Help! Two small butts vs one large cooking time?

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KatapultMike

Newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2017
2
0
OK, I have read a lot of posts and I know that the time that it takes to smoke a pork butt is the time that it takes, no one can say for sure, only go by internal temperature, it will be ready when it is ready. But I have to believe someone can give me a ballpark number. I am responsible for feeding lot of people at a tailgate tomorrow!

So I thought I had a 12 pound pork shoulder in the freezer. Just opened the bag and it turned out to be two 6 pound shoulders! Do two 6 pound shoulders cook in the time of one 6 pound shoulder, or one 12 pound shoulder, or somewhere in between? If its the first, figure 9 hours. The latter, figure 18 hours. Big difference!

I normally cook 8-10 pound shoulders in my MES. IT seems I can't ever get up early enough to have them ready for dinner without foiling them and putting them on the grill. So this time I was going to do an overnight smoke. Figuring 1.5 hours per pound, If I put it on at 6 pm tonight it should be ready to take off at noon tomorrow. Wrap in foil, put in cooler with towels, head to the game. (I bought the cold smoker attachment to make the overnight more practical. Haven't used it yet.) But if the two shoulders only require nine hours, they will be overdone by morning and no longer hot by 2 pm, my target time to eat.

So I know no one can say for sure how long it will take, but please, someone has to be able to narrow down the range. 9 hours? 18 hours? Help!
 

jbellard

Smoking Fanatic
Dec 6, 2016
746
301
North Louisiana
Hey Mike!

Your plan sounds pretty good.
To smoke overnight, just lower your temps to 225 and start cooking around 9pm tonight. It will for sure be ready by noon, probably sooner.
Pork butts will hold temp for a long time in a cooler so just wrap in foil and put towels over it. I have done this and had them stay warm for 6-8 hrs.
Another option is once the butts hit an IT of 205, to put them in a pan in your oven at 170. Tent the foil over top. I have had butts get done at 8:30am and hold them in oven until 5:30pm for an event. Let me know if you have any questions. Doing 3 butts myself tomorrow. Good luck!
 

noboundaries

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Sep 7, 2013
9,768
4,639
Roseville, CA, a suburb of Sacramento
OK, I have read a lot of posts and I know that the time that it takes to smoke a pork butt is the time that it takes, no one can say for sure, only go by internal temperature, it will be ready when it is ready. But I have to believe someone can give me a ballpark number. I am responsible for feeding lot of people at a tailgate tomorrow!

So I thought I had a 12 pound pork shoulder in the freezer. Just opened the bag and it turned out to be two 6 pound shoulders! Do two 6 pound shoulders cook in the time of one 6 pound shoulder, or one 12 pound shoulder, or somewhere in between? If its the first, figure 9 hours. The latter, figure 18 hours. Big difference!

I normally cook 8-10 pound shoulders in my MES. IT seems I can't ever get up early enough to have them ready for dinner without foiling them and putting them on the grill. So this time I was going to do an overnight smoke. Figuring 1.5 hours per pound, If I put it on at 6 pm tonight it should be ready to take off at noon tomorrow. Wrap in foil, put in cooler with towels, head to the game. (I bought the cold smoker attachment to make the overnight more practical. Haven't used it yet.) But if the two shoulders only require nine hours, they will be overdone by morning and no longer hot by 2 pm, my target time to eat.

So I know no one can say for sure how long it will take, but please, someone has to be able to narrow down the range. 9 hours? 18 hours? Help!

Actually, this is a simple answer. Two six pound butts will take the same amount of time as one 6 pound butt as long as your smoker can maintain your target chamber temp. You don't say what temp you plan on using. At 225F butts are closer to the 2 hr/lb range x 6 lb. 250F, you're in the 90 min/lb range x 6 lb.

You can always adjust your temp up to the 275F max on your MES toward the end of the smoke if you need to. It is a lot easier on the equipment to reach a higher temp on hotter meat than it is on meat that is cold from the refrigerator.
 
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KatapultMike

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Oct 9, 2017
2
0
Thanks, guys! I had been planning to put them in around 6, but based on your replies, I think I will make it around 10 tonight. Then I can adjust as required in the morning. I am going to set it to 225. I will take them out of the fridge and let them warm towards room temperature for 30-60 minutes first and preheat smoker to 250 before lowering it to 225 once it has regained that temp after putting the butts in. I am using an MES 30 and from the reviews I have read it should have no problem holding temperature with 12 pounds of meat. Really appreciate the responses.
 

srkays

Newbie
Sep 16, 2016
22
10
Hey Mike!

Your plan sounds pretty good.
To smoke overnight, just lower your temps to 225 and start cooking around 9pm tonight. It will for sure be ready by noon, probably sooner.
Pork butts will hold temp for a long time in a cooler so just wrap in foil and put towels over it. I have done this and had them stay warm for 6-8 hrs.
Another option is once the butts hit an IT of 205, to put them in a pan in your oven at 170. Tent the foil over top. I have had butts get done at 8:30am and hold them in oven until 5:30pm for an event. Let me know if you have any questions. Doing 3 butts myself tomorrow. Good luck!
I assume smoking one 5 pound pork butt at 225F - 240F takes about 1.5 to 2 hours per pound? I put 3 5-pound pork butts in my 30" Masterbuilt Elec Smoker (MES), and after about 12 hours internal temps were still only around 170F. Double wrapped in aluminum foil and put in oven at 275F and will cook until internal temp reaches 200-205F. Question: do 3 butts cook the same about of time in an MES as 1 butt? Am I missing something here?
 

jbellard

Smoking Fanatic
Dec 6, 2016
746
301
North Louisiana
Mike,

I would say that your pork butts we’re gonna be just fine in your smoker (you could have wrapped them in foil and left in smoker) but you have them in oven so they should be good to go.
I don’t have MES but have used an electric smoker before and I’m guessing that 3 would take a bit longer than just 1.
Maybe someone else with an MES can better answer that question.
 

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