How long can the plateau last?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by walt408, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. I am smoking a 10 pound pork butt (picnic end) on my WSM; started at 7:30am. My good thermometer quit working just as I was getting started, so I'm using the built-in lid thermometer and a meat thermometer in the butt.

    The temp at the lid has been holding 220 - 245 (I'm new at this). The butt hit a plateau of 180 degrees at 4:00pm, and was still 180 at 7:30pm; 3 1/2 hours. Is this normal? Is something wrong? I have checked the temp with an instant read thermometer and they agreed.

    Please help. The butt is still on the smoker.
  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ok if you checked the butt with an instant read that is good so at lest you know the temp of your butt is correct. Do  you have any other thermometers that you can use to double check the temp of the smoker? If you are using the built in thermometer on the smoker they are notorious for being off so you may not be smoking at 220-245 like you think. They can stall for a long time you just never know. Is the butt in foil at all? If you are looking to get it done you can foil it up now that should speed things along. But knowing the internal smoker temp would be nice.
  3. garyt

    garyt Smoking Fanatic

    I have never done a butt over 8 lbs, a 10 pounder could take maybe 16 hours extreme time, did you foil . I would finish in he oven if I needed rest. never trust the thermometer that came with your grill unless you tested it
  4. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Another thing from my experience I usually run into the stall around 160 give or take that is why I am wondering if you smoker isn't running more like 200 or so instead of 225-245. It could be a really bad stall but you won't know for sure unless you can get a reading on your smoker. Another thing you can do is throw it into the oven to finish it off if you can't get a reading on the smoker.
  5. I do not (currently) have another thermometer to check the smoker temp. In the past I have checked the build-in thermometer; it was within 5 degrees of the cooking grate.

    I did not foil this time. Previous smokes I foiled the meat and I thought the bark was soggy. I wanted to try it unfoiled. This is an experiment.
  6. nozzleman

    nozzleman Smoking Fanatic

    An old way of checking things out if you don't have a thermometer for smoker is to lay your hand on the side . If temps are about right you won't be able to keep your hand on their but a couple seconds and it wont burn you. Primitive but effective.
  7. OK. Within 30 minutes of my original post, as I was about to move the butt from the smoker to the oven, the temps began to rise.  By 9:00pm the butt was 192 degrees. I feel much better (and I like completing the job on the smoker). I'll take it off 200-205.

    The plateau lasted a little over 4 hours! Thanks for all your advice.

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