Pulled pork cooked too fast

Discussion in 'Pork' started by eigebroetli, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Hi everyone!
    It's 8am here and we have some guests for a late afternoon BBQ at 5pm. We planned to make pulled pork which cooked way too fast. We already made this a few times and it usually took about 17-20 hours. We had the same size of meat and the same cut but this time the meat reached inner temperatures of 204 F within 7 hours.

    Our steps:
    - 10 lb boston butt, bone in
    - Brining in 3% Brine for 48 hours in the fridge
    - Rubbing and chilling at room temperature for 2 hours
    - Start cooking on the Kamado Joe at steady temperatures of 230-240 F.
    - shoulder reached 180 F within four hours, didn't have a plateau phase and was at an inner temperature of 204 F within 7 hours.

    We had two thermometers on the roast, one in front and one in the back of the meat. The temperature remained steady throughout the cooking time - we have a Bluetooth alert and would have noticed any changes. We then thought it might be the thermometer within the meat. We made sure again that it was in the center, next to the bone and added four different sensors after the first 4 hours. After a total of seven hours they all showed above 200 F.

    Now my questions to you:
    1. Does any one know why it cooked so fast? How can we avoid it next time?
    2. Any ideas how to warm the pulled pork in 9 hours? We don't want to douse it with sauce more than necessary.

    Thanks a lot! Alice
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wow, Alice.  That's fast!  The only time I've had 10 lb butts finish in 7 hours is running my smoker or oven at 350F.  Before I started smoking, I did that all the time in the kitchen.  If the bone wiggles easily and it is probe tender, it is definitely done.

    Why did yours cook so fast?  It's rare, but it happens.  I doubt there could be a 100-120F difference in the actual chamber temp and your multiple thermometer readings, so that's not the issue.  I have read here in SMF about fast smokes happening to others; in about the same amount of time. 

    How to warm?  Pulled pork is pretty hearty. I've warmed it at parties in a pan covered in the oven (250F), covered in a pot on the stove top over a low flame, in a slow cooker, and in a covered pot on an induction plate.  If you don't want to add sauce, just add a little water to help steam the meat.  It doesn't take much.      
  3. I've only been doing this about a year now and I've had a butt go way faster than expected. Sometimes it just seems to happen, despite the size, cut, smoking temp, etc. The meat seems to have a mind of its own and every now and then you'll get thrown a curveball.

    Also are you sure your thermometer was touching the bone? That could throw off your readings.

    I've read that people wrap the butt in towels and place it in a cooler until closer to the serving time to pull it. It may sound blasphemous, but I've held the butt in a crock pot on the lowest setting to hold it for a few hours, and then pulled it. I put a small amount of water in just to help keep the meat from drying out. It quickly mixes with the juices so as to not get mushy.

    Hope some of this helps.
  4. metallicide

    metallicide Newbie

    I just had an 8lb finish in 7 and that seemed quick at 275
  5. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The quickest time I've ever had was 8# @275* in 6-1/2 hours. I would check your grate therms to be sure that you were actually cooking at 230-240*. At any rate, don't let a meat probe rest in a fat pocket or next to a bone.

    I really don't know why this happens sometimes, but my theory is that sometimes the meat may be more or less dense than at other times. That's why temp and feel go a lot better than time.

    Good luck and good smoking, Joe. :grilling_smilie:
  6. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    That is extremely fast. I cook 10 pound butts for 24-30 hours at a temp ranging from 200-220. That being said each piece of meat is different so it is what it is.

    As far as your brining step goes it's uneccessary. Pork butt had plenty of fat/connective tissue to break down. I brinned them years ago and found no real benefit.
  7. Dear all, thanks a lot for your help. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture, but it was delicious, despite the fast cooking. I kept the brine, boiled it thoroughly and added some of it to keep the shoulder juicy and warm at 180 F until our guests arrived.

    The meat fell off the bones and in pieces when I tried to turn it for mopping. When pulling it I saw that the cut had much less of the jelly like stuff than usual. I suspect that the meat just wasn't as much streaked as usual. That's maybe why there wasn't any substantial plateau phase. I'll also double check the bluetooth thermometers just to be sure for next time. Thanks again!
  8. smokebuzz

    smokebuzz Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My opinion my experiences (butts and brisket) , when i increase temps past 220*, by 20*, it will drastically change my cooking times, and when i inject the meat with what ever, it will speed it up, even at 220*. I'm not afraid of the quicker cooks these daze, but i burn straight wood, mostly stronger woods... 
  9. mikey99

    mikey99 Newbie

    That is crazy fast.  I did a 7lb butt Saturday night in my WSM 18.5.  Put it on at 7:00 PM, was at 197 degrees Sunday at 2:30pm and had to pull it since my guests were starving.  19.5 hours and wish I had more time (was shooting for 205, where I've had the best results)..  Next time I'll plan for 22 hours and probably have the same experience you had!! 
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017

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