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Boston Butt question

edited 7:34AM in EggHead Forum
I have a few questions about smoking a Boston Butt for pulled pork:

1. Cooking time. Somewhere I read to expect 2 hours x the lbs in your largest roast. I did a 7 lb butt in two pieces (4 lb and 3 lb) on Sunday -- it took 25 hours to reach 190 at fairly constant 225 (I recalibrated the thermometer just before the cook). Extremely tasty in the end, but I had expected it to cook much faster--around 8 hours based on the formula (2 hrs x 4 lbs). Any ideas why this took so long? How much time should I leave for a whole 7 lb butt? Is there some part of this cook that can be done at a higher temperature to speed things up without drying the meat (250 until you hit 140, maybe?).

2. Quantities: Sunday was a trial run for my daughter's 8th birthday--she's requested bbq, which makes me very proud. There must be a rule of thumb for how much meat to fix. I think we're expecting about 10 adults and 13 kids. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks for your suggestions. Lewis


  • JeffersonianJeffersonian Posts: 4,244
    You were probably cooking too cool, Lewis. At 225* dome, the grid temperature was probably around 190 or so, making that your peak temp, not to mention one that it will hit very slowly. You'll get a lot of opinions here on how to cook a butt, all of them good. Personally, I cook my butts from 275-300* on the dome and they run around 1.5 hrs per pound to 195 internal.

    As for your upcoming party, I'd allow 6 oz finished product per adult, 3 oz or so per child, maybe 4. That would come to about 110 oz or so, around 7 pounds. Accounting for loss in cooking (~40%), and you're up around 13 pounds of butt to start with.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    1.5 to 2 hrs per pound
    divide the number of people by 2.4 which will give a close poundage to cook. I would add 10% just because. If you get bone in add more weight.

    If you held your dome temp at 225° then the grid temp is about 195° to 205°. As you can see that is pretty low when shooting for 195° to 200° internal meat temp.

    Take your calibrated dome temp to 250° to 275°. I would think your butt will turn out better also.

    Use the 1.5 to 2 hrs per pound rule. Remember the rest/hold time after the cook.

    Good Cookin,

  • EggtuckyEggtucky Posts: 2,746
    Both these guys are dead on Lewis...the only thing I would add is that after your butts clear the plateau..I usually bump the dome up 25-50 degrees to speed the finish just a lil'll never notice any difference in flavor, moisture or taste and it might save you an hour or 2..
  • Sometime those butts just have a mind of there own? I bought a DigiQ from the BBQ GURU and what I learned was my there is a 40 degree difference in grate temp and dome temp. My grate will check out at 225, while the dome reads 180'ish. The dome probe has been calibrated. Also, Did your butts touch? If they touch it can add time to your cook. There should be at-least one inch separation. Although I have got away with less.

    Good Luck and Happy Eggin
  • JeffersonianJeffersonian Posts: 4,244
    If this was meant for me, I always try to keep them separated by at least an inch:


    They wind up farther as they shrink:
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    First your dome temp was 25 degrees to low. At 225 dome your grate was at 195 or so. If you are trying achieve an internal temp of 190 you can see that will take a while

    If you get a recipe that is not eggcentric bump the temp up 25 - 30 degrees.

    Check out my Pulled Pork FAQ
  • Rolling EggRolling Egg Posts: 1,995
    I agree with all. I done a 9 pounder last weekend @ about 250 to 260 dome and It took almost 17 hours. I got these guys advice on the dome vs. grate temp when I first joined and hadnt turned out a bad butt yet. Happy Egging!
  • Agree with the others on temperature. I cook mine between 250 - 300 and they have taken between 8 and 12 hours. I also agree that if you bump the temp up a little at the end it will have no effect on flavor or moisture.

    Happy Smokin'
  • ovoovo Posts: 11
    Thanks for all the answers!
  • hello love a bit fun
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