Question about Pork Butt cooking times

Discussion in 'Pork' started by ferrd32, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Good afternoon,

    I have a MES 30 and I find the 90 min per pound rule of thumb always off for me.  I find that time works if I use the Texas Crutch, but if I don't.......... it takes FOREVER to get up to 190 for sliced goodness.  Am I doing something wrong? I generally heat up the smoker to 225.

    Any advice is appreciated.
  2. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    No you are not doing anything "wrong", but cooking at 225° pork butts take a very long time to get to the desired internal temp. Try cooking at a higher temp, I recommend the highest setting on your MES. I cook my butts on a Weber kettle at high heat(285°-315°) and average about 1 hour per pound, an 8lb butt takes 8 hours or less.
  3. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm with cliff If I'm doing Butts/Picnics alone (no ribs) I'll run it at 275° sometimes higher. Averaging 70 -80 minutes a pound (foiled at 155-165).

    That's for my pit, I don't know about an MES
  4. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use the MES30, I am a 220 low and slow without the crutch type smoker normally. I tell most folks its a 2 hour per pound estimator, and 2 1/2  if you want a good sit time. My last 9 lbs butt took a little over 22 hours in the smoker.

    But it was well worth it.

    BTW when ya get a chance drop over to the Forum section to "ROLL CALL" and introduce yourself so you can get a proper hello, learn the secret handshake, and practice the secret word that gets into the hidden files in the club house. It doesn't hurt too much and and (I stutter), no one has died yet from it, well there was the bullfrog897 incident but the lawyers never proved it.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  5. Agree with the other posters that 225 is too low for the 90 minute per lb time you want.  I cook pork butt at 250 and it for the most part takes about 90 minutes per lb to get done, though I usually shot for about 200-203 F to make it easier to pull.
  6. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Cliff might have converted me as I started a similar thread and on his advice tried higher temps. Smoked two small butts at at around 290 and it was around an hour per pound. I have done the whole 22 hour 225 smoke and it was not enjoyable. I have only done 4 or 5 butts in my short smoking days but I thought the higher temp cook yielded equally juicy, delicious results. I am in no way knocking the low and slow method because if time didn't matter to me maybe I would go back to that but when you don't want to have to plan a dinner two days in advance and want delicious tender and juicy meat, the higher temp is the way to go.
    cliffcarter and chapterthree like this.
  7. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just one more recommendation. I don't like smoking on the clock. All meats differ, then you have to calculate the weathers influence, even if its an electric I think sometimes its slow electricity!

    Why put yourself thru the stress? You are probably going to pull it anyway so why wait, cook it a day early, pull it and put in the reefer with a bit of finishing sauce. Then when its time, throw it in a crock pot and heat it up, again adjusting for moisture with finishing sauce. I actually prefer it this way because it gives that sauce a chance to get into the meat. Its like beans, or chili, or gumbo, its better the next day when its reheated.

    Other obvious benefits are you are not tired and cranky at the party, you get a good nights sleep. Youre clean, and you can do some of those nice party poppers while waiting to eat so everyone can appreciate your smoking skills as well as get you out from under the bosses foot. Outta sight outta mind! No stress over completion time involved.

    Its just a win/win/win situation all over the place.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  8. Thanks everyone for the advice!!!  And thanks Foamheart, I will stop in now and say hi.
  9. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I will be smoking at a little higher temp from now on, too. I put in two 8-9 lb. pork butts about 10:30 Saturday night @ 225°. Went 16 hours, and only got done because I wrapped in foil and threw them in the oven @ 275° for the last 2 hours. I dang near missed the kickoff!
  10. mchar69

    mchar69 Smoke Blower

    I smoke on my Weber 22" kettle grill - coals in one side, butts on the other -

     top full open over the meat, bottom closed under the meat, the other 2 vents cracked 1/4 or so.

    I do about 3 hours heavy smoke then heavy-duty foil wrap for 2 - hrs + a bit -

    killer results.  225 to 275.

    Bacon turned out killer as well, over about 200 for 2 hours or so.

    Wish I had the Q views.
  11. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Turbo smoking. Been doing that for some time now, although I like to start out slow to allow for the butt to stay in the smoke longer. Usually 225 to 250, then wrap in foil around 170 IT and crank smoker to 300 +  Usually i can get a 8 lb Butt done in 9 hours or so this way.
  12. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Flash I swear I am going to do my next butt that way just so I can have the experience under my belt. If its the same the only possible thing you gain out of 10 hours additional smoking is bark?
  13. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     Got to be a trade off with the longer time in the smoker and a higher heat. Higher heat helps with the bark too, but if in foil, that helps to deter it. I might try higher heat for 2 hours, then back off for a few hours before wrapping. More Bark for sure but once it is wrapped it will soften. Seems there is really a lot of ways to do a butt. Just gotta find the finish butt that you like the most. I do like getting them done sooner but would like to see a bit more bark myself.
  14. Okay, reading this thread has convinced me. I'm putting a butt in the smoker in the morning and will up the temp. The last one I did was at 225 and took a looong time. I'd be happy if I can get done 9-10 hours. As always, this forum is great for advice. Especially for all of the newbies on here like me.
  15. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Couple more tidbits for quicker cook time
    • Picnic - remove the skin
    • Picnic/Butt - Remove the bone, bones do not conduct heat.
    • Butt - Remove the fat cap but keep the false cap
    • Butt/Large - cut in half
    • Butt/Picnic - Foil
    • Butt Picnic - Bump up temp after foiling (Flash)
    • Butt/Picnic - do not baste (peek)
    • Butt/Picnic - Start at much higher temp then work down not the other way around, I start of at 350+ then work down.
    • Butt/Picnic - Do not allow meat to touch
  16. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sqwib, would starting out high, then going lower, give more bark in your opinion?
  17. I started out with doing butts and think I perfected them pretty well. I stay in the 225-250 range. I wrap at 165 till 200. When I do wrap I will turn the heat up more. I love trapping the juices in the foil and putting the pulled pork back in its own juice. can't beat it.
  18. raastros2

    raastros2 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I also used to smoke everything 220-230 but now keep everything at 250 or so
  19. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good info here for a guy like me who has yet to smoke his first Butt.  Getting mentally ready.
  20. I also brine mine over night with salt, molasses, garlic cloves, and some of my rub.

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