Boston Butts & Q-view

Discussion in 'Pork' started by smokermark, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. Last week I smoked a couple of Berskshire pork boston butts. I had mixed results though decided to post anyway. They were 8 lb. each, brined 30 hours before cooking.


    Fresh, set to go into brine


    Rubbed & ready to go into the cooker


    About done @ 10.5 hrs./165 deg.


    1st roast, pulled &  with finishing sauce

    I started these at about 2:00 in the afternoon. And it took about 11.5 hrs. total time to cook up to 170 deg. When I set them in I was at about 240 degrees with the cooker then it settled into about 230. At about 2.5 hrs. I checked temps and they were just about 125 degrees. And then at hour three I bumped up the cooking temp to about 250-260 and it was right at four hours in the cooker before the temperature reached 140 when I reduced heat back down to the 230  area.

    Both the butts I wrapped in foil at around 10.5 hours and then removed them from the cooker about an hour later to 170 deg. before I put them both into a cooler wrapped for 30 min. One was rested inside for an additional 30 min. before pulling with finishing sauce added. The other one I put out in the cold garage to chill before moving it into refrigeration as I had planned on slicing.

    Well anyway, this is about what transpired according to my recollection.

    What surprised me about this pork is that it seemed to take a bit longer to get up to speed cooking. They were pretty good-sized though and, I found them to be a little more greasy to my liking especially the second one that I was going to cut up into slices. The fat didn't transform really like I wanted. I think the next time I would use a slightly higher temperature around 240-245 out of the gate steady and keep it there. These could probably use a little more heat cooking, I think. With the second one, I ended up slicing it and then pulling the slices apart. Before adding barbecue sauce, I poured about about a gallon of near boiling water into a container with the meat in it and strained it a minute or two later to clear out the grease a bit. Not something I typically do though thought necessary. Most all of the meat was put into individual containers froze for later use. And now seems to have turned out better than I originally thought.

    The brine used was a simple mixture of kosher salt with a little bit of brown sugar, a dash of rice vinegar and various spices. I rinsed the meat off prior to coating with Trim Tabb's Pig Powder and a little bit of Blues Hog seasonings. Pecan and almond woods were used with a little bit of hickory and apricot. I cooked these the same cook I barbecued the ribs I previously posted.
  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Temp is not the answer. Need to bring them to 165° then foil and back on the heat till 200+°

     Butts don't slice worth a dam to start with. If you want sliced meat go w. a fresh ham.
  3. Yep, your meat temp was too low. Try it again and take it to 200 instead of 170. I'll bet you had a hell of a time pulling it when you tried. If you take it to 200 that sucker will fall apart.
  4. I'll try that next time going higher. It pulled apart and sliced okay for that matter. It was more about the fat transformation for me and you're right not only will that help with the pulling but with that as well. Normally these are temps I've used for smaller butts before foiling and into the cooler. I had to push things along from hours three to four. Next time we'll aim for about 200 deg. with a little higher cooking temperature.
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Well theses two guys answered your questions. Now your butts look pretty darn good to me.
  6. papagreer

    papagreer Meat Mopper

    Totally agree, eman. I also think cooking it to 200 will render out a lot more of the fat in addition to making it so much more tender. Those were some nice looking cuts of meat to start with and the end result looks pretty nice too. Try foiling to 200 next time and let us know what you think.

  7. Yeah, next go I need to take the temp. up quite a bit further to around 200 and I'll  to increase the initial temp 10 or 12 deg. also.

    When I stuck the thermometer in at 2.5 hours I was only at 125 so I had to kick it in the pants a little to get out of the danger zone at four hours. That sort of thing concerns me, particularly with pork. I've had quite a bit of success just tenting over with foil & then resting in a cooler with four to six pound butts. With these I just keep them completely wrapped and they stayed plenty hot. I just really didn't like the appearance of the second one after it chilled and was slicing it. I do think that these cook differently as far as the rate of cook.

    Appreciate the input!
  8. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    The bark on those babies sure looks nice!

    You're going to find not a lot of butts are the same.  [​IMG]   I've had small ones (7 or 8 lbs) go for 8 hours or up to 15 hours.  I've had bigger cuts (9 or 10 lbs) vary from 8 to 22 hours.  The point I'm trying to make is, don't go by time!  You've got to go by internal meat temp and as the others have already covered, take them to a minimum of 195° if you plan to pull.  

    With a butt, IMHO, low n slow is the way to go.  You want to allow time for the fat to cook out and muscle to break down, low n slow, 225° - 240°.  If you have one taking its time reaching internal temp, don't jack the chamber temp up, allow the process to take its course.  

    It all turned out edible so congrats on a good smoke!  [​IMG]

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