Just some question about smoking multiple butts (MES 30)

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Original poster
Dec 26, 2014

I was asked recently to make some PP for a BBQ, and of course I said yes.  I didn't realize there would be so many people coming (35 to 50 including kids).  after a bit of searching and some quick math I bought four 8-9lbs butts.  I know my smoker can handle the 4 butts.  I just have some lingering question about time and placement of things.

1) I usually place a drip pan under the butt and collect the fat instead of letting it fall to the bottom of the smoker.  If I place four butts my drip pan will end up on top of the element cover.  Is this a bad idea?

2) Does cooking time slightly increase based on the amount of meat in the smoker or is it a small adjustment?  The last time I smoked a butt around this size  it took about 14-15hours, should this be a good approximation or should go even earlier starting the smoker based on the larger thermal mass (best wording I could come up with)?

3) I didn't notice much difference between the top shelf and second from the bottom for cooking time but I didn't really pay close attention. When smoking this many butts which butts should I place my probes in top and bottom, bottom 2 (I have 2, plus a little digital meat thermometer)???




Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Aug 13, 2015
I can't answer questions on your electric smoker. Doing 4 butts should take a little longer.
A few suggestions for cutting your cook time down: you could cook at a higher temperature 275?? And that would cut down on your cook time.

Also if you wrap the pork butts @ 165 that will help push your pork butts through the stall.
Also would you need to rotate the pork butts from the bottom shelve to the top?

Good luck with your smoke!!

chef jimmyj

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
May 12, 2011
If you put 1 Butt on the center of each rack, the water pan will be your drip pan. Put the probe in the largest Butt on the bottom rack. When that reaches IT of 190, check the others and adjust/rotate as needed...JJ


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Oct 4, 2012
Bend Oregon
I would also recommend cranking your MES up to the max temp. Loading it up with that much cold pork (I do not recommend letting pork warm on the counter) is going to cool the smoker down auite a bit and your recovery time to get back to pit temp is going to take some time.

Once it recovers keep the temp up as high as the MES goes. You will be able to shave time off. My favorite pit temp range right now for porl butts is 285-300. Get the same moist tasty meat as low and slow and in my case about half the time.

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