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First Butt Question

atlegg22atlegg22 Posts: 29
edited 10:18AM in EggHead Forum
Hello All,

I'm looking to cook my first boston butt for a group of 14 people (figuring to get about a 6lb bone in butt). I've searched this site as well as some BGE books and I can't find a consistent cooking time. I understand that each butt is different and cooking times can fluctuate. I'm guessing a safe bet would be around 12 hours (2 hours per 1 lb). If I start the butt before I go to bed, is it safer to start the butt in the oven at a low temp so as to avoid waking up the next morning and finding the fire went out and then transferring it to the Egg for the remaining time? Were looking to eat around 6pm so I'm struggling to figure out when to kick the cooking process off.

Also, if it gets done early and needs to be pulled off the BGE, is their a trick to keep it warm until the dinner starts.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.




  • eggzloteggzlot Posts: 88
    get the Egg stablized at 250 degrees. if the Egg can hold at 250 degrees for 60 minutes, it will likely not die out over night.

    At 250 degrees, it should take 1.5-2/hrs per pound. So you can count back and figure out when to put it on the smoker.

    You also want to rest the butt in a cooler for a few hours - this helps re-distribute the juices but also gives you plenty of "f up" time when it comes to trying to get the food on the plate at 6pm.

    So aim to be done by like 3ish or so, and if it is done at 1pm or 5pm, it doesnt matter, stick it in the cooler. Wrap the butt in 2-3 layers of heavy duty aluminum foil, wrap in blankets and put in a cooler and stuff the cooler with more blankets. If properly stored in the cooler, the butt will hold its temp for 4-5 hours and be ready to serve when you are ready to serve your lucky guests!
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    A 6 pound butt isn't likely to feed 14 people. I would get at least one in the 7-8 pound range, and why not cook 2 - takes the same amount of time, lump, and energy with the added benefit of leftovers.

    Stabilize your egg for an hour or so at 250&deg, then put the butt(s) on around 11pm or midnight.

    If they finish early store them by wrapping foil then in a cooler. If they are not on target to finish in time, you can bump the temps up toward the end of the cook to push them across the finish line.
  • Jer_invaJer_inva Posts: 109
    If you start it in the oven, the butt will not take on much smoke when you transfer it to the egg. Always better to do it all in the egg from start to finish. Plan to finish about 3pm that way if the butt isn't finished and takes an extra hr or so, you won't have guests waiting to eat.

    Also don't panic when the tempature raises quickly and then stalls for a few hrs. The meat is going throug a plateau and breaking down the fat and muscle tissue. This can happen anywhere from 160-180 degrees. Plan to test for doneness when the internal temps reach 195.

    When you pull it off the egg, double wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil, towels and place in a dry cooler. After 2-3 hrs it will still be too hot to pull by hand.

  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    The butt will take on plenty of smoke if you move it to the egg after an oven start. You won't get a smoke ring, but you will get plenty of smoke on the butt.
  • transversaltransversal Posts: 719
    As for starting it in the oven and transferring it to the egg to finish, I'd doubt that you'd get many proponents of that method on this board. And please remember, butts prefer an extended rest (wrapped in foil and towels and placed in an insulated cooler) for several hours after being pulled from the grill and before serving. Starting the night before sounds to me like your best bet.......and cooking to an internal temp of 195* or better before pulling and resting. Also, avoid cooking to time......use it only as a guideline. Let internal temp control your cook. Good luck with it. Butts are a forgiving cook. You'll be fine.
  • atlegg22atlegg22 Posts: 29
    Thanks to everyone who has replied. You have provided some great advice as well as given me some much needed confidence in attempting my first 'long' cook on the Egg!
  • Welcome.

    There is not a consistent time, " It's done when it's done."
    At 250* to 255* degrees the rule of thumb is one and half to two hours per pound. HOWEVER, use a remote thermometer and cook until the meat is 195* to 200* for pulled pork. The dwell time ( 1 to 4 Hours ) after cooking, is the cooler wrapped in aluminum foil and heavy towels can use this buffer the completion time and serving time.

    You have to start the cook in the BGE, that is where the smoking happens. The meat has to be cool and in contact with the smoke in the cooker. Remember to let the smoke clear after starting the fire, I wait up to 45 minutes and get the temp under control at 250*.

    6 PM minus four hours dwell is 2 PM, minus 12 hours cook means a start at 2 AM. That said, you can start it earlier and transfer it to a 170* oven in the house in the afternoon and wrap in foil for the finish time.
    Wilson, NC
    Large BGE - WiFi Stoker - Thermapen - 250 Cookbooks

  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Billy Grill Eggster wrote:

    You have to start the cook in the BGE, that is where the smoking happens. The meat has to be cool and in contact with the smoke in the cooker.

    This is simply not correct. You are confusing the formation of a smoke ring with the ability of the meat to take on smoke particulate (flavor). The smoke ring is formed when the meat is under 140& deg but the smoke ring is simply a visual phenomenon and has nothing to do whatsoever with the presence or lack of smoke flavor. You can create a smoke ring (which is nothing more than a chemical reaction) without any smoke.

    You can take a completely cooked piece of meat, place it in a smoker, and as long as there is smoke present it will land on the surface of the meat and impart flavor. In general the longer the meat is exposed to the smoke the greater the amount of smoke flavor, but there is a point of saturation as well.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,309
    first i would do two of them, i do one if its just me and dad at camp :laugh: light the egg around 10, stabilize around 240 dome (everyone says 250 but you need a longer cook time), check on things around 3 to 4 am, maybe shake the lump grate thru the lower vent with a wiggle rod. go back to bed, in the morning check meat temps, you now have the option to raise or drop dome temps to speed up or slow down the cook shooting for it being done around 12, 1, 2 oclock, then wrap in foil, towels, and into a cooler. if its done earlier, wrap in foil and into a warm oven for a few hours, then into the cooler, ive kept them in the cooler for 5 hours. you really want to cook 2, there may be only 4 pounds of butt cooked from a 6 pounder, they shrink up
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,309
    i still dont buy all the smoke ring rules :whistle: my best smoke rings come from hot and fast cooks.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • transversaltransversal Posts: 719
    Fishlessman......For years, I used almost as much smoking wood as charcoal in my horizontal smoker for lo & slos. But, when I got the egg, I tried my first few cooks using nothing more than lump and I was amazed at the flavor. My whole family really likes the subtle flavor of the lump charcoal and, as a result, I haven't placed the first piece of smoking wood in my BGE. I'm not saying that that's the only way to go.......just saying that is what we do. As a result, smoke ring is not nearly as important to me as it once was.......and I have never tasted anything off of a grill any more delicious than my butts and briskets off my BGE. I am certain I will be in the minority on this view.....but that's one of the great things about egging.......doing what works for you and taking input from others.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,309
    i dont use much smoking woods at all, nut i do injoy the smoke, what you may find if you start adding just a touch of wood is how different each would really is, the flavor really shines in an egg. if you like the subtle flavor of the charcoal, try adding some guava wood, its very light and subtle but unique. google guava farms, guava gregg used to post here.
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    transversal wrote:
    And please remember, butts prefer an extended rest (wrapped in foil and towels and placed in an insulated cooler) for several hours after being pulled from the grill and before serving.

    I don't believe for a second this step improves the Que, or that butts "prefer" it. Yes it will enable the holding of heat longer while awaiting meal time, but pulling the butt(s) off the smoker and placing them on the counter on a platter for 45min will result in as good a product as cooler resting.
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 12,445
    Agreed. Mine are lucky to get 30 mins!! Never foiled. The only time they get the cooler treatment is if I have to wait til it's time to eat. I always try to time it so that doesn't happen.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!


    Central Connecticut 

  • transversaltransversal Posts: 719
    Thanks for that tip, fish.........I'll see what I can find online. Have never seen it sold in these parts
  • transversaltransversal Posts: 719
    I found the site, fishless. $28 for a box which looks like it includes shipping. Wish I could find a sample of t locally just to try it out. But, it ain'tlike I'd be bettin' the farm at $28, and I already have your recommendation.
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