All nighter or Not All nighter

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Original poster
Apr 16, 2006
Loveland Colorado
From the beginning of my smoking experience I've been told that pork butt should be slow cooked 18 to 20 hours. I know it's tough to keep watch on the smoker all night but to me it's worth the effort and the meat comes out great. I smoke with oak for 6 hours, then no smoke for 6 hours, then I wrap the butt in heavy foil for the last 6 or 8 hours. The whole time I try to keep the smoker at 200 to 225 degrees.
Now I have a friend that tells me that he talked to a guy that goes to contests that says smoke for 6 hours then wrap in foil for 4 to 6 hours. I've tried that and the meat pulled off the bone ok but it just didn't seem quite the same.
So what's the deal? What do you guys think is best.
Iceman asks some very valid questions, but off hand I'd say 20 hrs isn't at all necessary. Q shouldn't be cooked by time, but by internal temperature.
If you're going to wrap a butt, do it around 160* internal temp and take on up to 190 for slicing, 200 for pulling.

200-225 is ok, but you can get great results at higher temps especially with a pork butt which is quite forgiving. Don't be afraid of up to 250, a butt will do fine.

Fill in a few more blanks for us and we'll try to do the same for you.
Hey Crutch! I just got done stuffin' my face with some great butt Q 8)
I cooked mine over a combo of lump coal and cherry splits. It smoked at between 225 and 250 for 12 hours, then foiled for 1.5 hours, then coolered it for 1 hour. It was outstanding and fell off the bone :D If you go to some other threads on pork butt there's some great info. Good luck 8)

It was a 10# butt
not only what type of cooker, but how big is the cut of meat?

I've seen 6# pork butts, and 16# pork butts.

6# pork butt for 20 hours would be jerky.

More info please.

Also, focus on internal temp, not the clock.

I throw the clock out when I cook. Its all about temp
Any time I smoke a bone in pork butt, no matter what size, I cook at 225-250 and pull the roast out when I can twist the bone easily. Actually I like to see the muscles fall apart when I twist the bone. :twisted:

Sometimes I foil at the end if it looks like my roast is getting to dark, but usually I go nekkid all the way :oops: .

I don't ever remember cooking a Butt longer that 14 hours.
Lets face it, if you are new to BBQing you cook by the clock. then as you gain experience, you start to use thermometers. The all of a sudden, you can just smell, look and feel the meat and know that it is done. {still check the temp} Good que is done when it is ready to be done, there are ways to speed it along on its jorney, but all in all, if you set up the cooker the right way, the meat will know what to do, and be just fine. I generally go by the rule of thumb, 1.5 hours per pound.
Thanks for all the info. I have a smoker that was made by Louisiana Smoker, It's made out of heavy wall pipe with an offset firebox the smoking area is about 20" by 33" I can cook two 7 pound butts in it pretty easy. I can get the internal temp in the meat up to 160 but I have a hard time getting it up any higher then that. Maybe that will change if I start cooking at 250 degrees. Also got a remote control thermometer for fathers day that I'll try the next time I do a butt.
I'm open for any more help on the subject, and thanks for all the help so far.
Crutch :shock:
Crutch, it's not unusual for a butt to "hang up" at 160 or so. The temp can stay there for a couple of hours sometimes while the collagen begins to break down.
Foiling isn't essential, but will help get past the plateau and further help tenderize the meat as it cooks.
Injecting with a brine can also help reduce cooking time and increase moisture content and flavor in the finished product. Again not essential but another tool at your disposal.

Butts are relatively cheap and fun to experiment with. Cook 'em in pairs and try different techniques with each and see what you like and don't. There aren't really rights and wrongs to BBQ, just likes and dislikes, finding what you like is a big part of the fun. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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