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I'm so dumb it hurts (boston butts done WAYYYYY to early)


Fire Starter
Joined Apr 6, 2013
In my defense, I have been extremely busy at work and got volunteered (at the last minute) by my wife to cook two boston butts for her Mother's birthday party tomorrow at 1 PM EST.

I don't know what I was thinking other than maybe.....no I don't know what I was thinking--at all.  Maybe it was the fact I was cooking two and in between meetings, conference calls and emails I just had a brain fart and way overestimated the amount of time it would take.  Maybe it's all the crap going on at work.

Anyway I put them on at 12:30PM EST today and I'm cooking two, 12 pound butts.  Right now they are sitting at 171 degrees, headed squarely for the stall.  I will give that stall all the time it wants and needs, if I can keep it in the stall for 5 hours so be it.

So let's say they reach 195 degrees sometime around 1-2 AM this morning.  How does this plan sound:

Put them in foil with some apple juice and keep them at 180 degrees in the oven until say 10AM EST.  Then take them out and let them sit in the foil in a cooler until right before serving?

This is a big deal (80th birthday) and I hate reheated pork because it dries out.  I'd rather limp it in without putting it in the refrigerator if I can help it.

Will the oven dry them out?


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 4, 2012
Pulled pork will not dry out when you reheat it. I actually cook all my pulled pork ahead of time. I pull the meat into foil pans or chaffing dishes and cover. I add in any dripping I have collected. Reheat covered in 200 degree oven. If you really think you need to add a bit of apple juice to your pan. I have never found that I've needed any.

FYI you should take the butts to 200-205. It will really help break down the fats and connective tissues and you will end up with a better product.
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Fire Starter
Joined Apr 6, 2013
200-205 will actually help me keep them on the grill longer.

If I could get them to say 4 AM EST, then I could put them in the false cambro (cooler) and that would be perfectly fine.  I've held them at temp or far enough about 150 to be safe for that long before.


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Sep 25, 2007
200-205 will actually help me keep them on the grill longer.

If I could get them to say 4 AM EST, then I could put them in the false cambro (cooler) and that would be perfectly fine.  I've held them at temp or far enough about 150 to be safe for that long before.
So your plan is to hold it 9 hours?
Ditto on what Dirt sailor suggested.

wild west

Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 25, 2016
Dont beat yourself up. What temp are you cooking at? If it's 225 your estimated time is not crazy. 1.5 to 2 hrs/lb is a good guess if you don't wrap. I agree with dirt sailor but if you don't want to reheat at this point...once it hits 205 you could certainly hold it in the oven foiled for some time at about 180
Add moisture if you think it needs it. You could turn off the heat and place in a cooler for 4 hrs before pulling. For most of the guests it will still be the best pulled pork ever. Good luck


Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 20, 2015
I did fourteen butts for my son's wedding days before. Saved the juices and reheated in roasters. Came out perfect, everyone loved it (most didn't know I smoked it, somthe weren't just kissing up). Reheating is fine, I was nervous at first too.


Fire Starter
Joined Apr 6, 2013
All right boys and girls, an UPDATE.

I was right all along, jeez I am so tired I can't do simple math.  I had TWO 10-12 pound butts which means at 1.5-2 hours per pound....which is anywhere from 16.5-22 hours.  So that's why I started it so early.  I'm losing my mind folks.  Here' was the cook:

-12:30 PM EST I put the butts on after getting the smoker leveled out at 230 degrees.

-At approximately 5 PM I opened the grill to put more water in the water pan and injected the butts with apple juice.

-I kept the temps anywhere between 215 and 245 the entire time, with most periods pegged right at 225 to 230.  That's fairly remarkable given we had 20-35 mph gusts all day yesterday.

-At approximately midnight last night the grill temp started to drop just a little bit, so I opened the bottom grate a little more (top grate fully open).  The temp came back up to 225 and stayed there until about 2 AM.  The butt was stalled at 185, which was fine.

-I think that at about 2 AM my fire ran out because the grill dropped below 210 and set off my alarm.  I moved the butts into metal pans with a very small amount of water, covered them with tinfoil and cooked them at 230 until nearly 6 AM.  At 6 AM they pegged at 205 degrees and I moved them to the cooler.

-Since being in the cooler, they've dropped from 205 to 165 degrees over the last 6.5 hours.

For those interested, I sampled both of the butts when I took them to the cooler.  The butt rubbed with grape jelly wasn't scorched or didn't taste bad, in fact, it seemed to me to have captured a fairly interesting combination of the sweet and the smoke on the outside.  So if you run out of mustard and have some grape jelly, give it a whirl.  I might even try apple jelly next time.

Thanks for all the help fellas.  I'll file this thread away for when I get them done early again.


Meat Mopper
Joined Oct 16, 2016
Sounds like your cook went well, long (being over night), but well.

I haven't had the guts to do an over night one yet.

Great news on the grape jelly combo turning out tasting pleasant!

Hopefully you can get a few pics before they get devoured at the birthday party
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Master of the Pit
Joined Apr 6, 2015
Tell us,please, what were the comments on it?

I'm betting like WW said it was the best anyone there ever tasted.

Glad it worked out for you.

Hope your MIL's birthday went great.


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