My Easter Pork Butt .... Some ???'s...

Discussion in 'Pork' started by burnit13, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. Hello everyone!  I've never been a big fan of spiral cut hams for the holidays.  They are too darn salty.  This past x-mas I started smoking a ham in addition to the spiral cut my parents buy (we spend the holidays at my parents).

    Anywho...I've got a concern about the 40-140 in 4hr rule.  I have to admit, I was not really aware of this until recently.  My prior thoughts were....if it gets above 160...all the bad stuff is killed off anyways.  Now I know about toxins, etc.

    Last x-mas I smoked a large picnic ham.  I injected it with a mixture of melted butter and dark brown sugar.  The injection was to add flavor, not moisture.  I also glazed it with a mixture of brown sugar and maple syrup.  It turned out fantastic.  I was going to repeat this for Easter but the 40-140 rule dawned on me.  Last time it took about 6 hours to reach 140 degrees on a 225 degree smoker!  Thankfully, nobody got sick!

    My question...

    Will injecting a pork butt with butter/sugar or even just juice add that much flavor?  Or did the deliciousness come from the glazing?  If injecting only adds a wee bit of flavor I'll probably skip it and focus on the glaze at the end.

    If it does add as much flavor as I thought it your I playing with fire (pun intended) if I exceed the 40-140 in 4 rule?  It is a 11lb butt so unless I cook at 350 it probably wont hit 140 in 4 hours.

  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member


     I try to always go by the 40 - 140 rule. If you DO NOT inject the butt and DO NOT cut on it before smoking it is considered whole muscle and only the outer 1" has to reach 140 in 4 hours .

     If you penetrate the tissue in any way then the internals need to reach 140 in 4 hours.

     So this would tell me, do not inject , Concentrate on your rub and your glaze .

     Happy Easter and as Alton would say , Good  Eats!
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  3. Its a raw pork butt.  Since I brew beer I have plenty of sterilization goodies on hand.  My method for meat injection is to sterilize a bowl, my injector, and thermometer probe.

    The brown sugar, maple syrup, juice, etc is pasteurized before packaging so it should presumably be bug free.  I would be using brand new ingredients so it should be okay.  I would then inject away.  

    The only possible source of contamination would be from the transfer of  bacteria on the surface of the meat.  After the first injection the injector (and therefor the injected liquid) is then contaminated.

    Am I overthinking this?  Or as long as I take every precaution possible I should be okay if it takes a little extra time to reach 140???
  4. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You are correct the contamination would come from anything that was on the surface of the meat and once you inject the meat that bacteria would then be pushed into the inside of the meat and you would need to follow the 40-140 rule. What size butt are we talking here? You can kick up the temps until it's over 140 then drop it a bit  or you could also cut it in half and that would get you around the 40-140 rule.

    On edit I see  that you are working with a 11lb butt. That is a good size butt.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  5. I don't plan to cut it in half.  If it was for pulled pork yes, but this will be for slicing just like a spiral ham.

    Because its 11lbs and dinner is at 2-3pm, I'm going to need to start it at 9pm or so.  I'll probably be sleeping when it flirts with the 140 mark so I wont be around to speed things up or slow them down if need be.

    I think I'll just give it a good rub and go extra on the glaze.
  6. I did a No Foil 11 lb pork butt for pulled pork a few weeks ago on my MES 40 at 225-235*. Rubbed only and onto the smoker-it took 28 hours but it was darn tasty! 

  7. Holy Smokes!!!  Just 28hrs?  I need it ready by noon Sunday so it can rest and then I can glaze it for dinner at 2-3pm.  Maybe I should start it sooner than 9pm the night before?!?!?
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You are going to need to figure in a stall for sure. Those dang butts have a built in stall that will drive you crazy and can last for several hours. I would start it earlier in the evening as you can always foil it and wrap it in towels and stick in an ice chest to keep it warm. I have held them in a cooler for as long as 8 hours 

    Good luck 
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you are careful with your injection and equipment then take care to wash dry and rub the butt with a rub containing Salt before injecting...You will not have to worry about the 4 hour rule and be fine. The washing and Salt should take care of any surface bugs. Follow all the usual sanitation practices and go from Refer to Smoker to avoid any extended time in the danger zone...JJ
  10. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's good to hear! That is my SOP, and probably why I've never had any problems with bacteria in the past.
  11. Well, at 5:30am I pulled my pork butt off the smoker!  Its done!  It only took 10 hours, or 1 hour per pound to cook it to 185 degrees (I'm slicing, not pulling)...much sooner than anticipated.

    Even though outside temps were in the 30's last night the WSM was chugging along all night at 250.  I had the vents shut but the vents themselves are pretty beat up and probably let enough air in to keep things on the warm side.  I would have liked 225. 

    It looked great!  If I wasn't so tired I would take some pics!  I've put her in the oven at 185 wrapped up in foil in a holding pattern for a couple hours.  I've got 8hrs until we are going to eat.  In about 3 hours I'll take it out, wrap it in more foil, towels, and throw it in a cooler until 2ish.  Then I'll take it out and put a maple and brown sugar glaze on it.

    Can't wait!  As a side note.....I think it may be time to check my WSM's thermometers for accuracy.

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