1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Boneless vs. bone-in pork butt smoke times

Discussion in 'Pork' started by otis857, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. otis857

    otis857 Smoke Blower

    Greetings all,

       I'm smoking my first Pork butts this weekend for a party Sat. night. I picked up a 2 pack at Costco for a good price and am going to try my hand at it. These are boneless butts, and most of the threads I have read recommend bone-in. I have already trimmed off the excess fat, coated with mustard and rub, and they're in the fridge now.

    My question is, how long are the cook times for a boneless vs. a bone in butt? A bone-in butt is quite a bit thicker chunk of meat than the boneless butt. I've read to allow 1.5 hrs per pound @ 225 for bone-in, is it significantly less for boneless? These are 7 lb butts, so I don't want to screw up and overcook 14 lbs of meat!! [​IMG]
  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do you have a digital probe that you can put into the butt to know when it is done? If you have a probe you won't have to worry about over cooking or under cooking the meat. 1.5 hours per lb is a rough estimate on time and the only way you will know for sure when it is done is by knowing the internal temp.

    I'm trying to remember if I have ever done a butt without a bone and I don't think I have. I don't know if they would differ that much.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  3. richoso1

    richoso1 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi there, looks like you've got a good sized smoke coming up. I would not recommend cooking by time, that will only give you a  somewhat ball park figure, and can create a possiblilty for an error. If you go by internal temps, you can't go wrong. This won't be too hard if the butts are pretty much the same weight. You didn't mention if you were going to slice or pull the meat, this can change the total amount of time to smoke the meat. When using an internal meat probe, be sure that it has been calibrated before use. It's all good my friend.
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Bone-in is best...better flavor and the bone acts as a doneness indicator due to pull-back of the meat from the bone end (shrinkage). Bone-in can also be treated as intact whole muscle meats (if not injected or tampered with) in which the guidelines for safe cooking are much more forgiving than non-intact meats.

    Being de-boned you need to follow the 41-135*/4 hr internal temp guideline (danger zone, used to be 40-140*).

    Time shouldn't change a huge amount being boneless vs bone-in on ~7lbrs...not enough to factor into the equation, IMO.

    Internal temps are the best indications, but probing with a small blunt object to check tenderness is the best final check. 200* plus for pulled pork from a shoulder cut such as the boston.

    The best part about pulled pork is when you foil/wrap/rest, you can build-in a time cushion with the resting period before pulling. If you get it done early, just let it rest a bit longer before pulling. If it runs an hour or two later than you planned, you can let it rest that much less before pulling. I've rested my shoulder cuts anywhere from 2-5 hours and they all pulled just fine as long as my finished temps were over 200* and they probed tender before I rested them.

    Don't worry about screwing it up...pulled pork is actually one of the easiest smokes I've ever done. Other than taking a long time in the smoker, that is (I've had 8-9lbrs take over 15 hours to reach 200*).

    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
    smokinstevo27 likes this.
  5. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here's my opinion.

    If I had a party scheduled for Sat night, I would have those butts in the smoker cooking by 5 am.

    You can let  them rest in the cooler for a long time if you have to.

    Have fun!

  6. xjcamaro

    xjcamaro Smoking Fanatic

    My last couple pulled pork smokes have been with boneless butts. I follow the same 1.5 per lb estimate (not to actually cook by but to get a rough estimate of when i should start them). I usually add about 2-2.5 hrs on top of that. 1 hr for the rest in the cooler. And the other 1-1.5 hrs just as a precaution (if you are done early, it can rest in the cooler longer without loosing that much temp). But again, i cook to certain temps not by time, i simply use that to get a rough estimate of when i should start it if i know im going to want to eat it at a certain time.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm with everyone else here and say that you need to smoke by temp and not time. You will need a couple af probe thermometers thou. Now I would also recommend you buyu the bone-in butts for they are cheaper. Also the bone will pull right out after you are finished smoking it anyway. Heck if you see the shoulders they are usaully even cheaper then the butts. I use them all the time.
  8. otis857

    otis857 Smoke Blower

    Thanks gang,

       I have a digital thermometer and will rely on that for correct temps. I was looking to see if I can start them later or about the same time. Im going to go for pulled pork and use the formulas mentioned here and other sites about smoking @225 until they hit 160 degrees, spritzing every hour, and foil them when they hit 160 with more apple juice until they hit 190-200, rest for at least one hour and pull them. Given that they are large hunks of potential pulled goodness, Im guessing they should be in the smoker by 5 am for a 5:30 pm party. Surprisingly, I picked up these boneless butts at Costco for cheaper (1.75/lb) than I could find them bone-in at the local grocery stores. And I've never been disappointed with Costco meat here in Phoenix.

    Wish me luck on my first Pork Butts! My Camera shot craps, but I'll see how good I can do with a cell phone and try to get up a Q view.
  9. gene sunstrom

    gene sunstrom Newbie

    ​I do have a digital temp probe so I will be able to determine when it is ready, it would be nice to have a guesstimate per pound to know about how many hours to start smoking before dinner.
  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I've had 8lbrs take anywhere from 18-24+ hours to probe tender @ 200+* I/T running @ ~220* smoke chamber temp and no foiling. Some smoke their PP @ 250-275*...just seems too fast to get tender, IMHO. I tried hot & fast pork shoulder once. It wouldn't pull because the collagen didn't have enough time to melt...so we had chopped pork for dinner.

    Figure on 2+ hrs/lb, though...and maybe add a couple hours to that.

  11. wellsatl

    wellsatl Newbie

    Why don't we just answer his question rather than telling him he needs to use a thermometer? He might be just trying to get an idea of the time he needs to allow. I use a thermometer (3 or 4 actually), but to answer his question, he should allow 13 hours to be safe (and to let the meat set awhile after the cook).
  12. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    This post is a couple of years old, and the OP hasn't been on since 2013.

  13. gonzo7

    gonzo7 Newbie

    Well, I guess his pork butt should be done by now...
    Jonok likes this.
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When doing pork butts, I split the butt where the blade is and do it in halves... Faster, with more smoke flavor...

    ...2 butts in the smoker....

  15. Fueling Around

    Fueling Around Smoking Fanatic

    OK. This is a very old thread, so reply directed at Dave.
    I'm curious on your split (shoulder) butt technique
    Considered, but never tried cutting the big piece down over loosing the magic elixir of melted collagen bleeding away.
    It appears you don't rub the meat before applying the smoke. The sugar in rub really contributes to much of the bark.
    Do you season after the cook and during the pull and mix?

    Lived 18 years in Northwet side of Washington. I got crap when this Midwesterner said Or-gone the first time.
    I learned smoking and controlled temp cooking in a true Kamado ceramic. I miss fresh seafood off that grill.
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The blade runs through the middle of the butt... Continue along the blade line to divide it in half...
    These are going to be pulled pork... I season a bit to start, then season when pulled and add finishing sauce to the meat... After the smoke addition, I finish in the oven... So much easier.... Pull while hot.... Season while hot... Then bag and freeze portions...

    ..That is the blade bone.....