How long to smoke a Boston Butt?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by wbrian, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. wbrian

    wbrian Smoke Blower

    Hi All,

    I picked up a 10.6 LB butt the other day and I'm looking to smoke it on Friday. Going to be for slicing.  Any idea how long it should take to smoke?  Not sure when to put it on.  I'm using a Brinkman vertical square smoker (charcoal), if that matters.


    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011
  2. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Brian, the rule of thumb is 11/2 hours per pound BUT DON"T go by that! Always go by internal temps!!!!  Prep that butt however you want , then put her on the smoker till about 165 & then foil. Finish going to 190-195 if your slicing, AFTER resting & you'll be in heaven!!

    Don't forget the qview there too!!
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  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    What Realtorterry said. You won't go wrong with that advice. Just give yourself a couple of hours extra in case it stalls. If it gets done early you can wrap it in towels & put it in a dry cooler. It will stay hot for hours. 
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Yepper it looks like Terry set you in the right direction. Now when it comes out of the smoker you have to let it rest for about 15 minutes on the counter. Then go get the cooler for the rest or the resting. That way you have a perfect time to grab the camera and snap a couple shots for your new buddies @SMF. I really think that should be in the instruction that everyone give to newbies.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011
  6. wbrian

    wbrian Smoke Blower

    So I can plan on about 15 hours give or take a bit.  Thanks! I'm (assuming 220 temp??)  I always use an internal thermometer as I'm too new/dopey to guess it right!

    One more question; Should it sit directly on my smoker's rack, or should it be in a foil pan?


    Can't wait!!

  7. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    15 hours should be a close guesstimate.  That size for me usually is around 13 hours.  You can run your smoker from 220-240 butts a pretty forgiving.  I'd put it right on the rack.  But it won't hurt if you put it in a pan. 

    One other note for food safety--don't put your probe in the meat at the start of the smoke.  Wait a few hours until the surface of the meat gets hot.  This way you're not pushing any nasties down into the meat when the probe gets inserted.  And remember to keep the probe away from the bone.  Good luck!

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011
  8. wbrian

    wbrian Smoke Blower

    excellent tips!  Thanks!!
  9. Brian thats a big un. You have gotten some good advice already but I've got to stick my nose in here. I don't know what your plans are but since I've made this mistake let me tell you something. DONT expect it to be ready by dinner time. Starting out when I didn't know any better I invited people over and the food wasn't ready. Stalls suck and can last a good 2 hours. Now I start way early and allow myself ample time.
  10. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    First thing is don't go by factory therms, toss them. Second, get some quality therms, calibrate them and go by temp not time. I've had a 6 pounder take longer than a 10 pounder. Just the nature of the beast sometimes. For a good well done but not pulled butt I'd yank at 180 and foil for a few hours in the cooler.
  11. hmcm

    hmcm Smoke Blower

    Hi all,

    Another newbie here. A few of you made mention of "Stalling". What is meant by stalling?

  12. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ok so no one so far has mentioned the rest time yet.  Dude suggested 13 hours and that is what I have averaged too. I also had one stall for 3 hours at 155 so you have to figure that into the time too. Also, you want to give yourself a couple of hours of rest time. The process is to wrap the butt in foil and then wrap the butt in towels and stick it into an empty cooler for a couple of hours for the juices to redistribute . I have left them sit as long as 6 hours and the temp was still at 180 when I took it out so you need to factor that time into the smoke as well.

    Good luck  
  13. xjcamaro

    xjcamaro Meat Mopper

    Stalling is refering to the portion of the cooking process of a butt/shoulder where the climbing of internal temps of the meat stop, or "stall". There is nothing wrong when this happens. It is the breaking down of the meat inside which doesnt allow it to take on more heat. If you run into this, dont push the temps, leave it alone, it will passs.

    And like they said above, a "stall" could last in upwards of 2 hours. On the last 3 butts ive done, each being in the 4 lb range, they never stalled.
  14. wbrian

    wbrian Smoke Blower

    Well, had a little trouble keeping my temps up after adding lump and hickory at around 6 this AM.   Eventually got it back up after using a full starter or lump.  I ended up moving it to the oven at around 1:30 this afternoon.  It's been in there at 250 and just got foiled at 160.  I have it back in the oven until 170 (foiled and with some apple juice in it), then it's into the cooler for a couple hours...

    Can't wait.  I'll start a thread with some QVIEW later...


  15. 170 is a little low Brian, you need to take it to 190 or 200 depending on if you want to serve it sliced or pulled.
  16. varginaman

    varginaman Newbie

    Put it on the grill with smoke for 2 hours. Then put it in a pressure cooker for 1 hour. you'll be eating faster with no difference in taste. Trust me
  17. backwoods bbq

    backwoods bbq Meat Mopper

    Go 275. The fattier my butt te hotter I go, It's not unusual for me to go 300. You can always wrap in foil when you hit desired color, juiciness I will also go 275 on ribs which is why my last ribs went (8th place out of 105)
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    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
  19. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Another age old question that gets kicked around here often. Some say smoke till you take meat off....some say only a few hours etc. Wood burners have no choice but to smoke the whole length of the process while others will use an AMPS or tube set-up to get 8 + hours of TBS. Some prefer a lighter smoke taste others are smoke hounds who can't get enough. Not much help, I But, I personally go for longer smoke on butts and turkeys.....not as much on salmon or chicken, depending on which wood. Lately, I've been fond of cherry chunks which gives a great color and a taste I'm liking. But, that's me....That's a lot of meat so I'm thinking fairly heavy smoke with a good finishing sauce at the end.....Willie

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