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Boneless Butts?

ThrillThrill Posts: 32
edited 2:21PM in EggHead Forum
I've cooked truckloads of butts, but they have always had the shoulder blade (?) in them. I have a big party tomorrow night and was getting ready to rub up the 8 butts that the wife picked up at Costco, and I noticed that they had the bones cut out of them.

I have no time to get back to Costco to replace them, and need to get them on the Egg. Are there any drawbacks with smoking boneless butts? Can I get by with these just this one time?

Have a good weekend all.


  • DavekatzDavekatz Posts: 763
    Boneless Costco butt are pretty much all I use anymore and have never had an issue with them. The plus is that you've got that nice cavity where the bone was to add extra rub. The only downside is that sometimes you need to tie them to keep them together.

    Food & Fire - The carnivorous ramblings of a gluten-free grill geek.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,938
    One small caveat is that because the bone has been cut out there is a small chance that the meat has been exposed to contamination. However, if you are cooking them to pulling temperature, and don't have the dread "Egg went out while I snoozed and was 32 degrees when I woke up" syndrome, there's really almost nothing to fuss about.
  • LakerLaker Posts: 110
    I prefer the bone in as I have found the taste to be much better. Problems with the bone out in that the butt might need to be tied to hold together.

    Good Luck.
  • emillucaemilluca Posts: 673
    Sometimes I wonder how the posters on the board come up with answers to questions? Contamination because the bone was removed? Why would that happen? No more of a chance then hitting the lottery.
    Face it the flesh came from a dead animal and over time it will contaminate bone or no bone.
    A person needs a very trained mouth to tell the flavor of a piece of flesh next to the bone vs away from the bone.
    Oh well no bad vibes intended.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,938
    No bad vibes received. However, anytime a piece of meat is cut, there is the chance that the blade will carry some bacteria into the flesh. In a decent slaughterhouse, or with a careful butcher, this should be a small hazard. That is, they have not pierced the gut, and spilled something nasty like e-coli onto other flesh. The worst case is when a large processor gets a pathogen on a meat grinder, and spreads "bugs" across tons of 'burger.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,994
    yep, i start these at a higher temp too, just incase. i start the cook above 275 and let it drop as the internal crosses 140, dont know if it helps, but i FEEL better about it. no need to tie, put the cut end down and push the loose pieces under.
  • I do notice a taste difference. There is some great tasting meat next to the bone. However, both taste great.

    I do increase the cook temp when I think about the cook.

    I have cooked butt at low temp's and high temps (fast cook). I can tell a small texture difference with the fast cooks. I don't think anyone would notice unless they cook a lot of butt.

    The taste has always been good on any of the cooks.

  • ThrillThrill Posts: 32
    Thanks to all for the advice. I feel a lot better about putting them on earlier this morning. I could not find any twine, so I just put them on fatcap up and pushed in the sides an corners.

    And I forgot to point out that this is the maiden voyage of my new XL!!! I have a large as well, but needed more surface area for increased numbers of catering gigs.

    I squeezed 9 butts in there using the raised grid accessory.

    Had some issues with my new guru that I'll post in another thread, but was able to switch back over to my dual probe remote Maverick.

    I'll see if I can post some pics later tonight.

    Thanks again to all.
  • ThrillThrill Posts: 32
    Thanks, GG. That puts my mind at ease. I'm actually doing this cook for a church fundraiser, so I wanted to be sure the boneless butts wouldn't fall short of expectations. My bone-in versions have developed quite the cult following in a radius of 10-12 miles from my house (or more specifically, 10-12 miles from my BGE).

    Happy smokin'!
  • Hope your cook does well for the fundraiser.

    Let us know it all turns out and what you think of the boneless results. It will be interesting to learn your thoughts.

  • bubba timbubba tim Posts: 3,216
    I understand, I missed the bones when I cooked then boneless. However, It did make for a fast pull and easy serve. No worries mate!
    SEE YOU IN FLORIDA, March 14th and 15th 2014 You must master temp, smoke, and time to achive moisture, taste, and texture! Visit for BRISKET HELP
  • ThrillThrill Posts: 32
    Thanks GG,

    The results, in the end, turned out great. Overall, all of the butts came out fine. I delivered the Q to the fundraiser, and hung around for about an hour to gauge how people liked the Q. Needless to say, the BBQ was an absolute hit. Some of my homemade sauces also received some rave reviews.

    Now for the smoke itself, I learned a few things from the 23-hour smoke. Strangely, the butts did not all finish up at the same time. In the past when I smoked bone-in butts, all of the butts would finish up at about the same time (as long as they were within 1-2 pounds of each other).

    With the boneless butts, the difference in finish time varied by an hour or more. I'm chalking this up to the fact that I didn't tie up the butts. I think that some of the butts that were more cut up by the removal of the bone didn't cook as evenly as some of the butts that were more intact.

    In the end, it worked out fine. I couldn't discern any change in the taste with the boneless butts, and all of the butts were very moist.

    All in all, I probably try the boneless butts again, but this time I will tie them up.
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