Pre-sliced butt - ok to smoke?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by myelin, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. Hi all!  I purchased a boston butt that was previously sliced into 3/4" steaks.  I'd like to make pulled pork from this butt, so I am wondering if I can tie the steaks up and smoke it like a regular non-sliced butt.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
  2. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sure u can. I was thinking the same thing today.
    Im going to rub "jeff rub" on each steak then tie them all back together .
  3. Great, thanks Ed!  I'll post some Q view if it turns out good.  This forum is a great resource!
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I wouldn't, just because of the more stringent time/temp guidelines as it's no longer considered to be intact whole muscle meat (being it's sliced and re-assembled), but it can be done safely. Just tie it together like you mentioned.

    Chamber temps of 250* or so would be my target, especially if it's 7lbs or heavier, just so internal meat temps get through the 41-135* range (latest guidelines) in less than 4 hours (old USDA guidleines stated 40-140* in <4hrs). 250* chamber temp is fine for shoulders anyway, and stalls will come at a bit higher temp and won't last quite as long as they would with a 225* chamber temp. It will still be moist when taken to the 200* internal temp range. Other than the butcher's twine to tie it up, and a bit higher chamber temp for getting through the danger zone, treat it as you would with any other butt smoke, right down to the foiled/towel wrapped resting before pulling.

    Hmm, jrod, the interior dry rub before tying it up? Man, nice touch! Even with a light dose on the surface, it will still have plenty of seasoning from the interior layers...wicked good idea, and it takes advantage of the already sliced butt for some extra tweeking! Ah, I may be reading into this too far, but I'm not sure how the internal meat texture will be effected, especially from salt in the rub, as the salt will be trying to devlop the proteins from the inside out...that said, maybe a low moisture content issue could arise after about the 180* mark...not sure on that one. Could be a roll of the dice...think I'd drop the salt in the dry rub, at least for the interior.

    Highly experienced sausage makers would know the answer pertaining to what the moisture may be like and any other precautions to take...I'm still a novice with sausage, myself, so, any takers on this one???

    Piece a cake, pork! LOL!!!

    Have a GREAT smoke, myelin! Oh, and I just noticed your post count, so, I believe a welcome to the family is on order!

    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
  5. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Another option?  Most of the so called "Country Style Ribs" these days are cut off the butt.

    You could make cutlets and smoke them like CSR's.

    Having said that, your butcher screwed up a pretty good cut of meat.  LOL

    Good luck and good smoking.
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]    Glad to have you with us!

    Good luck with the butt!
  7. Thanks!  It's great how helpful you all are.  I've been lurking for months and finally decided to post up.

    I tied the butt together with some cotton twine and put it in the smoker.  Hopefully this dude turns out good!  It's a test run for homecoming next weekend (Mizzou vs. Iowa State).  Although I think next time I will go to a local butcher to purchase the meat instead of picking it up from the meat section at the grocery store.
  8. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  9. It's in the cooler now.  Total cooking time to 205* was 6.5 hours.  Temps ranged from 200-240.  I'm still getting used to the Smokin-it brand electric smoker.  Soo far I've smoked a whole turkey and some bacon in it, which both turned out really good.  However, I'm not able to get crispy skin and bark that others are able to achieve with traditional-style smokers.  I really like bark on my meat, so I might have to get a WSM or something similar for meat, and use this Smokin-it for things like cheese.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
  10. The meat tastes great, but it won't pull.  They are some really good CSRs though.  Venture and forluvofsmoke were spot-on!

    This coming Friday I am going to smoke 2 butts, but this time they won't be pre-sliced.

    Regarding the cooking time of 6.5 hours to reach 205* - this was a 6.3lb. butt, and the general rule of thumb is 1.5hours/lb.  Did it finish early because it was sliced?
  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Being sliced could very well be the reason for not pullling. Part of the cooking process involves moisture evaporation from the meat, and being it was sliced and tied, the evaporation could have ocurred at a much higher rate through the cuts. I hadn't thought about it until you mentioned it...I will have to keep it in mind next time someone wants to tie a sliced and cut of meat.

    Also, being it wouldn't pull, it likely passed through the melting temps of the connective tissues too quickly (possibly due to a higher evaporation rate from being sliced/tied), or it just got a bit dried-out by the time it reached finished temp. I've pulled about every meat you can imagine, from chix thighs, whole birds, beef brisket flat and point, beef chuck, and of course pork shoulder cuts. As long as there's some fat present and it's cooked low and slow to a ~200* finished temp, I just give it a rest to slowly cool down to redistrute the meat juices and it will pull. I did a high-temp test (over 300* smoke chamber) on a shoulder about 6 months ago, and also cut the resting time didn't pull very easily at all.

    Well, your smoke results were not in vain, and did allow for us all to learn a few things from it, as well as bring up a few questions which someone may be able to answer if it comes up in a discussion later on, or possibly with this thread...time will tell.

    I think there are very few of us who could have given a definative answer as to exactly how it would turn many variables to consider, but it was very interesting to follow this and read of the results.

    Keep on smokin', myelin!

  12. Thanks Eric!  Your explinaiton definitely sounds plausable.  Agreed that it provided a learning opportunity for those out there seeking information on this topic.  The short of it is - don't purchase a sliced butt if you wish to make pulled pork.
  13. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for posting, this will surely help someone in the future.

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