Hi Guys,[p]Finally did my first pork butt yesterday. Used a 3 1/2 pounder as a "rehearsal" before attempting something larger. Boy am I glad I did, as things did not work out as I expected.[p]I rubbed the butt with spices the night before and prepared the BGE by cleaning out the ash, removing any small pieces of lump, filling the base with large fresh lump and then replacing the small pieces on top. I was going to time the butt to cook for 1 1/2 hours/lb according to Smoke & Spice or for 2 hours/lb according to BGE users with a dome temp between 225 and 250 degrees. So if all went according to plan, the meat would be cooked within 5 to 7 hours.[p]In the morning I placed the butt in the freezer for 30 minutes to increase smoking time. I soaked 2 chunks of hickory. As soon as my starter cube flame had died down I added the chunks and created an indirect setup with the inverted platesetter and a drip pan. I used the platesetter as opposed to a small grid to hold the drip pan, because I felt such a small piece of meat could use some more protection from the heat. The butt with a remote thermometer probe inserted was placed in the BGE. Meat temp 39 degrees. Dome temp approx. 150 degrees So far so good.[p]Twenty minutes later, dome temp 200 degrees and adjustments made to upper and lower openings to maintain low temp. For the next 3- 3 1/2 hours dome temp was checked fairly frequently and had a low of 220 and a high of 265 degrees. The temp stayed mostly between the 225-250 degree range that I desired. Around this time the meat temp was 146 degrees where it stayed and stayed . I knew that the meat would plateau. I expected it to, but thought the plateau would occur when the temp was higher. After 2 more hours at 146, I started to worry and then the temp changed! It dropped to 145!!! This was getting scary. I fiddled with the vents raising the dome temp to 275 degrees and was rewarded 30 mins later with the meat temp increasing back to 146 degrees. The butt had now been cooking for 6 hours and wasn't close to being done. I kept the dome temp high 275-285 degrees and cooked it an additional hour. Pork was now 157 degrees, Since my husband was due home in 1 1/2 hours and the BGE was not cooking fast enough, I used a tip from a forum friend and removed the butt, wrapped it well in foil and placed it in a 350 degree oven. It took exactly 1 1/2 hour to reach the desired temp of 210 degrees. I pulled it out as hubbie walked in the door.[p]Why did it take so long to cook? Was freezing it for 30 minutes the culprit? Was the plateau normal? Any tips or explanations would be appreciated. I'm thinking that next time I should not put the meat in the freezer and should just use it straight from the fridge. I think that I should also aim for dome temp of 250-275 degrees and I should start earlier. This quite small butt took over 9 hours and required wrapping and heating in the oven to accelerate its completion. A
larger butt would take even longer if I had prepared it the same way.I checked all thermometers involved and think they are likely accurate.[p]BTW This was my first taste of pulled pork. The outside was dark, spicy and rich. The inside was a bit drier than I thought it would be, but pleasantly smoky. I made the 3 sauces (plain vinegar, vinegar with ketchup and mustard sauce) from Smoke & Spice so we would have choices. I served the pork on a soft bun with sauce and a mound of creamy coleslaw. Is this the way to make a pulled pork sandwich? We found all the sauces to be too vinegary and distracting. The cole slaw was crunchy and refreshing, but the meat flavor became subdued with this combination. After all, the pork should be "the star". I wish I had something to compare it with to know if this is a good example of this highly praised dish. We both enjoyed our meal, but I have the feeling with some guidance from forum friends, this meal could be devine.[p]
Ellen[p]PS When I went to clean up the BGE today, I saw that only one small area of lump was burned leaving 3/4 of the lump untouched including one of the chunks of hickory. Did the platesetter impede air flow? I've never had this happen before. I've always had a fairly evenly distributed burn. The mystery continues......