 hrs, both were smoked at 225 all day long, and was put on the smoker at the same time. I think what your are having trouble with, is that your pork is hitting a stall, and the fat needs to render and melt, then your temps will go up. Hang in there you will get the hang of it.

post #20 of 46
I have had this happen a couple smokes ago. I had 2 stuburn pork butt's in the 7 lbs. range and they had less marbling then I normally like. it was all that Costco had.

Not sure what your pork butt's looked like when it started but Jeff above was right. tougher meat, less marbling and thickness all play a big role. Try and forget the time thing and go only by temperature. If it takes 16 hours give it 16 hours and beat the thing!

When doing pork butts get a good marbled one and give yourself an entire day and evening next time. When you nail it it will be one sweet victory that will be amazing.
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