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Click HERE for Overnight/Boston Butt TIPS!!

SmokinParrotHeadSmokinParrotHead Posts: 532
edited 6:07PM in EggHead Forum
I figured with all the folks who are bound to be trying over-nighters for the first time this week for New Years, we could start a thread offering help through experience.

I know my Egging knowledge is nowhere close to what some of you here have, but it is because of this site that I continue to learn with every cook. I figured we could help the newbies out by telling some good tips before they find themselves in panic mode. I will start with my first overnight experience, and many of you went through the experience with me when I was doing this cook, LOL!!

Boston Butt was my first overnight cook, and it was a year ago this week that I did them for the first time. I did them for New Year's Day and they were fantastic. I had owned my large Egg for years before this, but had never attempted an overnight cook. Once I had accomplished it, it opened up a whole other world of cooking on the Egg, and I haven't looked back since.

I spent hours here before and during the cook asking every question you could imagine and the help was wonderful!

Here are a few tips that I use to cook my butts.

Clean the egg out good before any overnight cook. This means(for me anyways) taking out the guts(firebox, fire grate, fire ring) and cleaning it out completely. I use a shop vac once I get the biggest majority out.

Put it back together making sure you line up the vent in the fire box directly in front of the lower vent.

Put the fire grate back, of course, then fill the egg all the way up with lump. I mean, put at much lump in as you can fit leaving just a couple of inches under where the plate setter is going to rest.

Some folks get picky about their lump and sort it out by size, etc, but I haven't found that to be needed so much.

You want to light the fire using fire starters if possible, because you want it to burn slowly even from the get-go. I usually break the fire starters in half and use three halves. I place them in at about the 12 o'clock position, the 4 o'clock position, and the 8 o'clock position.

I also use Hickory wood CHUNKS and put several in at random places in the lump so they will fire off at different times during the cook. I do throw one chunk directly on the hot coals about five minutes before I put the butts on.

Here is the most important step: Get the Egg to 250 dome temp and LET IT COOK AT THAT TEMP for an hour before you even think about putting the butts on. Once you put the buts on, do not touch those vent settings or the DFMT. It will drop drastically in temps, but remember you just put 8-20lbs of cold meat in there.

It will come back to where it was(250 dome), I promise. This part is hard to believe at first, or at least it was for me.......I wanted to be impatient and "turn it up" but DON'T.

If you can, you need to let the Egg come back to temp and run for a bit at 250 before you go to bed. I have a monitoring device now, but back when I did my first one I set my alarm clock and went out to check the temps every four hours.

One more IMPORTANT tip. If you see that the temps are falling, and by falling I mean by 25+ degrees or more, well into the cook, DON'T PANIC. This is most likely due to the fire grate clogging with small particles of lump. This happened to me on my first overnight and I nearly had a coronary when I saw the temps below 200. To correct this if it happens, you just open the bottom damper, take your metal ash tool, stick the end into the bottom damper, and get one of the corners of the bottom of the tool to poke into one of the holes on the fire grate, and simply shake the fire grate back and forth a few times.

Then set the lower vent back exactly as it was, and watch the temp rise back to 250 in a matter of minutes.

As for the B Butts, I simply rub mine down with yellow mustard all over, and then put my rub of choice over that. Don't be scared, you really can't get too much on a pork butt, a lot will cook off. Now you will see different opinions on yellow mustard, some say the vinegar in it makes the meat more tender but I am not sure it does much in that regard. The reason I still do it is that it makes the rub stick better, so I always use it on my pork butts and ribs.

As far as cooking time, plan on about an hour per half pound of boston butt. Now, if you are doing two, you don't add the weight together, just use the weight of the smallest one as a good indicator of how long you will be cooking.

Once you reach your desired temp on the butts, take them off and wrap them in heavy duty foil for at least a half hour before pulling it. I often intentionally shoot for mine to finish a couple hours early and I wrap them each up in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil, then wrap each in a beach towel over the foil, then set them in a cooler and close the lid. They will stay HOT for hours that way.

I know I am missing some good tips here, but there are others here that will lend some good knowledge(much smarter eggers than myself) and this should be a good starting point.

The one thing I learned last New Year's Eve was this: As long as you have this forum and the fine folks here that are willing to help, you can't go wrong. Stay calm. LOL!

Edited for typo and spelling.

Also: Your butts will seem to be cooking fairly fast for a period during the cook, but then they will reach a point where they don't seem to be getting any higher in temps, that is completely normal and there is a term for it, but I can't think of it......Plateau maybe??


  • Nice post. Santa has expanded the ranks on the forum quite a bit this year.
  • Here are a couple more thoughts for you.

    Whenever I'm putting lump in the Egg and come across a really big piece of charcoal, I toss it into a nearby container to use for long slow cooks. That's what I fill the fire bowl with for butts (haven't made brisket yet) and it has never been necessary to load more than maybe an inch at the most past where the fire ring starts. And I always have some lump left when it's done.

    As for a clogged grate, thirdeye has a tool called a Wiggle Rod that can poke through those holes from underneath the grate.

    Great job of clear explanations!

    Judy in San Diego
    Judy in San Diego
  • Thanks Lee. Nice post ;) I have my BB planned with the same mustard/rub mix you mentioned. Will adhere to your advise and plan on posting some great pics on the forum Friday night.
  • Excellent and informative post! Thank you! One thing in noticed was that you said you allowed about a half hour per pound for butts. I find that at 250, I'm usually cooking at about an hour and a half (1.5 hrs) per pound. I suspect that is what you intended to type and, like I do so often, the fingers got ahead of the keyboard.

    Thank you again - these are the kinds of posts that are really helpful to those of us who are always looking to improve our cooking.

  • BigABigA Posts: 1,157
    As far as cooking time, plan on about a half hour per pound of boston butt. Now, if you are doing two, you don't add the weight together, just use the weight of the smallest one as a good indicator of how long you will be cooking.
    :huh: :huh:

    You better plan on longer than a 1/2hr per lb, or you wont be eating a very tender hunk of pork. if you are cooking lets say 15lbs there is now way that it will be done in 7hrs at 250. i usually plan on atleast 18hrs, the last two i did went 20 but i egged them at 235, then bumped to 250 for the last 2hrs.

    dont forget the wood chunks!! trust the egg and good luck!! make only minor adjustments if you need to make any!! :)
  • Damn it.....LOL. I knew there had to be some typo's in that long of a post. Sorry, I corrected it.
  • You are correct, I changed it. I actually figure about two hours per lb to be safe it I am trying to have them done in time for company or to take them somewhere. As I mentioned, I like them to be done early and just rest them in a cooler. I have cut my cooking times too close to whatever I was cooking them for before, and that is stressful, lol.
  • Thanks for the post...great information! I have only done one overnight cook...and about 10 hours in...the fire went out (didn't load with enough lump). But everything turned out fine. I'll have to try more overnights in 2011.

    By they do you go back into one of your posts and edit? I just posted a rib cook and would like to go back and change a picture.

  • Lee:

    I just thought of something else to add. The first butt I made was 200° when I pulled it, and it was too dry. Now I pull at no more than 190° and it has always been moist.

    I also tried to cook the butt so that I could serve it in slices. I pulled it at 170°, did the foiling, etc. It was really delicious, though there were fatty areas to get rid of. I really like having sliced port butt as an option!

    Judy in San Diego
  • When you reply and go back to the forum to see your reply, there should be "reply | quote | edit" in green in the bottom right corner of your post. "Edit" won't be on other people's posts. Click on "Edit," change what you want, and submit again.

    Judy in San Diego
  • I agree! I allow two hours per lb based on the larger of the butts I'm cooking. If they're done early, they will hold for a long time! Great post!
  • MikeeMikee Posts: 831
    I have done several BB over the past 3 months since I bought the small egg. I have to fill it to the brim with lump and hope it lasts. I don't cook by time; use the therometer. At 250-270* dome temp it takes 2 hours per pound on a 8-10 pound butt. It pulls apart without much effort.
  • Lee,

    Thanks for posting. I have done two over ights but tomorrows BB is the biggest. Thanks for putting this tiogether. Kinda put it in perspective. Thanks again.
  • EATEAT Posts: 39
    Talking over night Butts ?!!
    Here's my status, LOL !



    Enjoy your overnight grilling!!
  • srq2625srq2625 Posts: 262
    A couple of other things I would add:

    Egg setup:
    [li]I agree - load as much lump as you can fit. What you don't burn this cook you can re-use on the next. Nothing will get wasted.
    [li]Plate setter, legs up - I feel the need to protect the meat from the direct fire. Don't know if it's absolutely needed, but it's worked well on my five or six pork butt cooks.
    [li]Drip pan of some sort, with spacers between it and the plate setter - keeps the grease coming out of the pork from hitting the plate setter and the spacers keep the grease in the drip pan from burning and adding strange smoke to the mix. I use a sheet of heavy duty Al foil, turned up at the edges - cheap, easy, throw-away.
    [li]The BGE porcelain grid
    [li]Now for the meat. I get mine from CostCo and there's always two (boneless) in the cryopack. I oil them up with EVOO and give them a good coat of rub (I make my own using a recipe I found in a book). I then like to tie them up with butcher's string to keep the floppy parts from cooking too fast.
    [li]Put a temperature probe in each gob of meat.
    [li]Attached the clip for the pit probe to the insulated portion of one of the meat probes - this seems, to me, to be a good way to get an idea of the temperate at the level of the meat.
    [li]Set the stoker for 225°F and let 'er rip.
    I've pulled the meat at just about every temperature between 189°F and 198°F and have found that, for me, the best temp to pull is about 192°F.

    My last cook, I ended up with a bit more globby fat in the meat than I would like. I'm wondering if cooking at 220°F will make for a longer plateau - thus more of the fat will be rendered.
  • Judy...the edit button worked well (and easy). Thanks for the tip.

  • EATEAT Posts: 39
    After 12 hrs I needed to take a look!, still about 4 more hrs to go.


    And the smell is fantastic !
  • Judy, never heard, or saw, that before. Thanks much for that one.
  • JBrewJBrew Posts: 5
    Thanks for the detailed post. Just the info that this newbie needed. I've enjoyed the Forum for the couple of months that I've had my large BGE. It has helped tremendously and I've had some pretty successful cooks.

    I do have one bit of an issue I'm faced with for my first slow, overnight Boston Butt cook -- rain! The desired finish time for the cook is late AM on Saturday (New Year's Day), but at my location we are expecting rain throughout the night Friday night. My assumption is that I don't want to be doing a slow, overnight cook in the rain. Please correct that assumption if wrong. So, my option then becomes cook it early (tonight or through the day tomorrow before the rain comes in) or do the dreaded "surrender the meat to the wife for a crock pot cook"! Yikes! So, what suggestions are there in this scenario? If I'm cooking for pulled pork, should I "pull" it at the appropriate post-cook time and then refrigerate until Saturday AM or should I refrigerate the butt whole and "pull" it on Saturday AM? In either case, how best to re-heat the meat to maintain its moistness?

    One final thing -- I don't have a remote thermometer right now . . . am I foolish to try an overnight cook without one (no alarm for out-of-bounds temp)? Will a meticulous set-up / initial burn time per the details in the original post provide me enough confidence to sleep well????? Thanks!
  • JBrew,

    I didn't have a remote thermometer either when I did my first overnight, it's no big deal. It's more of an inconvenience for you than anything else because you will fill the need to go out and check it often.

    As far as the rain, do you have a vertical roaster stand? If so, I take a vertical turkey roaster stand and make a rain cap for my Egg. In reality, it won't matter all that much unless you are getting very, very heavy rains because at 230-250 your DFMT is going to be so close to closed you aren't going to get much rain water in it.

    However, I still make a little rain cap by putting an aluminum foil "tent" on top of the vertical roasting rack and then setting the rack(large end down) over the DFMT.

    There are many other options as well, including mounting an umbrella above the whole egg and even buying an 8" chimney cap and setting that directly on top of the egg.

    In other words, the only real problem with cooking in the rain is for you, not the egg, lol.

    WHATEVER YOU DO......DO NOT LET YOUR WIFE TAKE CONTROL OF THAT MEAT!! :laugh: Smoke it, even in a monsoon, you will be glad you did!

    Smoke 'em if you got 'em!!
  • JBrewJBrew Posts: 5
    Thanks, SPH. That sounds good if we were expecting just a calm rain, but we have storms coming through with some pretty gusty winds forecasted. I'm going to see if I can rig something up that will do the trick AND be able to withstand the wind. Hopefully, as you say, it won't be a serious issue assuming the DFMT will be only slightly open.
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