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I have this great looking butt that is just begging to be smoked, but I am afraid! HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by midwestpatsfan, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. Well, first off, I hope the title gave everyone a little chuckle before they came in to read my plea for help.

    Next, before we even get started, I have to thank everyone who has helped me on my previous adventures with the Brisket and the Turkey, without your help on this site, I would have had charred rubbery slabs of meat.

    So now it is on to my next adventure- the Boston Butt Pork Shoulder Roast.  She is a 5lb beauty with a bone it it. I am not sure if this is normally the case, but wanted to give as much info as possible.

    Here is what I think I know from reading the other threads on the subject. 

    1. I am looking for a cooking temp of somewhere between 225 and 240. Is this correct?

    2. I will be cooking her until I get to an internal temp of 165 then double wrapping in foil and cooking to an internal temp of 185. (I am looking for sliced not shredded)

    3. I will be using hickory as my wood of choice.

    Here is what I do not know.

    1. Do I need to brine? I have seen a few threads that have hinted at the notion but no definitive yes or no on that one.

    2. Another thing that has been hinted at is using something else besides water in the pan. Someone said apple juice but no one agreed or disagreed on that subject in that thread.

    3. Someone in another thread also mentioned putting a second rub on the meat at the end? It was a cajun seasoning but again, it did not get a response as to whether or not this was needed.

    4. I have my old standby rub that I have used for brisket and ribs, but if anyone has a good rub recipe for a Butt, I would love to try something else for a little something different.

    5. Do or or should I be spritzing the meat during the smoke? With what? Apple juice?

    Thanks so much in advance. I know I will have success with all of your help. I am thinking of smoking this bad boy tommorow or thursday(ahhh, the beauty of working from home) so any info would be much appreciated.
  2. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    Well, pork butts are rather forgiving and are really hard to screw up unless to do so intentionally.

    Unless your butt is fresh from the farm, most likely it has been enhanced. Should say on the package Enhanced with xx% solution or some similar wordage. I don't brine butts that have been enhanced. Brining fresh butts allows you to add your own flavor to the product.

    In #3, I believe that what you are refering to is a double rub.  Rub the butt the night before, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge. The next morning pull out of the fridge, unwrap and apply another dusting on the butt.  I do this to ribs and brisket as well as butts.

    #5- Spritzing; Some do, some don't. I personally haven't spritzed at butt in over a year.  I spritz brisket just because I have a spritz/mop that really adds to the flavor. Make sure that the bark has set up. If you spritz too soon, your bark will remain soft and can become dislodged from the butt.

    That bone you talked about, us that as a doneness indicator. When the butt's done, that bone will pop right out.

    Make sure you show us your qview when it's done.
  3. rp ribking

    rp ribking Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    MidPat, I'll try and help you the way I do a butt, I have a charcoal/lump/chunk smoker, not sure what you have.

    I smoke from 200*-250* using either cherry or hickory.

    I put mustard and then a dry rub on the outside of the butt and then let the butt get up to room temp. Then I put on the smoker. I take the butt between 195*-205* ITwith no foil (I like the bark)  and then place in an aluminum pan and cover with foil for ahwile and then pull and serve on buns or what I like the best ,burritos!!!!!
  4. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I have done butts several times.  I've always done a simple brine on them overnight.  I get them in cryovac from BJs or Costco, and don't think that they were "enhanced". 

    Your temps are about what I do.  I set my MES to 250 and let it go. 

    My water pan has water in it -- I have also heard of putting other things in it, e.g. apple juice.  I might try that some day. 

    My choice of woods is apple chips -- it was the first thing I used, I liked it, and have not tried anything else on my pork butts.  I have a few other bags of wood chips -- might try pecan next time.  From what I think I have seen, apple is a sweeter and milder wood than hickory (or mesquite) -- but I have not done pork with either one.

    I did put a rub on one butt once.  The people that tried it seemed to like it.  May do it again.

    Bottom line -- as Dutch said above -- Its going to come out pretty good almost whatever you do.  The differences are a matter of personal preference.  Pick something -- do it -- and keep a record of what you did.  If the result is not quite what you want, tinker with it for next time.  If you like it, stick with it.

    Don't forget to let the group know how it went -- with pictures!
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Well I'm in pretty much agreence with all of theses guys and Dutch probslly has done more butts then most of us here. He's been smoking for longer then me and I've been around for quite a few years smoking so. Go with his advice and you won't go wrong.
  6. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds like these fellas have gotcha pretty much covered! Sure hope you can take some pictures! Good luck!
  7. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    All the above is great advice. I just smoke a butt last week and I spritzed it with 3 parts apple juice and 1 part Myers Rum and it was awesome. Can't wait to try it on a yardbird. [​IMG]
  8. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    Don't be skeered!  Definitely sounds like you're going to be ready to smoke up a great butt!  They're very forgiving and my favorite.

    Mix you up a batch of this Finishing Sauce posted by SoFlaQuer  just to give it a try.  It makes up a small batch that goes a long way.  If you like the vinegary taste, I've been using a spritz consisting of a 2 to 1 ratio of Apple Juice and Cider Vinegar.

    As Squirrel mentioned, don't forget the Qview!
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  9. [​IMG]

    Well, here is the 5lbs. beauty after a night of sitting in rub. I will post a pic after the smoke is complete. Thanks again for all the help
  10. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    Here's a raise of the ol' coffee mug to ya for a successful smoke!
  11. Almost 5 hours in, she is looking good. Just waiting to get to that ellusive 165 degree point.  I have given it a couple of spritzes with the 3 to 1 concoction that was mentioned above and am looking forward to it for supper tonight. I will try to take a pic before I devour it.
  12. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Are ya close to the 165 yet????
  13. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    Just dry rub it and stuff in the fridge overnight or equivalent.

    Take it out when you start getting the smoker up to temp to let the chill come off of it. Say an hour or so.

    Once the smoker is about up to temp, say 225 where I do my smoking, put that thing in the smoker, close the lid and leave it closed till the meat thermometer reads 190 to 200 or so. When it gets there, it will eventually, then and only then do you open the smoker and take it out. Park it on the side out of the way with a foil hat for a half to an hour or so then either chop it or pull it. You don't slice pork. Then finally, you can dig in.  

    You don't need to brine, inject, spritz or in any other way fiddle around and mess around with the meat. Just rub it, cook it then eat it. It's just that simple. Brining really only works well for poultry anyway.  
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
  14. [​IMG]

    Sorry for the fuzzy pic, but here she is, finally at 7 hours and just getting to 165 degrees. Not sure what is going on, I hope my thermometer is okay, but she is wrapped in foil and back on the smoker for what will probably be a little while longer. Hopefully i got through the plateau and the temps will move up quicker now.  I am so excited to give this thing a try. I am off to make the finishing sauce and  hope for the best.
  15. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What does your butt weigh? [​IMG]  I did three yesterday and they each averaged 8 pounds and it took 7 hours to reach 165. I foiled them and for the love of all thats good and holy they hit the plateau and it took forever to get to 195. I kept my temp a consistent 230-240. But they turned out great so it was worth the wait. Unfortunately I didn't get much because I cooked them for a friends luncheon. Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to smoking!

    Looking forward to the final pics.
  16. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    The bark is looking pretty nice!  Given all the variables obviously every situation is different but when I foil mine I usually count on upwards of 4 hours to hit 200*-205*.  Hang in there and don't panic, she'll be done when she's done.  [​IMG]
  17. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    That looks like it came out great. Dont worry about trying to make it your own yet. You can do a couple and get the feel for them then start to make changes to make it yours

    You can slice it or pull it- dont let anyone bully you into their style. You need to find what you like and make that your dish eventually. There are lots of recipes here. Experiment with them and find what makes you happy

    Congrats man you did it. The first one was a big success. Keep them coming
    deannc likes this.
  18. great posts !!   ive got two 8lbs. that i need to put on in the morning...   who has the best butt rub recipie??? thanks and i'll try to post some pics and more details..



    southern Illinois
  19. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    I do of couse, which is just what you'd expect anyone else to say. But its a secret and I ain't tellin.

    If you don't feel up to experimenting yet, just go to the store and pick the one that looks best to you.

    Lots of places to look for rub meat counters or butcher shops, even on line and on this very site. Or just search the Internet. There are lots and lots to be confused by.

    The best way is to mix your own and adjust as you go along. When you get to something you like, make a bigger batch but it never hurts to fiddle with it a little and tune as you go along. Afterall, nothing is ever perfect.   
  20. First off, the Butt was great! Very juicy and tender.  It took much longer than I thought, almost 12 hours and I still only got to 190+ degrees but the wife was getting increasingly impatient that supper was not going to be until 10 pm.  With hungry mouths waiting, I cheated on letting it rest as well, but as far as I could tell, it was perfect.

    I had it for lunch again today and I could really taste the flavor much more as I was not rushing. I hate rushing a good smoke, but I got away with it this time.

    Thanks again for all your help. The finishing sauce was a nice touch as well, I liked that.
    deannc likes this.