Question for you Butt smokers out there

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smokin lou

Fire Starter
Original poster
Jun 28, 2007
Chesapeake, VA
I have smoked more than my fair share of butts and have never wrapped them in foil like I have seen here. I usually get butts that are about 8-9 lbs. I have a MES which I usually set at about 225. I normally put my butts on at about 8PM. By 6am they are usually in the plateau (160 deg). They normally hit 195 at about 2pm. I checked the temp of the smoker with an oven thermometer and it was very close.

My question. Does this seem about right or is it too long?

Does wrapping the butt in foil speed up the process? I am tring to figure out if it is possible to put a Butt on at 6am and have it ready for supper.

It should, as the foil would insulate the meat. I have only foiled, so I don't have a comparison. I did a butt last week, 6.5#, started it at 7am, and had it in the cooler at 4pm at 205* internal. That was cooking at 230-240*

Delicious every time!
I smoked my first few butts unfoiled. Ran out of go juice on the last one and foiled internal temp was 155. the cooking temp was 220 DEG in smoker and oven. In the foil it finished about 1.5 hours sooner than usual. Dropped it in the coler at about 204 DEG .And I might add it was moist to no end. I usually run a 9# butt for 16 hours or so.
Smokin Lou, I hate to admit it because it is not low and slow like it should be. I have put on (8) butts around 8 to 9 lbs. each and smoked them for 3 hours at 235 degrees then foiled them and turn up the heat to 300 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I just keep checking them to an internal temp of 200 to 205 degrees. I have started at 6 am and by 12:30 pulled them off and let them rest for about 45 minutes. When I unwrapped the foil they just fell apart. You couldn't tell they weren't smoked for 14 hours. Everybody loved them and the smoke ring was about an inch inside the meat. That's only when I pressed for time,but it works for me. I have a propane homemade cooker that I use hickory and oak chunks in a coffee can on top of the burner and it smokes it up good. I can smoke for 3 hours with just (2) fist sized chunks. Hope this helps. I wished I had taken pictures.
I have to agree with the Doc. i too foil my butt when i smoke it. I have done several 6-7 lb butts and i can usually smoke them in about 9-10 hours. As i am sure you are aware of it takes around 1-1/2 hours per pound. And as i was calculating the way you have been doing it. It seemed to me to take much longer. Plus i think foiling also allows more moisture to stay inside the butt. So all i can say is give it a try and see what works the best for you.

Lou -

I butt takes as long as it takes! Some go long some don't. I am begining to believe that the fattier the butt the longer it takes to smoke. I track everything I smoke in a log and when the butts are really fatty inside they hit the plateu and stay there forever - the leaner butts don't seem to hit the plateau at all. Is it the luck of the draw? Maybe? Can we see a butt and know how long it will take? Maybe ...

Charting my data of the last year I have found that the plateau is directly related to amout of waste produced after the pull. I scrape every bit of fat off when I pull and weigh it for data collection. I'll post the chart after I finish plotting everything, but for now it appears that it is fat related.
I guess it really depends on the meat. I've smoked butts that plateau and some that dont plateau.
I figure foiling it would bring it out of plateau faster than not foiling. When I foil, the temp always starts to rise, slowly but surely. Raising the temp to 250 would speed up the process too.
I have not foiled mine but the only Butts I've done are about 6lbs, I do pulled pork so I've taken them off at 195°-200°. Average time has been 9 1/2 hrs with the smoker at 225°-250° so if you take into consideration your extra lbs no it's not to long. remember it's done when it's done
Over all temp will set the time the butt is done. The foil does speed it up. My GOSM will take 9 hours on a butt (with foil). My old ECB, which retains heat better and can achieve a higher temp, can do one in 7 hours (with foil).
Like Debi, I log all of my adventures. My conclusion is that the only thing I can really count on are my fingers. Times vary and what I expect often doesn't happen. Each piece of meat seems to have its own personality. I, like others on here, foil for pulled meat. I add a little apple juice and and foil for a couple of hours. I feel it aids in tenderness and maintains good moisture. Keep in mind the value of my opinion and a dollar will usually get you a senior coffee at McDonald's but don't forget your
I am new to this site and I can see I have a lot of terms to learn. I have smoked my share of butts and find they are the easiest and best piece to smoke. I have a Charbroil Smoker and I will put a 9# bag of Kingsford Charcoal in it with no water pan. I'll light that sucker off at 7 am and put an 8 -8.5# butt on at 8 am. Put the lid on and let it go until 6 pm. I have never had a bad one, the only problem I have is keeping the guests from taking any leftovers home with them. The trick to smoking like this, is to make sure the lid fits very tight or your butt will go up in flames from the grease dripping on the coal. Oh yea, what is a plateau?
Man I had two not so great ones last night. A double butt sale at BJ's. After cleaning there was a 50% fat and bone to meat ratio! I'm not buying any more butts from BJ's this is the second time they're butts were all fat INSIDE the meat.

WalMarts butts are way better!
Well I know why BJ's had them on sale for $1.39 a pound! Must've been Whistlers Mother's pig! I never saw so much fat between the layers of muscle like these guys. Well it did feed about 40 - half baked 30 somethings at my boys party last night. Thank goodness for that, Dutches beans and smoked cheese and sausages and I think they ate their way sober! LOL
Wow Deb, that's unusual for BJ's... at least around here anyway. I have always had good luck with their meats, especially the butts.
Wow, lots of great info. I guess I am not far off concerning time. Guess I will keep on keepin on. One thing I like is with the MES, like I said, I put the butts on about 7-8 PM and feed chips until 11-12 PM. Then I can go to bed, get up at 6 and finish the smoke.

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