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Butt Timing

CornfedCornfed Posts: 1,324
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
Hi, everyone. Having cooked only 2 butts in my entire smoking history, I have what may be a really stupid question. I've heard many people extol the virtue of 20+ hour butts while others say that good butt can be made in a fraction of the time. Obviously, the time depends on the size of the animal, but the basic difference is that foil is used in the shorter cooking time method. Without starting any religious debates here, I was wondering what are some of your thoughts on this. Can good butts be made in 8 to 10 hours with foil, or must they go much longer?[p]The reason this comes to mind is that I'd like to cook a butt for next Sunday's big game and I was looking at my new Dinosaur BBQ book and they advocate an 8 hour cook of (I think) a 7-8 pound butt with the last few hours in foil.[p]Thanks, and may all flames be in your cookers,
Cornfed

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Comments

  • PugPug Posts: 57
    Cornfed,
    I usually go for the 18 hour cooks myself. Butts to me are so hard to predict on how long they are going to take. I have eaten BBQ for breakfast on occasion when they were finished way to early. [p]Anyway, I would suggest getting your egg stabilized at 225 at about 10 PM on Sat. Put your Butt on by 11 PM. It should be ready close to 5 PM in time for the Super Bowl. The only time I use foil is to let it rest after cooking. If the butt gets done early, wrap it in foil and a towel and place in a cooler until you need it. If it is running late, crank up the heat. Good luck, I hope this helps some.[p]Steve

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  • FireballFireball Posts: 354
    Cornfed,
    No foil. 1 to 1.5 hours per pound @ about 250 dome temp. will give you great Pulled Pork. Dozens done this way with not even one dud. I have never used foil and never will. It is too easy this way, why add foil and make it harder. Just my 2 cents.
    Fireball

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  • WooDoggiesWooDoggies Posts: 2,390
    Pug,[p]I agree with everything you and Fireball have said but you've overlooked one factor. Libations.
    A late Saturday night is normally equated with libations. That mixed with burning objects can be potentially...... very interesting.[p]Cornfed, proceed with Sat. night directions with extreme caution.[p]Concerned,
    WD

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  • CornfedCornfed Posts: 1,324
    WooDoggies,[p]Thanks for the warning :) I did cook one butt for 22 hours on my Small BGE without too much trouble. Came out very good for a first attempt, just wondering if the foil short cut would work.[p]As for Saturday libations, pretty much a guarantee...esp since Smokin' Todd moved into an apartment in my apartment complex... I still contend that drinking makes one smarter, though, so technically ST and I are geniouses...so hopefully we'll be OK...[p]Later,
    Cornfed

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  • PugPug Posts: 57
    Cornfed,
    From the small amount of knowledge I have, it seems that the good smoke ring, smoke taste, and bark that you end up with seem to occur in the first couple of hours of cooking. I don't know if you will get the same benefit if you start out cooking in foil. Using foil during the last part of the cook may be a different story. I am still thinking that foil may not be an improvement since you are cooking in a nearly air tight ceramic dome. I think the only use of foil would be to hold in heat but if you don't have heat escaping from you egg then will foil really help. Just a thought.[p]Steve

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  • WooDoggiesWooDoggies Posts: 2,390
    Cornfed,
    Ive been told drinking makes you smarter but forgot where.[p]Buckeye Bill posted an interesting technique last month that uses foil. I would try it if I were in a pinch or needed the extra space on the grate. Aint needed to yet.[p]He smokes his butt at suggeted temps for 8 hours or until meat temp is about 170. Contending the meat has already absorbed nearly all the smoke it can by the 140 mark, he then wraps in foil and bakes it in the oven at 350 until it reaches meat temp of 200. He says he does it this way everytime. (12/05 @20:10:36: In reply to:Pulled Pork Recipes)[p]More than one way to skin a cat![p]WD[p]one word for you and that butt. Hickory!

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  • RhumAndJerkRhumAndJerk Posts: 1,506
    Cornfed,
    Well here is the thing; the purpose of the foil would be to steam the meat. I think that you would loose the nice crust that you had been building to many hours. I am not a fan of foil on the BGE.[p]The best thing that I can think of to speed the process along would be to cook at 250 through the 165 plateau. Once the meat is in to the 170 range, crank the heat up to 300-325 and finish it off.[p]The other option is to start the butt on Friday night and let it finish on Saturday. This way you can just reheat it.[p]Hope this Helps,
    RhumAndJerk[p]

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  • Cornfed,
    There are a few factors to keep in mind:
    first: smoke ring, it is formed in the first few hours of the cook (intil the internal temp reaches 140º). So you are looking for a large smokering keep the internal temp under 140º as long as possible.[p]second: breaking down the conective tissue and rendering of fat, that is done once the internal temp reaches 160º and continues until you take it off the cooker. The question becomes do you want to have all the render fat held in the foil with the butt. There is large amount of fat in a butt and unless you totally over cook the butt lack of moisture is not a problem.[p]third: Bark is great part of the flavor of pulled pork, for it to form the exterior needs to drier than cooking with foil will allow.[p]fourth: Does it take 8 hours to get to 160 to 170º internal and does make a better product than a butt that has reached 160º in 4 to 6 hours. Again that's your call, you need to try the different methods and choose the one you like.[p]All this said what do you like, if you like the butt that has been cooked in foil, it's OK.
    If you are looking for butt that has less fat content in the finished product and bark don't foil.
    Jim[p]

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  • Fireball, i totally agree . the last two that i have done January 5 , outside temp 32F , January 26 , outside temp around 50F . on both occassions the cooker was at 250 the majority of the time and both done in 12 hrs . each of the roasts weighed about 6 lbs . one chunk of cherry and one chunk pecan (thanks to Qfan) . wonderful stuff ! reg

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  • FireballFireball Posts: 354
    reg,
    Pecan rules!!
    Fireball

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  • Jim R.Jim R. Posts: 103
    Cornfed,
    My experience has been more to the long side,last week a
    6.8 lb butt took 23Hours and 23 Min.Grill extender over
    just a foil pan,dome about 230.Wouldn't change a thing
    it was the best yet.No matter what set up used my cooks always 20 hours plus.No foil!!(Polder read 196-have found with testing it reads 4 deg short.}

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  • Cornfed,
    I subscribe to the low and slow technique. Anywhere from 12 -18 hours and trying to stay under 200-225 dome temp. I'll be putting on an 8 lb butt on the small egg in a few minutes. I find it more dificult to cook butts on the small egg but the big one is over at my girlfriends house so I'll just have to make do. Got a remote for Christmas and it's been the ticket. Good Luck. [p]Tar Heel

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  • CornfedCornfed Posts: 1,324
    Cornfed,[p]Thanks for the replies, everyone (not to discourage additional replies...). Good points on bark and fat content. I think I'll skip the abbreviated foil method this time and go in for the long haul. Also, it's decided - I will enjoy many libations on Saturday while beginning the cook![p]My next question goes for butt rubs. Lately I've been toying with some very simple rubs with a focus on brown sugar for a nice, hearty crust. I remember enjoying NB's brisket and JimW's ribs at E2K+1 and recall the awesome crusts on both. The last few times I've cooked ribs, I've made very simple rubs by combining lots of brown sugar, some smaller amout of kosher salt, and some amount of a commercial rub (Prudhommes, Emeril, etc). I've come pretty close to the desired sweet, crusty bark. Anyone have any favorite rubs (commercial or homemade) to suggest for a nice, crusty butt?[p]Later,
    Cornfed

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  • Cornfed,
    Use mustard and then rub, at the 6 to 8 hour mark hit it with more rub (needs to be a rub that has good sugar content). After the 10 to 12 hour mark spray down with apple juice.
    Keep the pit temp under 270º so you don't burn the sugar (it will turn bitter if it burns).
    Jim[p]

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  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,320
    Jim Minion,
    Dang I was thinkin the same thing. Plenty of sugar in the rub, some mustard, and the apple juice really helps with the caramelization at the end...and a killer addition to the flavor of the crust.[p]hitting it with more rub is new to me though. But sounds like a great idea. You could get some more flavors into the crust that might have broken down from the original rub.[p]Nice to have your expertise here.
    Beers
    NB

    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
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  • GrumpaGrumpa Posts: 861
    Cornfed,[p]If you like a good somewhat sweet (but not too sweet) and crusty taste, go to gfw's site and look up Memphis rub. Now that is some awsome stuff on ribs and I am going to use it on butt next time I cook one.
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  • Nature Boy,
    The other thing about adding rub is, it changes in flavor the longer it has heat being applied and you can freshin it up by adding some later in the cook. This a practice used by competition chili cooks and seems to work well.
    Jim[p]

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  • Bob,
    Even with a higher sugar content the finished product won't be real sweet based on the other ingredients in the rub and/or the type of sugar you use (white,brown, or raw).
    Jim[p]

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  • GrumpaGrumpa Posts: 861
    Jim Minion,[p]I know I sure like that rub. I have gotten to where I use the raw surgar when a recipe calls for "just" sugar...it knda grows on ya :~)

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  • StogieStogie Posts: 279
    Cornfed,[p]I look at the science end of things. You need the connective tissues to breakdown and that simply takes time. The longer you hold the temps at the plateau, the more the tissue breaks down...hence the more tender and less fat you will have.[p]By cooking at too high of a temp, that connective tissue just won't break down completely.[p]I have started doing 22 hour butt cooks...because they are so much easier. I have done 3 now and am convinced of the results.[p]I started doing this because I like my sleep. One of the problems with an overnight cook is the odd timing of when the meat is started. If you want to feed the hungry hoards at 6pm, you will need to start at 2am the night before. This is all based on an 8 lb. butt..the only kind I buy any more...and a grate temp of 225º.[p]It takes 2 hours per pound, so a 16 hour cook is what is required. Well, I ain't getting up at 2am to start cooking......PLUS, I like my BBQ fresh off the smoker. [p]So, I will now start at 8pm the night before.....let it cook until 12noon(16 hours), then I will wrap in foil and place back into the smoker. At this time I also snuff the fire by closing all the vents. Then I let it sit until dinner.[p]This allows me to get one good mopping in at around midnight, get a full nights sleep and serve my guests fresh BBQ.[p]Yes, I lose a little in the bark, but still have some nice dark flavorful meat to mix in with the inside meat. PLUS.....almost NO fat...it has completely rendered.[p]The WSM has now done this 3 times on one load of fuel...of course the temps have been very mild and not much wind. I think your EGGS can probably do the same thing.[p]Cornfed, in the end, we must all remember, BBQing is an art(even thought there is some science to it) and because it is art, there is no "right way" to cook it.[p]Do as I do...experiment..it gives you an excuse to cook more![p]bbqflames.gif[p]
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  • CornfedCornfed Posts: 1,324
    Stogie,[p]Many thanks! Some very good discussion on this topic. Incidentally, does your handle refer to cigars? I've recently been trying out some decent cigars and am starting to enjoy a good stogie (or am I misspelling it?). Finally quit smoking cigs, so I've rewarded myself with the occasional good quality cigar.[p]But I digress...
    Cornfed

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  • StogieStogie Posts: 279
    Cornfed,[p]Yes it does!! I am an avid smoker of stogies for over 30 years. [p]I smoke several every day..more in the summer, less in the winter and keep around 500 on hand in any one of my 17 humidors.[p]I make 2 trips to Burlington, NC to buy from Sweet Lew Rothman and his JR Cigar company. Usually spend several thousand $ and will come back with 2 suitcases full![p]I give most of these away as gifts, but I find time to smoke a few myself.[p]bbqflames.gif
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  • CornfedCornfed Posts: 1,324
    Stogie,[p]Wow! Ok, perhaps this is another area in which I will expose my ignorance with some stupid questions in the near future. I've been enjoying some Macanudos from a couple of local smoke shops. After engaging the store owners in conversation, they agreed that Macanudos are good "starter cigars." I've had a few of the $7-10 varieties, and have greatly enjoyed them.[p]17 humidors? Wow! Actually, one of my cousins who is into the hobby is supposed to contact me about a cigar rolling demonstration happening locally in the near future. Should be interesting...[p]Later,
    Cornfed

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  • MarvMarv Posts: 177
    Cornfed, Give it a nice lite coating of plain prepared yellow mustard with your favorite rub.
    You won't taste the mustard AT all and it gives a nice thick crust. Also I uses turbino(raw) sugar in my rubs because it does not burn or make the meat dark like regular brown sugar.[p]Marv

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  • Cornfed,
    Like Stogie says JR Cigars a great place to purchace and you can do it off the internet, some of the best prices you will find. Another good one is Phat Cigars, you find that both of these site will beat any of the prices you will localy.
    Jim[p]

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  • Big MurthBig Murth Posts: 350
    Cornfed,
    Re: Cigars....I think Macanudos are way beyond just a "beginners" cigar---like BBQ, it's all a matter of taste and personal preference. Ever notice how some people love pulled pork, but don't care for brisquet, or vice-versa? Same thing.
    I've been smoking "Guaranteed Jamaicans" for over 3 years now, available from Monte's Pueblo Pipe Shop here in Albuquerque. Unlike Macanudo (which are great smokes), these are actually from Jamaica, and are in fact made in the old Macanudo plant by some of the same original rollers, etc., and get this, cost about $2.40 for a nice Corona-size cigar. Most of the guys who work in that shop say that they're the equivalent of the 'real" Macanudos, and even though they can smoke anything in the store, they'll often puff on one of these If you can find'em, buy 'em!!
    Big Murth (with only one lousy humidor!)
    p.s. Heading to Las Vegas @ Mandalay Bay Hotel, bringing four Guaranteeds plus a Partagas Torpedo Maduro. Just park me at the bar in front of the video poker, baby!!

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  • Big MurthBig Murth Posts: 350
    Cornfed,
    Re: Cigars....I think Macanudos are way beyond just a "beginners" cigar---like BBQ, it's all a matter of taste and personal preference. Ever notice how some people love pulled pork, but don't care for brisquet, or vice-versa? Same thing.
    I've been smoking "Guaranteed Jamaicans" for over 3 years now, available from Monte's Pueblo Pipe Shop here in Albuquerque. Unlike Macanudo (which are great smokes), these are actually from Jamaica, and are in fact made in the old Macanudo plant by some of the same original rollers, etc., and get this, cost about $2.40 for a nice Corona-size cigar. Most of the guys who work in that shop say that they're the equivalent of the 'real" Macanudos, and even though they can smoke anything in the store, they'll often puff on one of these If you can find'em, buy 'em!!
    Big Murth (with only one lousy humidor!)
    p.s. Heading to Las Vegas @ Mandalay Bay Hotel, bringing four Guaranteeds plus a Partagas Torpedo Maduro. Just park me at the bar in front of the video poker, baby!!

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