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Getting to the Core (Pork Butts)

Last weekend I did a cook for a big party we had - two pork butts.  They were both about the same size - 8lbs or so.  

I cooked them both on my large for about 6 hours at 350.  I pulled them when they were both just under 200 degrees via the ThermaPen.  

The pork came out great, but I ran into a problem pulling the meat.  About halfway through each one, I got to a core that was really tough to pull.  I'm guessing they were simply under-cooked, and I probably should have left them on a bit longer.  

Anyone else ever experience this?  

The good news is that there was plenty of pork to go around and everyone thought it was great.  
If the world is something you accept rather than interpret, then you're susceptible to the influence of charismatic idiots.

Durham, NC

Comments

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,758
    Did the bone pull out easily? I usually go to 205.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • JohnInCarolinaJohnInCarolina Posts: 1,234
    henapple said:
    Did the bone pull out easily? I usually go to 205.
    No, it really didn't.  

    The butts were around 205 in some places, just below 200 in others.  Do you wait until the whole thing is over 205?  

    The thermapen slid in like butter into regions of the butt, but it was harder to get into in the core regions.  I really would have left them on longer but I was pressed for time.
    If the world is something you accept rather than interpret, then you're susceptible to the influence of charismatic idiots.

    Durham, NC
  • Have you cooked a butt at 350 with success in the past?  I'm a believer in low and slow.  My advice would be to drop the temp and plan for a longer cook.  Hasn't let me down yet. 

     "Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great, Here's to "Down Home," the Old North State!"

    Med & XL

  • JohnInCarolinaJohnInCarolina Posts: 1,234

    Have you cooked a butt at 350 with success in the past?  I'm a believer in low and slow.  My advice would be to drop the temp and plan for a longer cook.  Hasn't let me down yet. 

    Roughly speaking, yes.  With my "turbo" butts I usually start them at around 225 for an hour or so and then kick it up to 325 to finish them off.  In the past this has worked extremely well, bone slides out, easy to pull.  

    I'll try the low and slow at some point when I have enough lead time.  
    If the world is something you accept rather than interpret, then you're susceptible to the influence of charismatic idiots.

    Durham, NC
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    They were not "done" in the middle because they were cooked too fast.  "Done", meaning, not done enough to pull..  The outside was cooked enough for pulling, the inside wasn't.  The same thing happens to me if i wrap my turbo butts before reaching 160 degrees internal.  I tried to rush a meal and wrapped at 140 internal degrees, the outside pulled great, but the middle was like a pork roast, cooked, but just would not shread.  You have to cook at a lower temperature for more a longer period of time, or turbo cook it.  
  • LBC DawgLBC Dawg Posts: 110
    You probly just didn't check the temp far enough inside the meat. or coulda just been 2 weird butts. it's definitely not b/c you cooked them too fast. all i do is turbo butts, and they come out every bit as good as when i used to do low and slow. there's no advantage to doing 1 over the other. you're cooking the meat to a temp, doesn't really matter how you get there. i like doing turbo b/c i don't see a reason to wait 12-18 hrs for what i can have in 6-7. just personal preference.
  • JohnInCarolinaJohnInCarolina Posts: 1,234
    edited May 2013
    They were not "done" in the middle because they were cooked too fast.  "Done", meaning, not done enough to pull..  The outside was cooked enough for pulling, the inside wasn't.  The same thing happens to me if i wrap my turbo butts before reaching 160 degrees internal.  I tried to rush a meal and wrapped at 140 internal degrees, the outside pulled great, but the middle was like a pork roast, cooked, but just would not shread.  You have to cook at a lower temperature for more a longer period of time, or turbo cook it.  
    I thought I was turbo-ing it.  

    Honestly I think I just needed it to cook a little longer and all would have been fine.  
    If the world is something you accept rather than interpret, then you're susceptible to the influence of charismatic idiots.

    Durham, NC
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191

    Look up some of the explainations of turbo cooking butts.  I use a method where you smoke during the first part of the cook --  being -- before you reach 160 degrees internal.  Then tightly wrap in a few layers of foil -- so you capture the juices.  During this first part you cook as low as you can, because you are trying to apply as much smoke taste to the meat before it seals up --  this happens around two hours.  At, not before, 160 degrees, wrap it in the foil and place it back on the grill (indirect the whole time) and bump the cooking temperature up around 300 degrees, if you want it cooked faster go to 350 degrees.  I inject mine and cook it to an internal of 210 degrees.  Any meat will cook fasted when wrapped in foil, and the butt will sail right thru the stall period that sometimes lasts as long as three hours!!!  Is this close to what you did??

    I always rest the butt for at least an hour in a small cooler, another way is to buy a couple of cheap "moving blankets" and wrap the finished foiled butt in a couple of blankets.  This will allow the butt's juices to re-enter the butt.  I pull the butt while inside the foiled enclosure so i can mix the pork as i pull it back into the extra juices trapped in the foil !!

  • JohnInCarolinaJohnInCarolina Posts: 1,234

    Look up some of the explainations of turbo cooking butts.  I use a method where you smoke during the first part of the cook --  being -- before you reach 160 degrees internal.  Then tightly wrap in a few layers of foil -- so you capture the juices.  During this first part you cook as low as you can, because you are trying to apply as much smoke taste to the meat before it seals up --  this happens around two hours.  At, not before, 160 degrees, wrap it in the foil and place it back on the grill (indirect the whole time) and bump the cooking temperature up around 300 degrees, if you want it cooked faster go to 350 degrees.  I inject mine and cook it to an internal of 210 degrees.  Any meat will cook fasted when wrapped in foil, and the butt will sail right thru the stall period that sometimes lasts as long as three hours!!!  Is this close to what you did??


    As for starting low initially, yes.  But I didn't foil.  
    If the world is something you accept rather than interpret, then you're susceptible to the influence of charismatic idiots.

    Durham, NC
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    Then you didn't turbo cook.  Once you wrap the butt at 160 internal degrees, and increase your cooking temperature, the meat is going to cook four of five times faster.  And "no stall period", this is a major problem solved, since "stalls" can last for hours!!!  After you settle out with your increased cooking temperature -- say you go to 300 degrees, and you have a way to monitor the internal temperature.  Watch the monitor, and as soon as it changes one degree - mark your watch and start timing it.  Now it will flip back down a few times, pay that no mind!!  While your timing it keep an eye on the monitor, as soon as it increases to the next degree -- mark your watch again and determine "the amount of time it took to increase the internal temperature one degree"!  Let's say it was two and a half minutes.  Now you can mathmatically determine very close what your finish time is going to be.  If you were going to pull it at 205 degrees, and your present temperature was 165, the difference is 40 degrees.  Multiply 40 degrees times 2 1/2 minutes per degree and that will tell you how much time it will take to finish ----  that relates to 100 minutes or 1 .66 hours.  Figure an hour and three quarters.  Turn around and go do something else.....  Turbo is very predictable!!  
  • LBC DawgLBC Dawg Posts: 110
    Dang i don't know about all that. I stick a 8-9 lb butt in the egg, set the temp somewhere tween 280-300, and it's done in 6 hrs or so. i never foil it or anything. i guess if i did, i could get it done in about 4 hrs. of course everybody has their own way of doing things.
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