Discussion in 'Pork' started by nole09041, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. I have coooked many butts in the smoker and they all turn out delicious...however I can never pull them.  Whenever I pull them, I the meat doesn't come off and I always end up just chopping them. I typically cook in a my offset smoker at 225-250 for 1.5hour per pound (give or take depending on the beer i've drank).   I even bought the bear claws....but they don't work.  Am I not cooking them long enough?  Help...i've got a BBQ on the 4th of July for 50 people!!!! 

  2. In order to pull a butt or shoulder, you need to get the internal temp up to 200*-205*.  At that temp, the meat should practically melt apart.
  3. indyadmin1974

    indyadmin1974 Smoking Fanatic

    You're in the right place.

    Maverick is correct.  You need to be anywhere between 195-205° to pull.

    You're going to want to change your thinking just a bit and not go by time anymore.  You're going to want to go by temp.  The 1.5 hours per pound is a good estimate, but to do it right, you want to calibrate your thermometers and make sure you're smoker is at a constant temp and your meat gets to the zone (195-205).

    I usually smoke my butts at 225-250° depending on the conditions outside.  A 7-8lbs butt takes about 10-14 hours at that temp.

    You're not doing it just need more time.
  4. matts

    matts Smoking Fanatic

    What they said.  You will learn quickly that cooking by time will give you different results from day to day.  The internal temp is the driving factor to get your desired results. 
  5. Great...i've learned more in 2 minutes reading from you guys than I have in 2 years of smoking meat!  Thanks a ton for taking the time to answer my question!!!  As a side note, what temp do you recommend for spare ribs?
  6. LOL, this looks just like what I was fixin to post! I always have the same problem.  I too have bought a set of the famous bear paws thinking that was the missing link.   Do y'all think a smaller butt would cook faster than a big one and taste the same?  I can only smoke for about 8 hours max, then the A.D.D starts to take over. Well, that and the unknown number of Bud Lights.[​IMG]
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Let me start out by saying that we smoke by temp not time. Most things here except for ribs both spares and baby backs those we smoke by time. Now you will need a good thermometer and yes Maverick is a good one but the main thing with thermo meters is that you tast them. You don't have to have the best and most expensive probe model you just need to test them often. I do and yes I have a maverick but I also have a couple of wally world cheapOs too.
  8. indyadmin1974

    indyadmin1974 Smoking Fanatic

    Yes a smaller butt will cook faster and taste the same as long as it has the same fat striations throughout the roast.  The fat content in the meat (not the outside) is what really makes PP taste so yummy.

    Smoking will teach you patience grasshopper.  I know where you're coming from though...instant gratification is hard to achieve with smoking if you're doing it right.

    Here's the challenge with the smaller roast though.  The window between pulling and burning/overcooking is much smaller.  The smaller roasts will hit their target temp quick and keep going even quicker in my experience.  I prefer big butts!  They are much easier to work with...pun definitely intended.
  9. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Everyone has giving you some good info.

    Meat temp is what determines when a Butt is done not time.

    You can remove the Butt from smoker when you hit 195 (I prefer) 200 degrees, wrap in foil, wrap in some heavy towels place in the cooler for a few hours, remove from cooler remove blankets, open foil see how much steam is coming off, if its a lot I would close foil and let it rest another 15 minutes out of the don't want to loose too much of the moisture.
    This is what is called resting, this is very important.
  10. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Another good way to tell when a butt is done when you don't have a thermometer or are questioning the accuracy is that when the butt is done you can easily wiggle the bone and it will slip right out. Once done be sure to foil the butt wrap in an old towel and rest it in a cooler that is dry for at least 1 hour. This will allow the juices to redistribute through out the meat.
  11. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If your offset is not modified, i.e. it is in it's original configuration without a tuning plate, then I would suggest a thermo in the butt nearest the fire box AND one in the butt nearest the stack. If the one by the box starts to come up to temp faster than the other, you can plan out a switch and move them.  Give them about 2-3 hours before you stab the probes in, no sense in doing it any earlier. Like Jerry said, the bone should get good and loose when it's all said and done regardless of it being a shank or picnic or boston. I like to pan mine just after the stall or before 160. I put the butt in a foil pan you can get at the store and then cover with foil. Makes it easier to get out of the smoker and reduces the mess made in the smoker. I wrap the pan with a towel while it settles but don't bother with the cooler unless I'm catering to someone's house..
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  12. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    This site definitely shortens the learning curve, doesn't it!  A great bunch of folks! Can't wait to do a big butt next weekend! 
  13. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Along with the temp thing dont forget the TBS. Nothing bad like tossing a nice cut away because the smoker was on choo choo mode. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  14. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nole09041 it looks like your going to have a great BBQ on the 4th thanks to Indy and the others giving great advice.  As pointed out temp rules over time.  Rules of thumb get some into trouble, 1.5 hours for pork butt, that may work great for some but what if someone is cooking at 275º and another is cooking at 225º, or how about the size of the butt or the heat loss of the cooker, etc.  321 and 221 are given as rules of thumb for ribs, but again, we all have different smokers with different inherent capabilities, different ambient conditions, etc.  So even the sacred 321 or 221 is only a rule of thumb, and the guide for ribs is tenderness,  how the meat comes off the bone.

    Yesterday for Father's Day my son cooked on the weber kettle for me, our go to meat for grilling is usually Tri Tip.  While he does Tri tip on his gas grill, we were cooking on charcoal briquettes and the timing was different.  I almost always cook with timers so I know how long something has been cooking, plus meat thermometer.  So my son sticks in the thermometer when he turned the meat, and it said 120º, and commented that we don't have long to cook.  However since we also had a timer, I knew from cooking tri tip at least a 100 times over the last 10+ years that 10 minutes on the thickness of that particular meat, the reading was inaccurate.  So I encouraged him to check the meat in a couple of other spots.  Sure enough the temp showed 100-105º in the other spots.  So with a combination of both time and temp plus some experience, you will eventually produce consistently great tasting meat cooked perfectly.

    Enjoy your 4th

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