Pork Butt - something wrong with my smoker ?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by rumrunner424, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. rumrunner424

    rumrunner424 Newbie

    Smoked a 7 lb butt earlier this month, it took close to 9 hours.

    Figured I will do 2  this time. Started at 200, just because one knowitall friend kept telling me that it is better that way.  With temperature rising really slow, bumped it up to 230 after 4 hours. Took a little over 14 hours total for temperature to rise to 165. I just didn't have the energy to go on and at that point I transferred both them to 170 degree oven. Temperature this morning on both was 171 when I transferred them back to the smoker. Yes, on hind sight i could have bumped the temperature to 250 and left them there. But anyway, Since around noon both of them are stuck at 199, that's 6 hours. I thought stalling happens around 165. Both butts has been in the smoker for 23 hours now.  I put them back in the oven thinking maybe my smoker is messed up, it hasn't budged one degree.

    Is this normal ? How do I ever dare to invite someone over for dinner if I am not sure it will be ready even the next night ? :D

    Is something wrong with my smoker ?  This is the 3rd time using the smoker and Masterbuilt is willing to send me a new one. I am just not sure what is going on.  Should I just take them out, wrap and put them in the ice box ?

     My confidence is kind of shot at this point :) Any help would be really appreciated !!
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Don't listen to that friend any more.

    Check this out----A Butt isn't hard to do:


    Pulled Boston Pork Butt         
  3. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Listen to Bear! He's the man. You might check out getting some quality thermometers. One for the meat and one for the smoker. Makes all the difference in the world. Well, other than knowing a good procedure to use.
  4. rumrunner424

    rumrunner424 Newbie

    That is the thread I used for the first time. As per that thread it took 3 hours to get from 165 to 208. Mine is stuck at 199 for 6 hours. It shouldn't matter at what temp I was smoking earlier, it was set to 250 at 165 degrees. Should it take this long ? Should I keep going, or should it take it out and let it rest ?
  5. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    I will try to help you when I do butts I smoke them at 235 not 200.  I always foil my butts at 165 taking them to 203-205 before pulling and into an empty ice chest for at least an hour but 2 or 3 hours is better.  I think what might have happened is you put cold meat into a 200 degree smoker.  this will drop smoker temp significantly.  Every piece of meat is different and will cook differently.  Were it I, I would have pulled and finished them both in the oven.  I question the temps of your smoker and the butts as well.  hopefully, you have a good meat thermometer and a thermometer such as a Maverick to monitor your smoker temp.  Don't let this shake you, keep smoking will get better.

  6. rumrunner424

    rumrunner424 Newbie

    That is another thing I am questioning. I got a new Maverick ET-733, realized this morning one of the probes is shot. Apparently probes do  short, so they are sending me a new one.

    I did try with regular analog meat thermometers, and they give the same reading as the working probe of the et-733.

    All in all, not a good day for smoking.
  7. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Do not give up. This is the stall, and it happens. Sometimes more severe than other times. Keep doing what you are doing. Butts can take a long time to get right. Don't pull it out until it reaches 203 degrees. Then wrap and rest for at least an hour.
  8. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    "Is this normal ? How do I ever dare to invite someone over for dinner if I am not sure it will be ready even the next night ? :D"

    There is no "normal" with low and slow pork butts. I do mine at 300-325 and its a lot more predictable. About 6-7 hours.
    cliffcarter likes this.
  9. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    cheater. hahaha.....
  10. rumrunner424

    rumrunner424 Newbie

    Well, finally its all over. After 24 hours ( plus the 10 hours they spent in the oven at 170 ) we reached the magical 205 mark and 2 purdy looking butts have been lovingly wrapped and put away for resting.

     I'll try to post pictures of the final product tomorrow.

    Thank you all for your help and suggestions.
  11. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Next time stick to your guns. Maverick probes will fail if you get them wet where the probe and the wire come together. You can use rtv sealant and or shrink tubing to waterproof that weak point. I am sure they will be the best you ever had though with all that blood sweat and tears. Hahahaha.....
  12. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    This is what you should be doing^^^^^^. I've been cooking butts at 300°-325° for about 3 years now and Mdboatbum is correct, the cooks are more predictable(about 45-55 minutes/pound) and

    there is no stall. There are also no overnight and nearly sleepless cooks, no foiling, no finishing in the oven and no wife asking sarcastically if it will be done in this lifetime.

    There is absolutely no reason for a new BBQer to cook butts low and slow when it so often leads to results like those experienced by rumrunner424.
  13. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Yes but it is so fun.....hahahaha......plenty of beer, a solid plan B and some good country music. Plan B is important. That is why there are multiple racks in the smoker. lol
  14. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    BTW I forgot to mention in my last post that your butt was done at 199°, no need to wait 6 hours for it to rise another 4-5 degrees. Butts are cooked to a range of internal temps from 195°-205°, there is no precise temperature that it must achieve in order to be considered done.
  15. ynot2k

    ynot2k Smoke Blower

    Are you seriously saying that the total cook time was 24 hours in the smoker plus 10 hours in the oven for a grand total of 34 hours?  Or am I missing something?

    This seems extreme.  Something has to be wrong.  Back up, get better thermometers, calibrate them before use.  There is no way in heck that a shoulder takes 34 hours to get to 200 degrees!
  16. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I could be wrong but I think he had a 2 hours per pound butt. I have had many. Butt, pun intended, a hudred and seventy five in the oven? who told you that?
  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I wouldn't count the 10 hours in the oven:

    If you take a Butt that's 165° IT, and put it in a 170° oven, the highest it's going to go is 170° IT. In this case it was 171°, but just how high would one expect it to go in those 10 hours???

    Starting it at 200° ----Bad idea.

    10 hours in a 170° oven------Bad idea.

    As for the rest of the time, I would do some testing on the Therms, because if it was actually at 250° for 6 hours, and the IT stayed at 199° that whole time, there's obviously something wrong.

  18. I smoke my butts around 275. Normally takes a little over a hour per pound. I also dont smoke to a internal temp I cook to probe tender and the bone pulls clean.

    Sounds to me like your trying to cook at to low of a temp and there's a good chance your butt was done at 199 degrees
  19. rumrunner424

    rumrunner424 Newbie

    Completely agree starting at 200 was a bad idea.

    The reason behind oven at 170 degrees was that is the lowest setting my oven has, and it is over 165, temp I foiled. I didn't want it to cook at 250 'cause I didn't want internal temperature to cross 205-208 while I was sleeping. Considering this is only the second time trying my hands on pulled pork, I wanted to stall the cooking process and restart it while I was awake. Keeping them at 170 was the only way I could think of stalling the process.

    My bigger issue is temperature stalled at 199 for almost 7 hours when my smoker was 250. I was thinking it must be thermometer issue, but it was not. I used 4 different thermometers, electronic and analog, all of them showed the same. That is my big mystery. The temperature got back up to 205 within an hour of putting it back in the oven.

    I had a conversation with Masterbuilt technical support yesterday afternoon. When I explained my situation, I was told it could be a controller issue and they are willing to send me a whole new smoker. I am not sure if that is the case, but I cannot think of anything else that would cause this.

    My et-733 thermometers are new, so is my smoker. I am getting another set of thermometers just for the sake of situations like these ever happen.

    I guess I will chalk this up as a good learning experience, at least learned things I shouldn't do. :)

    At the end of the ordeal this was the end result. Bone came right out without even wriggling, everything was literally falling apart. Taste was heavenly.

    Learned a lot in one day. I thank all of you for your inputs and your words of wisdom. I plan to do 2 more butts as soon as I get all my new equipments just to see how long it takes. This time I will stick to 230 and 250 degrees temperature.
  20. rumrunner424

    rumrunner424 Newbie

    I agree my butt was probably done at 199, it was probe tender. But I just didn't have enough knowledge / confidence to pull them off for resting and wanted to stick to what I have learned from all the threads and sticky.

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