I figured with all the folks who are bound to be trying over-nighters for the first time this week for New Years, we could start a thread offering help through experience.
I know my Egging knowledge is nowhere close to what some of you here have, but it is because of this site that I continue to learn with every cook. I figured we could help the newbies out by telling some good tips before they find themselves in panic mode. I will start with my first overnight experience, and many of you went through the experience with me when I was doing this cook, LOL!!
Boston Butt was my first overnight cook, and it was a year ago this week that I did them for the first time. I did them for New Year's Day and they were fantastic. I had owned my large Egg for years before this, but had never attempted an overnight cook. Once I had accomplished it, it opened up a whole other world of cooking on the Egg, and I haven't looked back since.
I spent hours here before and during the cook asking every question you could imagine and the help was wonderful!
Here are a few tips that I use to cook my butts.
Clean the egg out good before any overnight cook. This means(for me anyways) taking out the guts(firebox, fire grate, fire ring) and cleaning it out completely. I use a shop vac once I get the biggest majority out.
Put it back together making sure you line up the vent in the fire box directly in front of the lower vent.
Put the fire grate back, of course, then fill the egg all the way up with lump. I mean, put at much lump in as you can fit leaving just a couple of inches under where the plate setter is going to rest.
Some folks get picky about their lump and sort it out by size, etc, but I haven't found that to be needed so much.
You want to light the fire using fire starters if possible, because you want it to burn slowly even from the get-go. I usually break the fire starters in half and use three halves. I place them in at about the 12 o'clock position, the 4 o'clock position, and the 8 o'clock position.
I also use Hickory wood CHUNKS and put several in at random places in the lump so they will fire off at different times during the cook. I do throw one chunk directly on the hot coals about five minutes before I put the butts on.
Here is the most important step: Get the Egg to 250 dome temp and LET IT COOK AT THAT TEMP for an hour before you even think about putting the butts on. Once you put the buts on, do not touch those vent settings or the DFMT. It will drop drastically in temps, but remember you just put 8-20lbs of cold meat in there.
It will come back to where it was(250 dome), I promise. This part is hard to believe at first, or at least it was for me.......I wanted to be impatient and "turn it up" but DON'T.
If you can, you need to let the Egg come back to temp and run for a bit at 250 before you go to bed. I have a monitoring device now, but back when I did my first one I set my alarm clock and went out to check the temps every four hours.
One more IMPORTANT tip. If you see that the temps are falling, and by falling I mean by 25+ degrees or more, well into the cook, DON'T PANIC. This is most likely due to the fire grate clogging with small particles of lump. This happened to me on my first overnight and I nearly had a coronary when I saw the temps below 200. To correct this if it happens, you just open the bottom damper, take your metal ash tool, stick the end into the bottom damper, and get one of the corners of the bottom of the tool to poke into one of the holes on the fire grate, and simply shake the fire grate back and forth a few times.
Then set the lower vent back exactly as it was, and watch the temp rise back to 250 in a matter of minutes.
As for the B Butts, I simply rub mine down with yellow mustard all over, and then put my rub of choice over that. Don't be scared, you really can't get too much on a pork butt, a lot will cook off. Now you will see different opinions on yellow mustard, some say the vinegar in it makes the meat more tender but I am not sure it does much in that regard. The reason I still do it is that it makes the rub stick better, so I always use it on my pork butts and ribs.
As far as cooking time, plan on about an hour per half pound of boston butt. Now, if you are doing two, you don't add the weight together, just use the weight of the smallest one as a good indicator of how long you will be cooking.
Once you reach your desired temp on the butts, take them off and wrap them in heavy duty foil for at least a half hour before pulling it. I often intentionally shoot for mine to finish a couple hours early and I wrap them each up in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil, then wrap each in a beach towel over the foil, then set them in a cooler and close the lid. They will stay HOT for hours that way.
I know I am missing some good tips here, but there are others here that will lend some good knowledge(much smarter eggers than myself) and this should be a good starting point.
The one thing I learned last New Year's Eve was this: As long as you have this forum and the fine folks here that are willing to help, you can't go wrong. Stay calm. LOL!
Edited for typo and spelling.
Also: Your butts will seem to be cooking fairly fast for a period during the cook, but then they will reach a point where they don't seem to be getting any higher in temps, that is completely normal and there is a term for it, but I can't think of it......Plateau maybe??