Smoking Times

Discussion in 'Pork' started by smokewhisperer, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Hello All!

    It's been a while since I last posted, but I hope you will forgive my absence.

    I need some advice regarding the length of time it will take me to smoke the pork I have for a party this weekend.

    I will be smoking 3 pork butts @ approx. 8.5 lbs per butt and 12 racks of spareribs St. Louis style cut. The three butts will be in my smoker and the ribs will be on grills set up for smoking (8 on one grill and 4 on the other).

    My question is how long should I smoke the meat?

    I know the real answer is how ever long it takes for them to reach an internal temperature that I want (195 degrees for the butts and 180 degrees for the ribs--my preference). However, I need an approximation of how long this will take.

    I know the general guideline is approx. 1.5 hours/lb for pork butt and approx 6 hrs for the ribs, but does this remain true for these quantities?

    If I have 3 butts in my smoker does that mean I smoke them for 38.25 hrs (1.5 hrs x 25.5 lbs) or 12.75 hrs (1.5 hrs x 8.5 lbs). In other words, should my smoking time be based on combined weight or individual weight?

    What about the ribs? Any increase in the length of time there? Should I smoke the ribs on the grill with 8 racks longer?

    Any help anyone can provide is greatly appreciated!


  2. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The length of time won't change significantly with more meat in there assuming you can hold your temps up with that large cold mass in there. Expect to use more fuel, but if you stick with the 1.5 hours per lb for the largest butt you should be fine.

    Same story with the ribs.......if you are using 321 for example, time won't long as you keep the temps where they should be.
  3. Good stuff! Thanks a bundle! I assume there would be no change if I am not using 321 (assuming I keep my temps up)?

    Thanks again!

  4. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Right, cooking method doesn't matter.

    Think about it in terms of cooking chicken nuggets in the oven (sorry that is all I could come up with). Does it take longer to cook 30 than it does 1? Not really..........

    It might take a bit since it will take a little longer to recover the temp when you add 40 lbs of cold meat, versus 8 lbs of cold meat, but as long as you can recover (and hold) the temps, the cooking will be the same.
  5. gooose53

    gooose53 Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Can't add anything to what Joe said, except maybe to use a few remote temps to keep track of where your at.....but, you knew that already.
  6. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Like you even HAVE an oven! [​IMG]
  7. I get your point. It makes a lot of sense. I guess my confusion came in with the poundage. I believe (correct me if I am wrong) that if you have a full pork shoulder (butt and picnic) that weighs, oh, 16 lbs, you would smoke it for approx 24 hrs (1.5 hrs x 16 lbs). I wasn't sure if the 1.5 hrs/lb applied for raw poundage or for the largest individual unit being smoked.

    Your response has helped tremendously! Thank you again!

    I will make a real effort to remember to take pictures this weekend and post them for all to see.

    Thanks again!

  8. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    KEY POINT: Meat is smoked to temp...NOT time. There was an 18 HOUR butt here the other day I believe.
  9. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Joe is correct but personally I would start 4-5 hours earlier in case I hit any long plateaus or anything else that adds to smoking times. You can put the finished butts foiled and wrapped in a towel into a dry cooler and keep them until chow time with no problem but if you have any problems its nice to have the extra time built in. Off course this doesn't apply to the ribs figure about 6 hours and maybe 1/2 hour cooler time and you should be fine
  10. I agree totally. I just wanted to get an approximation to know when to start, since it will be in the middle of the night.
  11. Piney, I was planning on that (great minds think alike I guess). Thanks for the suggestion, though.

    Ritchie, I agree with your point about cooking to temp. Thanks.
  12. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    The 1.5 hours per lb is a good place to start good luck with the big smoke. 8.5 x 1.5 + extra 4-5 hours should work and use the thermo
  13. That's the plan. Thanks for the help!
  14. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Now you know why I could not come up with a better example.
  15. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yeah, when in doubt, add a little extra time, you can keep it warm for a long time with very little effort and not sacrifice the quality...........much harder to speed it up without putting a hurting on it.
  16. cinnamonkc

    cinnamonkc Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    That was me Richtee...I had 3 butts, 3 briskets and ribs, and my butts took 18 hours!!
  17. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Oh........what temp you planning on smoking at.

    Don't be afraid to run 250 or so in the smoker, that will put you closer to 1 hour per pound if you want to get aggressive with it. The end result will be the same.........or better. [​IMG]
  18. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    butt such a nice looking BUTT it is............heheheh

    we was just having this coversation last nite in chat, and i came up with this theory...........KC was using a verticle smoker, and was having a heck of a time getting the meat dun......and it was tossed out that more meat will slow down the cooking times..........and smokebuzz said no way...........

    My theory is this.........using a horizontal smoker, the heat is the same all across the the smoker, from end to end. (this is assuming you have it tuned, to where this is true) So alll the meat gets the same exposure to the heat..........but in a verticle, the bottom meats will act like a thermal mass, and absorb most of the heat, where as the top meats won't get as much........thats why so many gosm users, rotate the overcome this.........

    does this theory have any merit?........i Just threw that out there last nite, and several chatters said it made since.........i thought it did.......but hey......i am just a Idiot Out Wandering Around.........get it....IOWA.........Bwahahahaha.......i kill myself sometimes........

    (d88de waits on folks to jump on THAT one..........hehehe)
  19. I prefer the vertical smokers since the heat stays at an even temperature. I do rotate the meat if all will be in the smoker for the same amount of time. This morning I did a beef roast and pork chops. I put the beef on the higher rack and the chops on a lower rack. The chops were done in less than 90 minutes and the beef is still smoking. My only problem with the vertical gas smoker is keeping the heat below 230 degrees in the summer time.[​IMG]
  20. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    I know if you pack things too tightly you won't get good air flow throughout and could get some seriously cold spots that would affect things. I can tell you from my first hand experience on veriticals and horizontals that the amount of meat doesn't change the times as long as (now these are important) you can 1. recover/maintain your temps after adding the big hunk of meat and 2. you can still get good airflow in the cook chamber.

    I can put 100 lbs of butts in my Stumps and hum right along without a care in the world as long as there is sufficient space left for air flow. But, in a moment of mental breakdown, I have loaded the bottom rack tight with chicken and sat wondering how the ribs up top didn't get done. [​IMG]

    If the heat can't get to the meat, it ain't gonna get done on time.

    Just my 3 cents FWIW.........keep the change.

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