Question about Pork Butt cooking times

Discussion in 'Pork' started by ferrd32, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    There's a lot of variables such as rub, type of smoker, cook time, temp, etc...
    I always get a decent bark even when foiling
    So its hard to say if higher to lower would give a thicker bark. But I would think a lower temp over a longer period would give a deeper bark (thicker)
    As far as bark goes and many folks may not agree... I think the best bark is if the butt is foiled. This makes an otherwise hard bark chewy... which is what I like.
    I'm always amazed at how many folks say you don't get a good bark when foiling. Its actually a great way to controlled the bark formation as well as the texture desired. That's reffering to my pit of course.
    did I answer the question? lol.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  2. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     I just know I saw more bark on butts when I used my charcoal ECB model over the GOSM charcoal/propane. That dome in the ECB really trapped the heat and I was wondering if that helped more with the bark ??
  3. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Its also very possible you had some convection going on as well, IMHO you will get more convection on a dome shape lid at the top rack as opposed to a flat top lid at the top rack... this is purely speculation.

    Thermal mass above or below the food can also have some convection happening, your ECB may have had more thermal mass in addition to the dome shape focusing more heat back down, but like I said... pure speculation.
  4. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    Any time I've ever smoked a pork butt (maybe 5-6 times now) it has been around 250* - 260*.  It is nice to be able to start a 7-8# butt at around 8:00 a.m. and have it be done around 4:00 p.m. which is just enough time to rest in foil before dinner.  And it has been true "pulled" pork ever time - tender enough to pull the bone right out and mash apart.  So you can certainly get melt-in-your-mouth without having to ride at 225* for who knows how long.  I think when you are at 250* or above it helps push through the stall a little faster.  AND smoking at a slightly higher temp helps get a more crisp bark.
  5. kewl32

    kewl32 Newbie

    I have tried smoking butt at a higher temp with ok results, but when i use a large but, say 12 to 14 pounds the bark gets pretty tough. naturally from the extended time in the smoker. I like to start out at the 225 mark for a little better than 3/4 of the cook time then raise the temp to get u thru the stall. it seems to me the higher temp on the end to break down the connective tissue better and still lessons the cook time. But thats just my opinion
  6. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    12-14 lbs. is pretty big, I would half those.
  7. Hey OP, I use an MES 30 also, and I have been cooking my butts at 275 the last few times, with good results. No foiling either, just rub it and cook to 200 internal temp. In my experience, I don't get any bark out of my MES without cooking that high. Better to get a probe thermometer rather that try to gauge by time. I got mine at Target for about $15.

    And cmayna, just go for it man!
  8. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sat, I'm doing it!!
  9. crazyq

    crazyq Meat Mopper

    I cook my butts to "pull the bone" test. Im not a clock watch with ANY meat i cook.

    With that said i cook H/F at 300 and a boston butt runs me about 6hrs. But thats only a reference. EVERY cut of meat WILL cook diferent. Too many variables to really nail down a time per lb.
  10. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I was just going over this post and realized what I posted might have been taken wrong.

    When I posted Start at much higher temp then work down not the other way around, I start of at 350+ then work down


    I meant for the initial start up, not as a method of cooking, so when you FIRST fire up the smoker your temps would be at 350° or so, after you add the cold meat the temps will most likely start to drop, I wait for the temps to equalize then start reducing the cooking temperature to get to my desired cooking temp. Don't go the other way .

    For example your DESIRED temp is 225°, once your smoker reaches 225°, you add the meat and the temp drops so you start increasing the temps to account for the heat loss due to the cold thermal mass added, I don't do this!.

    Some types of smokers may not experience this drop as much or as long as other types of smokers do.

    I feel its much better and there is no loss of cook time if you preheat the pit to say 350°, add the cold meat and slowly adjust the temps down to come DOWN to your desired temp and not the other way around.

    This adjustment time may take up to an hour on my pit, as far as electric smokers and other type smokers go I'm not sure how long it would take someone to dial it in.

    I hope I cleared this up!
  11. Yep what SQWIB said, If you put that baby in at 225 your in for a long haul. I have a propane smoker and its pretty easy to adjust the temp. Easiest way is to just open the lid,door, whatever you have for a few minutes.
  12. I am a novice and have only smoked ribs, chicken and ABT's so far, but successfully IMO.  I just bought a 12.8 lb pork butt to try my first pork shoulder on the smoker this weekend, I started feeling ill when I heard you should give it 90 mins per pound at 225F.  I feel much better reading this forum and the great tips on time saving.  I am going to split the butt and cook in the 275F range, foil at ~170 IT as suggested......I am excited again about this weekend and my first attempt.

    I will post pictures as I progress.

    Thanks again.
  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    At a smoker temp of 225 you should give the meat and min. estimate of 2 hours a pound if not using the crutch. My last 9 pound butt took  20 hours.

    But with the newer high temp cooks, and the Texas Crutch ( it reduces the stall time), it requires much less time. BUT still...... I never cook butts or brisket on the clock. I would rather cook the day before and shred, throw in the reefer with some finishing sauce to the reheat the next day. That way you take the clock out of the cook and you get to sleep the night before. It allows you to run over time or under time and time for the unexpected. That night sitting with a good finishing sauce makes a HUGE difference in the taste too! I highly recommended Chef JJ's finishing sauce (the formula is here on the boards).

    With Brisket I do the same and its much easier to cut the next day..

    Just a suggestion. 
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  14. heyer5

    heyer5 Meat Mopper

    When it comes to pork butts, I run 300-325, but my rub doesn't contain a ton of sugar that could potentially burn at those higher temps.  I get just as good of a smoke ring as I ever did running at 225-250.  I enjoy my ribs around 250-275.  Pork loin I like to run low, 225-250.

    Chicken is the little devil, if you want crisp skin, you almost want to finish it on a grill with a high temp to crisp up that skin.  Just my opinions - Oh, I don't foil either...
  15. I have made quite a few amazing butts on my MES 30. I rub the night before and smoke with Apple wood at 225 all the way through. Spray with Apple juice every few hours.
    Average 18 hours a cook. The bark is amazing. I don't brine, inject or foil. Smoking meats is an art. Slow and low, the meat will let you know when it is done. Either way you have to experiment and find what work for you. I find that the hot and fast is good but didn't break down the fat the same and the texture was off a bit.
  16. WOW this is a lot to take in , I'm doing my first butts next weekend and I thought I had my mind made up between low n slow 225 and no foiling or higher temp 250-275 and foiling .now I'm back to square one . don't want to change the subject but could you take a 12lb butt and divided it into two 6lbs to cut your time in half?
  17. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes, best thing to do is not try to mix and match, take a single road and see where it takes you.

    Another thing that really matters, in the opening paragraph the smoker said he had an MES30. That means that most of the advise given by fireburners will be slightly tainted. They usually use higher temps. Easily known when someone says something about a smoke ring, You need nail polish to paint on a smoke ring on anything done on an electric..... just ain't gonna happen. I actually heard someone once trying to use cure to get a faux smoke ring. LOL

    Its not hard, just pick a course and hold true, it will usually make you mostly happy then you keep notes so the next time you can try and correct what you didn't like and keep what you did.

    Cut in half will speed the cooking but not cut in half. I like mine big, and do low and slow without foil, never in a hurry. Cook today feed tomorrow. Its the easiest. But I understand not everyone smokes that way. Seems like I am thinkin, a reduction of maybe 25 percent because you still have the mass even though it is in smaller areas. But I am pulling out long ago memories.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
  18. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I do it all the time.. Just did one that was 9 pounds and cut it in half. More bark too that way.
  19. elky327

    elky327 Newbie

    Just my 2 cents ( and I'm not as experienced as some of ya'll) but I have been smoking butts (5-6#) at 225-250 for about 5-6 hours and then place them in a foil pan with a 1/2 cup pure apple juice and wrap tight with foil. Then I raise the temp to about 350 for about 3 hours and always turns out fall off the bone tender.
  20. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    I have been doing the low & slow for the past 5 years, but in February I went to Myron Mixon's Jack's Old South School and picked up A LOT of tips! Two weekends ago I put them to use. Two 10# butts each in a foil pan 300-325 for 4 hours. Then foil over the pans cooked for 4 hours, then under a moving blanket for 2 hours. Results were the best butts for taste, tenderness and appearance I have done. I'm sold. The family is still talking about them!

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