Two Butts One Cabnet?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by knotquiteawake, May 9, 2013.

  1. I have one of those lower end propane smokers with the water bowl at the bottom and such.  Can I smoke two butts at once in there?  Will it increase cooking time significantly?  They won't fit side by side so one would need to be above the other.  

    Church is doing a Mothers Day lunch and the call has gone out to all the men to help so I wanted to bring a whole mess of pork (trying to build my "brand" as the smoked pork guy :p ).  I am afraid a single 6-7lb butt will go quickly (60-70 people maybe) so I wanted to have a second crockpot of meat ready to swap in.  Some other guys are bring briskets (that they cook in the oven!!!) and potatoes and possibly chicken, so the pork will not be the only meat there.

    Any tips trying to do two butts at once?

    The smoker is this type:

  2. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    No problem doing 2 or 3 in there at all! The cooking time might increase a little but not that much.
    I would suggest dumping the water in the pan and fill it with sand or pea gravel, it will help maintain much more consistent temps. You can place a disposable foil pan with some water on top of the sand pan to catch drippings.
  3. How much do you guys figure on raw meat to people ratio?  I'd like to be able to give an estimate to the guys as to how many people two butts will feed.  I've heard some say about 1/2lb raw meat per person (accounting for the loss of weight over the cooking).  There should be around 60 or so people, so if two butts can feed 20 of them then I've pulled me weight enough.  The plan would be to dish out the pork on those cheap whitebread small hamburger buns (small buns will hopefully help the servers give smaller portions out).
  4. I've heard about doing that.  I am nervous about giving up the water.  The smoker is drafty so I imagine (based on no science whatsoever) the steam from the water helps keep the air warm and moist.  Whereas the dry smoke the air would just be warm and the natural moisture given out by the meat cooking will slip away through all the cracks.  I was going to try it sometime but I wanted to test it on myself first.
  5. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    I would figure on a cook time of 2 hours per pound for each butt in the smoker (not total lbs of meat), plus rest time.  That should give you a little margin time.  With butts, that is always just a guess because they tend to have a mind of their own.  The adage "its done when its done" is very true for butts. 

    Butts cooked above/below one another come out great!  The top one will drip on the bottom one and continually baste it.

    Don't worry too much about the moisture in the smoker.  Butts are very moist cuts because they are fatty.  Like Dave, I never put water in my smokers, and the meat always comes out great.

    A half pound of raw meat per person seems a little high to me, but you are probably correct in erring on the high side.  When people get a taste of your smoky pulled pork, a brisket cooked in the oven will pale by comparison!

    Good luck!  Be sure to tell us how it goes...

  6. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    The water won't help keep the air warm, it will actually cool the air. It will add humidity though which doesn't really penetrate the meat so it won't make the meat more juicy. All the juiciness comes from the natural juices in the meat. Humidity will help with smoke penetration.
    Water can't get any hotter than 212* so if you are running your smoker at say 225* then the water is actually trying to cool it down. Also as the water evaporates the size of the thermal mass gets smaller so your temps are going to change. Sand can take as much heat as you throw at it and it's size won't change so you end up with a consistent thermal mass during the entire cook which will really help stabilize the chamber temps.
    If you still want some humidity, like I said just place another pan with water on top of the sand pan.
    Here's some good detailed info about using a dry or wet to dry smoke chamber, I have adopted this method in my propane smoker and have been getting the juiciest butts I've ever done:

    As far as figuring how much meat you can figure about 1/4 to 1/3 lb per person after cooking. You will get about a 60% yield will pork butts after cooking. So for an easy example:
    10lb pre cooked butt will give about 6lbs cooked. 6lbs will provide 18 1/3lb portions.
    So just multiply your precooked weight by 60% then multiply that by 3 for how many 1/3lb portions or multiply by 4 for 1/4lb portions.
  7. why not just get 2 10lb butts and call it a day...??...the math has been explained already^^^ get 2 10lbers and feed them all, cuz lets face it, when those oven baked (lol) briskets make their debuts the pork will be the all star! haha. [​IMG]
  8. scootermagoo

    scootermagoo Smoking Fanatic

    I concur!  Dump the water and use sand or pea gravel.  I use concrete pavers in my Char griller Pro with a forced draft fire box.  There is a fair amount of air moving thru the smoker and my butts are never dry.  Butts are very forgiving.

    Had I not brought the pork most of the men may have starved because the other guys didn't bring enough of their respective meats and all the women got to go through the lines first.  The guys making the plates were plating up meat like it was for men, I finally got them to reduce portion sizes

    I don't have a picture of the finished product but below is them 1/2 way done

    So decided that with two butts it might take a LOT longer so I started it at 10pm, woke up at 3am to add more wood, and butt #1 came out after 15.5 hours and butt #2 took 17 hours.  I shredded, and applied some light finishing sauce after letting them rest for an hour and popped them in the fridge.  Sunday I setup the crockpots with about 3/4cup of apple juice, more finishing sauce, and a little bit of water, after a couple hours it was hot and delicious!  Both crockpots were picked clean.  Also, I used an ice cream scoop to serving.  It made the perfect portion size to put on a plate.  Its a slightly small portion but its supposed to be a light lunch with lots of sides.  I think I probably got about 40-50 scoops of meat out of those 14lbs.  

    Everyone liked it so much I am probably on the hook to be bringing it again and again.


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