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First pork butt cook

I'm doing my first pork butt on the egg tomorrow. Is it necessary to use a rub on the outside? I've already made a great homemade BBQ sauce, shouldn't that be good enough? What if I just do kosher salt and black pepper on the butt before I smoke it?
Also, is 225 dome temperature a good temp for smoking? Or should I do higher?
How long per pound. I've been googling this stuff and haven't found any solid answers.
Thanks for the feedback!


  • The rub I would say is your choice, never done one without but don't know why it wouldn't work. For temp i usually run 250 -275 F takes in the neighborhood of 1.5-2 hrs per pound, higher the temp the less time. Cook until 195-205 internal temp. Pork Butt is very forgiving, don't freak out if it gets to 160 internal and hangs for while, they sometimes "stall" it is possible to hit another around 180, wait it out . What wood are you using to smoke with ? for pork I like apple !
    Ova B.
    Fulton MO
  • Calracefan, I'm planning on using Apple. Also, do you wrap the pork in foil at any point?
  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,872
    Good advice from @calracefan. I would cook at 275-300 until 200 internal. I would think you want a rub on the outside but to each his own. In my opinion, a well cooked butt with a good rub doesn't need a sauce at all. Good luck.
    Winston-Salem, NC 
  • I like to use a rub and sauce together. The rub adds to the flavor and helps to create really flavorful bark. And you could do just salt and pepper if you like.

    As for dome temp, I like to do higher than 225 dome because that will be lower at the grid level where the meat is. I really don't think you lose much cooking at 250-260 dome.

    As for time, every butt is different. On average, should take 1.25-1.5 hours per pound but you really never know. Have had some done in less than an hour per pound and some that have taken over 2 hours per pound. Important with the Egg is to cook to temp not time but certainly understand you need to plan for dinner. Best suggestion is leave yourself lots of time and if its done early, you just wrap in foil unpulled and let it sit in a cooler. Have had some in foil for 4 hours without any problem.

    Good luck and keep throwing out the questions. Pulled pork is very forgiving and I'm sure it will go great.
    Clarendon Hills, IL
  • BuckeyeBobBuckeyeBob Posts: 670
    edited January 2013
    And typically don't need to wrap in foil unless you are running short on time. Personally think its better without any foil until the end when it is already done.
    Clarendon Hills, IL
  • Use to in my electric smoker haven't wrapped one in the egg. I have Foiled/Toweled/Cooler the last one I done to keep it warm before pulling. If you like bark I would not wrap it as it will soften the bark.Now if you get in a time crunch and it stalls you can wrap it (Crutch)to power through the stall but again it will sacrifice the bark. Good Luck and remember the rule of the forum, "Picture or it didn't happen "
    Ova B.
    Fulton MO
  • twlangantwlangan Posts: 299
    Go for it! My first pork butt - I used a rub recipe that I found on the net that was pretty close to dozens of other recipes. I figured it had to be good since so many used it. While the pork was great, I wasn't real crazy about the taste of the bark. The next pork butt - I made up my own rub. Just started throwing some spices into a bowl that I thought would make a bark I liked and it was a major hit with my family. Problem was, I didn't measure anything out! I jotted down what I thought was pretty close and I have been running with it ever since with wonderful results. My rub recipe barely resembles what I started out with on that first pork cook. If you think salt and pepper is what you'd like, just do it. As you mentioned - you can always add sauce at the table if you think it needs more flavor. I also use apple chips for smoke. I've found hickory and mesquite to be too strong for my taste. I plan to try cherry some day - just haven't gotten around to picking any up yet.
  • DuganboyDuganboy Posts: 1,118
    I don't want the sauce to define the flavor of my pulled pork.  I want the flavor to come from the rub and the smoke.

    Sometimes I don't use any sauce at all and sometimes I just use a little finishing sauce to make it stick together.

    If you don't put a rub on it you will be in a very small minority.
  • wmrrockwmrrock Posts: 30
    I have tried many commercial rubs and most are good.  I think it is cheaper and better to make my own.  Here it is:

    1 cup of kosher salt
    1 cup of dark brown sugar
    *1 cup of sweet paprika (If you want more kick go with 1/2 cup of sweet & half cup of hot paprika)
    1/2 cup of fresh ground black pepper.

    *Stay away from store brand paprika.  Try and get fresh paprika from a Hungarian store.  Google it and buy it online if you have to.  The fresh stuff vs. the stuff you find in the spice rack of your local supermarket is very different and you will notice the taste.

    Put it in an airtight container and it will stay good for a few weeks.
  • Ok. So it sounds like I should do a rub. What about the egg set up? Do I put the butt directly on the grate, or in a pan? If it goes on the grate, do I need to have liquid in the drip pan below the butt?
  • Here's what I do... indirect set-up,plate setter leg's up, drip pan, grate. Butt on the grate. I get the pan off of the plate setter using 3 or 4 balled up pieces of alum foil. All the info on temp and rub are spot on. Good luck ! 

    Alexander City,Al
  • Butt goes on the grate. I suggest some kind of pan or foil to hold the drippings from the butt. Liquid is not necessary, but your choice. Platesetter legs up. Make sure you cook it until the thermometer slides in like butter. Good Luck!

  • SmokinDAWG82SmokinDAWG82 Posts: 1,704
    I've cooked some with no rub at all just smoke, some with just salt and pepper, and plenty with a heavy rub. I liked all 3 types but I think I like just salt and pepper the best. I use apple, pecan, or hickory for smoke. It's a matter of opionion. just cook what you like best! Let us see pictures of whatever you decide.
    Go Dawgs! - Marietta, GA
  • mimaulermimauler Posts: 136

    A dome temp of 225 will be hard to keep, push it to 250-275 much easier to control and it'll knock off a little of the cooking time.  I never used a drip pan I just scrape the plate setter clean before I use it again.  It's still going to take 12-16 hours.  I'm getting to be a firm believer in just salt and pepper my last cooks a brisket, spatch chicken, standing rib roast have all just been salt and pepper and all turned out great.  Check some of your better food stores for some higher quality salts and try the salt and pepper routine for a while. 


  • Darn. Wish I had read the last two posts by smokindawg82 and mimauler before I covered my pork in dry rub. Oh well, it's a done deal now. Will try salt and pepper next time.
  • mimaulermimauler Posts: 136
    I'm sure you'll be cooking plenty of others.  I just started thinking why am I buying this good quality meat and then needing to add another flavor to it.  Salt and pepper have been around since time began.  Have a good cook! 
  • The important thing is that you are cooking a butt! You simply can't screw it up if you keep grate temps about 250-275 and you let the butt cook to about 190-200 internal. You'll find butt is very forgiving and a great learning experience, every time! Know that you'll hit the "stall" and t
  • SmokinDAWG82SmokinDAWG82 Posts: 1,704
    You may find that you like the rub, it will help form a good bark and most of it is gonna drip off when the fat renders. There is always next time but I'm guessing you'll not have any problem eating this one!
    Go Dawgs! - Marietta, GA
  • I just bought a maverick thermometer that reads the meat temp and ambient temp simultaneously with one probe. My dome temp gauge reads 240 and the maverick claims that the temp at the grill is 190. Is this possible? (I calibrated the dome temp gauge in boiling water before installing it)
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,712
    That's pretty normal when everything is warming up.  Might want to check the grate probe in some boiling water, it's not impossible the probe/Maverick is out of whack.  You should see the grill temp rise with time.
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • I've been smoking this butt for the past 9.5 hours and it's only at 180 degrees internal temperature. The dome temperature has been a steady 250. It's only a 4 pound butt. Am I doing something wrong?
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,712
    Nah, you're fine.  If ya want it done sooner, just let more air in the egg to jack up the temp.   Around 190 start checking every now and then for tenderness.  When a probe slides in like a Kentucky jellied hot knife in warm butter and it seems like it's starting to fall apart, pull it.  It be done.   
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Thanks, nolaegghead
  • At 1:30am my pork butt was at 180. It was taking way longer than the 1.5-2 hours per pound that I heard about. I had to get some sleep. At 7:00am the fire had gone out, the dome temp was 0 and the pork was at 130 internal temp. I'm not sure it ever got to 190. It appears to be cooked through. It's not as smoky and juicy as I was expecting. Overall, not a good first experience for smoking a pork butt on the egg.

    When people talk about cooking temps on this forum are they talking about dome temp or grate temp? This thing took forever to cook. I'm fine with things taking a long time to cook, I'd just like to be able to plan accordingly.

    The pork wasn't that smoky, by I put about 6 large pieces of applewood chunks on the coals. Any ideas on what went wrong?
  • My guess would be that it needed more cooking.  The last time I cooked butts they went for 19 hours and one of them really needed to be cooked longer.  You could wrap the whole thing up in foil and put it back in the oven.  If you still had an internal of 130 I would think that the meat should have fallen apart if it was done. 

    I think usually people talk about dome temp although many times they specify. 
  • Dyal_SCDyal_SC Posts: 4,734
    The only thing that I can think of is temperature. You are right, it shouldn't have taken that long. I'd suggest recalibrating the thermometers to see if there is an issue. One question: Were there coals left in the egg? If so, then I would think your temperature was too low for the egg to stay lit the entire night. I've had my egg go out overnight trying to maintain a 225 deg dome temp. I only lit it in one area and the fire burned right through the middle of the coals. If your grate level was 190 deg, that might explain the butt never getting up to temp and the fire going out.
  • Dyal_SCDyal_SC Posts: 4,734
    Oops, just realized that your posting time changed once I logged in...haha. I was trying to judge your entire cook time based on the time listed on your posts and I thought you had that sucker in there for 20+hrs. I realize now that was not the case. But if your coals did go out, that's probably still the issue.
  • mimaulermimauler Posts: 136
    Dome temp is what the vast majority are talking about.  275 is a great temp to start a low and slo with because you'll get 25 degree shifts every now and then which will not impact the cook.  To me a 4lb butt should not have taken so long.  There must be some sort of temp problem if it cooked for 9.5 hours with a dome temp of 250 it should have been done. 
  • Remember one thing, each piece of meat is different and will be done when it is done, not when someone on this forum tells you it should be done. After that, all you can do is make sure your thermos are as accurate as possible. I personally use the bbq guru digi q dx2. With this, every time I cook low and slow, it will always have my grate temp at the exact same as my dome thermo reads. This is likely due to the air being circulated more evenly from the fan. Regardless, if you keep your temp constant, and do not allow too many spikes or drops, you will be fine.

    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity, and are able to turn both to their advantage."

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