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Attn Pork Butt Pros, I need help!

Okay so I tried to cook my first pork butt on the Egg [which I got only last weekend].  Previously I was using a Weber Gold Kettle grill to cook "decent" pork butts.  I'm really trying to get good at cooking these bad boys AND find my particular style in how I do it.  

So anyway, someone mentioned injecting the butt with italian dressing juice...sounded good to me so that's what I did.  I then coated the butt with Memphis Dust rub.  I got the egg to about 225 and put the pork on the grill with the platesetter underneath.  I'd say a half hour went by and I realized, Oh crap I forgot the drip pan.  So I lifted the roast off the grill and put it aside, put a throw away foil pan on top of the platesetter and put some water in it.  I then put the roast back and closed the lid.

I thought I recalled someone saying they just put their butt on the grill and left it there until they were ready to take it off.  So I figured I'd be patient and let it cook.  Well after 7 hours or so I could't help myself and just wanted to check on it.  The roast was a bit dry as the water had evaporated [this didn't happen on the Weber because the pan didn't get as hot], so I mopped the butt with a beef broth solution to get it moist again and then added some to the pan.  

I took the roast off after the 12th hour, this whole time the temp stayed pretty rock solid at about 235.  Oh, the butt was about 7 to 8 lbs.  So I took it off and wrapped it heavily in foil and put it in my cooler.  I let it sit for about an hour and I have to say I was disappointed.   So I've obviously made several errors and I'm hoping you guys can correct me.

The bark had become kind of soupy from resting in the foil [which I was afraid of], the meat wasn't "pull of the bone" it was "pull moderately and it'll start to pull off".  The outside of the meat was tough and rubbery.  Can you guys fire away and tell me what I did wrong?  I really want to learn how to do this right.

I thank any and all of you for any help.


  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,674
    My guess would be that it wasn't done. Did you get an internal temp? Did the built in thermometer (the bone) slide out easily and cleanly? That's the indication that it is done. Seems like to me, that 12 hours at 225-235 might not have been long enough. You should always cook to temp and not time and for butts, shoot for 205F.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings


  • Key to the BGE is you cook to temp not time. What was the internal temp of the butt when you pulled? I don't pull mine until it is at least 195. My guess is you were undercooked and that is why you had a hard time pulling. I would cook at a higher temp also. 225 on the dome thermometer is pretty low at the grid level. Try 250-270. As for the drip pan, I wouldn't get too hung up on the liquid boiling away. A butt will frequently look dry on the outside while cooking and that has nothing to do with the moisture in the drip pan. A normal butt cooked to proper temp will be more than juicy enough. As for the bark, it will soften a little but the rest in foil phase is essential to good pulled pork to allow the meat to rest. Hope this helps.
    Clarendon Hills, IL
  • I bet you that's it!  I figured "12 hours is enough".  I'll do another one this weekend and this time make sure the temp is high enough internally.   Thanks for the help guys!
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,940
    Double + on cooking to temp.

    The rule of thumb is 1.5 - 2 hrs/pound w. a dome of 250F. Just on the basis of time, I'd also guess that the butt was not cooked long enough.

    The butt is ready for pulling when the bone can almost be tugged out while its on the grill. It should be hard to lift up, and be wobbly almost like jelly.

    Do consider raising the dome temperature. Most pork rubs have lots of sugar in them, so the temp should be kept low enough that burning the sugar is kept to a minimum. 275 is certainly fine.

    Don't know that an injection of Italian dressing would go well w. the taste of most rubs, but many people do various other kinds of injections.
  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 5,670
    I would also cut down on all the moisture.  You're injecting and putting over a pan of water.  I don't do either of those.  The Egg will maintain moisture so efficiently that I've never had a problem.  One of my favorite parts of pulled pork is the bark.

    All I do is put some dry rub on the shoulder, place an empty drip pan underneath on top of a one inch spacer.  And cook to an internal temp AND make sure the shoulder blade pulls out clean.  Every cut of meat is different, some take longer than others.  Always cook to temp and the bone test.  I cook mine at a little higher temp as well, usually around 250 for my pork butts and ribs.

    You'll nail it next time, I'm sure.
    XL, Mini Max, and a 22" Blackstone in Cincinnati, Ohio

  • EggdamEggdam Posts: 223
    + 1 on leaving out the water pan
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    Several good things here but a few I'll reiterate is the grid temp. I'd go the 250 at grid especially on an overnight cook. You can't go heavy enough on the rub. Bone has to pull easily. Things I've learned on this forum.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • If you really like doing butts, you might want to think about getting the Maverick 732.  Put the butt in and leave it alone until you hit 195 or so and you're done.  Almost foolproof.

    Damascus, VA.  Friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail.

    LBGE Aug 2012, SBGE Feb 2014

  • BamaEGGBamaEGG Posts: 170
    Others have said it. The pork wasn't done yet. On my Large 225 dome temp is about 205 at the grid. A 8 pounder is going to have a hard time finishing in 12 hours that low. It can happen depending on the meat but don't count on it. 250 dome would probably get you done in 14 hours give or take. Personally I start all my butts at 225 grid for the first 2-4 hours depending on my time constraints. Then kick it up to 250 grid to finish. If I'm in a hurry ill go 275 grid or higher. I'll take them off and foil to rest when their 190 internal. Some folks go higher. Oh and skip the adding a bunch of moisture. You don't need it and you're adding cook time with each peak.
  • I followed the Naked Whiz for my first Pork Butt. It was also my first cook on the BGE. . You have some great tips on this thread, so your next one should be perfect.
  • Wow thanks for all the tips.  I'm going to try again this weekend and let ya'll know how it went!

    On a side note, do you cover your pork butt with mustard [or something similar] before putting on your rub?
  • Like the idea also of leaning some space between the empty drip pan and the platesetter. Otherwise, it bakes on there and impossible to clean. I just made that mistake this weekend.
    Clarendon Hills, IL
  • Is it possible to clean the platesetter by leaving it in while you get the egg to 700?
  • FanOfFanboysFanOfFanboys Posts: 2,047
    edited November 2012
    Pork butt is absolutely the easiest thing on the egg IMO. I live in the south where pulled pork is loved by all so it is my go to cook. I have done both injected and not injected. I prefer injected but no guest have really noticed a difference. I inject usually with creole butter. I prefer to inject and rub the night before I cook but I have also done about 5 mins before putting on the grill and again no one but me cares. I have never used a drip pan. To clean plate setter I just scrap off the big stuff and then put legs down and the egg cleans the rest. Like other said cook to temp. I try to take off the grill around 200ish, but I have taken off at every point from 195-205 successfully. I have never mopped, or done anything after I put on the egg. I only FTC if not eating within an hour or so of it being done. Here is one of the first ones I did. Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos keep at it bc within 1-2 you will feel, and your guest will think, you've been doing it for years and are damn near an expert.
  • @stargaze yes you can clean it at 700, or lower. Just flip legs down. And many people here use mustard as a binder but I do not and many do not. Just preference. Some people here cook at 225, others cook at 275-300. I've done both and both great. I prefer to start lower at 225 for couple hours then kick up to 275ish. Why? No idea, just how I like it. You'll learn the Egg and pork are both very forgiving. So together you get an almost foolproof cook as long as you remove at right internal temp range. Try going to local Costco/Sam's Club and buy butt from there. Usually it is two butts together, larger and smaller. That why you can experiment with both on same cook or same weekend. They'll look like this. Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
  • After a messy cook, I sometimes "clean" the platesetter / egg by running the temp to around 650 for a little while, them I shut it in and leave it alone. Everything just scrapes off when I come back to it the next day.
  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited November 2012
    First, 235 dome temp is too low.  You can get the Egg up to 275-ish & be A-OK as far as cooking a pork butt.  The ONLY reason to do it at such a low dome temp is for bragging rights.  Also, if you crank up the temp a bit as I suggested, you can knock off an hour or 2 of your final cooking time, so it's an added bonus.

    As far as the drip pan - water, etc is not really needed, but if you insist on using it, I would suggest putting an air gap between your drip pan & whatever it is setting on (I'm assuming you had it setting on the plate setter).  That way, it doesn't burn / char, or otherwise allow the water to evaporate off as much.  

    Next (but probably first & most imporantly) - have you calibrated your dome thermometer yet? If not, do so ASAP.  You could THINK you are running at 235 and really be at 400 or something.  

    Next, yes, foiling will make the bark moist.  I don't foil.  I just plop the meat on the cooking grid & leave 'er alone for several hours.  No need to keep opening the lid.  If you have a remote temp probe like a Maverick 732, you can monitor the internal temp of the meat that way & never have to open the lid until it's close to your desired internal temp (which should be about 190-200).  I usually start getting ready to take it off the Egg when the internal temp reaches 190, because the temp is gonna rise some due to the thermal carryover. 

    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817
    edited November 2012
    If you put the drip pan directly on the platesetter you will get burning as the platesetter takes in radiant heat from the lump. If you use some 1/2" copper plumbing tees to provide a bit of an air gap you won't need the water. +1 on the undercooked part as well


    Caledon, ON


  • Two things here, cook to temp and space the drip pan to avoid charring and burning. As far as the rub goes, our last butt used Memphis Dust only. 
    I've always cooked to temp, but have cooked at both 275 and 225 grid, with the 225 taking longer of course. Both were pulled within an hour of finish. I could not tell the difference. Granted this was done on two different days and not a side by side but, as long as internal is in the magic 195-205 range I'm not sure it matters what the grid temp was. 
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • CPARKTXCPARKTX Posts: 1,859
    I'm a newbie, so forgive the question, but I don't understand what people are saying about spacing the drip pan to avoid burning...avoid what burning?  The drip pan itself? (I typically use disposable aluminum drip pans you get from the grocery store)

    I'm planning to do my first butt this weekend, is this the correct configuration? Plate setter legs up, drip pan (without water) inside place setter, grill on top of place setter and butt directly on grill surface; cook at 250 grate until 190 internal temp?  
    LBGE & SBGE.  Central Texas.  
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,693

    CPARKTX said:
    I'm a newbie, so forgive the question, but I don't understand what people are saying about spacing the drip pan to avoid burning...avoid what burning?  The drip pan itself? (I typically use disposable aluminum drip pans you get from the grocery store)

    I'm planning to do my first butt this weekend, is this the correct configuration? Plate setter legs up, drip pan (without water) inside place setter, grill on top of place setter and butt directly on grill surface; cook at 250 grate until 190 internal temp?  
    The plate setter is really hot.  So you want to create a gap of air between it and the drip pan.   You can use crumpled up balls of foil, or copper fittings to create that gap.  It makes a difference whether or not the drippings burn or just dry up (or stay liquid).
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Whatever you use to catch drippings. The drippings can burn if the pan is directly on the platesetter. This is because the platesetter absorbs radiant heat from the lump and it will transfer to the drip pan if it is not spaced. Even if you don't use the drippings burning fat is not a flavour you want to introduce.


    Caledon, ON


  • Cook to temp, not time. 190 or above as noted.
  • my 7 lb butt (1st butt) took a total of 15 hrs to complete from time of lighting egg to pulling meat off egg. I lit fire 12:30 a.m. was very cold and windy, had to relight 2x. FINALLY gave up and just put it on, w/my cyber q at 1:40 a.m., temp was lower than I wanted to start with and I had to ramp it up the last 2 hrs a bit, but it all worked out great and was delish! I initially thought  would only need 9-10 hrs. I got nervous and out it on glad I did. I will follow the 1.5-2 hrs per lb rule from here on out. 
    LBGE 4/2012, MBGE 6/2012 & Mini 11/2013
    Rome, GA
  • Thanks to the help from this thread, I have a great looking butt on the way.  The inside is around 176 so I have a little ways to go but I figured I'd take a quick photo to share.

  • Nice butt!  Heh, heh, heh!  Good looking crust, too!
    Flint, Michigan
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    I started 4 this drip today.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • GramblerGrambler Posts: 150
    If you put some sort of spacer under your drip pan the drippings won't burn so much.. I just make some aluminum foils balls then squash them and put them between the pas and plate setter.
  • GramblerGrambler Posts: 150
    That should have read "between the pan and plate setter".
  • The final product!

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