Pork butt smoking times

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bbq dreams

Newbie
Original poster
May 30, 2017
29
29
Wildomar California
Hello, I've watched many videos on how long to cook pork butt. Just wanted to ask here since I committed to cooking 3-10 pound butts for a gathering. I will smoke till 160, wrap the rest of the way. Unless wrapping is not necessary. The main thing I'm looking for is having enough time to cook, including 1-2 hours to rest and pull
 
FWIW, I am doing two (2) 9 lb Boston Butts. I am probably going to plan on running @ 225 until 165ish, then wrap in foil pan with a bit of apple juice (doing a Bourbon Brown sugar butt) until 204, then rest and pull. Based on what I've done before, I am expecting about 12-14 hours, but we'll see.

I am also somewhat considering starting tomorrow evening at 165-175, then seeing where I am in the AM on NYE and cranking up to 225 at that point. The worst case scenario is that it's done mid-afternoon and I throw them in coolers, wrapped in a towel for a few hours.
 
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Can't find Jeff's video but he had a hot &fast pork butt in about 5 hrs. Will look again for it.
 
Pellet smoker, 250 . I'll take any advice. As of now I have 24 hours till my guest will be eating, so wrapped or unwrapped I can go either way. Lower or higher temp
Butts are fatty and forgiving. I have cooked many and have settled in on hot and fast for butts. I run 275F. At 160-165F I put in a disposable pan with a cup of warm broth and foil cover tightly. Cook to 205F / prove tender and into a cooler for an hour or two. I’m a big fan of cooking and pulling the day before. I do it constantly and get rave reviews. If your setup allows I put a pan of broth below my butts to catch drippings and smoke. The next day in a roaster pan I mix the pulled pork with some of the defatted broth and pan drippings. It’s always a homerun. I serve a vinegar finishing sauce in squirt bottles on the side. Look up Chef Jimmy’s (RIP) it’s perfect. Btw time always can vary depending on a host of things but 275 will list finish in 5-6 hours. I’m a pinch once the meat is covered you can up the cook temp to 300F.
 
A smoker is a smoky oven. Look up oven recipes on the internet to get a feel for hot n fast times.

I always do 9 lb+ butts. I generally do mine overnight in the smoker. 225F for 10-12 hours, then crank up the heat in the morning to 300F+ to finish in 2-4 hours.

Back when I had to have them ready to take to work in the morning for a potluck, I'd load them in a 325F smoker about 10 PM. They were done by 6 AM when I got up. Don't sweat it if the finishing internal temp is 200-210F. If you're not smoking them for meat smokers, they won't notice if it is slightly over or under cooked. 204F is a good target, but be sure to probe for tenderness.

You can toss them wrapped in the foil in a 140-170F oven until ready to pull and serve.

Have fun!
 
275° is a safer pit temp than 250°, you can always ramp the temp down, or hold in a hot box longer..... but it's hard to speed up a cook. I wrap on color, not an actual internal temp, but 160° might be a minimum wrapping temperature for me. For me.... these butts need another hour or so before wrapping.
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To be on the safe side, I would confirm your actual pit temp at the grate rather than trust your pellet smoker's readings. A cable thermometer at least 5" from the meat, or even a cheap oven-rack thermometer can confirm actual temps.
 
I am also somewhat considering starting tomorrow evening at 165-175, then seeing where I am in the AM on NYE and cranking up to 225 at that point. The worst case scenario is that it's done mid-afternoon and I throw them in coolers, wrapped in a towel for a few hours.

I would not start at that low of a temp. 225 would be a better plan. I'm in the 275 group anymore. Done much faster and flavor is the same.
 
Also in the 275* camp for pork butts. I see no advantage to cooking at anything lower. I will say, though, on my pellet grill, I sometimes run an hour or so at a lower temp to get a little more smoke on it. Mainly depends on how much time I have, whether or not I start low. I also smoke butts, and most other long cooks the day before and reheat.
 
Camp 275 here. I've done it low and slow for years and 275 feels better. If it stalls wrap it but I've noticed a less pronounced stall time in the 275 range. Takes less time and the butt knows no different
 
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I don't notice enough difference between 225 and 275 to really matter. I'll add that I always was a 225 guy until I started smoking them at 275.
 
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Pellet smoker, 250 . I'll take any advice. As of now I have 24 hours till my guest will be eating, so wrapped or unwrapped I can go either way. Lower or higher temp
If you’re nervous or confused it’s because there is no one right way. I’d recommend just doing 225 starting tonight. It’ll be done before your guests arrive tomorrow. Around 200 Internal Temp (IT) start poking it with a tooth pick, when it glides through you are “probe done” As you do more butts, experiment with temps and wrapping, decide what you like. Most people start at the low and slow without a wrap without any problems. You should have more than enough time before your guests arrive, if it’s done early, wrap in foil or butcher paper, then old towels, and stick in a cooler. Not recommended to try to time a butt to be done at diner time, they will stall for hours just to spite you. Make sure to use finishing sauce when you pull it, makes a huge difference. Good luck! Post some pictures!
 
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Hard and fast here. 275f...8 to 9 hours.

RG

 
What did you decide?
Pellet smoker, 250 . I'll take any advice. As of now I have 24 hours till my guest will be eating, so wrapped or unwrapped I can go either way. Lower or higher temp
Pellet grills are basically a convection oven. I don't have my cooking journal with me, but I recall 6-8 hours.
I prefer to place mine in a covered foil pan around the 160° mark to collect the meat juice. Once covered or wrapped any heat source will work to continue.
That means your oven is a set and forget and doesn't waste pellets. Another option is a roaster pan.
 
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