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Pork Butt

nemonemo Posts: 103
edited 4:57AM in EggHead Forum
4 month owner of a BGE. Have successfully smoked a variety of foods...from turkey to fish...until yesterday when I smoked a Boston Butt. Set BGE at indirect, with plate starter and water bowl...dome temp of 250. Smoked Butt for 5 hrs. Pulled at internal temp of 195. Covered Butt with tin foil and rested it for 1 hr.
Attempted to pull meat...couldn't. Sliced slab of of Butt, chopped it and served sandwiches. Results were OK...but seriously lacking in taste and texture.
Wrapped remaining piece of Butt in tin foil and cooked it for an additional 2 1/2 hrs in a kitchen oven. Resulting in tender, pullable Pork Butt.
Bottom line...I followed instructions from the web but results were lacking. Should I have cooked it for 7 hrs vs 5, or a combo of increased time and increased temp. Lot of work for a poor outcome.
Any suggestions?
Fairview, Texas
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Comments

  • cookn bikercookn biker Posts: 13,372
    Is your thermometer calibrated?
    Molly
    Colorado Springs
    "Loney Queen"
    "Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it."
    Bill Bradley; American hall of fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, former U.S. Senator from New Jersey
    LBGE, MBGE, SBGE , MiniBGE and a Mini Mini BGE
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  • gs300gs300 Posts: 24
    Watch your thermometer placement. If it is too close to the bone, or in a fat section, you get the high reading fast. If you get that real quick move the probe around and make sure it is 195 everywhere. Yours probable wasn't, I am guessing.

    GS
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  • gs300gs300 Posts: 24
    Or your probe is bad. Do a boiling water test. Make sure it reads correctly.

    GS
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  • nemonemo Posts: 103
    Thanks....placement and reliability of thermometer are things I didn't think of.
    Fairview, Texas
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  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    You need to cook a pork butt until it let's you know it's ready. The bone will wiggle and start to slip free, when probing it will be very tender, and sometimes when removing it from the cooker it takes both hands so it won't fall apart.

    Oh yeah, internal temperature of a pullable butt will be somewhere between 190° and 200°. But again... cook it tender regardless of what the thermometer says.

    Then wrap in foil and let it rest for a couple of hours in an insulated cooler. Save the juices from the foil, they add extra flavor to the pulled pork.
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
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  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    nemo, I don't know what food probe you are using but, I check in several places like gs300 suggested. Now unless you have a thermapen instant read thermometer your probes can be off including your dome probe. Use time as a guide not written in stone that the butt us done. Really temp and resistance is a way to tell if your butt is ready to come off the egg. I use my maverick et-73 so I can keep the dome closed and keep tabs on the butts internal temp. Like gs300 said be careful not to place the probe against a bone and if you get it in a fat cavity you may get a false reading. What I do is during the cook I watch how the food probe rises in temp and when it gets close I open the dome and check with my thermapen and then I will pull the butt or leave it in and I may even move the Maverick food probe. I also, know that my Maverick et-73 probes are off by 10 degrees so I keep that in mind as well. I have also found my dome probe was off when I put in in boiling water. I have heard of some dome probes off a bunch. You'll be alright. ;)
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  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    What size butt did you cook? How much weight?
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  • nemonemo Posts: 103
    In retrospect, my main concern was to eat at a specific time...my concern should have been directed toward the tenderness of the Butt. Butt cooking appears to be an art. Thanks!
    Fairview, Texas
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  • nemonemo Posts: 103
    I used a William Sonoma remote thermometer...probably 10 yrs old. I plan to check it and the dome thermometer. The Butt weighed 2 1/5 lbs.
    Fairview, Texas
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  •  
    Hi nemo,

    I cooked THESE butts a couple weeks ago. I have never had a butt finish in five hours, not even close to 7 or 8 hours. On my medium egg, and I have no idea if size matters, I have never had one finish in less then about 20 hours. I cook mine at closer to 210º grid temperature but I doubt that would make such a big difference. Mine will hit a plateau for about the same time or longer than yours cooked. HERE is how I served my butts. I have some defrosted for tonights dinner. :P

    I have seen factory dome thermometers off more then 50º when new!

    Don't be discouraged, I have been working on baby back ribs since early last summer and am just starting to think I might have a slight idea of how to cook them. I know my next ones will be perfect! . . . . and if not my mistakes are still pretty good. :laugh:

    I like the advise that thirdeye posted, he's got a great web site, always a good read. In my post, in the last photo you can see where the bones are turning white, I have always read that that is a sign of doneness with ribs. If that is true it could well apply to butts, just a thought.


    Blair


     
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  • nemonemo Posts: 103
    Truly appreciate the advice. Can't wait to try another one...2 1/5 lbs seems too small for the effort, I'll try one in the 8 to 10 lb range.
    Fairview, Texas
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  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Seeing your reply below that mentioned a 2-1/2 pound butt puts a new twist on things....because that is a pretty small butt, and I'll be it was boneless and did not have much of a fat cap.

    When you think barbecue, think big. Roasts with a lot of mass and a nice amount of fat cook much better than small ones. Of course, they take a lot of time and the worst part is.... they are just unpredictable enough to make a sit down time unpredictable. Get used to it, because that's the way it is. The upside is the flavor and the tenderness that develops over time, and the fact that if you finish early.... a butt will hold for hours.

    I think you made a good move in going for the foil finish because at some point you would have started to dry your roast out. (I recommend a foil finish for small brisket flats as well)

    So next time try a 7 or 8 pound butt. Allow 14 to 16 hours or so for the cook and rest, and keep the sit down time wide open. I guarantee you will be pleased.
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
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  •  
    I don't think I have ever seen a butt that small! The two I did a couple weeks ago combined were 13-14 pounds. I trim nothing from them, will do that after they have cooked when I pull them. I cooked those two butts for myself. I live alone and froze a good part of it in FoodSaver bags, 1 pound per bag. It will keep for ever and it will be months before I have to cook butts again. I freeze it plain and will sauce and season it when I defrost it.

    You have found a great place to learn,

    Good luck,

    Blair


     
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  • nemonemo Posts: 103
    You are correct...no bone and a small fat cap. I will take your advice...a larger butt (8 lbs) and cook till bone is loose and tender to the touch. Will post my results. Thanks again.
    Fairview, Texas
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  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    Nemo, Good idea checking your probes. When checking your dome probe you will need to squeeze the clip under the dome. Use the clip when checking your big green egg dome probe. Put the clip on your pot of boiling water and place the probe in the clip making sure not to place the point of the probe to close to the heat source. Just be sure the tip of the probe is submerged in the water. Make sure the water is at a rolling boil and if the dome probe is off take a 7/16 inch wrench and adjust the probe where you think 212F then recheck in the boiling water again. Now check your other probe and if it's off just keep that in mind because you won't be able to adjust it. This is not the most perfect way of calibrating your dome probe because you also need to take into account your elevation and humidity...but it will be close enough.

    Like thirdeye said consider smoking larger butts I find they make better BBQ. ;)
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  • nemonemo Posts: 103
    I live in Fairview, Tx...just north of Dallas. Elevation is around 600 ft...boiling point of 210+ (feel like I'm back in Physics class). Tomorrow is calibration day...will follow your advice. Thanks.
    Fairview, Texas
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  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    You will do fine. Have fun. ;)
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  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
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  • ForniaFornia Posts: 451
    nemo wrote:
    In retrospect, my main concern was to eat at a specific time...my concern should have been directed toward the tenderness of the Butt. Butt cooking appears to be an art. Thanks!

    Something that I've learned, is if you try to 'plan' on a certain time, it's always brutal to hit. However, if you plan to have them done in advance by a few hours, the wrap/cooler period can save you.

    Better to be early than late, if possible,
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  • nemonemo Posts: 103
    Just checked my thermometers...results as follows:
    BGE dome unit...200 vs 210. Adjusted unit.
    An instant thermometer...180 vs 210. Trashed.
    Williams Senoma remote...253 vs 210. Trashed.

    When I pulled the butt with an internal temp reading of 195 on the WS, the actual internal temp was around 163. No wonder it didn't pull apart. Good thing we didn't get sick.

    Anyhow...I obviously need new remote and instant type units. Can you recommend any? Thanks again...without your help I would be under cooking meat for years to come.

    Dennis.
    Fairview, Texas
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  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    Nemo, I will give you my bias opinion.

    Get a thermapen from ThermoWorks.com.
    Like this.

    Keep in mind you can get this new from mollyshark and you will pay a little less. Simply start a new post with mollyshark in the subject line and ask to buy a new splash proof thermapen. Otherwise get it from ThermoWorks.

    http://thermoworks.com/products/thermapen/splashproof_thermapen.html

    Now a lot of folks here have the Maverick ET-73 but, they recently came out with the upgrade called ET-732.

    http://www.maverickhousewares.com/et732.htm

    Another thing you can do is start another post and ask opinions of these two items. :)
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