First Butt is a Bust

Discussion in 'Pork' started by smokinpirate, May 15, 2010.

  1. First smoke on the Gasser, threw in a rack of baby backs and a small butt on the rack above them, which are the two center racks in the smoker. Ribs should be ready to come off in 15 minutes. The butt is only 2.6 pounds, figured it would be a trial run. After 4.5 hrs, it's only at 136. Seems like it stalled around 125, not sure if that's possible. I read about the 140 rule and wondered, should I chuck this meat or foil it and finish in oven? What happened? Could the temps from one rack to the one above it, be that drastic? I thought it would be hotter. [​IMG]
  2. yount

    yount Meat Mopper

    What temp are you cooking at? What kind of thermometer are you using?
    did you check different location on the butt? Is your thermometer calibrated?
  3. Sorry, left the important info off. I've been smoking around 230-240. Thermometer is a LEM and it passed the boiling water test. I took the probe out of the butt and put it in a different spot, only changed 2 degrees.
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The first thing is are you sure that your thermo-meter is correct because you might not like the next thing I'm about to say. Now it is true that you should heat the meat up to 140° before the four hour mark. Now if you are sure it reading correctly then pitch it. But I how high was your temp on the smoker????
  5. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Have you used the LEM thermometer to test the accuracy of the thermometer mounted on the smoker? If not take a potato or onion and slide the probe through it and let it stick out on the other side and place that on your cooking rack and see how that corresponds to the thermo on the smoker. According to the USDA if the meat has been punctured (placing a temp probe) it needs to go from 40-140 in 4 hours or less. Personally if the butt was 136-138 in 4-4.5 hours I would continue my smoke and eat it. However I will not tell you whether to eat it or not that decision is up to you.

    Another thing to consider on future smokes is that if you use the intact muscle rule (no probe, no injection) then the meat only needs the outer 1/2" to pass 140 in 4 hours
  6. Thanks everyone for the quick replys. I decided to trash it, as I wasnt sure exactly what was going on with it. I tried three different thermometers on it, and they all read 140 after 5 hours. I thought this was weird for a piece of meat less than 3 pds. On the other hand, the ribs were pretty good, didnt have much smoke to them. I guess next time I will go a little heavier. Jeff's rub is excellent!

    In regards to the thermometer on the smoker. I wasnt really using that, as I had two LEM thermometers. One was in the butt and one was through a potato on the rack below the butt. Anybody got any guesses why that piece of meat was taking so long? Smoked at 230-240 for 5 hrs, 2.6 pds, and only got to 140.

    We'll get em next time!
  7. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    also you should put the ribs above the butt, because the butt is gonna take alot longer to cook imo.
  8. So I should put the butt closer to the water pan? Sorry it's all new to me, but I'm learnin, slowly.
  9. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Never cooked on a gasser ,But imo allways put the bigger ,thicker meat closer to the heat source. Unless doing chicken in combo w/ other meats .The chicken should allways go on bottom.
  10. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You were on the right track; the butt would have been fine I'm sure. How many times did you open the door? More than twice? Also, did you wash the butt off good and pat dry before applying rub and start it? That helps retard any bacteria growth, removing any previously started. Meat and connective tissue are funny things, every piece is different even though they're all of the same makeup and some cook slow, some cook medium, some cook fast.
    Keep a record of all your smokes so you can look back, get some averages, and make better-informed decisions based on your smoke history that is tailored to your equipment. The statistics are vital. You will know by history when it's time enough to probe your meat. You don't need to probe it early, you know it's undercooked. Keep your records so you can judge when it's time to find out.

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