Pork Butt Timing Question

Discussion in 'Pork' started by zotie, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. All-

    I have a Lang 36 standard patio, I'm firing it up this weekend for a party, I was going to to do 4 X 7LB butts for pulled pork sammies.

    I've done pork butt a dozen times before and this is only the 3rd time on this rig.  My problem is that I don't give myself enough time, and I am not keeping a good log/record. 

    That is changing on starting now and on forward.

    I've read a lot of the posts threads and guides on it and  I have the mechanics/ theory behind it sound and I know what I'm doing in terms of rub, injections, ect.  I will for sure be foiling it at 160F, and then taking it to 203F.  I'm shooting for a smoker temp of 225 ( I might throw some other things on there too)

    I just wanted someone to look at my time table and make sure that I have it dialed right so I don't run behind the day of.

    So We want to eat at 5:30

    I'm figuring on 1.5 hrs per lb to get the timetable going obviously the individual butts and their internal temperatures will be the deciding factor to pull them off the lang.

    So 7lbs X 1.5hrs/lbs gives me 10.5 hrs so call it 11hrs I should plan on them cooking smoking for.

    I need 1hr to get the smoker going, and one hour for the butts to rest and 30 minutes to shred it.

    So that is a total of 13.5 hours, if I through in an extra hour for fudge factor that is a total of 14.5  hours.

    Which means I would start at 3AM. 

     Am I planning accordingly/ properly?   I figure the worst case scenario is that I am done in 10 hours and the meat sits in a cambro or a warming oven for a few hours.


  2. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    Yes I think so, if they get done early simply put them in an ice chest.  If it looks like they will not be done in time increase the cooking temp.  understand that every piece of meat has a mind of it's own.
  3. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    You may want to  raise your cooking temps a bit. 235 -250 is fine for butts
  4. jbills5

    jbills5 Meat Mopper

    This.  I would cook at 250 just to be safe.  
  5. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Butts are very forgiving. I cook at 250-275. Depending on how the cook is going I will react how Bear55 said. Cooking fast into a cooler, slow get the heat up.

    You don't have to cook to 203. If you allow the meat to rest in a cooler for an hour you really only need to get to 190-195. You will be able to pull it fine and you will not have mushy texture. Yes you will actully have to pull it a little, unlike it falling apart, but IMHO it is well worth it.
  6. superdave

    superdave Smoking Fanatic

    You would be amazed at how much time 25 - 30 degrees can save or add.  There isn't any piece of meat I've ever cooked that didn't turnout great at 250.
  7. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    All good advice, except for the fact that no one has mentioned the 18 hour butt.(it can happen) If it were me and I was cooking for a large party, I'd allow for at least 24 hours start to finish. More likely I'd do them a couple days in advance and keep the pulled pork in the fridge until the day of the party. It reheats well and in my opinion is better after a couple days rest.
  8. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    There is absolutely no need to do this with a pork butt ever, unless you insist on cooking at 225° and want to be certain that the meat is done on time.

    I find that if you cook at higher temps then you will have more predictable cooks. For instance the last 7+ pound butt I cooked took less than 1 hour per pound to cook at an average temp of 300°. I started at 7AM and pulled off the pit at 2PM. No crazy start well before sunrise for me.

    So to recap your plan- 7 hour cook time at 300°, 1 hour to get the pit to temp, 1 hour rest is 9 hours total, perhaps another hour if you don't feel quite as reckless as I do and you still don't need to start before 7AM. So go get some sleep, cook at a higher temperature.

    And , no the quality of the final product will not suffer, in fact I like it much better than the low and slow version.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  9. Thanks guys.  So I ended up getting up at 3:45  I hit snooze a few times can't imagine why, anyways got the lang lit up and fired and ready for meat by 5:00 am.  I ended up doing a whole suckling pig too so I put it on the bottom rack at 225, and put the pork butts on the top rack witch runs about 25 degrees hotter so 250.  Kept an even 2225 & 250 the whole time.  Pork butts got wrapped at 160, and then came off the grill at 195.  They were done at 11am.  They went in to the cambro and stayed there until when we ate at 6pm.  (they never dipped below 160) Still had time to do 40 ATB's on the top grate, put them on at 11 took them off 1, shower and take a nap before the party. The butts were perfectly done at 250 didn't notice any quality difference from the ones I've done at 225, side by side with the pork they were almost better. But almost. I will be cooking them at 250 from now on out, might try 275, sleep is valuable and I enjoy not being a zombie at the party.


  10. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Read my footnote...

    Have fun and . . .

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