Help with pork butt for 4th of July

Discussion in 'Pork' started by jch11wde, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. jch11wde

    jch11wde Newbie

    Ok, so I have been having trouble with my pork butts lately. Not that they haven't tasted good, they have just been taking longer to cook than expected. I did a test cook this last weekend and it took 24 hours at 225 degrees. I didn't wrap, and I never adjusted the temp. I just wanted to see how long it would take. I don't know the exact size of the butt because I bought a 2-pack last time, but I'm guessing it was around 10lbs. I am doing a big cook at the lake for 4th of July and I'm going to be on a pretty tight deadline and am looking for suggestions. I'm cooking on an MES 40.

    So, for the 4th I'm doing 1 pork butt, 2-3 racks of ribs, 2 turkey breasts, and 2 spatchcocked chickens all on an MES 40. I know having that much on the smoker is going to affect how long everything takes as well, and I am worried about not having the pork butt done in time. I am doing all the cooking on Saturday to be done between 4:00-5:00 Saturday evening. I should get there sometime around 8:00-9:00 Friday night and plan on putting the pork butt on immediately. That gives me 18 hours or so to cook the butt. Normally I wouldn't worry, but it took well over 18 hours on the last one. I don't want to adjust my temp too much, because I don't want it to affect all my other meats.

    Anyone have any suggestions? My thoughts were to cook the butt at around 250 overnight, from say 9:00-9:00. Then, lower the temp to 225 when I start adding my other meats and wrap the butt. I've never heard of anyone starting at a higher temp and then lowering, so I'm not entirely sure this is a viable option. I just don't want a bunch of hungry family members mad at me because my pork butt isn't done in time. Any help is appreciated!
  2. gregor

    gregor Smoke Blower

    Cut the butt in two? I can't do 18 or 20 hr smokes, so I cut the butt into two pieces...
  3. slipaway

    slipaway Meat Mopper

    If I was doing what you have planned I would cook everything at 250.

    I have started a 7 pound boston butt at 8:00 am; put ribs on at 11:00, and eaten at 5:30 - 6:00.

    Don't know about the poultry pieces.

    If butt gets done early it can be wrapped in foil, in a cooler and put aside for several hours. Will still be hot.

    Also, if you need to crank your smoker up to crisp any skin on the birds, you could use this temp. increase to finish off the butt if it has not reached the 205 zone.....

    Just some thoughts.....................
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    All good ideas here. You can save some aggravation and Smoke the Butt days or a week ahead. The meat reheats well even if you freeze it. You can reheat, in an Oven, offset Grill heat or a Crock Pot. Put the thawed Pulled Pork in whatever, add some Finishing Sauce or Apple Juice, cover and heat until 165 or higher. This way the Ribs and Birds, 7 hours or less, are all you need to worry about after a good nights rest...JJ

    Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    Foiling Juice

    For each Rack of Ribs Combine:

    1T Pork Rub, yours

    1/2 Stick Butter

    1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

    1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

    1T Molasses

    Optional: 2T Apple Cider Vinegar. Add 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more of a KC Glaze.

    Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

    Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

    run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

    the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

    in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.

    For a Sweet Finishing Sauce for Pulled Pork:  Make a Double batch, skip the Butter.

    If you plan to Foil the meat, add 1/2 the batch to the Foil Pack or place it in a Pan with your Butt, when the IT hits 165*F.

    Cover the pan with foil and continue to heat to 205*F for pulling.

    At 205* rest or hold the Butt in a cooler wrapped in towels until ready to serve.

    Pull the Pork and place it back in the pan with the pan Juices and any additional reserved Foiling Juice to moisten, the meat should be shiny and juicy but not swimming in sauce. Serve while hot...OR... Bag and refrigerate until needed.

    If you choose to Not Foil or Pan the Butt. Add the Finishing Sauce to the pulled meat before serving. Add the hot Finishing Sauce a little at a time until the Pork is moistened, again the meat should be shiny but not swimming in sauce.

    When re-heating place the Pulled Pork in a Pan or Crock pot and add reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider, as needed to make up the Juice that was absorbed while the pork was refrigerated. Cover and re-heat in a pre-heated 325-350*F oven or on High in the crock pot to 165*F and Serve.

    I was AMAZED...No additional sauce needed. ENJOY...JJ

    Tangy Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    This is more of an Eastern North Carolina style Finishing Sauce...

    2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

    2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

    1/4C Brown Sugar

    1T Smoked Paprika

    2 tsp Granulated Garlic

    2 tsp Granulated Onion

    2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

    1 tsp Celery Salt

    1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Red Pepper Flake. Add more if you like Heat.

    1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice

    Combine all and whisk well. This is a thin sauce, bring just to a simmer and remove from heat. Adjust sweetness by adding Brn Sugar or additional Vinegar as desired...Makes about 2 Cups.

    For a Lexington Style Dip  add, 1/2C Ketchup and 1-3tsp Red Pepper Flakes...JJ
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
  5. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    Oh the butt ahead of time, pull it and in fridge. Easy to reheat and still tastes great.
  6. martyj

    martyj Fire Starter

    It's funny you brought this up. I just ran into this exact situation. I had done a 10 pound butt 2 weeks ago that took 24 hours. It was a boneless butt at 225 smoker temp. I use a 30 inch MBS and I was surprised that it was taking so long. Yesterday, I put a 10 pounder in the smoker at 7:00 AM thinking it would take all day and it was done by 4:30 PM. The difference this time was I cooked at 265 and it had the bone in. I'm thinking that bone in makes it cook a lot faster. It was one of the best butts I've done and I've done atleast a dozen over the last 3 or 4 months
  7. jch11wde

    jch11wde Newbie

    Thanks for all the replies so far. My only issue with cooking ahead is that the lake house is 4 hours away, so I'm transferring all the meat via cooler. I think it will be easier to put the butt in the cooler whole, wrapped in plastic wrap, than it will be to pull it ahead of time and try to fit an aluminum pan in the cooler.

    My thoughts are to cook everything at 250. My only question/concern with that is the ribs. I'm fine with the turkey and chicken at 250 since I'm cooking them to temp. But with the ribs I usually cook 3-2-1 at 225 and they are spot on. If I raise the temp to 250, how should I adjust the time on the ribs? I've seen different approaches for different temps, but I am a little worried about changing since ribs are usually my best cook.
  8. burgerbob

    burgerbob Smoke Blower

    I actually just got done posting about a smoke I did this weekend and abandoned my 3-2-1 method.  I recommend using the bend method for testing to make sure your ribs are done and making sure you spritz them with apple juice or cider every 30-45 minutes to keep them from drying out.  This way you don't have to rely on specific times for your ribs.  - bend test.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    At a steady 250°, 2-2-1 should get you where you want with the ribs. Just an idea, 10 pounds of Pulled Pork takes up 2 one gallon zip top bags 2" thick in the bottom of the cooler and frozen act like Ice Packs...JJ 

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