Pork Butt issue first time attempt

Discussion in 'Pork' started by rob897, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. rob897

    rob897 Newbie

    I bought an 8lb Pork Butt.

    Marinated it overnight as suggested.

    4:30am placed on smoker which was set at 220-230.

    Around 3pm it was still stuck at 150 so as some said to wrap it in foil and it took off quick after that.

    At 4:30pm the internal temp hit 190, so I pulled it and placed into a cooler wrapped in blankets for an hour.

    Much to my disappointment it was super tough, my shredding claws struggled to get any meat off.

    I ended up cutting it all up with a knife. It still tasted REALLY good just wasn't pulling like I was expecting it too..

    I used a Masterbuilt smoker which uses propane and I also use wood chips.

    Granted now I read people seem to be waiting to pull the meat off at 200.

    Just really wanted this to turn out better, so just looking for some suggestions on how I can do this again and have better results.

    Had no issues doing a brisket last year :)

  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Don't be afraid to run your smoker around 250*-265* when smoking a shoulder. I don't foil mine, because I really like the bark chunks mixed in with the pulled meat. You really need to take it to 205* before you take it out. Another thing that I do is to put the fat side up so that it self bastes. For an 8# butt don't be surprised if it takes 16-20+ hours. My last two took right at 20 hours. The time frame for me is never an issue as I always serve my pulled pork the day after anyways. If you do serve the same day, plan on a good buffer, the meat can hold for quite a while.
  3. rob897

    rob897 Newbie

    Ok thanks, I will try letting it run overnight.

    And I do leave the fat cap up :)
  4. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Take it to 205 before pulling and you will love how it turns out .
    This is how I do mine most of the time.
    Smoke it in a pan , fat cap down.
    In the pan makes easy clean up in the smoker, also will catch all the juice from the butt.
    After its done, defat the juice and pour the juice back over the pulled pork.
    The juice makes good pulled pork into AWESOME pulled pork .
    Smoker temp will depend how much time I have to smoke.
    225 + if in no hurry, I have smoke them all the way up to 350.
    Just at higher temp you don't want rub with sugar in it. It will burn.
    Found that out the hard way.
  5. michief

    michief Smoke Blower

    I go to 205 and have had great results smoking at 220 and at 275. Don't get discouraged, like anything worthwhile, it takes a bit of trial and error to find what works for you. Once you do the payoff is the ability to awe and amaze your friends :)
  6. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Another tip too...make sure you are using a good thermometer to make sure your internal temps are actually what they say they are. 

    That way you know you are actually getting the meats to the desired temps.

  7. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Just my humble opinion, you went from 150 to 190 IT in an hour and a half....seems like you were getting a bad IT reading and pulled the meat off way to early.  This would explain the toughness and need to slice rather than pull. 

    I'm with Kathryn, check your meat thermometer or more than likely, when you got the 190 reading, you were hitting the blade bone and got an off reading.
  8. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    I can't really add any advice that hasn't already been stated, (and great advice):
    • I cook a butt @ 250*, sometimes 275*.
    • Take it all the way to an IT of 200-205*.
    • I always smoke with fat cap up - it will allow the fat to baste the meat.
    • Foil will help push it through the stall faster, but no foil produces nice bark.
    • You need a reliable, accurate meat thermo.  Have you done a boil test to check for accuracy?
    If you try these things, be sure to let us know how the next one goes...and Good Luck!

  9. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ditto on the 205°. I  try to rest for a minimum of 1 hour, 2 if I got time, once you are ready to pull/shred tent the foil slightly for another half hour.

    I run my Butts and Picnics 250° - 275°, unless I got something else on the pit.

    However I am a bit miffed that the pork rested for an hour at 190° and it was still hard to shred, that is Odd, I would definitely test your thermos as seenred suggests.
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You have good advice already but let me add some Science...ALL THE MAGIC happens above 180*F...That Butt of yours only spent about 30 minutes going from 180 to 190*F, this is why it was only sliceable....The Collagen in the connective tissue doesn't convert to Gelatin very well below 180*F so the time it takes to raise the IT from 180 to 200-205*F is when the bulk of the Tenderizing...HAPPENS. But the REST can be all the difference between Good and GREAT Pulled Pork. At least 1 hour wrapped with Towels and insulated, whether that be in a cooler, the Microwave Oven or even in a Cold Oven. The Rest holds the IT above 180*F for the extra time needed to complete the Collagen Breakdown. Whatever time I figure the Butt will take I always add 2 hours to CYA/Rest...The only time I have had tough Butts is when " I " screwed up by starting late getting it on and HAD to eat it that night as there was no backup plan...[​IMG]...JJ
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
    sound1 likes this.
  11. sound1

    sound1 Smoking Fanatic

    Nicely said JJ,  I think we have all tried the hurry up thing and have been sorry for it.  
  12. I use 2 factors in deciding when to pull a butt. 1 is the temp on my digital thermometer, but I also go by the resistance the probe gets when entering the meat. For pulled pork you want to feel almost no resistance. There have been several times the temp said the butt was done but it didn't pass the resistance test and I left it on. Every piece of meat is different, you also must factor in some of the reasons JJ gave.
  13. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Don't forget the bone pull method, it's more than fairly reliable   :)
  14. pdx210

    pdx210 Fire Starter

    I have always cooked for 15- 20 hours or so until the bone is loose,  it needs time to break down the connective tissue , time is key NOT temp.

    It usually goes something like this;  3-5 pm on the yoder to smoke until 8-11 pm pull and put in the oven at 200 until morning and when the bone is loose 

    pull from oven (don't pull bone yet!)  and tent with foil to cool for 2 hours. 
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013

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