Charcoal went out on pork butt

  • 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.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Pounder

Newbie
Original poster
Mar 31, 2024
5
3
I know there have been many threads on this but wanted to be very detailed/specific with my situation to verify the meat is safe. I put two 8lb pork butts in the kamado Joe last night at 10pm. Grill was stable 225-250 degrees for hours before. Both came out of fridge and were dry rubbed a few hours before fridge placement. Went to bed around 11:30pm (meat was on 1.5hrs) and grill temp was fine. Ive never had issues with Kamado joe charcoal going out, not sure what happened but wanted to cook this one low and slow so maybe had vents too closed. Woke up at 7:30 am (8hrs later) to grill that had gone out. Meat probe showed meat at 112 degrees this a.m. I opened vents and re-lit charcoal and brought grill up to 250 within the hour. I assume it's fine but can someone verify meat is still okay? Having family over later for Easter feast and pulled pork is main course! Thanks
 
  • Like
Reactions: JLeonard
Oh man I’m not sure if I would be comfortable serving that without knowing if it hit 140 target or not. I’ve been reading a lot of these posts lately and can’t recommend enough a separate thermometer with alarm for smoker/ grill temp. Especially for overnight cooks
Which one do you recommend?
 
The FDA and many folks operate out of an abundance of caution. I'm not here much these days but I recall people even telling me it's dangerous to pull a butt out of the fridge several hours prior to smoking to allow it to lose some chill, theoretically so the Butt would cook in less time.

You have to make the decision, but in my opinion, a pulled pork butt is made by cooking to around 200F. That is enough to kill bacteria...in my opinion. I have set a butt out for a good six hours to get some chill off if it, set it out late at night then get up early in the morning to start the smoke and have never gotten sick.

I've also learned that especially if you have a dressing sauce you toss the pulled meat with, or whatever Q people call it (haven't finished my first cup of coffee yet!), pulled pork reheats fairly well. I've pulled a butt from the smoker in the evening (learned to never plan the meal with that meat same day...it often results in a "plan B" bieng needed for me), put that pan in the fridge, reheated portions the next day, and Food Savered the rest in to portions for two and freeze. The food savered pork reheats so easy right in the pack. Yea, that makes some purists cringe but the material is designed for sous vide at minimum...I carefully microwave...which will also upset some people.

What you dont get by making ahead is the spectacle of your guests watching you break down that meat and pull it. I'd rather have less stress! And the thing is, my pulled pork was always as good or better than any of the Q places around here, even reheated...and THEY are the ones that eat, sleep and breathe this stuff! I haven't smoked a butt in a few years, got burned out and dont crave it anymore for some reason.
 
I don't understand the need for the overnight cook that so many attempt.

I would've cooked the pork butts the day before, pulled the pork, and re-heated. I get that it may be a little better right off the smoker and most meats are, but pulled pork is just fine reheated.
 
Weather or not to eat the meat is a personal call.
I’ll say this though, the inside of the cooker was sterile being steady at 225-250. The meat, as long as not heavily injected or deboned, is considered sterile internally, so the only bacteria that could be present would be on the surface fighting with the salt from the rub. As long as the surface of the meat cleared 140 the meat is sterile too. No bacteria snuck up and ambushed the cooker after the fire went out, so the whole environment the meat was in was sterile. The scenario is less than optimal but far from dangerous.
 
Weather or not to eat the meat is a personal call.
I’ll say this though, the inside of the cooker was sterile being steady at 225-250. The meat, as long as not heavily injected or deboned, is considered sterile internally, so the only bacteria that could be present would be on the surface fighting with the salt from the rub. As long as the surface of the meat cleared 140 the meat is sterile too. No bacteria snuck up and ambushed the cooker after the fire went out, so the whole environment the meat was in was sterile. The scenario is less than optimal but far from dangerous.
Thank you for the useful, logical reply. One detail I left off is the butts have been deboned. They are costco. Bone was butterflied out. Does this change things a lot you think?
 
Thank you for the useful, logical reply. One detail I left off is the butts have been deboned. They are costco. Bone was butterflied out. Does this change things a lot you think?
Not a lot of change for me. Good grief, like we are buying bad meat to begin with. The idea that’s it’s all infected with bacteria when we buy it is just silly, especially given all the USDA standards.
I wouldn’t worry about it. Cook it and eat it, but that’s me in my house.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pounder
Not a lot of change for me. Good grief, like we are buying bad meat to begin with. The idea that’s it’s all infected with bacteria when we buy it is just silly, especially given all the USDA standards.
I wouldn’t worry about it. Cook it and eat it, but that’s me in my house.
I did! Turned out fantastic. So much so that I am thinking about adding an intentional couple hour "cool off period" during my future cooks haha

Had 12 people over. About half decided to eat it. Everyone enjoyed and feeling fine 7hrs later. Thanks for your input! You saved Easter for us
 
... and here we go again! Never, NEVER do an overnight smoke without using a digital reporting thermometer that has at least two probes (meat & grate) programed to sound an alarm by your bed if the grate temp drops below an acceptable level. So simple to resolve if one will think about what can go wrong before blindly setting up an overnight smoke. Rant over... you can now resume your smoking.
 
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.
Clicky