First smoke ever - Boston Butt

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Mar 22, 2014
Pittsburgh, PA
Today I am Smoking for the first time ever. I am doing a 6.75 lb boston butt in an MES30 with apple. Last night, I rubbed it down with yellow mustard and then my rub of choice, then rubbed it down again this morning. My plan was to put it in at 6:30, but being that I'm a noob, it didn't get in until 7:30. I have the smoker set at 220 and am using a Maverick ET-733 to monitor smoker and meat temp. It is now 11:30, (4 hours later) and the meat temp is already 158, but it seems to be slowing up. My question is, is this quick of a rise in temp normal?? Should I dial the smoker temp back?? I was planning on putting foil on it at meat temp at 165. Should I hold off on that?? Any advise would help!! Thanks all in advance!!
I started the exact same time as you and same temp. 11:30 my temp was almost to 180, I think yours looks like it's doing better then mine for some reason. I foiled mine already and dropped the temp. There's barely a bark on mine, it's just falling apart
Its sounding like its on a normal track so dont worry. I put a butt in on my mes this morning at 0600 and its about 167 right now and i just foiled it about 20mins ago. Just entering the stall on mine. Just keep watchibg the meat temp, it may stall for a few hours.

What time are tou planning on eating? Pork butts hold nicely in a cooler for several hours. I am planning on pulling mine around 195-200 and putting it in a cooler for 2-3 hours. Not planning to eat until about 8. Depending on when your planning to eat you may even consider bumping the temp up to 250 or so.
Thanks fellas. We are planning on eating around 6:00-7:00, 5.5-6.5 hours from now. We are ultimately let the butt determine when that is. When I foil at 165, should I bump the temp then??
Wouldnt hurt to bump it up now. You can always rest it longer if it gets done early. i always rest mine for at least 2-3 hours. If the temps havnt moved jn a little while then you may be in the stall already. You can really foil at any time. I always foil at the 6 hour mark pretty much regardless of temp for an average sized butt of 8ish lbs
It's been holding steady at 162 for about 20 minutes or so, so I'm going to foil and bump it up now. Thanks for the help PigglyWiggly!
Just curious...why you guys foiling? I never foil and they still turn out super juicy and lots of awesome bark!
I foiled because this my first time ever smoking and it seems like that was the consensus from everything I've read in the forums. What are the benefits/risks of foiling?
We were all happy with the results of the my first smoke! Super tender and juicy, just melted in our mouths. Can't wait to try something else next weekend. Any suggestions?
Glad it turned out awesome for you! Ribs are a good choice for a next attempt(and dont take nearly as long). Brisket, fillet mingon, salmon, chicken or turkey are all popular choices too. Then there are fatties and abts for good snacks. I love making some baby backs and abts for a weekend anytime.

How long did you end up letting it rest for? Looks terrific
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Congrats on your first, and most importantly, successful smoke!  I didn't tackle a butt when I started smoking until after I successfully completed some easier smokes like salmon, chicken, and SLC spare ribs. 

The initial rise in temp can be quite fast and it surprises lots of new smokers, especially when they are expecting a long smoke.  Caught me by surprise on my first butts and chuckies.  The first 120 degrees rise in temp from 40F can happen relatively quickly, in 2-4 hours.  The last 40-45F can take hours and hours and hours after the meat stalls around 160F, + or - 5F, and it can stall more than once on the climb to the target temp.

Wrapping helps power the meat through the stalls, but it will impact the bark, making it softer or mushy.  Some folks like a crispy, hard bark and that's only possible without wrapping.  Some wrap through the stalls, then unwrap for the last hour to firm up the bark.  Personally I'm not a bark guy so at the first long stall I wrap with very little liquid until my TT is reached, raising the chamber temp once I wrap to shorten the cooking time.  Same flavor, soft bark, still descent smoke ring.

I think SLC (St Louis Cut) spare ribs are easier and more consistent than baby backs.  I don't wrap my ribs, just letting them smoke at 225-235F for 5.5-6 hours.  I put them on, ignore them, and sauce them for the last 30 minutes.  I spritz them only a couple times.  To me they are the easiest mid-length smokes I do.

Figuring our what you like best and how to do it is half the fun of smoking.  Have a ball! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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