Pork butt temp stall?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by boisblancboy, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. I did an 8# pork butt about a week ago. Had the smoker preheated to about 240f at 6:00am and slid the butt in. Everything seemed to be doing good till about 2:00pm when I notice the IT of the butt really slowed. Once it hit 160 ish it was hardly going up. By 6:00pm it hit 172F and I pull it out cause I had a drove of people wanting to eat. I wanted to get it up to 205F, but at the rate it was climbing it was never going to get there.

    What's up with that, did I screw something up?

    BTW, it was good but I think it could have been better. Thanks!
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nope hitting a stall is perfectly normal.every piece of meat is different. Stall can last minutes or hours.

    I always do pork butts the day before I want to serve them and then reheat. That way there's no pressure on getting done.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
    boisblancboy likes this.
  3. I just came across where butts and briskts will hit this temperature stall when it starts to break down the connective tissue for an hour or so. In my case it just seemed for 3-4 hrs it didn't seem to make much progress. I don't mind this stall, is there any rule of thumb as to how long it may last?
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nope not really every piece of meat is going to be different. Some may stall some might not. Last one I did stalled for a couple hours. One before that never stalled. If you smoke at higher temps you can get past the stall.
  5. Yep, welcome to "The Stall"... we've all hit it at some point. One of my recent bone-in 7#er's took just over 13 hours @225* smoker temp to reach the targeted IT of 208 for melt in your mouth pulled pork...

    By raising your smoker temp up into the 250* -285* range you can expect to shave off a couple/few hours if you're in a hurry.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  6. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Also, if you are not too concerned about a heavy bark, you can foil at 160 degrees and put in the oven at 300-325 degrees to power through the stall. This will save you some time.

  7. Thanks guys I appreciate the feedback! Now I'm ready to try another one.
  8. jerseydrew

    jerseydrew Smoking Fanatic

    always plan on 2 hours per lb and plan on a 2 hour rest. if it is done early you can rest for up to 6-8 hours so no biggie. pork butt at 225 will stall forever! cook it at 250 and it makes things to where you can plan about 1 1/2 hours per lb. in your situation you could have foiled at 150 and then unwrapped it again at about 180 to build the bark again. 

    i now smoke everything except chicken at least the day before. just keep or use a little broth when reheating it will keep things moist. 
  9. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    They have pretty much covered the ways to address the stall. A couple things on the safety side.

    If you are holding for several hours hot, keep it over 140f. If you drop below that for more than 3hrs, reheat to 165.

    If you are serving the product at a later date. Break it down a little so it cools faster. You want to go from >140 to 165 in under 2hrs. Add a little finishing sauce to reseason and add moisture.

    If I am doing butts for a lunch or early afternoon meal. I start at 3ish the day before. Then when I go to bed I place them in a pan with some beer, wrap with plastic then foil and into an oven set at 195f. This way it is not over cooked (I don't cook mine to 205, too mushy for me) the bone slides out and I have PP with some tooth. If it needs a bit more time, I have it. If it is done I turn the oven to the lowest setting. No stress........
  10. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    All the advice you have received will work, but there is a simpler and, I believe better, way to avoid the stall.

    Cook at a higher temperature.

    I always cook butts at temps ranging from 285°-315° and never have a "stall" or problem with the meat not being done in time to feed guests, or having to finish in the oven, cook the day before to avoid a fail, foil to "power through" and cooking overnight with all the problems associated with it.

    If you had cooked your pork in the temp range that I do you could have started at 8AM, cooked until the IT hit the desired temp(at sometime between 3:30-4:30 is a good guess) and had plenty of time to rest and prepare for your guests.

    Too easy, IMHO.
    flyingrhino likes this.
  11. Jar jar, cooking at the temp you suggested doesn't that defeat the purpose of low and slow smoking temps of 225-250? I'm just curious since I'm so new to this hobby.
  12. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't believe that it was jarjarchef's suggestion.

    IMHO those low cooking temps are the bane of success for newbies, as per your results. There are innumerable threads such as yours on this forum and virtually all them cite cooking temps of 225° or thereabouts. When so many are getting poor results using one technique, then it is time to change that technique. Cooking at higher temps make BBQ more predictable, more rest for the cook makes the experience more enjoyable, as well.

    There is nothing written in stone by the BBQ gurus that you must cook at low temperatures to achieve nirvana. I cook ribs in the 235°-265° range, depending on the cut. Chicken and pork loins 300°-325°, beef is the same as the pork butts.

    You lose nothing by cooking at higher temps, except the lack of sleep and those accusing "when will it be ready?" questions. I highly suggest it for everyone new to cooking BBQ.
  13. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I do not recall suggesting a cooking temp on this thread. But I would be happy to chime in on the cook temp subject.

    When I do my pork butts, briskets and other large cuts of meat, my target temp range is 250-275. I know low and slow traditional is 225, but I don't have the time nor the patcients to baby sit a smoker for a long stall time. I find that temp range lowers the stall a good bit, if it goes for more then a couple hours, I will turn the heat up and push through it.
  14. matt22556

    matt22556 Fire Starter

    That's a good thread! I totally agree when it comes to the mark of 225 degrees. It is not the magic number for smoking, a simple guide.... Every piece of meat is different, every smoker is different, everone's expectations are different. If you want to get into the "meat" of it, all of the big KCBS teams out there have their own numbers they work with, weather is a factor, etc....... If I see my meat stalling, and its looks like its taking it awhile to push through, I push it through, I don't just wait.... Cooking for 16hrs isn't fun...
  15. Thanks for all the replies guys I really appreciate it! I got a smoking book from Jeff(site creator) and I fall owed the instructions to a tee.

    Moral to this thread should be: cooking larger cuts of meat expect a stall, low the cooking temp the longer it could take to get through the stall and to the finished product. Sound about right?
  16. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Low and slow is great, but there is no advantage with pork butt. And cooking at 250 to 275 is still pretty low..... just not as slow. Butt comes out just as moist and tender at higher temps. You gain nothing by going at 225. But you do lose time. I never smoke anything at 225. Somewhere along the line folks have made that the magic number and I dont know why.
  17. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Generally low and slow is considered 240-275, with most people doing 250. There only instance where I cook lower is brisket, brisket I like to do at 225-240, usually closer to the 240.

    The issue a lot of new smokers have with low and slow is usually due to their smoker not being able to hold a steady temp for longer than 1 to 3 hrs. A lot of folks have cheap uneficiant smokers to start with and that causes frustration. I started the same way and spent 8 frustrated months trying to get a sub-par smoker to work great, then sold it for less than half of what I paid for it and got a 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain for $365, and have never looked back.

    You can also build a UDS for cheaper that is very efficient as well.
  18. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    My 9 pounder has hit the wall, been at 163* for over an hour.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  19. Super Bowl.......Yeah Baby. I got a 7.5lber into hour 9 right now. Cooked at 225 for 8 hours, then opened for the first time. (165) Basted and injected with the apple juice that I used as a moisturizer in a pan in the cooker (Smokin-It #2) Closed door, raised to 250. Within the next hour now at 178. Good bark, put little foil on top. Let-it happen.
    QUESTION- I'm tempted to add some W.L. Weller Bourbon to my apple juice. Good idea or bad???
  20. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Alcohol makes everything better....oh wait a second...that is the bi-polar talking....

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