Why is my Butt tough?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by alleyman, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. alleyman

    alleyman Newbie

    Everytime I try and to smoke a Boston Butt it always turnes out tough and reaches temp. way too fast. It takes me a little over 2 hours to smoke a 5-6 lb. roast. I smoke it at 225f. I'm using a char-broiler with a firebox burning lump coal with hickory chunks. I take the internal temp. to about 200f then let it settle for about an 1/2 hour. Any idea would be great.

  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My first guess would be the thermometer you're using is either not accurate or not very close to the meat.

    You could be well above 225˚. This would make it done too quick, and could make it less tender.

    If you're getting a 5-6 pound butt to 200˚ in 2 hours, the heat at and around that hunk of meat must be well over 225˚

  3. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm going to guess you answered your own question. If the butts are too temp in that time frame I am going to guess the thermometer on your smoker is inaccurate. Are you foiling after adding smoke?

    Also, try wrap your foiled butt in towels and then into a cooler for at least and hour before pulling and/or serving. I feel a couple hour rest time does nothing but distribute the juices and make it more tender.
  4. I am no expert (yet), but last weekend I smoked a 6 pounder & it took almost 10 hrs at 225-235. Like the others said, you must be well above these temps.
  5. alleyman

    alleyman Newbie

    Thanks for the insite. That could be it. My thermometer is at the top center of the lid. I've been putting the roast on the firebox end of the smoke to get more smoke, not in the firebox. :) I'm going to try and put the roast in foil and in the oven after 2 hours, to finish cooking. My oven should be more accurate. MossyMo - do you wrap yours in foil when smoking? It that what you're refering to as "foiling"? I'll let it setting longer as you suggested. Thanks. I'll try to post the results later.
  6. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I put a double layer of foil around the pork butt when the internal meat temp reaches 160º and before sealing the foil I add a little of whatever I have been spritzing (50/50 of Captain Morgan/apple juice is my preference) them with. Then I continue with 225º heat until the internal meat temp reaches 195-200º (for pulled pork/ 165-170º for sliced). Then I wrap in towels and put them in a cooler making sure all the internal room of the cooler is filled with towels to retain heat. Hope this helps, I know the foil will still produce steam when opening after even 5 hours; great way to continue slow 'n low internal meat cooking for some tender butts.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yep, way too hot...pushing above 325*, I would suspect.

    If the pork is not enhanced, you should brine...now that I have fresh pork butts, and some loin back ribs, they're all getting brined. I have smoked a couple fresh butss in the past without brining, and they did not want to pull, even though my finish temps were over 200*, smoked low & slow @ 225-235*.

    There are only 3 things which I have found to make for tough pork shoulder cuts: cooked too fast; un-enhanced meat (becoming a bit dry); cooked to too low finishing temp.

    Keep trying Chris...be sure to verify/calibrate your thermometers.

  8. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Alleyman,just for grins and giggles, try this method[​IMG]  Get yourself a nice (BONE-IN") Butt. Rub her good with whatever and put her in a 220*F smoker and forget her until she is almost to the 90min./lb. guestimate.then with a gloved hand, try to pull the bone out of the Butt.If it does,take it out and you can probably push down on it and it will fall apart[​IMG].Try the basket method and you might extend the time of cooking. I am a stick burner and do not use that trick.The bone-in will be a little cheaper. I agree with the others and think you need a thermometer,go to  Bass Pro,Cabella's,H-D,Lowes, or somewhere and get a therm.You will see a difference; and try one without foil once you've the process down[​IMG]

    I do all my smoking at or around 200* to 220*F:


    Have fun and,
  9. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  10. hardslicer

    hardslicer Smoking Fanatic

    we all learn something from threads like this one.....thx guys
  11. disbe81

    disbe81 Smoke Blower

    Aside from the thermometer on the smoker have you tested and/or calibrated the meat thermometer you are using to check the temp? If its showing 200 but its really only 180 you have yourself an undercooked butt. Not undercooked to where you would get sick but undercooked to where it wont pull.
  12. smokinal

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

    One of two things, both thermometer related. Either the meat is not at 200, but much lower or the smoker is not at 225, but much higher. That size butt should take 7-10 hours at 225.
  13. alleyman

    alleyman Newbie

    Thanks everyone for the really good info. I will give all a try. The one I finished last night fell off the bone. You guys rock.
  14. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


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