My first pulled pork

Discussion in 'Pork' started by firewife, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. firewife

    firewife Fire Starter

    Hi everyone,

    I'm an ameuter smoker looking to tackle my first pulled pork on the smoker.  I'm using a green mountain pellet smoker.

    -Should I get a pork shoulder or pork butt?  What size/weight?

    -What time/temps do you recommend for the smoke and cook time?

    -What finish temp am I shooting for and how much carryover cooking time should I take in to consideration?

    Thanks :)
  2. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hello...welcome to SMF. GMG's are pretty should have an easy time. I prefer butts, less skin and smaller interior bone. However, picnics (as shoulders are called) are less $$. 250 degree is pretty normal for smoking butts...some have been going higher for a fast & furious route but many here stay 'low & slow'. You are shooting for an IT of 200-205 for the butt to pull nicely. You can pull off at 200 IT, wrap in foil and a old towel, then stick in a cooler or the microwave to allow to rest for an hour or so (recommended) so the juices reabsorb back into the meat and the temp will climb another 5 degrees or so. I always figure 2 hours per pound, allowing for differences in muscles and the 'stall' so as not to be frazzed at the last minute waiting for the pig to be done as guests mill around. Allow yourself enough time, enjoy the experience and the meal....HTH, Willie
  3. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    Pork shoulder and "pork butt" are really the same thing.  The boston butt is just a cut of the pork shoulder, and is the most common cut used for pulled pork.  People just sometimes refer to the boston butt as a pork butt.

    Lot's of different opinions on the temp.  225 degrees is a very common temp and you can expect around  1.5 hours per pound at this temp.  A lot of folks will run higher temps for faster cook times, including myself.  I do a boston butt at 280-300 degrees.  My personal opinion is that it yields an end product that is just as moist and tender, and it only takes around 1 hour per pound.

    Either way, you get the picture.  The higher temp you go with, the faster it will cook.  I wouldn't suggest going above 300 degrees.

    I'd suggest shooting for a finish temp around 200 degrees IT meat temp.  Wrap it in foil or butcher paper, set it in a cooler wrapped in a towel for about an hour, and it will just fall right apart when you are ready to pull.

    Good luck!

    Also, most any wood is good for pulled pork, but I do have my favorites.  (in order):

    1. Hickory

    2. Pecan

    3. Cherry

    4. Oak
  4. firewife

    firewife Fire Starter

    Thanks guys.  Do you smoke first at a lower temp or just use 225-250 for the entire cooking time?
  5. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    I smoke the same temp all the way through.  I'm of the belief that consistency in temp and cooking conditions helps turn out better meat.

    Willie is right - 250 is probably a good temp for you to start at.  I smoke at 280-300 but its because I've learned how to control my pit and make sure that it does NOT jump any higher.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
  6. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks like you are getting some good advice. I do my butts at 240 F but I have had them take from 1.5 hours a pound to 2.5 hours a pound depending on foiling or not foiling. Give yourself lots of time. It is not done until it is about 200-205 F. Just to mess you up, I slightly prefer picnics to butts. It's all about personal preference. The good news is you will like both!

    Make sure you check out Chef Willies sauces for butts.

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
  7. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Everyone makes good suggestions, there is a 100 different ways to do it and each is good. me I do 220 degrees and pull at 203 its like my magic goodness number. I figure 2 or 2 1/2 hours per pound cause I don't use the Texas crutch.  I usually buy the biggest butt I can, normally a crypopack with both pieces. If I put it on today at 220, I figure it will be ready tomorrow about the same time, give or take a couple a hours.

    All ways work, my suggestion/tip is to cook it a day ahead! That way no matter what the prk does to you its a no strain. I prefer it that way because you can use a little finishing sauce after pulling, and allow it to sit over night and its soooooo much better. Seriously.

    The thing about butts is the pigs never learned to tell time. My last butt, 9/10 pound butt was done in 13 hours! I don't know how or why it happened, but it did. What I am saying is butts are like women, everytime you think you have 'em all figured out them mess with your head!

    Seriously, I highly recommend smoking the day before cooking, adding sauce and resting over night. serve the next day in a crock pot add a touch more finishing sauce if needed before serving. Its the only way to do a butt! However you decide to do it.
  8. downtownbrown

    downtownbrown Newbie

    Be sure to mind the plateau.  Your pork will quit climbing at around 160-165 - your thermometer is not broke, you just have to wait it out.  This is due to the fat and collagen breaking down/rendering.  Enjoy!!!
  9. I also am going to do a butt this weekend for the first time. Need it for Sunday at about 5 pm and was gonna put it on at 2 or 3 am. Now I'm second guessing my start time. It's a 9 pounder no bone. Should I put it on Saturday night like 6 or 7 pm ??? Smoking it on a WSM 18.5 any suggestions welcome and thank you in advance.
  10. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would have to agree with Foamheart. Do it earlier and reheat. Much more relaxed and way easier.

  11. firewife

    firewife Fire Starter

    Here goes. 5.5 pound boneless butt. Marinated last night in apple juice, water, brown sugar, salt, soy sauce and worcheshire. Put on the GMG at 7:15 am at 250. I put the fatty side up... Is that right? Now... To mop, or not to mop?
  12. I don't mop.....I leave my Smokin-It smoker closed the whole time as it holds moisture in so well.   I put mine in fat side up as well but there are some that do fat side down.  Your choice.  I smoke my Butts at 240-250 and pull at 202 of so then rest.  

    More pics please [​IMG]
  13. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I put the fat side up and  don't mop. I have sprayed with apple juice once in a while but I don't think it added much. Do you intend to foil the butt or go unfoiled?

  14. Looking good! I'm doing a 9.5 pounder tonight gonna start at about 4 am for Sunday evening dinner. I'll post some pics of the progress. This will be my first butt smoke as well.
  15. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I do put mine on at a lower heat, 230 but many use 250 with great success. The key is to give it time to get over 200 F internal temperature if you want to pull the pork.
  16. Looks good so far. Keep the pics coming. 

    Remember patience.

    Happy smoken.

  17. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If ya have good temp regulation on your smoker, basically have played with it enough to know where your vents need set to maintain your temp.... I'd toss that butt on tonite.... Butts take a lot of patience, beer ( if that's your thing) & time.... Remember ya will have the stall that can last a couple hours, sometimes longer..... Then after the butt is done, the rest is very important too.... Hope this helps, just my 2 cents !

    BTW, doing pulled pork for a neighborhood party tomorrow at 2:00 & tossed it on the smoker this morning at 10:00.... Just want to not press the time & start it plenty early.... It's great warmed up too !
  18. Thanks ! Patience I have and beer as well. I'm gonna have to be kept no an eye on it's temp because I'm not sure how the smoker is gonna maintain temp. I can only go off of other people's experience with the same smoker. I have a couple friends that have a WSM as well so as of now my confidence is high. I'll post some pics.
  19. firewife

    firewife Fire Starter

    Well, seeing as how I'm 28 weeks pregnant I should probably pass on the beer :( *sob*

    Just checked it. IT at 153. Decided to give it a mop of bourbon and apple cider. Continuing the 250 cook temp. Any guesses how long she has left?

  20. firewife

    firewife Fire Starter

    Oh and I had to re- load pellets just now, too. Good to know in case I ever do one over night. I'm using Hickory per chef Willie.

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