Pork Butt Internal Temperature discrepancy

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Original poster
Feb 22, 2014
Arlington, Texas
Hello Everyone.

I am using a Brinkmann Barrel Grill with an Offset Smoker Box

And this was my first time smoking anything at all.

In Jeff's Book it is stated that the ideal internal temperature for when the pork butt is done is 205.

This is what I shot for and I kept the temp around 200-220 in the barrel (which was tough to do at times), but the butt turned out a little stiff, dry, and not pull-able at all.

It was still very tasty and The Big Bald Rub in the book is AMAZING!

I did not brine it, but I did inject it with the Butter and Apple Juice concoction. That made it smell amazing.

I also had two humidifiers in there; one with Blue Moon Ale and another with Old Orchard Apple Juice.

And I used Apple, Pecan, and some Cherry wood chips.

But in research the recommended internal temp is 175 by the USDA and slightly lower for pastured pork.

I was cooking a pastured pork butt that I purchased from our local Co-Op farmer.

Is the temp in Jeff's book correct or just suggested? Maybe I should adjust for pastured pork?

Any experience and advice is most appreciated, and I promise I will take pictures next time.

Like Jeff, I pull my Beef (Chuckies) and Pork (Butts) at 205* IT. By then it should pull easy, yet not be mushy.

If I'm going to slice it, I'll pull it between 185* and 195* IT.

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205 is the temperature for pulling. If you don't cook it to a higher heat it won't pull.

The 175 is for a well done safe pork roast, not for pulled pork. It would be fine sliced.

As for being dry:

Did you foil the butt?

How much fat did it have.?

Did you let the pork sit after cooking?

If you foil the butt after 4 or 5 hours, it comes out more moist but with less bark. However, even without foil, I get a nice texture and moisture, just a little less moisture than foiled.

A friend got an organic local raised butt given to him. It was way leaner than the stuff in the store and had been trimmed to practically no fat. He cooked it in the oven and it did come out a little dry.

If you don't let meat sit after cooking, the sinews and fibres in the meet that have tightened while cooking don't loosen up and let the moisture come back in. I wrap my butts in foil, then in a towel and then put it in a cooler for 1 to 3 hours. This allows the juices to redistribute.

I agree with Bear...I pull at 205 and slice around 190. I'm gonna try the Big Bald Rub on my next butt, so thanks for confirming what I thought.
I pull my butts at 200 then wrap & rest - for picnics I let it go to 205 before I wrap & rest since they have a little more connective tissue. If you take it off at 175 you won't be able to pull it & will have to slice it. Just by chance you didn't have your probe touching the bone did you? That could give you a false temp reading...
Agreed with everyone above but would add that the 205 temp is a guideline of sorts.  Some butts are ready at a lower temp, while other butts need to cook even more.     As strange as it may seem, "stiff and dry" can be the result of NOT cooking the butt enough.

Butts are ready when the bone can be pulled out easily or when you can stick a probe in and it feels like you are going into butter.
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