Pork butt temp stall?

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I hit 190° two and a half hours ago (smoker at 225°), thought I was good to go, starting prepping sides.  2.5 hours later, I'm at 192°.  Just cranked it to 275°, hopefully that last 10° goes fast.
Low and slow is great, but there is no advantage with pork butt. And cooking at 250 to 275 is still pretty low..... just not as slow. Butt comes out just as moist and tender at higher temps. You gain nothing by going at 225. But you do lose time. I never smoke anything at 225. Somewhere along the line folks have made that the magic number and I dont know why.
I agree about the 225 degree thing. I cook them at 240 to250 (I can't get a reliable 225 out of my gasser anyway). You're going to get a stall, just patience through it. Like some have said, don't try to set an "eat time". You're just setting yourself up for grief. If you're cooking for a crowd do it the day before. The foiling and resting is part of the magic. Not too sure about the high temps (285-300plus), but there aren't any hard and fast rules here. You're going to have to play around and find your own " groove".
Just have fun with it!
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Did you put the bourbon in the apple juice I have been tempted but just seems to be a waste of a good drink
I'm with you, Brandon! I have a co-worker who just swears by adding a beer to his water pan for everything he cooks. I think it's just a waste of a perfectly good beer.[emoji]128527[/emoji]
I might be different in a marinade...
Great info here!

I keep reading 1.5 hours per pound, but my shoulder and butts always take 2 hours per pound plus.  Stall lasts forever.

Was always afraid to raise the temp above the 225 or so, but will definitely give it a shot now
Smoking pork butts has become one of my absolute favorite things to smoke.  The way it looks and the smell of it are unbelievable plus the leftover pulled pork can be used in many different recipes so you're not always eating pulled pork sandwiches.  I have come up with a pretty solid recipe/process that I have been getting some rave reviews on.  First off, I usually will smoke a bone-in pork butt and don't really do the bone-out pork butts as they always seem to not taste as good IMO.  Second, when selecting the pork butt I look for a piece of meat that has a nice thick and even fat cap layer on it.  Below is my process, I'm open to suggestions and will answer any questions.

After selecting your delectable piece of pork we must prep it.  

1. Flip your pork butt over so that the fat cap is on the bottom.  Start trimming any excess fat from the sides or bottom.  I will usually leave any internal fat chunks so that it will provide more flavor.

2. Flip your pork butt back over so that the fat cap is back on top.  Cut the fat cap down to be about 1/4" thick as you want to keep some of the fat on there for flavor.  

3. After cutting your fat cap down to a reasonable amount, score the fat cap.  Using a chef's knife or whatever knife you're using to trim and cut down the fat cap, slice into the remain fat cap just enough so that you're barely getting to the actual meat.  You will do this diagonally all the way across the fat cap with about 1/2 in between each line.  After completing this do the same thing but in the opposite direction so that you are creating small diamonds or squares.  (Check my profile for pictures on how it looks after you smoke it to get an idea of what I'm talking about).

4.  Now that you have trimmed and prepped the meat itself it is time to start spicing things up. BAM! I do a 12-hour brine/marinade on my pork butt because it seems to help it keep moisture and doesn't seem to dry out as much along with adding some flavor too it.  I don't suggest keeping your pork butt in the brine any longer than 12 hours, in my experience it seems to be the magic amount of time.  My brine recipe is below.  I usually do this step 2 days before I am actually going to smoke it.  Example:  You are going to start smoking a pork butt on Saturday at 8 a.m.  Thursday evening around 8 p.m. I make my brine and put my pork butt in.  Friday morning at 8 a.m. I remove the pork butt from the brine then season it (covered in the next steps) and let it rest in the seasoning for 24 hours to help penetrate the meat.  I recommend going to a local grocery store with a bakery and asking for a 5 gallon bucket with a lid to use as a container for your pork butt to brine in.  They will usually give you one for free or just charge you a couple of bucks for one.  These are great as they are already food grade and have a great lid that seals well since normally they held frosting of some sort.  For the below brine recipe I suggest starting with what I have and doubling up if you need more.  The goal is to have the meat completely covered by the liquid.

- 4 cups Apple Cider (Make sure you are using 100% Apple Cider as opposed to Apple Juice.  Real Apple Cider will be cloudy and has sediments in it that helps provide flavor for the pork butt. Using apple juice can introduce too much sugar and does not produce as good of a end result as real cider IMO).

- 2 cups water

- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

- 1/4 cup brown sugar

- 1/4 cup Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients until brown sugar and salt is mixed well.

5. After the pork butt has marinated it is time to season it.  I use a pretty basic rub of kosher salt, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper.   Pat dry the pork butt since it had been sitting in the brine/marinade and then proceed to rub a thin layer of plain yellow mustard on the pork butt.  I know it sounds terrible and you don't want your pork tasting like mustard but you will not taste the mustard on the final product and it will be a nice adhesive to make sure your rub sticks.  Now that the mustard is on you can start seasoning the pork butt.  Liberally spread the seasoning all over the pork butt, this includes any crevice or fold, absolutely everywhere.  Once it is seasoned tightly wrap the pork butt in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 24 hours.  

6. 24 hours prior to the smoke I need to start soaking the wood chunks that I use.  This step is completely optional as some people don't need to soak wood or some prefer not to.  I use a 50/50 combination of Hickory and Apple wood for my smokes.  I will most likely start replacing the apple wood with mulberry.

7.   Depending on the size of your pork butt I recommend taking it out of the fridge 1-3 hours before you actually want to smoke it to start bringing it up to room temp.  I'm normally smoking a 8-10# bone-in pork butt so I'll take the meat out of the fridge 2-3 hours before I want to actually start smoking it.

8.  Get your smoker up to temp, I recommend smoking around 200-225 degrees and making sure you keep a consistent temperature.  I very rarely go over 250 degrees when I smoke although I know others that say my temp is too low.  This is a personal decision and no one will ever completely agree on it. My thought process is that smoking at the low temperature will allow more smoke to penetrate the meat and help break down the meat fibers over a longer period of time.  

9.  Once your smoker is up to temp throw that bad boy in the smoker, make sure you place the pork butt on the smoker with the fat cap on the top.  I use simple stay-in temperature probe for the pork butt, you need to make sure it is not pressing up against a bone if it is a bone-in and make sure it is not in the middle of a patch of fat as that will distort your temperature readings.

10.  Some people will say you need to spray down your pork butt every hour with apple juice or apple cider, since yours was in a brine for 12 hours I don't see any purpose in doing this now.  Keep the pork butt on there and let it cook for a while, do your best to not open the lid.  However, you do want to check on your smoker to make sure it is staying at a consistent temp.  

11. Keep the pork butt on and let it soak in all that smokey goodness until it reaches around 160 degrees IT.  Usually when the meat gets to about 155-165 degrees it hits the stall as others have discussed.  If you wait out the stall it can take significantly longer to cook your pork butt,  I choose to implement the "Texas Crutch" which I'll explain in the next step. 

12.  I use the Texas Crutch (Google it) for a number of different reasons.  First off, meat can only take in so much smoke when cooking.  The amount of time it will take in smoke varies on the person you ask but it is somewhere between 5-8 hours.  I have always been told after 6 hours of smoking it will not take in anymore smoke so essentially you're keeping it on the smoker only for heat (my next step is done for this exact reason).  Secondly, the Texas Crutch is used to get past the stall.  Depending on the size of your pork butt the stall could last 30 minutes or the stall could last 2 hours (I have experienced this myself).  Every piece of meat is different and will have a different amount of stall time. Once it hits the 160 degree mark, it does not have to be this exact temp (pretty much whenever the stall starts), take the pork butt off the smoker and put in a disposable aluminum pan (I buy mine from the dollar store since I'm throwing them away anyways).  Pour in some more apple cider into the pan slowly over top of the pork butt until you have maybe 1/2" to 1" of liquid in the bottom of the pan.  Now loosely cover the pork butt/pan with aluminum foil.

13.  This step is where you have a choice on what you want to do.  As I explained in the previous step the meat will only take smoke for a certain amount of time so at this point you're only using your smoker for heat.  I personally decide to put the pork butt in the oven at this point as all I need is the heat but you can absolutely put the pork butt back on the smoker.  At this time though you need to bump the temperature up to 250 degrees.  Doing this in the oven has several advantages for me.  I do not have to use as much charcoal in my smoker, I don't have to watch my smoker to make sure it is staying at a consistent temp, and the last reason is because using the oven makes my house smell like BBQ.  I put the oven at 250 degrees and put the pork butt into the oven while wrapped in foil in the pan with apple cider.

14.  Now that it is in the oven and pushing past the stall I keep the pork in the oven until the IT reaches about 200-205 degrees to make pulled pork.  

15.  Once the pork reaches the required temp I remove the pork from the oven, wrap it TIGHTLY in aluminum foil, wrap that in a towel or two and place inside a cooler (make sure you use old towels in case any grease leaks).  This is allowing the pork to rest and recover it's juices, keep it moist and actually continue to cook.  I make sure to let my pork rest for about 1 hour.  30 minutes is the bare minimum that I recommend letting it rest though.  This is called a faux cambro.  Keeping your pork butt in there will keep it warm for up to 5 hours.  When I say warm I mean it. On my most recent pork butt, I left it in the cooler for around 2.5 to 3 hours and the pork was hard to handle because it was so hot still.

16. Now that it has done the rest, it's time to SHRED BRAH!! I personally like to keep the fat cap on and mix it in with all the pulled pork for more flavor, I have friends that will remove the fat cap at this point.  This decision is yours and only yours.  

Notes:  Serving amounts can usually be figured to be about 1/4 to 1/3 lbs of meat per person.  This is based on the weight of the meat after it has been cooked.  During the process you can expect a 40% loss of weight in the meat (i.e. a 10lb pork butt will be approximately 6lbs of cooked meat).  This is not always the case but it is a good rule of thumb.

Like others have said you can expect your cook time to be 1.5 hours to 2 hours per pound of meat.  This is not to be used as your cooking guide but more to give you an idea of how long it will take to cook.  ALWAYS determine your finished product based on internal temperature.

I know this is an extremely long post and I may have gone on a rant or two but I wanted to share this process with everyone as I have cooked some amazing pork butts using this exact process.  I'm open to suggestions, comments or questions and would like to hear what everyone else has to say about my process.
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300+* for me. Only difference is the bark is not like chewing on match stickso like when it is done at 225*. Don't notice a bit of difference in the juiciness, the tenderness nor the taste. When I use my RF 225* simply ain't gonna happen. 300* on the grate is as cold as it will run without smoking like an old small block Chevy on a cold morning start. Ribs at 225* from the Egg just don't compare to ribs at 325* on the RF. Last rack of ribs on the RF had a to the bone smoke ring.

Just did a 7 pound boneless butt a few days ago. Was raining so we used one of the Eggs. FlameBoss controlled 325*. Was done in 4 hours and 45 minutes. To date was my best butt...
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Low and slow is great, but there is no advantage with pork butt. And cooking at 250 to 275 is still pretty low..... just not as slow. Butt comes out just as moist and tender at higher temps. You gain nothing by going at 225. But you do lose time. I never smoke anything at 225. Somewhere along the line folks have made that the magic number and I dont know why.
I agree, geerock. I don't know where that 225 came from. Maybe for ribs? I do butt at 240 to 250 and they come out fine...
I cook all mine at 325 and have never had a bad butt. Give it a try and you will never go back to 225 again.
One thing to keep in mind if your using a pellet smoker is that at 225 you get great smoke. The higher you go from there the more efficiently your pellets burn and the less smoke will be produced. If you have an AMNPS to supplement the smoke that's a different story. I have a pellet smoker and so to get the best smoke I run at 225 and wait it out, usually 1.5-2 hrs per pound. You can always do the crutch method once you get to approx 165 and increase the temp as you won't be putting more smoke into the meat anyways when it's wrapped or covered in foil so if you get less smoke from your pellets by raising the temp it doesn't matter.
At the end of the day you do what works for you and 99 % of the time you get the results that you're looking for. What I love is that this community is awesome at sharing ideas and trying different things. I've learned most of what I know from the great people on this forum.
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I loke the indirect heat method. I have a drum bbq set coals opposite of exhaust and away we go. I try and keep temp in grill below 325and above250. everything comes out great. this threshhold thing has been known to create havoc though
Nice tutorial Burger Bob. I agree with most of what you said. The parts I don't agree on are simply personal preference. I cook ALL my buts at 235 to 250 degrees. My smoker is a MES 30 and on a great day only produces minimal bark, so bark isn't all that important to me. That's why, when I hit the stall, I foil and put the butt into a 250* oven to finish out at 205*.

Everybody has their favorite temp to cook at, and IMO nobody's wrong.

I have to agree that 225 is a bit low--but smoking meat is a hobby, and a hobby should be fun and relaxing. Some people are just happy sitting out by the smoker,talking and having an occasional cold one.

It's all about enjoying yourself and producing Q that you're happy with.

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I agree about the temperature, everyone has their own preferred smoking temp.  With my UDS it's a little more difficult to control exact temperatures so when I'm sitting around 225, I'm sure that it gets a little higher than that.  It is definitely a hobby/addiction and making sure you're having fun doing it
Started using my MES 30 today to learn as this is my first smoking so we were testing pork about 5 lbs and hit the stall around 5/5 1/2 hours at 187 where I noticed I was no longer heating remotely just trying to get in the 190-205 range
This was very informative! I smoked my first pork butt this past weekend and it came out a little tougher than I had hoped. I didn't fully get past the stall and couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I'm trying again this weekend and this write up will help tremendously!
This was very informative! I smoked my first pork butt this past weekend and it came out a little tougher than I had hoped. I didn't fully get past the stall and couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I'm trying again this weekend and this write up will help tremendously!
If worse comes to worse there's no shame in finishing it in the oven to hit your final IT and get the cook over with. 
I had a 3-4 hour stall on a butt a couple years ago.  Man, was that ever frustrating...especially AFTER you informed SWMBO when the meat would be ready.

As an experiment, the next time I foiled at just under 150F (147-149F) and that butt didn't even have a stall.  The temp just steadily rose until it was done (for me that is a toothpick easy 205-207F range).

I've repeated that at least a dozen times since with the same results.  I don't wait until the butts reach 160F before foiling anymore.  

My Modus Operandi/Standard Operating Procedure is to foil butts under 150F now.
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