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Yesterday I used my new BGE to cook some Boston Butts for our New Years Eve party. First of all, many thanks to all who have shared their expertise and experience on the BGE Forum. This was a great help to a newbie like myself.
I'm happy to say that the butts turned out great. I did two 7.5 - 8 lb butts (after trimming) for a group of 15 adults and 10 children. We had < 1 lb left over.
I did encounter a couple things during the cook that I didn't pick up from all of the posts that I had read. I'd thought I'd go ahead and post to see if these were just dumb rookie mistakes on my part that I can fix the next time.
Temperature control - I built the fire a la the technique of the Naked Whiz and Elmer. My observation was that as the cook progressed, I would tend to lose temperature over a 2 - 4 hour period without touching either vent position. Overall during the cook, I had to gradually open the vents. To hold a 250 target I started out at 1/4" bottom, 1/8" top. This held for awhile, but the temp dropped to ~210 for a period during the night. By the end of the cook I was @ 3/8" open for both to hold the same temp. Is this a common experience?
Cook time - Based on all that I had read, I planned for 2 hrs/lb cook time, which worked out to 15 - 16 hrs. I put the butts on @ 11:30 the night before, targeting a 7 PM dinner time on New Year's Eve (19.5 hrs). At 3 PM, the butts were just reaching the 170 - 180 F plateau. I knew this would take some time, so I started pushing the temperature beyond the 250 target, ending the cook during the last hour at ~330 F. The butts hit the magic 195 F at ~ 5:45 PM. I pulled them @ 6 PM (18.5 hrs) . I just finished pulling the pork off the bone when the guests started arriving. I used every bit of the 3 - 4 hr margin built into the cook schedule. Is this variation in cook time a common experience?
Overall, the butts were delicious and everyone enjoyed them. Thanks again to all on the BGE Forum who helped contribute to this success!