Maple Syrup and Sesame Oil rubbed butt - Q-View

Discussion in 'Pork' started by teleburst, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    6.78 lb butt at $1.79 per lb. at Harris Teeter (if you can believe that!)

    Nicely marbled, this is what it looks like top and bottom:(ed. note - see pic in next post)

    Opened right out of a 37 degree refrigerator and rubbed first with light colored sesame oil (room temp) and then fresh maple syrup out of the same 'fridge. Rubbed with my handmade rub.

    My fire was ready at 5:45 and I put them in the Weber. Immediately put the butt on and added some dry chips (hickory, a bit less mesquite and my "mystery chips" (that I found after the city did some serious pruning) on top of the coals. Put the top on and walked away.

    Found my therm. and hung it in the vent. Came back 5 minutes later and it was reading 350. Checked the temp at 6:10. Rock steady at 350. Removed the top and put a foil packet of dry mixed chips on the coals. Walked away. Checked back at 6:45 and the temp was steady at 350. Still getting a nice stream of smoke through the vents. 7pm and temp is now 340. Depending on low long it takes to drop, I'll probably build another small fire around 180 (I'm going to try to keep the next stage at 300 or less). If it drops quickly, I'll build it sooner rather than later.

    I reserved the blood, juice and rub and added an "ice cube" of my BBQ cooking reduction (talked about it in my beef rib thread from earlier today). Added a healthy amount of apple juice and it's all marinating in the fridge. I'll toss in a little bit more of my rub in a few. I plan to mop this later when the bark starts to set up (I'd spritz it but my spritzer got too close to my oven burner and it started to melt - kids, remember - a stovetop gets hot - keep all plastics away!). I'd go to the store for another but I've had a couple of drinks - remember kids - don't drink and drive!

    Here are the goals this time around. I'm looking for a lighter colored bark than I usually shoot for. This is also the first chance I've had with a thermometer for a long smoke so I'm keeping pretty close track of my temps. I'm also trying to keep the lid on until I absolutely have to build another fire. Trying to get an idea what's really going on in there. Also, I'm trying to use the smallest fire I can manage. I'm really trying to fine tune the whole thing. This time I used about 3/4 of a chimney and I did 1/3 briquettes on the bottom, 1/3 lump in the middle and topped it off with 1/3 briquettes. I put them in the fire as soon as the top briquettes had some ash on the corners, but they were still fairly unburned. I figure that they would end up on the bottom when I dumped the coals. I was right.

    Well, my pics are taking forever to load on my photo site so I'm going to post them in order in the next post. Today it's been like pulling teeth because I use my ATT phone as my desktop modem and for some reason, the 3G networks been down and I've had to use EDGE. It's worse than dialup!
  2. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    7:20 and temp is still 340 but I don't see a lot of smoke so I've added some fresh chips on top of the coals and have a nice smoke working again. Kept the lid off for about 30 seconds. After a couple of minutes, the temp is around 330.

    And here are the pics:







    And now, going to kick back until about 8pm and see where the temp is. By the way, a pretty nice bark was starting to form. I'll take a pic when I have to build another fire.

    Oh yeah, in case it wasn't obvious, fat cap down.
  3. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks good, but somehow I was of the assumption that low and slow was the way to smoke a butt. Sounds like you're roasting one?
  4. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    Well, we'll see what we end up with in the end, won't we?

    My method is really a cross between the two. The low and slow part comes in the last half. Here's the way I look at it. 350 sounds like a high temp, but it's not really a roasting temp. Roasting usually happens at 400 - 500 degrees. And, when you factor that I've put on a cold butt instead of one at room temp as many people like to do, 350 isn't the same as 350 for a room temp butt, right? That's a big ole hunk of meat that can take the high temps for the first few hours. So, this could very well be more like a relative temp of 275 or lower (just a guess).

    That's part of trying to refine this process - when you're using a Weber kettle, even a fairly decent sized one like a 22 incher, trying to keep a temp at 225 - 250 is problematic. You see the size of the bed of coals that I'm using (a pretty small one) and the temps are still pretty high. You'd constantly have to be lifting the top or tweaking the fire which means lifting the top. I'm trying to average out the temps over time. At first, I don't think it's all that critical. My plan is to build another smaller fire around 9pm or so and just let it go for a while, letting the temp taper off toward the end of another 3 hour period and see where I am. That will put me close to 7 hours and the last bit of the cooking will almost be like the resting period, only instead of putting it in a cooler, I'll be leaving in the closed kettle.

    As i said, we'll see what happens and how long it takes to get there. Since it's 8pm, I'll check the temp. Temp is now 320 after only about 2 hours and 15 minutes. At 9pm, I'll take the temp of the butt itself. I'm guessing that it will be somewhere around 140 - 150.
  5. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    At 8:10, I cracked the top and added more chips (a small handful of mix).

    I decided to break down at 8:20 and take a meat temp. The air temp was at 300. Meat temp was 130. As you can see, it's not like it's overcooking or anything. At this time, I added more chips.

    Here's a pic I took (top was off for about 2 minutes):


    As you can see, I'm probably still going to end up with my dark bark, so that may be something that it is impossible to avoid at the higher temps, especially if using a sugar base such as maple sugar or palm sugar as a slather. Since I love the charred bark, it's not as big of deal for me, as long as I can avoid creosote. At 8:30, the temp is now about 270. At this point, I expect the temp to fall fairly rapidly. That's why I want to wait until it hits around 180 or so before I rebuild the fire. I should get a temp range of between 180 and 270 over the next hour and a half. At that point, I might be ready for foiling. I'll let the butt tell me.

    Think I'll hit it with some of my reserved juice now.

    Oh yeah, back on 3G again. Nice to see the pic pop right up!
  6. bobbyh

    bobbyh Fire Starter

    very nice quality photos.
  7. sumosmoke

    sumosmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The rub with sesame oil sounds really intriguing to me, something I may have to try to give the next butt a different taste. The pics look really good so far, am anxious to see how good that thing is once it's pulled! Nice job so far!
  8. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    Yes, it could be a Frankenstein of butts.

    So far, I've found that by using this method, you shave an hour or more off of the cooking time. And you still end up with a great pull. Now I know that for many, reducing the cooking time isn't important - in fact, it's almost a heresy. Several things here though - first of all, it's nice to have a shorter time frame to cook if you need it, but only if the end result is acceptable. Second, I'm working within the limitations of my cooking gear. I probably could have kept the temp 25 degrees lower if I had used a foil pan full of water under the butt, but I wanted to see if my theory about the higher initial temp not being detremental to the final product holds true and I wanted to test it under a "worst case scenario".

    I know that this sort of flies in the face of conventional wisdom (something that I don't mind doing, as is obvious to peeps that have read about my previous efforts). However, as my sainted mother used to say, "There's more than one way to skin a cat". Obviously, there are limits to this. But I could think of people, cooks in the slow cooking movement (yes, there IS such a thing), that would say that to get the absolute best result, you'd have to cook this thing at 180 degrees for 24 hours. Yes, they might be right. It might even be better than our conventional 10-12 hour cook. The question is, is the result of cooking shorter significantly worse than the alternative. My first butt (which cooked shorter than conventional wisdom would allow) proved to be all of the things that one would expect from a butt cooked at a constant 225 temp (at least to me).

    To BobbyH, thanks! It's a vast improvement over my previous cell phone shots, that's for sure. I"m glad I've got my regular camera back in biz.

    Hey, it's 9:10. Let's do a temp check. 245. Now we're starting to get into "conventional" range. BTW, when I mopped at the time of my last post, I rotated the butt 180 degrees but kept the top side up and the fat side down. Forgot to mention that.

    If this turns out the way I expect it to, I hope to see some independent testing from some of you folks with a Weber kettle.
  9. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    At 4 hours, the temp is now 210. I need to get some more smoke back up, so I'm going to throw more chips on the fire and mop again. When the chips ignite, it will drive the temps up a little. guess I'll check meat temp while I'm at it and take a pic. Be back in a few with a pic and an update...
  10. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    Started a new small fire at 10:25 and foiled at 150 internal temp. Took a couple of pics as well.

    I posted an update at Solar's thread but forgot that I had copied it and used copy in the interim. So it's all there if you folks want to read it :g:

    I added the rest of my reserved marinade and an "ice cube" of my reduction and I foiled it. It's now 10:45 and checking the air temp, it's sitting at about 255. I figure it will hold that temp for an hour or so. I might check the meat temp at around 11:30 and see where I'm at. I had to leave the top off for about 5 minutes while I added the new coals and foiled the butt. So I really don't want to check it right now. I want to give it some even temps for a while. BTW, I left the foil a little open because I've got some smoke working. Last time I checked, the temp was 150. We'll see where we are at 11:30.

    Here are the pics, although the foiled shot is out of focus. I apologize but it was pitch black right there and the camera had a little trouble focusing.


  11. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    11:30. Air temp is at 250. At 5hr. 45 min, we're at a meat temp of 150. So we're sittin' at the plateau. Looks like we're still about an hour ahead of schedule.

    Time to add some more wood chips to get a little flame going and button up the ole kettle for a while.
  12. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    12:15. Air temp around 225. Just took a butt temp (as opposed to an oral temp!). It was 155, so I"m off the plateau for the moment.

    Here's the potential problem. Since my fire is at a lower ebb at this point, I expect the temp to drop fairly quickly. I don't really want to kick it up too much, so I'm hoping that the temp will hold for another hour. Right now, I'm at 6 hrs and 40 minutes (I think I told Solar I was at over 7 hours which was wrong - damn brandy!).

    I think I"ll check it again at 1:15 and see where we're at. I'll look at the air temp and the meat temp and decide what to do at that point. 1:45 will put me at 8 hours for this 6.7 lb. butt. We're pretty much on schedule...but one never's my guess...let's see how close I am...butt temp will be at 180, plus or minus 3 degrees at 1:45.

    I always say, "Let the butt do the talking. But give the air its say as well"!.
  13. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    12:47 - air temp's at 190.

    Might have to stoke a fire pretty soon. Guess it will depend on where the butt's at at 1:15. I'm hoping that the temp holds to 185 by then.

    Fire's really starting to flag (as am I!) Time to light another cigar...have another sip of brandy...stay strong and not lift the lid to take a temp. Let the ambient temp work as much as it's the low 'n slow part of the equation...
  14. bobbyh

    bobbyh Fire Starter

    Harris Teeter huh? I know them. Where are you located?
  15. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    Nashville. Normally, the only place more expensive is Wild Oats, where you have to take out a second mortgage to shop there. However, Kroger is running their Boston butt at $2.79. Strange. I guess they're hoping for a good run up to Labor Day. Maybe the normal Harris Teeter shopper has their butler smoke for them and the help is off on vacation right now.
  16. bobbyh

    bobbyh Fire Starter

    haha. I have an old buddy that is some kind of regional mgr big wig with HT. I paid 2.59/lb for my but at Kroger here. We have a place called the Fresh Market that is kind of an 'elite' type grocery store. The cool thing is that they have a lot of hard to find things like wine and nice cheeses and such but damn some of it is freakin pricey.

    So are you a Vol or a Commie? :)
  17. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    Neutral. But look where it got that OTHER Georgia.

    OK, update. At 1:15, both the air and butt temp had dropped. Started another batch of hot coals and wood chips. Air temp was 170. That won't get us anywhere. The butt was hanging around at 155. I added the coals and the temp should be back above 250 pretty soon.

    This is the hardest part of using the Weber. Once the fire starts to die, it's hard to keep it at a reasonable temp. Now I've got to jump up the temp a bit. Still, I'm at 6 hrs. 45 minutes. Not bad for a 6.7 lb. butt.

    I'm cranking the Elvis Costello right now. It's keeping me from nodding off...but that's what you get when you start a butt at 5:45pm, eh?
  18. bobbyh

    bobbyh Fire Starter

    Yeah, that other GA is havin' a tough time at the moment. Weak defense and all...

    The work you are having to deal with on the fire is the reason I like gas so far. Maybe I'm just scared or something but it seems like working with lump would be a lot more work for the return. I'm sure I'll try it eventually anyways.
  19. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    Yeah, know what you mean. I could actually just put it in my Brinkmann electric and set it and forget it, but I never seem to get around to it. I'm still ahead of the game at this point, and, had I started it at, say, 7am, I'd be pulling pork no later than 4 pm. I'm anticipating about a 9 hour smoke. I could finish it up in the oven, but I'm going to be stubborn tonight. It's 1:55 and I just checked the air temp - it's back up to 340. I could crack the lid for a while, but let's see what happens. BTW, I predicted a while back that at 1:45, the butt will be at around 180. That was before I saw how much the air temp would drop, but I'm going to go ahead and take a temp and see how close I was (especially since opening the lid for a a minute is only going to help keep the high temps at bay). Be right back...

    ...still at 155. So I was a leetle off :g: OK, time to take a 45 minute chill pill and see where we end up. 2:45 puts us at the 9 hour mark. With the new fire, I should still have close to 250 by then.
  20. bbqgoddess

    bbqgoddess Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hang in there! I think you hit your plat at 155....and you are in a stall...hold steady...

    you all paid what for your butts....I got mine at $1.86/lb....
    I went to a "carniceria" for mine....

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