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Boston Butt/Semi-disaster/help

Tried my first all night cook last night. Per Elder Ward instruction put butt on about 12:40 last night. Fooled around with temp for about 45mmin. Thought I had it regulated at about 210 and went to bed. Woke up this morning a little before 8:00 with thoughts of burned out fire. Went outside and dome temp was 375!!! Pulled meat from BGE and manually tried internal temp was 200. I am waiting for it to cool before I pull. It probably is still fine. I wonder where I made my mistake. One or a combination of the following?
1. Just purchased NU701 temp thermometer. Didn't work-will send back.
2. Started fire with 2 1inch fire starter squares. Too much?
3. Got the impression from Ward that the best way to regulate was leave the daisy wheel holes all the way open and just use bottom vent to control heat. When I went to bed the bottom vent wasn't opened more than 3/4 of inch. Was this wrong?[p]Good news though, have a porterhouse in frige. Stoking up fire. No use in wasting good lump on a Sunday morning


  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    I wonder where I made my mistake. One or a combination of the following?
    1. Just purchased NU701 temp thermometer. Didn't work-will send back.[p]<FONT SIZE="4"><FONT COLOR="#007F00">What did you set it on and what was it set to alarm at? High or low?</FONT></FONT>[p]2. Started fire with 2 1inch fire starter squares. Too much?[p]<FONT SIZE="4"><FONT COLOR="#007F00">Starting a fire will have no effect on the final temp. It can make a difference in how fast it gets to it. Your vents control the temps.</FONT></FONT>[p]3. Got the impression from Ward that the best way to regulate was leave the daisy wheel holes all the way open
    and just use bottom vent to control heat. When I went to bed the bottom vent wasn't opened more than 3/4 of inch.
    Was this wrong?[p]<FONT SIZE="4"><FONT COLOR="#007F00">Dead wrong IMHO! You will get the best results and use less fuel if you make the top as restricted as possible that still allows the fire to reach it's goal temps. I would suggest making the top almost fully closed.</FONT></FONT>[p]Try another sometime. Use 250° as your dome temp and give it another try.

  • MarkMark Posts: 295
    Never have used a NU701, just my old Polders, I always fill my firebox about half way up and lite, when you get good fist size ball of coals burning fill it to the top. This way the fire burns up, out and around. Once the temp reachs about 210-225 shut the top and bottom vents to about an 1/8 inch, maybe even less. This should put your temp at about 250-275, its my findings anything less is hard to hold.

  • Tim M,
    doing a butt right now as well woke up at 5 am dome was just under 300 butt is at 168 and it looks great i hope the 300 egg temp doesnt affect the quality it is down to 250 now

  • WooDoggiesWooDoggies Posts: 2,390
    Like Tim said, it will help to stablize the fire at a higher temp of around 250. [p]And if I'm doing an all nighter I will start the fire about 2 hours before going to bed just to be sure the temp is rock steady.... it helps to reduce those variables![p]I regulate temp with the Nature Boy Rule... which is finding your general temp with the bottom vent then fine tuning with the daisy.
    There are a lot of factors but to give you an example: for a steady long burn temp of 240 dome on my large, my bottom vent will end up being open about a 1/4" and the daisy holes closed to 1/2 slits. After starting the fire, I slowly close down the vents to these settings over about an hour's time...
    Hope this helps and tell us how that butt turned out.[p]John[p]

  • Vegas Slim ,
    You are doing fine. You can adjust your temp down as low as 210* or 220* and cook all day if you want or adjust the temp to 250* to 275 and finish early afternoon. Keep an eye on the internal temp, checking every two hours. You may wish to consider covering in foil to melt out rest of fat but also to keep the outside from overcooking if it already looks cooked enough for you. If you cover with foil, poke holes in the bottom to drain into your drip pan. I wish I was at your house for dinner.

  • Cardfan,
    It doesnt' sound like the size of the fire you started was the problem. It sounds like you didn't stabilize the fire, assumed that it was going to stay at 210, and then the fire grew. When I did my pulled pork, I fiddled with the fire for about 90 minutes before I felt it safe to leave it. If I had put the meat on at 12:40 am, I would have hit the hay right away and not had a stable fire. As for vent settings, 3/4 inch is far too much air for a low temperature. I had mine open about 1/8 inch and the daisy wheel barely open too. If you are interested, here is a link to my web page about my pulled pork experience. As you will see, I started with a roaring chimney starter of coals and the egg at 400 degrees, but by the time I added the plate setter, pan, meat, etc. the egg was down to 150 degrees and I then let it slowly crawl up from there. But it sounds like you will need more practice! :-) And I too vote for the higher temperature. I think it is much easier to keep a fire at 225-250 than at 200-210. Good luck![p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • The Naked Whiz,
    Forgot the link, doh!

    [ul][li]The Naked Whiz's First Time at Pulled Pork[/ul]
    The Naked Whiz
  • Tim M,
    On the 701 it didn't work from the time a set it up. Since I already knew I was going to cook the butt I just went ahead and did it. Thanks for all of you for the responses. I pulled the butt. It was very,very fatty. I guess this is because it didn't cook long enough to render all/most of the fat out. Let me know if this is not correct. Thanks again everyone

  • still smokin', thanks for the tips i have never heard of the foil trick but i am going to try it and again thanks! come on over dinner is at 5 pacific bigfoot ale will be on ice!

  • Cardfan,[p]The top should be closed until a small crack say 1/8 to 1/4 inch.[p]The bottom should be a hair line crack up to 1/8 under normal conditions but could go as high as 1/4 inch. [p]If your meat is at 200 just wrap it in foil and surround it in towels stuff in a cooler for another two hours or until ready to eat then pull. You have done nothing wrong. Just cooked it fast, next time you will know not to have your bottom vent open so far. It happened to me when I first started and if most folks here will admit it so have they.[p]It aint no big deal it will still taste great.[p]Elder Ward
  • Cardfan,
    Don't feel like you are the only one that has ever done this. I, for one, had a real hard time adjusting and getting used to the settings. The fact that this happened may be one of the best things that happens to you and the egg. By posting your less than desired experience, so many here are willing to help you along.[p]It has taken me about 7 or eight cooks to figure out the opening size in relation to temps. Each cook is still a learning experience. I have my method but still ask for advice.[p]I find that I do better starting the fire with MAPP gas and setting the vents from the start. Then let the egg come to temp over about 45 minutes. Just my method - and it does take longer than some of the other methods posted here.[p]Banker John

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