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Rookie Pork Butt Overnight Slow Smoke Mistake

I think I'm okay, but I'd love some feedback from those of you that have danced this dance before...

I've never attempted an actual pork butt, but feeling empowered with my new Large Egg, I went for it.  Three 7.25# butts got coated in mustard and brown sugar, cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, onion and chili powders and set on a grid temp of 350 at 10 pm.  I monitored heat and let it stabilize at 275 grid (Maverick is essential eggessory IMO).  Was nervous, so stayed up till 2 am babysitting and temp was at 305 and meat was 155 when I crashed.   Woke up at 6 am and fire was out! 

First thing that went through my mind is "get a HighQ grate". 
Second thing is "Holy !@$!! Is my pork okay?"

Meat temp was at 150 (down from 165 at 2 am). I wrapped each butt in foil, set aside, and used the out-end of a shopvac to blow out the ash holes in the grate and reignite flames (had to fire up my electric starter, too). I've been back at a steady 275 grate since 6:45 am.  Meat temp is back up to 165 (as of 9:45 am) and target is 200 - 205 depending...

My basic question:  Am I toast or do you think I'll be okay for FTC by 3:00 pm for a dinner party at 5:00 pm?

Rookie panic setting in!

Comments

  • Was the dome temp registering when you woke up?
    Birmingham, AL
    XL, Small, and Mini BGEs
  • TexanOfTheNorthTexanOfTheNorth Posts: 2,750
    You'll be fine! If you went to bed at 2am and woke up at 6am your fire was probably not out all that long and the egg would have probably still had some heat (what was your dome or grid temp when you woke up). If your meat temp was still 150 then you're okay. I'd go ahead and finish and get it ftc'd when it reaches the 190-200 IT range. I had one FTC'd for just over 4 hours last weekend and it turned out fantastic.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
    ____________________
    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
  • CrispyCrispy Posts: 12
    Thanks guys; dome temp was reading 150; grate was 130 with no flames. Suspecting I'm okay but nice to have feedback!  much obliged! 
  • ThatgrimguyThatgrimguy Posts: 668
    I had the opposite happen to me last night. My temp walked up to nearly 400 and my butt was at 210 by the time I checked it. Hoping I didn't ruin the meant. It's foiled and in the cooler now.

    Biloxi, MS
    XL / Small
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,845
    What type of lump and what lighting pattern did you use?
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • fiver29fiver29 Posts: 386
    edited June 2013
    @crispy my rule of thumb is knowing where the safe range is and isn't. Others may go by other numbers. But I like to keep it simple. So I use 40 to 140 as the unsafe range. Anything below and above that is fine.

    That said, with your times and temps if it were me I'd let it ride. You have to make the final call on this one though.

     I have followed Elder Wards instructions to some degree. And I've never had a fire go out. Give it a read for next time. Its in 2 parts:


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    Cleveland, Ohio

    Yes.  I own a blue egg!  Call Atlanta if you don't believe me!
    [I put this here so everyone knows when I put pictures up with a blue egg in it]
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  • CrispyCrispy Posts: 12
    @henapple: Royal Oak lump. Emptied 8# bag into plastic storage bin, and built bottom with biggest chunks up.  Filled to the very top of grate so that the PS (legs up) was pretty much resting on top of the lump and the firebox ring at the same time.

    Also, this was the first cook ever on the egg (which has been sitting in the garage till the table got built). Perhaps I should have paced myself with a chicken, but i figured "go big or go home".
  • doubledouble Posts: 1,214
    You can always bump the temp up to 350 to finish it off if you are worried about time.
    Lynnwood WA
  • Black_BadgerBlack_Badger Posts: 777
    You should be good. 

    Just curious, those temps seem pretty high, was there a reason you were shooting for 350? You mentioned a maverick, are you using now or planning for later?

    One thing I've been doing which seems to help a lot is leave a small area in the front free from lump (so I can see at least two fully uncovered holes). Never had a fire go out since adopting that method, and I have a little fire free zone in the front to make manipulating meat easier, which is especially nice for direct cooks. 

    You're doing great dude, just enjoy the learning and the food. Let us know how it turns out and post us some pics.

    Cheers
    B_B
    Badger at heart, living in SoCal

    Carlsbad, CA
  • It sounds like you may have put more lump than you needed in the egg. After you do a few more low n slows, you will realize how little lump the egg actually uses. That being said, I agree with double. Bump it up to 350 and finish 'em off.
    Birmingham, AL
    XL, Small, and Mini BGEs
  • CrispyCrispy Posts: 12
    Just pulled; meat @ 205 and test shredded easily. currently in the cooler resting (about 4 hours). I checked with an RD and feel better about not poisoning my party guests. I'm sure it's gonna come out great. Will have pics once I start shredding but I'm going to step away, relax, and let the magic happen till then.

    To all: Thanks for everything. Panic set in and is absolutely great to get the feedback!

    @black_badger I like that idea alot. that's certainly something I can do. My initial concern was running out of lump, but there's still more than half the coals left so I know better next time and won't overcrowd the pit.

    I was 'aiming' for a grid temp of 250 - 275, but i overshot the start and then tried to wait out the cooling back to slow temp. Another rookie move that I'm not yet fully proficient in setting the temp without lots of fiddling. That will also improve with time. Further, I think I 'over-researched' and mixed the turbo cook vs the low and slow and got flustered. Again, will improve with time.

    As they say hindsight is 20-20. Even with all this, I'm looking forward to ripping those puppies apart and having some made-by-me pulled pork tonight!
  • tactical_66tactical_66 Posts: 195
    I fill to the fire ring top, light in the middle in one spot. Once the temp on the egg thermometer says 350 I put my wood chunks, place setter and grid.. I set my daisy wheel and draft door to the usual setting and it stabilizes at 250. Once you use your egg a few times you will know how to set the openings to get the temp you want. I would like to have a digi q or similar device but I do we'll without.
  • Crispy said:
    Thanks guys; dome temp was reading 150; grate was 130 with no flames. Suspecting I'm okay but nice to have feedback!  much obliged! 
    you are fine by any food safety standard out there. The strictest guidelines state that food cannot be below 140 for more than four hours. You didn't go below at all so you are golden



  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,019
    I'll sous vide short ribs for 3 days at 138.  That 140 limit is, IMHO, BS.  All the science (testing) points to 131F.  They probably have it higher because of surface temperatures are lower and to add a margin of safety.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • GQuizGQuiz Posts: 610
    NOLA, it's nice to have the scientist back on the scene.

    XL BGE; Schertz TX by way of Stow OH. #egghead4life
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,019
    @GQuiz - thanks man!
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

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