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Need help with pork butt

Discussion in 'Pork' started by 3ddiver, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. 3ddiver

    3ddiver Newbie

    I am cooking some more pork butt this weekend and I would like to fix a problem I am having. The outside 1 to 1/12 inches are excellent. It has good flavor and texture. When you get further down to the bone the meat is flavorless and rubbery. I rub the meat usually and let is sit overnight. I cook to about 165 then wrap in foil to finish. This last time I pulled it off about 190 and let it sit in a cooler for an hour then pulled it. It was the best one yet but still rubbery in the middle. What am I doing wrong?
  2. bwsmith_2000

    bwsmith_2000 Master of the Pit OTBS Member


          Not sure what the problem was but I would suspect a temperature problem. Your pit should be at 225* to 250* and the internal of the butt should be as you indicated,about 165, when you wrap and about 190* to 200* internal when you pull it off the smoker. Let it rest about an hour and then pull. If you do those basic things, the butt should be done to perfection.

         The temperature problem I eluded to would be in terms of accuracy of the thermometers. You can check them with the old boiling water method. If the thermos are accrurate and using the temps above you ought to be the family hero. Good luck! And be sure to let us know what you finally find out. Oh, one other thing .... be sure the probe in the butt measuring the internal temp is not resting against the bone. If that happens, you will definitely get an exagerated reading.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  3. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Also do the bone test . If the butt is done all the way thru. the bone will be lose and may pull compleatly out.
  4. Ditto what DWSmith said about checking your thermometers. Also, don't be afraid to take it higher then 190. My first one I was anxious and pulled it at 190 and was a little disappointed. Now I take them up to 200 and it makes a difference. Also, If at all possible I like to leave them in the cooler for longer then an hour. Lastly when you go to pull it, make sure you are checking the temp in different places, sometimes down by the bone can be different.
  5. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

       3ddiver,try placing your Butt onthe smoker, JUST after adding your rub,place it in the smoker at your chosen temp.(for me that would be between 225*F and 250*F) and when the BONE pulls out, she's done.( this is considering the 1.5hr./lb. rule of thumb).Call it luck or whatever, but I've smoked quite a few Butts in my day and none of them had foil on them until they go in the Refridgerator(if it last that long).[​IMG]

       The meat through out my Butts is still juicy and has a lot of good flavor, overall[​IMG]

    But that is just MY honest opinion[​IMG]
  6. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    Take it to at least 195* and I think you'll get a better result.  As Culpeper said, I normally take mine to 200* after wrapping in foil at 165*.

    Check this link out to a great article in the Wiki section Basic Pulled Pork
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Take the internal temp to 200°-210°, it truely is amazing how much of a differance 10-20° makes.
  8. 3ddiver

    3ddiver Newbie

    Thanks for the ideas. I try to keep the temp between 225 and 250 in the cooker also. I checked my thermometer with my cooking probe and it is pretty close that way. I will try to boil it and check it that way also. I have to cook tonight so I wont be able to do that before I do it. I think I will try to raise the temp a little more this time before pulling. Thanks again and I will let you know how it turns out.
  9. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm with the Bob guy (eman) and JIrodrigous on this one and say try the bone test thingy. I would take the butt to at least 205° or even a little higher maybe 210° and then you should be just fine. Make sure that you let it rest in the cooler. Then I would also go test your thermo-meter unit by sticking the probe end into some boiling water be careful that it doesn't touch the sides or bottom and it should read 212°. If it does that then it is correct and you now know that. But if it's off make a mental note of that and you know how much to add or deduct when smoking. Or just throw it away and get a good one. 
  10. newflame

    newflame Meat Mopper

    3d, when you say "rubbery" do you mean that the meat will not pull apart? I've found with my butts that the meat in the middle is generally less flavorful than the meat on the outside, common sense dictates that this is because the rub/smoke can only get so far into the meat, however, if the meat doesn't pull apart fairly easily, then you have a temperature problem, I take mine past 200, but never further than 205, then let them rest for 1-2 hours and always have great results..if the meat is pulling apart easily in the middle then maybe you should try a finishing sauce?  several can be found in these forums but the most popular one seems to be jeffs, I can't remember the user name right now but it's So-q-flavor or something like that, just search finishing sauce if you're interested in trying this method, I don't do it all the time, but it does give the meat a bit more flavor.  good luck!

    edit for link and to correct username soflaquer.

    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  11. 3d

    I want to echo the above comments and also add if you're looking for "flavor down to the bone" I have found that marinating or injecting will do the trick. As stated earlier, the smoke is only going to penetrate so far into a thick cut of meat. And like meat NewFlame said, a good finishing sauce could help as well.
  12. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    After you pull, it all gets mixed up anyway, but sounds like your internal temp is not hitting 200*+.  This is where I like to get my pork butts, then wrap them up in towels and throw them in a cooler to rest for a few hours.

    Also, I inject deep into the muscle for more flavor deep in the meet.

  13. 3ddiver

    3ddiver Newbie

    It is looking like I am not getting hot enough. Yes I mean that the meat does not pull apart when you get close to the bone. I am off to set up the cooker. I will check back if I get a chance tonight.
  14. 3ddiver

    3ddiver Newbie

    Ok I am back. The meat cooked for 13 hours and I took it to 210 degreees. I foiled at 160. I let the butts rest in a cooler for about 1 1/2 hours. When I grabbed the packages to take them out of the cooler you could feel the butt coming apart in the foil. It was the most tender all the way through I have ever done. Thank you for the advice, I would say before they were not getting hot enough. 
  15. shhaker

    shhaker Meat Mopper

    good job!! its hard to watch that long to get it to that temp, but anything above 200 is worth the wait!!
  16. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Nice job. Patients is the key. So how about a few pics? [​IMG]
  17. 3ddiver

    3ddiver Newbie

    Sorry, no pics but it was beautiful. There will be many more smokes, I promise to take some pics. I always start off wanting to take pics but get in the zone and forget.   I tried to add a pic of some chicken but it said I do not have permission.
  18. 3ddiver

    3ddiver Newbie

    I figured it out. Here is some chicken I did a while back. Not done but getting there. This was the first smoke on the new cooker.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010