Butts - Max Cooler Time?....update.....

Discussion in 'Pork' started by krooz, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. krooz

    krooz Smoke Blower

    Smoking 2 butts right now for family coming in to town today. Put them on at 8 last evening - typically in my Brinkman they take 18-19hrs to hit 195/200°. Planned to cooler around 2 o'clock for dinner at 6.

    Well, as they say about the best laid plans - the internal is 183° right now, I believe they've come off the plateau already so I am anticipating completion much earlier than expected. So, if I foil and put in a hot cooler with towels, what would be the MAX time I could leave coolered? I had seen 5hrs mentioned in a old post with the meat still being piping hot.

    Thinking of maybe coolering for 5hrs and then holding in the oven at say 200° (if necessary) until time to pull?

    Thanks for any advice.....
  2. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    I havent ever had to cooler one for real long...but what i did do once was the oven.  I started a smoke lafte afternoon and around midnight that night it started storming.  So i foiled (i usually just go no foil the whole smoke) and put in a 200 degree oven and just went to bed.  Up at 7am and stuck it in a cooler for a couple hours then pulled it.  It was fine...no loss of moisture or anything in the oven for 7 hours at 200...so im thinking you could take your butt to 200 and then stick it in the oven a couple hours THEN cooler it to rest for a couple hours.  I would do the opposite of what you are thinking...oven then cooler to rest.  Im no expert though.
  3. krooz

    krooz Smoke Blower

    That's an idea. Yeah, the butt's at 190 right now. I'll go ahead and run it up to 200 then hold in the oven for a few hours (until 1:00 or so) and then cooler for for what looks like will be 4 hours . Sheesh, so hard to time everything just right.

    Main thing is I don't want to dry these suckers out......
  4. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    You can either wrap real tight in 2 layers of foil and you will catch all the drippings, or put it in a foil pan and cover tightly.  You can add the juices back in when you pull it.  Yeah, it is hard to plan on an accurate time...and your right in between times of coolering or just cooling and re heating. 

    Whats the weights of the butts?
  5. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    I don't know the max time, but I have pulled foiled butts from a cooker after 4-5 hours they were still too hot to handle bare handed.  The amount of time would be effected by the quality of the cooler, how tightly you pack them and the temp outside the cooler.

    That extra time in the cooler is magic. If you are using a remote probe therm, you always leave the probe in one when you place them in the cooler.  If the temp drops out of the safe zone before you're ready to pull them, then you could move them to the oven
  6. newbeestl

    newbeestl Fire Starter

    This is excellent information.  There is no "max time" really.  It all comes down to making sure the butts stay in the safe zone.  That will be determined by butt size, butt count, wrap job, cooler quality and external temperature.  Keep a probe in one and keep an eye on it.  I've had a butt in a cooler for over 6 hours, and like olewarthog said, it was still too hot to handle.
  7. krooz

    krooz Smoke Blower

    Great, I like this! We're at 192° right now. Can I go over 200? - say maybe 205?

    I'll cooler in a HOT cooler with towels as normal, set it in the bed of my truck in the sun with the meat thermometer in place. Let it sit tight unless it gets down to what - 165°?

    Thanks a bunch!!
  8. rc1991

    rc1991 Smoke Blower

    When I did a butt a few weeks ago mine took a lot longer than I expected - BUT before that I was thinking what I would do if it got done early and of course thought of the cooler. One other idea that I had was pulling it after resting and putting the meat in a covered slow cooker on warm or low? Haven't tried that yet but it was a thought?
  9. krooz

    krooz Smoke Blower

    Thanks - I did that with my 1st smoke. Butt was done way early and I pulled it, put it in a slow cooker and tried to keep it moist with apple juice for about 3 hours. Edible but seemed dry and lost flavor. I hope not to pull apart until we're ready to gnosh......
  10. rc1991

    rc1991 Smoke Blower

    Thanks - I'm glad you told me that as I haven't yet tried it - I guess I would probably opt for the cooler method.
  11. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    Remember, the butts will continue to cook after pulling from the smoker foiled in a cooler. If you pull them at 200, they will easily reach 205 before they start to drop in temp. I normally pull mine between 195-200 if I will be letting them rest in a cooler for more than an hour or so.
  12. graybeard

    graybeard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    The two magic numbers are (below) 40 degrees and (above) 140 degrees.

  13. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yep as long as you keep them below 40 or above 140 you should be fine in the cooler. They will stay warm for many many hours if you wrap them really good in double foil and put lots of towels in there. If your probe drops below 140 then you better get them in the oven but if you do it right you should be able to keep them warm for 5-6 hours. Warm up your cooler first with warm towels out of the dryer that way it should stay warm longer.
    thunderdome likes this.
  14. thunderdome

    thunderdome Master of the Pit

    Great idea on the warm towels rbranstner
  15. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi Krooz,

    Just caught this thread...

    I have a center-cut brisket and a butt in the dreaded "O"...popped 'em in last-night @ around 8:00 PM with a holding temp of 180*. The brisket was 170* I/T when I pulled it from the smoke, and the butt was only 150* when I pulled it out about 5 or 10 minutes later. Both were in the smoke for 8.5 hours.

    I add about 1 cup of water to each pan before tenting them to let them steam to finish. I have used this method many times in the past when getting the meat to temp was more important than bringing it out on time. I figure if I start much earlier than I need to, I won't have to worry about smoker temp issues, weather, etc, trying to put a damper on my planned meal.

    I normally run the oven @ 200*, but decided I'd try an experiment for today's project and see how things come out. I don't think the meat has to reach the ~200* mark to be pulled...I think it's more about how much time it spends soaking in the thermal energy the slower and longer, the better...I'll post on that later today when I have the results of the experiment.

    Anyway, to hold the meat in foil or a foil-tented pan for steaming with a bit of water is a great way to keep your blood pressure and pulse in the normal range. Start early and let it finish in the "O". I know, there some who are stuck in the mind-set of traditional methods...what starts in the smoker should be finished in the smoker. I say do what ever you like. If it works for you, then go for it. BTW, if you degrease the foil/pan drippings, they make a great finishing sauce.

  16. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm on the rbranstner band wagin on this one. I would try to warm up the cooler and then put your butts in there with as many towels as you can the more the longer the meat should stay in the safe zone. The thermo meter is another good idea too. Don't let the meat go below 140° for any period of time for sure. Now you can take your butts over 200° and it wouldn't hurt them or dry them out I have taken them to 210° bafore a few times.
  17. krooz

    krooz Smoke Blower

    Thanks a lot folks. I opened the cooler and laid down some towels in the bed of the truck - they're all hot now just being in the sun. Butt is holding steady at 195°, smoker is at 225° (I wonder why it's not hotter -usually I have to throttle it with the door to hold it nicely below 250?).

    Anyway, going to finish my Church's chicken sammich and icy cold Bud Light "oil can" -  then cooler the butts. I think I'll be good until 5-ish but will watch the temp. In the mean time I have to make a couple of sauces and slaw and we'll be good to go.....

    I'll post a q-view when I pull the butts off of the smoker....
  18. krooz

    krooz Smoke Blower

    Well, I pulled it off of the smoker - meat temp = 195. Had to remove the thermometer to get the meat off of the rack. Reinserted it and it read 178 - don't believe that's right. Anyway, wrapped in foil in towels in the cooler for 2 hrs now... reading 175°. I believe she'll be fine until 5 or 6 but we'll see.

    Here's one of them before being wrapped.... yum!

  19. krooz

    krooz Smoke Blower

    Well, ended up leaving the butts in the cooler almost 5 hrs - only lost 10 degrees or so during that time period. Piping hot, juicy and delicious! Sorry - no Qview of the pulled platter. Supper was a big hit. Used the leftovers last night to makes carnitas which were great as well. Also, made ABTs mixing minced pork / Mexican cheese blend / Green onion with Chives sour cream and topped with 1/3 slice of bacon. Indirect heat on the grill for 45 minutes and wow!

    Thanks for all the help!!

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