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8 lb pork butt at 170 IT after just 4 hours

miklman3477

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So I am smoking 2 boneless pork butts from Costco for a total weight of 15 lbs. I'm not sure of the exact size of each but one is slightly larger.
Anyhow this is my 3rd time using a gas grill as an indirect smoker and this time I decided to use a meat thermometer to try and gauge the temp to get to 225, thermometer must've been not too accurate reading air temp because after just 4 hours, I went to stick the meat and it's reading 170 already!.
I still have 12 hours til the meat was supposed to be done but it looks like it will be done in 4.... my other concern is the pork coming out dry from cooking too fast.
I turned the temp way down on my gas grill and so far the butts have dropped about 10 degrees to 160. Any advice on what can be done to save this meat? Is it already too late and is it gonna be dry?
 

gr0uch0

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How long have they been on, and did you calibrate your thermometer in boiling water?
 

miklman3477

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Joined Nov 13, 2016
No I did not calibrate it. They have been on 8 hours now and holding steady at 160. Hopefully I can keep it in the stall for a while.
 

SmokinAl

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This is pretty normal.

They get up to the 160-170 range real fast then stall or start to slow down.

If they get done too soon you can keep them in a 170 degree oven wrapped in foil for hours until you are ready to pull them.

Al
 

seenred

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Hello miklman,

First off, I'm not sure why you believe if it cooks fast it'll be dry.  Not true.  If you cook it until it reaches an internal temp (IT) of 200-205*, it will be tender and moist.

Secondly, I wouldn't be so concerned about it getting to 170* IT so quickly...this is about the time many pork butts will hit a "stall"...this is a period when the the IT doesn't rise much (or not at all) for an hour or 2.  If that happens here, just be patient...the IT will begin rising again eventually.

Lastly, if it truly does get done hours ahead of schedule, just wrap it airtight in foil, wrap a couple old thick towels around it, and store in a dry cooler (ice chest).  It'll stay hot for several hours.  Or, you could rest it on the counter until it is cool enough to pull without burning your fingers (maybe an hour), then go ahead and pull it and store it in an airtight container in the fridge until dinner time.  Splash some liquid (I like apple juice and/or the saved drippings from the butt) over it, cover with some foil, and reheat in a 300* oven.

Red
 
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mike5051

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Red and Al have you covered Milkman.  It sounds like your butt is acting normal.

Mike
 

sundown farms

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I have seen butts go to 170 and stall. You could pull one,wrap with beef broth and finish in the oven so you know you will have one or the other to serve. But, four hours is about how long mine take to the stall. 

The one I did yesterday was in the MES for four hours and very little drippings were caught by the pan below. I pulled, wrapped tight and finished in the convection oven. When it reached an IT of 205 I easily had over a quart of drippings in the foil and the meat was very moist. Give it time to cook out the fat. 

You are smart to not trust the thermos until you have tested them. But for now relax, have an adult beverage or cup of coffee and enjoy the smell of the smoke.
 
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miklman3477

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The first one ended up reaching 205 by 15 hours and the second one made it to about 17 hours. There were definitely a few dry chunks around the edges, and the bark was very charred on top. But I attribute that to the temp being too high during the first few hours of my cook. Other than that the meat turned out great. This is still only my 3rd smoke so I'm still learning.
 

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