First time smoking Boston Butt, Timing for Kickoff (West Coast)

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Original poster
Feb 4, 2017
Orange, CA
Just got an MES30 for my birthday (which is actually tomorrow).  Have an 8lb butt ready to go (seasoned the smoker today, so it's ready as well).  I'd like to be able to serve at about 3pm so that people can have their food for the start of the game.  I think the 8lb butt should take about 12 hours (give or take) at 220.  Plan on foiling at ~160, then pulling and putting it in the cooler with towels for an hour at ~200.  I think that means I need to back up by about 13 hours from serving time which means putting the butt in at about 2am....  Is that right?  And since I don't have an AMNPS yet, do I need to babysit the smoker and feed it periodically for the first few hours (as in 2am - ~6am)?   If so, gonna be a rough night for the first smoke.
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I hope you're starting soon brother. I cook around 275 for everything. Works wonders. I smoke my butts in the open for the first 5-6 hours to get a nice color then they go in foil for the remainder. Using cheapo pork butts it renders a very juicy and tender pulled pork with wicked amounts of smoke ring and flavor. I think a pork butt takes me around 10 hours to reach an IT of 200-205 and feel like jello with a probe. Then I let it rest for at least an hour and it's still piping hot when being pulled. Usually shoot for 2 hour rest.
Sorry but I don't have any experience with an MES, just stick burners, so I can't help you on that regard. Don't even know how they work. lol
At 220 you should figure 2 hours per pound, which would mean about a 16 hour smoke.

If you can I would add chips the whole time.

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Yes you need to keep feeding chips at least for the first 4-5 hours.  Once it's wrapped smoke isn't a factor so the chip adding can stop.  If crunched for time you can certainly bump up the temp to 300° to speed things up.  If the MES wont get there, the oven will do the trick.  The important key is the 'resting' time.  Many suggest 2 hours, I do too.

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After I posted, I found other posts that got me worried about my timing, so I ended up getting the smoker on and up to temp shortly afterwards and the butt went in at 10:45.  Napped on the couch and set an alarm for every hour to feed it until 3am. That means it had consistent smoke until at least 4am, probably longer (so at least 5 hours of smoke at the beginning).  It's currently siting at 153 at 8:15am.  I just threw a few more chips in for good measure.  I suspect I'm either approaching, or at the stall since it's been at this temp for close to an hour at this point.
To keep things easier on you prior to game time I suggest pulling it, wrap and bump to 300°.  Make sure your therm is not touching any bone so you get an accurate reading going forward. If it gets done early there is absolutely nothing wrong keeping it in a cooler for 3-4 hours. You do want to ensure the meat stays above 150° for safety. Check the IT to make sure. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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