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Pulled pork...why does it take so long???

Discussion in 'Pork' started by brazosdog02, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. brazosdog02

    brazosdog02 Newbie

    Ive smoked about 3 of these recently when I got my Smoke Vault.  They come out great, but the damn things take easily 16-19 hours to smoke.  That's with a 6-7lb butt.  What gives?  Im smoking at 225.  Im using a Maverick thermometer and never opening the door unless I HAVE two, which might be once or twice over the cook time.  The thermometer says 255, but my analog gauge says 225.  Either way, im somewhere in there and I can't figure out if it is normal for it to take that long.  It would be nice if I could get it done in one day or at least plan it better.  This time I started it at 1pm so I could just let it go overnight.
  2. pc farmer

    pc farmer Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Higher temp.  I have done them at 300 - 350.

    Still turns out great with no foil.
  3. The problem is smoking at 225...as stated already higher temp. I run mine at 250-265. Higher temps cut time.

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  4. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I'm usually at around a tad over an hour per lb @ 275. 
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Last Butt, 9lbs. 22 hours.

    It was a tastee little devil though, The more I try to cut corners and do better or faster the more I am unhappy with my food. I keep trying.... but the old low & slow ways just come natural, and always come out excellent. But I keep trying ...
  6. brazosdog02

    brazosdog02 Newbie

    OH....225 is TOO LOW?  Hmmm.....Well, that pretty much settles that!

    How long can a finished but not pulled pork butt sit in a cooler and still be OK to pull and eat?
  7. I wouldn't say that.  I smoke all my meat at 225.  Low and slow is the way I like to smoke.  I just plan in enough time.  It usually works out to about 90 minutes per pound..  As mentioned there are a lot of people who smoke at higher temps who still turn out good tasting food, so it eventually comes down to what you prefer.  There are many ways of doing it,  after some time you will find something that works for you.
  8. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    My last one was 8 lbs and took 9 hours...didn't go hot and fast either just 275.   
  9. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I used to be a 225er but switched for 3 reasons.

    1) food safety, i'd rather big cuts get out of the danger zone quicker

    2)  faster cooks

    3)  Better quality smoke is produced at a little higher temps. 

    On a few different  cooks (smaller cuts) i have to go low....low as in 200*  for pulling bottom round for roast beef...but that's about it.   Bigger cuts like butts are gonna be 275 minimum. 
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  10. +1.  Whatever you like is the key.  Plan accordingly.

    It takes so long because is a thick hunk of gnarly pork shoulder with lots of connective tissue that has to be broken down by heat.

    Some folks prefer to make the cook last so they plan for long slow cooks.  Others prefer getting food on the table so they cook at higher temps.  The answer is -- they're BOTH right (as long as you reach 140*F in under 4 hours).  If you want it done sooner crank up the heat.  If the cook is the event vs the eating, slow it down and make it last.  There's also the happy medium of a range of temps in between.

    I've read articles from food scientists that have done comparison cooks.  They concluded that if the butt stays at 167*F internal temp for at least six hours (before it finishes at ~200*F) it will be as tender as possible.  But we don't have that kind of precision to hold it at that precise temp like they do so Low N Slow does pretty much the same thing (aka "the stall").  My words: Higher heat can blast thru the stall and, though produces great BBQ, it is not all it can be.

    Me?  I am happy anywhere between 225 - 275*F.  In my mind the event is the cook - not the eating.  It's done when it's done.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  11. disco

    disco Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I find my electric cabinet smoker takes longer than my friends pellet smoker even at the same temperatures. Personally, I like a pork butt that has smoked for the extra hours but, as you can see, personal preferences vary.

  12. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I never use my MES30 for butts...takes too darn long no matter what the temp.

    I like low and slow - 225 - 240 because I get more smoke flavor...

    But I've done the last few at 270 - about an hour per pound and the quality was excellent, just not getting the smoke flavor that I love.

  13. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I smoke butts at 200 - 210 deg. F.....  Below the boiling point of water....    20 hours or so and tender and moist.....    finish temp is 205 or so.....
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  14. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Like Dave, I like to smoke low & slow---200*--225*, and I like 205*IT for pulling too.

    If you don't inject, or probe before you start, or puncture in any way, there's no big hurry to get it through the Danger zone, and you can get more light smoke on it. Wait 2 or 3 hours before inserting a sterile temp probe, and take your time.