Ruined Pork Butt

Discussion in 'Pork' started by bigbluesmoker, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. bigbluesmoker

    bigbluesmoker Newbie

    Been smoking on and off for the past year now, did a pork butt late last year and turned out pretty well. Just used a rub and that was pretty much it and it turned out pretty well.

    Today, however, after reading quite a bit and watching some videos, I decided to get a little fancier than usual. I used a rub and injected the meat with a combination of apple juice and Worcestershire sauce. I have a Masterbuilt analog electric smoker and wanted to smoke a 4 lb bone in butt, today. I have an oven thermometer to make sure I was sitting around 250, which I was and also a meat thermometer, that I kept in the butt to make sure I hit my internal temps.

    I was a little surprised when it took only about 2.5 - 3 hours to get to 160, at which point I took it out, spritzed it and wrapped it and re-inserted the meat thermometer. Took me about another hour to hour and a half to hit 197, which is what I was looking for. Took the meat out and let it rest for about 45 minutes. I used a different meat thermometer to check the internal temp and it was about 189 I believe. I assumed it had dropped some degrees just sitting there on the counter top wrapped up.

    Went to pull the bone out and I couldn't get it out. The meat was really tough and I just considered it ruined at that point. I just don't understand, all my temps were spot on and I have no idea where I went wrong. Funny thing was, a few weeks ago, I had almost exactly the same thing happene to me, and I later figured out the temp gauge on my smoker was completely off by more than 50 degrees. So I assumed buying the internal probe would fix my problem but apparently not.

    Was hoping maybe someone could suggest something or point out something I did wrong. Appreciate the help!
  2. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you're undercooked. Throw it in the oven and finish it off. Its not ruined.
  3. caribou89

    caribou89 Smoke Blower

  4. Definitely undercooked. Did u calibrate the thermos using hot water? Also could of had that probe right on or really close to the bone which would of given u false readings.

    Like said above.....throw in the oven to make tender. Unless you already threw in the trash.
  5. Big Blue,

    I think at one time or another, we have all had that surprise. IMO, the first rule is don't trust time, its always almost wrong. My second rule is trust the temp only slightly more. Regardless of what the temp say, I try the toothpick test or something similar (toothpick test is once you think you are done (or close), let a it rest just a little, then try to slide a toothpick in it to see if its done or just stubborn! That's really true with something like beef brisket but I've been surprised with pork too.

    When I wrap, I like to add a little alcohol in with whatever I'm adding for taste like apple juice (I use Cherry Infused Red Stag Bourbon , its cheap and adds a little sweetness if you can taste it at all). The alcohol tends to help breakdown the connective tissue but, if you use too much, the meat falls apart. I use about 1/4 to 1/3 of the liquid by volume as bourbon, others use almost everything under the sun. I also mix apple and Red Stag as the spritz in the same volume but again, there are lots recipes. Some guys tell me a little vinegar in the wrapping liquid does the same thing but I've never tried.        

    There are lots of guys on here WAAAY smarter than me that will give you great advice but I agree with geerock and Padron, temp is better than just time but every piece of meat is different. Its easy to rest it wrapped in an ice chest to keep warm but hard to hurry it up. When it gets close, test it with a toothpick, fork or whatever, for the tenderness you want. Whether you put it back in the smoker or in an oven, let it go a while longer and it will probably be ok (especially if its been wrapped with liquid). I also keep a meat probe in the meat but, when I think I'm close, I check it in multiple places with another quick reading thermometer to make sure I'm not being tricked by the temp of the bone or something else.

    I've also been wrong because one of my thermometer can be set to C or F and, if its set wrong, you really mess up - trust me, I know! :-(



    Hampton, VA
  6. only thought to explain the internal temp on the probe - was it possibly hitting the bone?  You said you measured the temp with a different meat thermometer - did you go in the same lace - or different places?

    Another thing to check is to verify your probe is reasonably accurate.  Get a pot of water with lots of ice, and a pot of boiling water.  Put your probe in the ice water - does it read 32F?  Then put it in the boiling water - does it read 212F?  If it is close - it's OK.  If far off - there is part of the problem.
  7. bigbluesmoker

    bigbluesmoker Newbie

    Thanks for the replies guys, appreciate it. I'm currently working on another 4 lber today and this time I'm doing it a little different. I'm going to plan on having it on around 6 hours and testing the temp around then with a quick read thermometer. I'm going to try different spots to make sure I'm getting a more accurate read on the internal temp and try and pull it around 195 - 205.

    I'll also try wiggling the bone to make sure it is nice and tender and ready to go. Once I get it off, I'm going to wrap it and let it sit in a cooler for probably 2 hours to let it rest. I'll let you guys know how it turns out, thanks for the advice!
  8. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You can do that... separate the meat from the bone with two forks and see if the meat separates from the bone and looks clean, if it does foil back up and rest an hour or two you will get a bit more carry over heat but you'll know for sure it's done.

    Post your results,

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