Smoking first Boston Butt, need some advice

Discussion in 'Pork' started by hoops10, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. hoops10

    hoops10 Fire Starter

    I am planning on attempting my first smoke this weekend. I have a Masterbuilt 30 electric smoker and I'm using the Amaze-N-pellet smoker. The meat is about 7-7.5 lbs Boston Butt. I have read some conflicting information on how I should do this. Here are my questions:
    1) Should I put the Maverick thermometer probe into the meat before I even start to smoke it?
    2) Using the Amaze-n-pellet smoker, I've read I can get 10-12 hours of smoke, is that enough for a piece of meat this big?
    3) Set it at 220 and just let it go or foil it at a certain point?

    Thanks for any and all advice.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  2. I think 220*F is too low for a pork butt to be complete in a reasonable time. I recommend more like 250-275*. A 7-7.5# butt should not take 10-12 hrs.

    Many here say to not put the temp probe in until the outside is 140*F or above. Many folks put it in at the beginning. It's your call.
  3. I'm an RF guy usually smoke at 225 º  but you can kit it up won't hurt and will reduce cooking time a bit

  4. mbpic

    mbpic Newbie

    I agree with Gary, 225 degrees is a good point.  I recommend getting this book, Smoke & Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. I've had several Smoking books and found this one to be best when I started 15yrs ago.  Good Luck!
  5. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    IMHO this is your best advice, higher temps equal shorter cooking time and a better finished product.
  6. A pair of Butts I did

    A few other thing so the butts won't be lonly

    Ready to wrap

    Bone pulled out clean

    Couple of racks of Baby Backs

    1 Butt Pulled

  7. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just my opinion.....

    This was smoked in my MES30

    I pulled it at 201 IT and it traveled to 204 IT. I then generally allow it to cool, pull it, and put in a ziploc bag in the reefer after adding a spoon or two of JJ's finishing sauce. The next day, you will see friends and family that you've missed for 30 years.

    Just remember. smoking is 15% preparation, 5% dumb luck, and 80% patience. You just can't force it.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  8. bigd3077

    bigd3077 Meat Mopper

    225-235 is where I like so far. Takes 11-14 hours at that temp. Higher temp is less cook time. Just don't get tempted to crank up the heat if the meat stalls. Plan a temp, and stick to it.
  9. hoops10

    hoops10 Fire Starter

    Thank you for all the great replies. Question about the water pan, put water in it or just ignore it?
  10. hoops10,

    I have a homemade smoker and use a large foil pan full of sand.

    Once heated, maintains the temp inside the smoker...never have used water.

  11. bigd3077

    bigd3077 Meat Mopper

    I put apple cider in mine, never tried a different way. The un foiled one I did, I sprayed with a mix of apple cider vinegar, and captain morgan spiced rum about every hour to hour and a half. 

    fed 15 happy people.

    And this was the wrapped one....
  12. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Foamheart hit the nail on the head with his answer. The only thing I would add is to use a separate thermo to monitor the smoker temp. MES units are notorious for reading a different temp than what they really are.

    You don't need water in an MES unit. Since it is sealed so tight the water pan will add a bunch of condensation to the box (and it won't add any moisture to the meat). You can fill it with sand to create a heat sink but I leave mine empty and use it to catch the drippings (gen 2 model).

    I did a test last weekend on the time with one foiled butt and one not foiled. They were both 7 pounds and the foiled one reached 200 IT 1 hour quicker (and was noticeably more moist). I prefer to foil mine because I use the juices that are left in the foil as my finishing sauce. After the butt has rested I pour off the juice into a fat separator then use that liquid to pour back on the pulled pork as needed.
  13. hoops10

    hoops10 Fire Starter

    Another question regarding the MES 30 when using the Amaze-N-pellet smoker, I read I have to remove the wood chip loader and part of the wood chip burner tray, is that correct? If so, how do I remove the wood chip burner tray?
  14. Bearcarver will know  

  15. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You don't have to remove your Chip Burner assembly, in fact I recommend not to. Some people pull the dumper out a bit, or pull the drawer out a bit, but I have never had to touch those things.

    Here is how I do my Pork Butts (Step by Step):
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
  16. You use to see that old advertisement   " Bo  Knows"      it has been changed to  "Bear Knows"

  17. hoops10

    hoops10 Fire Starter

    Bearcarver, the reason given for removing the chip loader was too ensure airflow to the pellets so that they don't go out. You have never had the problem of the pellets going out?
  18. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Every MES has different airflow it seems. I have to pull my loader out about 2 inches and as long as they are lit properly to begin with they don't go out. Sometimes I get nervous it's going to go out and pull the loader out a little more and it just burns a little faster so I might get 2.5-3 hours per row instead of 3-4 . You have to experiment a little. That's the fun part. As far as butts are concerned, I always side with CliffCarter. Higher temps yield a great product with delicious bark, no stall, and much less unpredictability. Try it fast and try it slow. Like I said, have fun with the experimentation.
  19. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Being lit properly seems to be one of the biggest items. If you don't have a good enough base of smoldering pellets then it will go out every time. I follow the directions exactly using a propane torch to get a good flame going then let it burn for at least 10 minutes (I usually let it go till the flame goes out on its own and the pellets start to smolder). As others have said, experiment with your smoker to see what works. I wouldn't start drastically changing stuff until you test it out. A dry run for 3-4 hours with no food in it should help you figure it out.
  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Like Worktogthr (Below) said, "Every MES has different air flow".

    With my MES 40 Gen #1, I don't do anything at all, other than keep my Pellets & Dust in air tight jugs, and then make sure I get it lit really good, and the only problem I used to have was when I tried to burn 100% Cherry Pellets. That just does not work!!! I no longer try to burn 100% Cherry pellets.

    Other people pull the chip drawer out a bit, and/or pull the dumper out a bit, but some guys had been doing that, and then tried later to light the pellets properly, and found out once lit properly, they didn't have to do those other things.

    I'm sure there are a lot of mailboxes out there that weren't necessary to get the AMNPS to stay lit, if they were just lit better.

    However air flow is key:

    I get too much smoke with a Tube smoker, and no matter what I do, I can't reduce that amount of smoke, but I get perfect smoke with my AMNPS.

    Many of the guys who have trouble keeping the AMNPS lit get good smoke from the Tube smoker, without getting too much smoke. I contribute that comparison to the difference in air flow from my MES and theirs.

    I noticed that some guys pull the loader out at the start, and then later in the smoke they push it back in. That would seem to indicate to me that they needed it out some in the beginning because they didn't get it lit good enough to stay lit. Then later when it was burning like it would have been earlier if they had lit it good enough, they can push it back in.


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