Hypothetically Speaking ????

Discussion in 'Pork' started by tacman, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. tacman

    tacman Meat Mopper

    Hey guys (and gals) I have a question for you and hope maybe someone with more insight may have an answer.

    Even though I follow and monitor the temp guidlines carefully, everytime I smoke a pork butt, it seems to take around 13 - 14 hours which means I either rise at 4am to start or we eat very late that evening.

    Now I know enviromental factors play into the proccess and living in Alaska, I am dealing with much cooler outdoor temps than most of you and while the results have always been very tasty.... I would like to cut the smoke time down some.

    I am starting with a 6-7 lb Pork Butt and as 1.5 hours per pound, my total smoke time should be in the neighborhood of 9 - 10.5 hours.

    Hypothetically Speaking..... if I were to cut the Pork Butt in half and start with two 3-4 lb pieces of meat, would this reduce my overall smoke time or would it remain the same as the total poundage is still 6-7 lbs?

    Logically, it seems that it should cut the overall time down but I also worry about drying out the meat too much...which could be comensated some by liberal moppings I suppose.

    Your thoughts and insight would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks and have a GREAT Day!
  2. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    I think many people do this, and have great success with it. Either liberal mopping or foiling at 160-170 should keep it moist.
  3. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    I know some folks don't recommend cutting a butt in half. But I've done it more than once, and have had no issues. Before you do that though, I would investigate the temperature at your grate. Do you know what it is? Is there any chance your cooks are taking longer because your grate area tempurature is low?
  4. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm not sure I can honestly say that cutting the butt in two is going to cut down your smoke time that much. I don't have any experience in doing that but I can say that there are a number of other things that can make a difference in your smoke time. I think raising the smoking temp to 245 - 250 makes a big difference... and I think keeping the door closed... lid on makes a big difference. I've actually never mopped a butt and they always turn out nice and juicy. The only time I ever spritz anything is when I have to open the smoker up for something else anyway. I never open just to spritz or mop. I think you are letting more moisture out than you are adding. I'd have to question the cutting the thing in two idea because I've smoked pastrami and corned beef that was half the size of a butt and they take almost as long to get to 200 as the butts do. I think it's just the nature of the beast.
  5. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would say if you seared it on a hot grill on all sides would help also. Thats what I usually do if I don't forget.
  6. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    I've experienced the same thing, with grate temps consistently in the 225 region. A butt just takes a loooong time.
  7. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Guest

    Yes it can be done. Do I do it No. It takes such a long time to cook because of the massive size of the meat and the amount of connective tissues that need to break down to make it juicy and tender.
  8. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    You can cut the time by cutting the butt in half the smoking time is per piece not total weight. Another thing you can try is to kick your smoker temp up to 250 degrees you will still get good smoke and it will speed things up. Some members have said they go to 275 but I personally have never tried it.
  9. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I am not sure what smoker you have, but I have done 8 1/2 lb butts in 8 to 9 hours. I smoke at 250º. Not sure if you use a water pan, but try playbox sand instead, it will give you higher and more constant heat. Also, upon wrapping the butt at say 170º, do not be afraid to up the temp of the smoker. I have gone as high as 325º at this point and it does no damage to the pork what so ever. But, you WILL get done sooner.
  10. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Yes! Cut it in half, and the smoke time will go down by about 3 hours. I do it all the time. Plus - it increases the surface area that is directly hit by the heat so you get a lot more bark.

    As pointed out already I think, as long as you still foil @ 160 - 165, then you won't be able to taste any difference when cutting these in half to smoke them.

    Once again, already pointed out - but I always do my pulled pork at 245 - 265 average temps...and it's still very juicy!
  11. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    Of note on this point: If you have a water pan, as long as that pan is anywhere near the firebox and has water in it your smoke chamber temps will not be able to get much higher than 212!

    A sand pan does not have this problem.
  12. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree on the temp.250 is my target for butt and if it goes to 260 not worried.

    I also cut them 3/4 inch thick alot and make pork butt steaks.Rub and smoke like a butt.

    I know of folks on comp tour who swear by 300 degrees-sort of like high heat briskets.
  13. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Don't know about sand in the water pan, but I have to disagree with the 212* Before I got used to my Brinkman Gourmet, I had problems getting it lower than 300 + degress with a full water pan. Must depend on the smoker.
  14. hoser

    hoser Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I have to disagree about the 212 as well....my Gosm will go just about as hot as I want it with a full water pan.

    No problem at all getting to 250...heck, the thing is only on medium heat for 250. I guess a lot depends on your particular smoker.
  15. tacman

    tacman Meat Mopper

    Thanks for all the input guys..... Internal temp is not an issue even with a full water pan, I can consistently hit 250+ on just the medium setting.

    I have been targeting 220 - 240 as the ideal temp and will try kicking the heat up around 250-260 on my next smoke and see if this cuts down on the overall time and (based upon the results) then decide if I want to try cutting one in half and smoking the two halves....
  16. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The two pieces will be no less juicy that if you left them larger. No need to do extra mops. In my experience they do finish a lot faster. I do leave myself at least 4 hours leeway because I have encountered the stall from hell more than once.

    Some butts are friendly and cook to the formula of 1.5 hrs per pound and others are just plain stubborn mean. Sorry It had to be said. [​IMG]
  17. bbq engineer

    bbq engineer Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can cut it in half or even thirds...IMHO it is just as delicioius, moist, and has way more bark as there is way more surface area. It takes way less time too!

    If you have ever smoked country style pork ribs, it is nothing more than the pork butt cut into 1 1/2 - 2 inch slices, and they get done really quick compared to a whole butt. Same principle here, increased surface area, faster cook time. And, it makes a great presentation as there is more pink purple smoke ring and bark once you pull it!

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