Cutting a pork shoulder butt in half or into quarters to take in more smoke

Discussion in 'Pork' started by gussygus, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. gussygus

    gussygus Newbie

    I'm working with IBP pork shoulder on the heavier end. Last week I cut in half just to test and it turned out great. I'm using oak in an offset, it is the only wood in my area. Oak being as mild as it is, I'm thinking of cutting the butt into quarters and smoking, anyone ever try this? What was smoking time like? How did the smaller cut affect the texture and flavor?

    I'm outside the US in an area where other woods are not available consistently enough for commercial use.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I recently cut two 8Lb butt into 5 fist size pieces each and smoked at 250 no foiling. They took 6 hours and a few of the pieces could have used more, differing muscle density. These were a bark lovers dream! The whole combined had more smoke flavor than had they not been cut up. They were not as juicy as smoking whole butts, however the Finishing Sauce made up the difference. If more bark and smoke intensity is your goal, cutting them up definately gets you there...JJ
    dukeburger and cats49er like this.
  3. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Been wondering this myself, Thanks JJ!
  4. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Ive thought about this too, but have always worried about losing too much juice.  What about if you foil the 4 cuts once they hit 160F?
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I first saw Butts cut up on an episode of DDD from Hawaii. Some time later, my Daughter called and said she was smoking an 8 pounder for company but got a late start. She asked how to make up the time and I told her to cut it into fist sized pieces. I also told here to foil to save additional time. She followed my advice and reported a great result. The opportunity to smoke my Butts came up shortly after a SMF member was asking how to get max bark. I thought I would cut the meat up but smoke all the way through to see the bark result. Bark you definitely get plenty of but you sacrifice some moisture. The next time I try this method I will Foil. My Daughter says she will be cutting and foiling Butts from now on...JJ
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Absolutely, I would go to about 2 or 3 pound pieces, in other words 1/4 of a 8 or 10 pound Butt. Half of a 4 to 6 pound Butt. It works Great !!!

    I can't use the "Fist size" pieces method, because my fists are much too big.

  7. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Ok Im going to do this too with my next butt.  Slice into 4 parts and foil. 
  8. you could serve individual butts...they could shred their own.....what a great thing to contemplate for a gathering..[​IMG]

    Keep On Smokin,

    barrelcooker likes this.
  9. That is a neat idea!
  10. I like the idea of fist size,  I split and smoke pork butts all the time, Two reasons, More Bark and faster cooking time,  They are always great

  11. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Gary what about juice loss? Do they dry out more?
  12. Maybe a Little, but since they cook quicker and the pork is fatty anyway, they are never dry but have nice bark

  13. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

  14. barrelcooker

    barrelcooker Smoke Blower

    Thank you gus for starting this. Im going to try puting my "cheeks",the word im now going to call butt peices.excuse me, In a foil pan with liquid flavor of my choising and covoring after smoking to 165 to bring some juice back in. Will be making a new post about what i found out.
  15. We also like more smoke than we normally get with a 10-12lb chunk, but do not like the drying out we get with cutting it into smaller chunks..  We worked out a different approach.  I smoke at 225 in an electric smoker most of the time but this has worked well for me in other smokers also. 

    We keep the smoke on past 140 and take the temp up to 195 IT.  Pull it off and wrap for the cooler an hour or so before pulling as usual.  I pull it and add the finishing sauce in a big SS bowl.  Then we put the sauced pulled pork in a couple foil pans and put it back into the cool smoker starting it back up again with more smoke for about 15 minutes.  Not long enough to cook more or dry it out, but long enough to put a layer of new smoke on top.  We then mix that well and find it has the richer smoke flavor we like while being moist and tender.

    You might consider giving that a try.

    Good luck to you. 
  16. gussygus

    gussygus Newbie

    Cheeks ... Brilliant! Hahha
  17. floridasteve

    floridasteve Smoking Fanatic

    When I do a butt, I always place a pan of fixens for Cheft Jimmy's smokey au jus under the butt, then when I pull I add that jus back into the pan. That also increases the smokey flavor.
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL----Good one!!

    I gotta tell you though, a Butt is not really a "Butt" as in "The thing in the back that has 2 cheeks".

    A Pork "Butt" or "Boston Butt" comes from the front shoulder of a Pig.

    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  19. barrelcooker

    barrelcooker Smoke Blower

    A boston butt is the end of a pork shoulder. Its a roast that is cut off and only is about 3-8 lbs and 12lbs for the butt
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's close, but a Pork Butt and a Boston Butt are the same Cut. It comes from the shoulder. Generally 5 to 10 pounds.

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015

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