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First BIG cookout

volntitanvolntitan Posts: 95
edited 9:23AM in EggHead Forum
So this Friday we are having a cookout for possibly 30-40 people. My local Harris Teeter store had a sale on Boston Butts for .99 a pound and they were kind enough to give us a rain check for 4 of them. I've never smoked a butt on the Egg, but thought no better time than this. Some Questions:

1) Any REALLY good step by step fool proof instructions for cooking this many butts at once? I do have the 3-tier grate that Egg sells.

2) What size Butts should I have each on be? I have alot of mouths to feed, but will also have hot dogs and hamburgers going on the gas grill. Don't want to be up for 24 hours straight either ;)

3) Any tips or rub recipes would be great. Reputation is on the line!



  • civil eggineercivil eggineer Posts: 1,547
    You will need 20 lbs of raw butt to feed 40 people. If you have a large you could fit (3) 7 pounders on a single grate. Plan on having them done 2 hours before the event and keep wrapped in cooler after you take them off. You are looking at a 16+ hour cook at 250 dome temp. Also, check on them every 3 hours through the night to ensure your fire doesn't go out. Butts are pretty fool proof...good luck.
  • volntitanvolntitan Posts: 95
    Thanks! I don't think I'll have a problem cooking 4 at a time with the tiered grate. Is there a step by step recipe on the net anyone could direct me to? I've used my Egg numerous times, but want to make sure I put in the right amount of charcoal etc. to make sure it maintains heat long enough.
  • Capt FrankCapt Frank Posts: 2,578
    Go to Naked Whiz's site, everything you need to know.
    One thing I have learned is that near the end of the cook, when your butts are coming out of the plateau, you can boost your dome temp up to 275-300, won't hurt a thing and will help you finish in a little less than the 2hrs/lb rule of thumb. B)

    Butts are pretty easy and very forgiving, so relax and have fun :P

    Capt Frank
  • 'Q Bruddah'Q Bruddah Posts: 739
    volntitan, this is a rite of passage cook for many here but it is very a simple cook and very hard to totally screw up. After the cook you will wonder what was such a big deal.
    Make sure you clean out the Egg of all ash before you get started. Some will tell you to stack your lump with big pieces on the bottom. I, myself, am a tip and dump guy as are others. You will want to get your egg stabilized for an hour at 250° F dome temp catch it on the way up starting to damp down and adjust about 225°. After an hour is up and it has held steady, put your meat on and don't adjust anything. The dome temp will dip and may take several hours to recover. Don't futz.

    Depending on when you start your cook, when it comes time to get some sleep and it has been going a few hours it is not a bad idea to take a wiggle rod and clear the ash out of most of the holes in the grate. This will ensure that you have proper air getting to the fire so it won't go out. This is a fun cook and if you run into any problems you have the forum. You might be surprised at who might be up in a different time zone able willing to walk you through it.

    Lots of info on Naked Whiz's site and Elder Ward is one of the most common authorities referenced here fom the Whiz's site

    Hope all goes well take pics and let us know how it goes.
  • volntitanvolntitan Posts: 95
    Now I'm sweating the time issue. I can't get off work on Friday and folks show up at 12 on Saturday. Need to do some serious time management figurin'.
  • 'Q Bruddah'Q Bruddah Posts: 739
    I hear you. I started the Egg at about 3PM Friday. I put the meat on 3:50PM and pulled them off the Egg 10:50 AM Saturday morning, 19 hours later.
    Can you teach someone, like wifey, to get your fire going real low before you get home?
    Bare minimum you can have it laid the day before. This is where I really like my new toy, my weedburner. It gets the Egg going reliably and FAST.
  • volntitanvolntitan Posts: 95
    Unfortunately I'm it. The wife works as well. I may have to cheat it a bit and cook at a slightly higher temp. I use firestarters to start the charcoal. Any suggestion on something I can get from Home Depot/Lowes to speed that process up?
  • 'Q Bruddah'Q Bruddah Posts: 739
    I got my weed burner on sale from a local Harbor Frieght Tool for 19.99 regularly 24.99. Home Depot has them but I think at about $40.00. FatBoy Mapp same price might be more convenient.
  • volntitanvolntitan Posts: 95
    Could a propane torch do the same trick?
  • volntitanvolntitan Posts: 95
    More questions...what wood would you say is the consensus for best flavor out of your "butt" and how do you add additional wood chunks to the egg after you get it going?
  • Do you use just one fire starter? I use 3-4 if I need the thing to get up and running faster.
  • Mark0525Mark0525 Posts: 1,232
    I use a MAPP torch, people say it burns hotter than propane. I light it in 3 or 4 places. Gets the fore going fast. I wont go back to starter squares.
  • civil eggineercivil eggineer Posts: 1,547
    Propane will work but the torches won't run when there tipped upside down. A mapp torch will work inverted. :silly: If you have a propane torch, I am sure you can figure a way to make it work.
  • volntitanvolntitan Posts: 95
    How do you add additional wood chunks during your smoke and what is everyone's favorite smoking wood for a pork butt?
  • JoelJoel Posts: 74
    If it was my cook, I'd stay away from adding wood. The risk/reward math doesn't work in your favor. After fallen victim to adding too much of the wrong type of wood and ruining a perfectly fine cook one too many times, I now am very conservative with my use of wood chips. Aside from that, I really think the lump will impart just enough smoke flavor without being overpowering. Also consider that you're cooking for the masses who may not appreciate a rich smokey flavor as much as a bbq'ing enthusiast may.

    On that same note, be sure to let your egg stabilize before adding the meat in terms of temperature and smoke. I normally wait at least 45 min when doing a low and slow cook such as yourself. Look for the blue smoke to clear - otherwise, you'll have a very nasty taste imparted on your meat.

    Someone mentioned that you can bump the time after coming out of its plateau. I've done this once and didn't negatively impact the cook. I pulled a rookie mistake and didn't add enough lump initially and the fire went out. Scrambling to feed the herd, I bumped it up to 400 for the last few minutes and it came out great.
  • A clever way to manage this is to lay a spiral pattern of soaked wood chips on the lump and then start the fire with a single starter in the middle. In this way, fresh wood chips will continually burn as the fire moves to the outer edge of the Egg.
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