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Trouble with my Butt (Boston, that is)

HarryHarry Posts: 58
edited 8:08AM in EggHead Forum
I put an 8 pound Boston Butt on yesterday morning at 8:00. It was roughly around 200 degrees until I went to bed at 11:00. Sometime during the night, the fire went out. When I woke this morning at 8:00 the dome and the butt were both about 110 degrees. (The butt was about 128 degrees when I went to bed.[p]I've restarted the fire and now have the dome at 325 degrees and the butt at 154 degrees (10:30 am). Two questions:[p]1. Do I have to worry about the meat being spoiled?
2. If not, what now? My plan is to just let it run at 300 degrees until the butt is at 200 degrees and then take it off and pull it and eat it.[p]Comments about both food safety and the plan for the rest of the cooking cycle (assuming no food safety problems) are sincerely solicited.[p]Thank you


  • Harry, Cat would probably be a better source of info on this, but I had a similar thing happend to me with the exact same internal temp found when I woke in the morning. Since I was cooking the butt for use in a Brunswick stew, and it had recieved a good smoking and partial cooking on the egg anyway, I brought it up and finished it off in the oven. It was great. We ate off of what I didn't use in the stew for a few days. I think you have done o.k. by leaving it on the egg. Don't count it off. Keep treating it like you still love it,, give it a good sniff when you pull it(if it has spoiled even a little, you will know it), and I'll bet it will be outstanding.

  • JimEJimE Posts: 158
    Safe food storage is under 40* or over 140*
    Your butt was between those two temps for 26 hours.
    The outer layer of a butt is what would cause you any
    problems if your going to have one.[p]

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Harry,[p]Cooking a butt in two stages isn't a problem. But I'd be a little concerned about safety; that meat spent a long time in the temp zone (between 40 and 140 degrees internal) that bacteria love. The odds are that it's fine, particularly since smoke retards bacteria growth somewhat. But why take a chance?[p]Cathy
  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Cat,[p]But what would live if the meat went to 200 internal? [p]Tim
  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Harry,[p]I think your OK. I am not sure I would cook at 325 as you might get awful dark crust - I would go more around 250 until the temp gets to 180 or so - then bump it up to 300. You can also foil wrap it anytime if you want to rush it or make it less crusty on the outside (something I love).[p]Let us know what you did and how it came out.[p]Tim
  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Tim M,[p]Good point. But I'm not sure; the heat would kill the bacteria, but would it neutralize the toxins they left behind?[p]Cathy

  • Harry,
    If I understand you,You went to bed at 11pm and everything was ok then. You checked at 8am and everything was down to 110 degrees. I've had my fire (in the egg of coarse) go out during the night and found it 4 to 5 hrs later. I can't see where you'll have a problem. Taking everything into consideration, the fire didn't go out the minute you went to bed! It might have gone out and given you 3 to 4 hours (max) to cool down. You re-started the fire, and got your butt temp back up in a hurry from what it sounds like. I think like Tim, the 300 degrees is a little too high! I'd hold it at 270-280 till it reaches over that 160 internal temp before I finished it off at 300 degrees. I honestly don't think you've got a problem or a food safety concern!
    Sorry I'm late in posting this, I had to do some work at the plant since I'll be gone for a week. Please let us know how it turns out![p]Dr. Chicken

  • Cat,[p]I agree with you. Why risk it. Call the feds - they should be able to tell us the right information. During the weekday you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline . Here is a link:

    [ul][li]USDA - FSIS Meat and Poultry Hotline[/ul]
  • JimEJimE Posts: 158
    The toxin can can be distroyed by heat, they are the
    byproduct of the deat bacteria.

  • HarryHarry Posts: 58
    Thank you, all
    I went ahead with the cooking, using some of the suggestions several of you kindly gave. We've finished eating now, and it was delicions.[p]It really is tough to screw something up while cooking on the egg, isn't it?[p]Thanks again. It is nice to have such a supporting group to go to for help.[p]Harry

  • BrantBrant Posts: 82
    Jim,[p]You said, "The toxin can can be destroyed by heat."[p]I assume that should have been "can not be destroyed," right? I'm sorry, I'm not usually one to ponit out typos (I make enough of them myself!), but considering this subject, I think it's best to not give the wrong idea. I'd hate for someone to leave a hunk of meat on a dirty counter all day long and think that it would be safe to cook it to well-done.[p]Brant
  • BrantBrant Posts: 82
    Harry,[p]I've had the same thing happen to me plenty of times. I'm usually pretty paranoid handling meats, but in this case I slack off some. I figure that any bacteria will likely be on the surface of the meat, and that the surface temperatures are obviously hotter than the internal temperatures showing on the Polder. That means there is a good chance that any nasty bugs will have been zapped pretty early in the cooking process. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be able to leave a butt on the smoker for 20 hours, like I always do. Maybe I'm rationalizing, but I haven't poisoned myself, yet (he says, knocking loudly on his wooden computer desk....).[p]Brant
  • JimEJimE Posts: 158
    Yes can NOT..

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