Danger Zone Question - Pork Butt

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Original poster
Apr 25, 2016
Making pulled pork for my nephew's birthday party tomorrow. My intent was to smoke it the two nights before and reheat it on Sunday. I put the pork in last night (Friday) at 7:30 pm. Smoker temperature was 230 knowing I didn't want it to finish somehow in the middle of the night. Checked the IT of the butt at 10:30 and it said 185. I thought that can't be right. I opened the smoker and moved the probe to a new spot (hole in butt created). Same IT. I opened the smoker and moved the probe again (another hole in butt created). Same IT. Decided to get a secondary probe and inserted it (another hole created). IT temp was 130 or so. I went to bed.

So now I have 2-3 holes in the butt and it's been short of four hours and hasn't hit 140. I woke up at 7:30 that morning and checked the IT of the secondary therm I inserted the night before and the IT was 154. So it still has a while to go. I don't know what the air temp was overnight but it was cold, probably in the 20s so the MES may have trouble keeping a temp.

So considering I've punctured the butt a couple of times and it's only at 155 12 hours in would you say it's safe past the danger zone? Should I keep smoking until done, or throw it away and not risk ecoli or whatever? I cranked the smoker temp up to 270 so hopefully it will get done sooner.
Last edited:
It's safe to eat when it's done.

The outside of the butt was sterile when you probed it at 10:30, so no bacteria was introduced into the center of the meat.

Just keep cooking it until it's done.

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