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stepheneleven 02-13-2010 12:13 AM

OK so this plateau thing?
So I put a small 5.5 lb bone-in pork shoulder on the new WSM at about noon and it's now 11pm. For the last 4 hours I've been getting temps between 165 & 175. It's actually down to 170 at the moment. I've kept steady temps in the smoker all day(around 250). When the heck is this thing gonna break? I was told that the cook would be around 8 hours for a cut this big. It's going on 11 hours now. Once this starts going, how long is it gonna be, my guests have gone home and I'm getting sleepy. Luckily the small brisket I put on just for fun turned out pretty well and was a big hit. Is this normal? I'm a noob. First smoke ever.

stepheneleven 02-13-2010 12:18 AM

Actually it's been in that range for over 5 hours, I did my math wrong.

landarc 02-13-2010 12:18 AM

It is not normal, but, it is possible. The other thing I can suggest, go poke a metal skewer or thermometer probe and see if it goes in like butter. Sometimes the temp just doesnt break. You want it to feel like butter

stepheneleven 02-13-2010 12:24 AM

It is pretty soft and does look like it might be starting to fall apart. But like I said this the first I've done of these so I'm not sure what the finished product is supposed be like exactly. Plus it's really dark out so it's kinda hard to tell. I think I'll just wait til midnight and take it off no matter what and wrap it. Thanks for the reply.

snoqualmiesmoker 02-13-2010 12:37 AM

I had a 5 lb one from Safeway take 19 hours to get to 195. Sometimes it takes FOREVER.

Other times it is quick.

This is a good time to get used to having a cooler and hot towels to hold your meat. That way the meat is done long before you need it.

And as the saying goes:
It's done when its done.

Timmy 02-13-2010 12:41 AM

Are you sure that your thermo you are using to check meat temps with is working properly?
Eleven hours for a 5 1/2 lb butt is more that enough. Take it off and enjoy.

stepheneleven 02-13-2010 12:44 AM

Haha, yeah I guess. And you lost me on the cooler and hot towels thing.

Forrest 02-13-2010 12:45 AM

wrap it and finish it in the oven if it truly isn't done, but it sounds like it sure should be!

stepheneleven 02-13-2010 12:45 AM

Thanks again for the late night advice guys.

sdb25 02-13-2010 01:04 AM


Originally Posted by Forrest (Post 1180072)
wrap it and finish it in the oven if it truly isn't done, but it sounds like it sure should be!

It's done when it's done. That means when the temp is at 195-200 for pulling, or 175 for slicing. Just because it has sat on your cooker good and long, doesn't mean it's done. Just sayin'.

jemezspring 02-13-2010 01:14 AM

Follow your thermo. 195-200 for pulled pork. I too have had 4lb butts take 12 hours to finish @225-250. Make sure you keep your pit temps up at the 250 mark.

At this point put it in the oven @275 and take it to 195. Shut it off, catch a couple hours of zzzzz's and pull later.

kickassbbq 02-13-2010 08:22 AM

Easy Peasy.
They almost ALL go through that Stall Zone!!!! Actually, I never had one that didn't.

Next time you get it to 160, cover it with foil. Make sure there is a little mopisture in there with it. It will ZOOM right on up to 200.

Or, you can do that AND crank the heat just a little.

Try a Hot nad Fast one sometime. Get your smoker to 375, cover with foil at 160 and take it off at 200. You will have Pulled Port Sammies in under 6 hours guaranteed!!!!!!

Ron_L 02-13-2010 10:22 AM

How did it go, Stepheneleven? When was it done?

I don't like to cook small cuts. I have found that small cuts take proportionally longer per pound to cook than larger cuts. I try to buy butts that are at least 8 lbs.

HeSmellsLikeSmoke 02-13-2010 10:37 AM

As Keri C. is fond of saying, "The plateau is when the magic of BBQ is happening".

Relax, start earlier from now on to allow for the possibility of a long one and then cooler the meat a bit longer if it gets done early.

landarc 02-13-2010 11:01 AM

I disagree with the idea that is has to get to 195F internal, or that the thermometer has to be wrong. If it is falling apart and tender to the probe, it is done. I have, on rare occasion, had butts that hit the stall and never seemed to come out, pulled at 180F and they were done done done. I have found that texture is the best way to tell, poke that sucker with a long probe, feel it with your hands (yes, it is hot, be a big boy and reach in there) and if it is soft and pulling, pokes like butter, you are good. I really don't like going purely by temperature.

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