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First Butt in process - need help

scsilasscsilas Posts: 11
edited July 2012 in Pork
4 hours in on a 4 lb boston butt.  Everything looks and smells awesome, but I'm struggling to keep the dome temp below 300.  I've got both top and bottom dampers almost completely shut.  What gives?

Comments

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 10,005
    Given the situation you describe, I would ask if you have calibrated your dome thermo.  That would be the first thing I would check but it's a bit of a challenge into a cook-and trying not to burn various body parts. If 300*F is accurate, nothing lost, just means your butt will finish sooner.  Foil, Towels and Cooler (FTC) will hold it for 4-5 hours.  As you are aware, BGE works on the caveman principles of fuel, ignition source and air-flow.  The only other thing that may yield your scenario is a significant air leak but that is unlikely if you have an intact gasket.  Good luck and as with every cook-a learning experience.
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs 
    Pit Barrel Cooker
    ABC- 
  • scsilasscsilas Posts: 11

    Thx, Lou - have NOT calibrated the dome thermo, so that may be the issue.

    At this point in the cook, I'm just gonna start testing the internal temp of the meat, and assume that I'm really cooking at about 250 or so, cause it is acting, smelling, and looking right

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,769
    You could try opening the top a little bit and closing the bottom a little more.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited July 2012
    you can't let out heat by opening the top more.  any increase in draft is an increase in airflow, and that means an increase in heat eventually.  with the stack effect, you could actually close the lower vent, open the top, and encourage still greater airflow.

    better to focus on trying to clamp the lower vent down, and just keeping the top vent close to about the same.  you can control the fire with either one. but for your first time, focus on the lower vent, and just don't let the upper vent get 'too open'.  in general, you can't let out more than you let in.  yeahyeahyeah the stack effect can kick in, maybe.  but let's not worry about that. for now...

    if your dampers are truly 'almost closed' then i would just wait.  it will come down.  300 is still low and slow

    but 'almost closed' can be confusing.  for one thing, regardless of how closed it is, if your fire is too hot, they're still too open.  some guys cruise at a true SLIVER of an open vent. so if yours is a quarter inch, it's not crazy to shut it even more.

    expect it to take a half hour or more to drop after you alter the vents.


    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,769
    I'm used to running with my DigiQ.  I can cook at 250 with the daisy wheel completely closed or barely cracked, but I'm using forced air.  Mickey said he doesn't even use the daisy wheel:

    • Cleaning Daisy Wheel
      Just another way: Put it up and never use it. Works fine for me.When I did use it I always put in the egg at the end of the cook and worked fine. Just found from the forum that several did not use  and was not needed. Found (IMO) they were correct, one less item to screw with, ever. Will hold 275 fine w/o it and thats as low as I go anyway. Just put the ceramic top at the end of the cook to kill Egg and close the bottom vent.



    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited July 2012
    only truly need one damper to control the egg.

    but i use it by making gross adjustments with the bottom, kicking it open or closed with my foot, and the fine tuning by dialing in at the top.  my egg sits on the ground, so my daisy is easier than bending and fiddling with the bottom

    it's exactly analogous to a garden hose.

    just like cranking the faucet wide open, but fine tuning the water at the nozzle end.
    or you can take the nozzle off and switch your attention to how open the faucet is

    originally, the egg was sold with no daisy, and folks used the ceramic top (or the bottom solo, too)

    one of the vents is always truly the 'one' in control.

    the top is (too me) more visually easy to see and recreate settings.  a while ago i got an aftermarket lower vent that was just like the daisy.  for low and slow cooks i just open it two and a half holes, as it equates to almost a hundred degrees per open hole.

    image






    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,769
    That makes sense.  I did a butt last week with the DigiQ turned off (don't ask, probes got soaked in these freak rains and read low), but left the pit viper attached because it has a very fine damper control, like what you have, on the adapter. 
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • scsilasscsilas Posts: 11

    OK Stike - that daisy wheel is cool.

     

    I've finally settled on the fact that my thermo is not calibrated.  Bottom vent is about a 1/2 inch open. I've just reached 8 hours, and the butt looks and smells incredible. 

    The butt is hovering right at 170 degrees.  How much longer do ya think?

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,769
    So you're 8 hours into a 4 pound butt (estimate based on my forensic skills), it should be done pretty soon.  If you have a good meat thermometer, pull it off around 195.  Maybe an hour?  I'd crank the heat up and make it an hour.  Looks like you're through the stall.  You don't want it to dry out, but that's hard with a butt, but not impossible unless you're thermometer was reading really high.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    at 170, i would say you have many hours left yet.  you have barely entered the stall. 
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,769
    It's a 4 pound butt on 8 hours.  Moisture has to be about gone, and 4 pounds isn't very big.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • scsilasscsilas Posts: 11

    I'm crankin and yankin in about an hour - assuming I hit 195.  Then an hour in the cooler, then devouring.

     

    Thanks for the help, guys

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    moisture is already gone.  in fact, in every butt, the moisture is always gone.  butts are overcooked dried out pork which luckily gets surrounded by melted fat and gelatin enough to make you think it's wet. 

    temp is always the key.  it can't be pullable at 165-170, even if it were a  two pound butt.  it will always need to hit the stall and come out the pother side at 185 or better before it falls apart. 


    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • scsilasscsilas Posts: 11
    Thanks, Stike - got it
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,769
    If the moisture is already gone, then it will rise in temp fast.  That 4 pound butt is now probably 3 pounds, 70 or whatever percent water already used up in collagen to gelatin conversion and evaporation.  I'd crank the temp up and get it up to 190-ish fast.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • scsilasscsilas Posts: 11

    Butt is reading 180 right now - I'm gonna yank it off in about 20 minutes.

     

    Feels like Christmas.

  • I'm having the same exact problem. Put the butt on at 6:30 on 250. It's now 4 and it's only 180 degrees. Can't believe it's taking so long!
  • Edit: I had a 4# butt also
  • scsilasscsilas Posts: 11
    I ran all the way up to 400 for the last twenty minutes.  Butt read 191 when I yanked it off.  Its resting comfortably in a small cooler at the moment. 
  • I'm putting an 8.5# butt on at midnight -- will start a post and keep everyone posted.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,769
    Should have a nice bark.  It'll keep cooking, probably get up to 200.  Let us know how it turns out!
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • McStewMcStew Posts: 880
    stike where did you get the bottom vent from?
    Marina Del Rey CA 
  • scsilasscsilas Posts: 11

    Nole and Stike:

     

    Butt ended up . . . good.  Not great but good.  A little on the dry side (vinegar sauce hid it for our guests, but I sampled before the sauce).  I also think the generic rub from Publix was bland - may come up with my own next time.

     

    All in all, a good first attempt I think.  Next time I'll have a calibrated thermo and more spice. 

    Anybody brine theres?

  • McStewMcStew Posts: 880
    try injecting with Italian dressing, strain it before injecting so you wont clog your injector ... let it rest overnight before you cook the next day ... never tried brining before its now added to the list 
    Marina Del Rey CA 
  • at 170, i would say you have many hours left yet.  you have barely entered the stall. 
    agreed- for the most part. I have seen the stall come much earlier (160 ish) when the egg temp is really low and it can last forever. he is either coming out of a low temp stall (he's already 2hrs per lb) or he is cooking really low (maybe under 200) at the grid.Either way, (assumin gyou want this for dinner tonight) I would bump it up another 50-100 degrees on your dome thermo and go by internal temp of your pig parts.It's time to eat.






    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    and i would suggest: never again buy a 4 pound butt, especially if yours was boneless.

    picnic shoulder, or boston butt.  bone in.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 10,005
    Most don't brine butts.  If injecting cold, cover with a cling/saran wrap and inject through it-cuts waaaay down on stray shots and clean up.  Some inject around 180*F (after the first stall) while on the BGE-who cares about stray shots out there:)  If going with the high temp injection-heat the liquid up first.
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs 
    Pit Barrel Cooker
    ABC- 
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