holding pork butt in oven vs cooler

Discussion in 'Pork' started by manman, Jul 12, 2014.

  1. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Hi all,

    I've done holding the butts foiled in a cooler w/ towels before- mostly because in the past when I've done it we've been serving somewhere other than our home.  If I'm at home and can use the oven, can someone tell me what the usual process is (foil? oven temp, etc), and now long I can hold it while keeping the ideal moisture and not drying it out.

  2. talan64

    talan64 Meat Mopper

    I use the oven all the time.  I do not turn the oven on though.  I use it, just like one would use a cooler to hold the butts.  When they are at temp, I put them in a foil pan, and cover with more foil.  I move the oven rack to the lowest slot, and set a towel on it. Set the foil pan on the towel and put a towel or two over the top.  Works just like having it in a cooler.  I'm not sure how well this would work with a gas oven, if it has a pilot flame burning, but in my electric oven it works just fine.  I have let it rest int he oven that way for up to 4 hrs, and still had the meat sitting around 160 - 170 deg, when I pull it and pull it.
  3. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

  4. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    More specifically this is the whole process. click on this link here http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/140055/boston-butt-pulled-pork-step-by-step  You don't technically have to foil at all if you like the bark on the outside of the meat like I do. Also on a side note I have put it in the crockpot on low to rest with some apple juice and or rum/finishing sauce and that works too. In the summer I don't like to use my oven unless I have to here.
  5. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the info, very helpful.  I am definitely a fan of darker,  harder bark, I was just worried about the meat drying out.
  6. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    A large Butt like that will not dry out as long as you don't take it past 205 internal temp. You want to smoke around 225-250. There is a lot of moisture in a big pork leg. Hope it all turns out for you. Just remember [​IMG]
  7. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Thanks.  It's still on the smoker right now.  It's strange, the temp was around 203 in one spot, so I checked a couple of other spots and it was still in the 190's and I let it sit and put the probe in a new spot.  The new spot was around 199, and shotly came up to 203 about an hour or so ago, and then quickly dropped to 199, and has been holding there for for a while now.  I probed again as I was worried my maverick might be messing up on me but that seems to be consistent he other spots I checked (with thermapen, not mav), but I also have some spots around the edges getting closer to 205.    Is it pretty normal for the temp to go up and then drop like that?  I think I remember reading it happens as the fat is rendering, but not sure.  It's coming up on about 16 hours now, for 2 roughly 8lb butts.

    People new to smoking always seem toworry about the usual stalls around 180, but my stalls and freak outs always come at the very end in the high 190's/low 200 range...
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
  8. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Just realized one thing I did differently around the temp drop... I partially refilled the wsm pan with some water.  The grate temp has still been at a steady 220-240 though, so I'd still expect it to cook at the same rate, but I don't know if that makes a difference.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you have a quality Oven that will hold an accurate temp. You can wrap in Butcher Paper and hold as long as you wish at 150°F...JJ
  10. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the help everyone.

    Well, these weren't the best butts I've ever done, but not bad.   On top of everything, the food temp  probe of the maverick started having issues, but the thermapen was still showing high 190's when I finally pulled them off.  I tried putting them in the oven for a little while, but since we had company over I didn't hold them too long (originally I thought I might need to hold them for a while because I thought they'd be done early when I saw those first 200+ readings.

    These seriously spent 5+ hours in the 190's and barely budged.  I checked and they were actually closer to 9 lbs each, so 18 hours isn't that unreasonable, but I still think I was doing something wrong...  The butts were definitely not as juicy as others I've done, and dried out more after pulled.  Flavor was good though.  I don't know if I really kept them in too long, or I was just too impatient and should have left them longer.

    It did happen though.  So- pics! [​IMG]

  11. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice looking meat!  [​IMG]
  12. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I use the oven to my advantage a lot more then I really want too, but it allows me to sleep and sleep is good for me and those around me.

    This is what works for me when I have to serve for lunch. I will do the same thing for dinner but adjust my cook start time as needed. I usually give myself an extra 2-3 hours if serving the same day. Had a couple close calls and hate to make people wait.

    I will smoke the butts to an IT of 160 usually, then place in a pan with some beer and apple juice concentrate. Wrap with plastic wrap then foil, no the plastic will not melt. I will then have my oven at 190 and place the wrapped pan into the oven. Usually around midnight, then when i get up at 6am I will check to see how close I am to the tenderness I want. Then adjust the oven temperature accordingly. If it needs more I will turn it up to 225 and if done I will turn it down to the lowest setting above 145 (mine only goes to 170). If the pork is done I will remove a bunch of the liquid and use this as my base for the finishing sauce after skimming most of the fat off. Just before service I will pull the pork with my hands, if it is too hot to the touch I will use cloth gloves and put rubber gloves over them. Your goal is to keep the product over 140 as much as possible.

    Hope this helps. I know your cook is done, but maybe for the next one.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014
  13. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Butts are done when an inserted probe slides in with no resistance and/or the bone pulls out cleanly, regardless what temp your meat thermometer says. Butts are done at a range of temps, usually stated as 195°-205°, so I believe that you left them too long, perhaps as much as 5 hours too long. That's why the were dry.
  14. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    Yeah, maybe I was relying on my temperature tools too much... But I actually was noting the resistance when I used the thermapen, and it wasn't sliding in totally smooth, I could feel some resistance, so that was another reason I kept going thinking I was just being impatient.

    These were boneless and tied (but not too tight).  I feel like they got overdone in some areas, and not fully done in others.    I always get my butts from costco in the 2 pack- maybe next time I see something like this I should experiment by pulling one off earlier and leaving the other.  Still have a lot to learn I guess :)
  15. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Just looking at the picture it looks like you might have flared up toward the end. The char looks a little burnt. But of course I wasn't there.If that was the case it might explain the dryness.
  16. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Were you able to wrap with liquid and rest for an hour? If not that could be a reason for dryness too. Also all butts are not created equal some have more fat content than others for sure. I tend to leave some of the skin on if it is a picnic and score it both ways. If you skinned them you might have removed more fat than you needed to. Just some ideas. I have had a few dry butts and that is when I started using finishing sauces such as JJ's and Soflaquers concoctions. Now I can not live without them. haha...
  17. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just an FYI, but if you added cold water to your water pan, that would have dropped your chamber temp for quite some time as the water heated up.
  18. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    In a folded moving blanket....!
  19. manman

    manman Smoke Blower

    It was cold water, but I was able to get the temp back up and stabilized fairly quickly so I don't think that was it.  I was more worreid about there being some reason that might take moisture out of the meat, but coudln't think of any reason why it would (if anything I would expect the opposite).

    I have a feeling cliffcarter and timberjet probably have it.  Maybe the variation I saw was just in these particular buts- potentially leaner than some of my better ones, and I also did probably take off more fat then I have in the past.  Also, if some butts really just are ready around the high 190's, that could have been it.  I know I've had a few other cooks like that where it seemed to be staying in the high 190's for a long time, and when I finally pulled them they were drier than I would have liked.   But then again it's also just possible I was being impatient.  One of the better ones I did was like that at first, but they had to be done at a certain time, so I brought the heat up from the 225 range to 250-260 at the very end, and they did get to 205.  Then I foiled then and put them in the cooler with towels, and when we got to the park they were SO juicy and just falling apart.   Just gotta keep working on it.  The only way to get better at something is to keep doing it, and that's something I can live with when it comes to BBQ  [​IMG]

    I can't complain too much, it wasn't bad at all, just not as juicy as my better attempts.  I reheated some the next day with a little bit of apple juice in the pan, and it was delicious!  
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014

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