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Report: Turbo Butt #3

gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,940
edited July 2012 in EggHead Forum
After I got my first Egg, and learned how to maintain a low temperature, I was delighted to be ablle to finally produce good ribs and pulled pork, and even OK brisket. I was very skeptical about "turbo" methods that cooked at higher temperatures. After reading the article over at "Amazing Ribs," that described what the stall/plateau was, and how it could be removed by foiling the meat, I decided I would give it a try. In part, this was because I've found that when some folks come over, they are like, "Where's the ribs? What, no pulled pork!?" and I wanted to offer them some without starting the day before.

This was my third attempt at pulled pork. It was good, and very quick, indeed. But I've got a way to go before the product equals lo-n-slo.

The butt was a little over 6 pounds, without much fat. I put lots of my own rub on. I have to admit, the mixture still needs work, and its less than stellar quality may have reduced the butt's final flavor.

I gave the Egg a good cleaning, and checked the dome thermometer. Put in a load of Cowboy, and some big chunks of apple and cherry. I used my usual set-up. Grill, drip pan, grill extender, and let the fire stabilize at 325.

At 1 hour, I decided I had to check. The thermopen showed very little warming w.most places still at 70F. At about 2 hours I found it mostly in the 140s. I came back a half hour later, and found the dome temperature up to 370,and the internal meat temp above 170.

I double foiled the butt w. a little extra maple syrup. It was slightly softened at that point, and there was some bark. Closed the vents some to bring the temperature back closer to 325. One hour later, the internal temp was around 205.

The first pic shows the butt as I unwrapped it. The bark had melted, as I expected. I placed the butt back on the grill, and shut the vents down to what would produce about 250.  I found there was about a cup of drippings in the foil. Once it had cooled enough to taste, I found much of the rub flavor in it.

The second pic shows the butt after another 1/2 hour. The bark, what there was of it, was dry, and in places crispy. Note how much the meat has pulled back from the bone.

The third pic is the juice that I poured out of the foil. I ended pouring most of it back over the shredded pork. I rested the meast in foil for about 15 minutes. There was a little more juice in the foil, which was also put on the shreds.

And here is where it was a little strange. I was able to pull large chuncks of meat from the bone. The bone came out almost completely clean. Despite this, and the meat having been at 205, it was not really pullable. It was shredable. The shredded meat picture shows that the fibers were not glistening and moist.

There was a decent amount of flavor, but the bark was very inferior. I saved some of the rendered juices, and they are somewhat less gelatinous than I might have expected. There was a good bit of rub sediment at the bottom.

In terms of time, the cook was very fast, about 3 hours, 45 minutes. In terms of product quality, I'd have to say it was no better than average.

I suspect the period where the temperature went to 370 may have driven off too much water. Possibly, the short time even at higher temperature was not enough to fully break down the collagen. I think it might have been good to pour the foil juices back over the butt during the last half hour.


  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,771

    Thanks for the eggcellent write-up.  Seems turbo butts are a bit less forgiving than the low&slow method.  I tried a modified turbo ( ran the dome at around 320*F) once and wasn't wowed by the end product.  The process has a place if pushed for time but I will pass if I have the choice.

    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • BrownieBrownie Posts: 1,023
    Here is one I did recently with my thoughts. I never foiled so I'm not sure what the main difference would be between our cooks. It has also been my experience that the larger the butt, the better the results. Thanks for the write up. Turbo Vs. Low n Slow Butt

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,940
    Here is one I did recently with my thoughts. I never foiled so I'm not sure what the main difference would be between our cooks. It has also been my experience that the larger the butt, the better the results. Thanks for the write up. Turbo Vs. Low n Slow Butt
    After the fellow reasoned that the stall/plateau was just a side effect of evaporative cooling, he supposed if the cooling effect was blocked by foil, the heat would continue to build without pause. That is in fact what happens.

    6 pounds was smaller than I prefer, but it was what I could find the morning I decided to run the method again.

    I've been looking at the small amount of drippings I kept. They are easily as gelatinous as stock made in a pressure cooker. I think maybe what happened was that while the butt was steaming in the foil, the steam was forcing out a good bit of the gelled collagen.

    If I do this again I'll try a slightly lower temperature, and do some injection at the beginning of the last phase.

  • RisingjayRisingjay Posts: 19

    I had a totally different experience with mine.  But first, you say you put maple syrup on it when you foiled it and made no mention of putting apple juice in along with it.  That is the most important part. 

    Now from what I remember reading on it said nothing about it being called the turbo method.  But maybe I missed it since I also didn't see what temp to do it at as I did mine @225, plus I was eager to get my Butt on the egg.  I remember them calling it the "Texas Crunck".  Here is what I did.

    • 7lb shoulder
    • Brined for 24 hours
    • Rubbed it and let stand in fridge for 4 hrs.
    • Started grill and brought up to 225 temp.
    • Put Pecan wood in for smoke and had Shoulder on @ 12:30am
    • Set my alarm for 4am and sleeped through it. 
    • Woke up at 7:30 and checked temp of egg.....225....checked the meat temp witht the maverick and was sitting at 164ish.
    • I then got my two pieces of double heavy duty aluminium foil and wrapped my shoulder.
    • Added to that foil abouot 3/4 to and inch of apple juice, closed the egg and reset temp between 275 and 300.
    • Shoulder reached 193 when I unwrapped it, saved the juices it cooked in and put it back on the grill to firm up.
    • Once I saw that the bark had dried up and reached an internal temp of over 195 I took it off the grill.
    • Time of removal 10:45am, with a total cook time of 10hr 15min
    • Wrapped it up in foil and bath towels and let stand for 4hrs in the oven (not on) and then pulled
    • Used very little saved juice to pour back over shredded pork.

    This was the fastest and the BEST butt I have ever cooked.  When I cooked these before they always took me 18-24hrs.  This was very moist and flavorfull.  I had all my neighbors try it and they all refused to put bbq sauce on it cause it didn't need it.  I brought some for my coworkers to try two days later and they said the same exact thing.

    And no, the meat wasn't mushy or taste anything like apple juice.  I couldn't believe how awsome it turned out. 

    Hope this helps someone.


  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,940
    Hi, Risingjay,

    Your post was a good step by step for a successful method.

    I called what I did "turbo" because various people on this and other forums have been using that to describe cooking ribs and butts up above 300F.

    I was not following any recipe from Amazing Ribs, just following the observatiopn that foiling pushes the meat thru the plateau by not allowing the meat to  cool itself by sweating.

    My aim is to see how quickly I might make good pulled pork and ribs. If I can't find a way to make them with at least average quality, I'll just chalk it up to experience.

    I did exceed both the dome temperature that I wanted, The meat was hot enough that it was close to burning. I don't do many cooks above 325 that are not quick sears. The high temp spike I had is something I need to get a better handle on.

    Because I wanted the cook to progress as quickly as possible, I didn't consider adding apple juice, because I thought that would just mean adding more water to heat up.
  • RisingjayRisingjay Posts: 19

    What I heard while the shoulder was in the foil (with a pocket of air between the top of the shoulder and the foil) was bubbling, so the apple juice was steaming the pork to power through the stall. 

    At this moment I have country style ribs on the egg.  I am going to use the "Texas Crunch" method on them just like I did on the Shoulder.  This is my first time doing these and from what I have read is that the meat is just like a shoulder.  The only thing I will be doing different is instead of apple juice, I will use apple cider beer in the foil to steam them when the temp reaches 160-170.  I plan to bring them up to 195-200.  I'll post after I am done eating them!

    As far as you using foil to push through the stall/plateau, you should use some type of juice along with that to keep the tendernes and to keep it moist in the meat.  Give it a try next time if you want.

    here's the link

    I didn't follow a recipe I just followed the cooking method.

    By the way, the apple juice heats up pretty quickly, ie 10 min. or so.

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