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Boston Butt- Mistakes!

Misippi EggerMisippi Egger Posts: 5,095
edited 6:09AM in EggHead Forum
I posted Saturday I was cooking a BB for my sister's in laws (family death). Sorry - no pics :(

But,,, I made a "newbie" mistake that I'm posting to help others....

Got the egg stabilized at 225* pit temp, put 2 butts (9# and 7.5#) on the top grid of the adjustable rig, with a drip pan on the lowest level - nothing out of the ordinary here. Put my Guru meat probe into the larger butt and my Maverick probe into the smaller one. Closed her down and headed for bed. NOTE: There was a little resistance to closing the dome on the side of the bigger butt while I was feeding the wires out through the gaskets. :ohmy: Should have been a sign. I checked one more time before going to bed (just the temps and did not open the dome) . The dome temp was running a little higher than it should (275* with pit temp set at 225*), but I didn't worry - 2nd sign ignored.

Got up and checked about 7:30 am (9.5 hr into the cook). Dome temp was 300*, guru was beeping and in the ramp mode. What? :ohmy: Was planning on it cooking until after church! I turned on the Maverick -> 205* on the smaller one! Opened the dome and found the mistake. When there was resistance closing the dome, it was the butt touching the dome and pushing the Guru meat probe deeper into the meat.
1) The probe reading the meat temp not in the middle, but closer to the edge that was toward the lump. The Guru was thinking the meat was done, when spot checks showed only 175* internal.
2) My pit temp probe, clipped to the meat probe 2" above the meat, was pushed to touching the meat. This made the Guru think the pit temp was colder than it actually was, thus increasing the fire, reflected by the dome temp being higher than it should. Duh !
3) I ignored the subtle signs. :blush:

I pulled the smaller one and put in frig. I cranked the temp up to 350 until we had to leave to teach 4th grade Sunday School. I foiled it and put it in a preheated 350* small oven, turned it off and left.
Final result - pulled easily and tasted great!
Learned how to salvage this from you guys on the forum (foiling and oven finish).
1) Even experienced Eggers can ignore the subtle signs and ALMOST screw up an otherwise well-planned cook.
2) Be flexible and know how & when to "punt".
3) Read the forum regularly. You never know when something you read might one day apply to you and bail you out of a situation!
4) Be more careful with the temp probe placements!

Thanks, forum friends! :woohoo: :woohoo:


  • BordelloBordello Posts: 5,926
    Good advice for all, nice of you to share your problems in the hope of help others out.

    Glad they still turned out great.

  • Misippi EggerMisippi Egger Posts: 5,095
    Hey, At least I didn't spritz it with hydrogen peroxide! LOL :)
  • BordelloBordello Posts: 5,926
    Good one, I know I sure deserved that. :whistle:

    Guess you and I are going to help a buch of egger on here by telling em what not to do. :whistle: :laugh: :woohoo:

    Have Hydrogen Peroxide, will travel.
  • EddieMacEddieMac Posts: 423
    I think all the tips and suggestions are well taken!

    But I'm thinking there's so much 'paralysis by analysis' by so many users of the BGE! And the BGE was designed to make BBQ easy and so many make it complicated.

    The Boston Butt is the most forgiving piece of meat that you can smoke. Has a ton of fat content, is the dark meat of the shoulder and they're just tough to mess up.

    Prepare your meat. Rub your butt up in a very light coat of mustard of most any kind. Generously coat with your favorite dry rub.

    In a cleaned out firebox, put a good load of lump in, light it, let it get going pretty good, toss in your favorite chips. Put the plate setter in place, put your drip pan in place, put the grill on top of the platesetter accordingly. Get the meat, arrange it accordingly, close the lid.

    Here's the tricky part. Stabilize your dome temp somewhere between 275 and 300. This gives you 250-275 grid temp. You're smokin' brother!! After about 5 hours check your meat temps!

    225 is a 'sexy smoking temperature'. It's unnecessary to have a cooking temperature that low with the BGE because you're cooking indirectly and the swirling heat locks in moisture. This is what the BGE is designed to do!! Smoking at 225 is waste of time and there's no hard evidence to suggest otherwise!

    I smoke anywhere from 2 to 6 pieces of meat per week, sometimes more, sometimes less. I do Boston Butts some 50% of the time and they're difficult to mess up whether you smoke them at 225 or 325!

    BBQ is not rocket science. The BGE is not rocket science. Don't complicate the uncomplicated. Temperature and time, time and temperature!

    Keep it fun!

    Ed McLean
    Ft. Pierce, FL
  • Misippi EggerMisippi Egger Posts: 5,095
    What you say is true for basic 101 cooking. But for those of us beyond 101, then the subtleties and nuances of smoking become significant.

    I was challenged to a one-to-one "Butt-Off" a couple of years ago. I cooked my entry for 20 hours at 225* to an internal temp of 205*, plus injecting and spritzing. With 100 people voting with blind entries, I beat the experienced, mustard-based butt cooker hands down! One of the guests, who turned out to be a Memphis-in-May qualified judge (surprise to us), said mine won because it was richer, probably due to the injection of the buttered marinade.

    You are correct that the Boston butt is basically an easy cook, very forgiving (as witnessed from my recent mistakes), but one can go beyond the basics, if willing to do the extra work.
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