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Unread 01-31-2013, 11:28 AM   #1
eap0510
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Default What happen to my butt???

Last weekend I cook a 8 pound pork butt.
I was cooking it around an average temperature of 280 degrees on my Akron and I was cooking it without using any foil.

After about 4 hours or so I took the internal temperature of the butt. My instant read thermometer slid in nice and easy but the internal temp was about 170. Having been cooking for several years now I knew that everything looked and felt correct so far but it still needed to cook.

After another hour had pasted I check the temperature again. This time the probe slid in a little harder and the internal was around 180 degrees. I was not worried at first but after another hour went by and I checked the temperature again the probe slid in even harder. The internal was around 185 but each time I stuck the butt my thermometer would slide in harder and harder for some reason.

I finally pulled the butt off when the internal temperature was around 195. When it hit this mark I probed the butt in several different locations and the probe was meeting some resistance at each spot. This is something that I have never experiencing before at this temperature. Normally the probe will slide in like a hot knife through butter but not this time.

The flavor was good but it lacked for a better word a "pork flavor". It was moist and had a nice texture while chewing it.

What I do not understand is why did the probe slide in harder each time I checked the temperature of the meat? Anyone have any suggestions?

-Eric
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Unread 01-31-2013, 11:40 AM   #2
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Sounds like a little more time... if its not soft, leave it on.
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Unread 01-31-2013, 11:46 AM   #3
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Not all butts are created equal. Some probe tender at 195 others at 205. Therefore, temperature is just a tool to let you know when to start probing. It is done when it probes tender, not by temperature.

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Unread 01-31-2013, 11:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoothsmoke View Post
Not all butts are created equal. Some probe tender at 195 others at 205. Therefore, temperature is just a tool to let you know when to start probing. It is done when it probes tender, not by temperature.

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I understand what you are saying about cooking it longer but what I found odd was that at first it was probing nicely. As the cook continued the probe started to insert harder and the more time that went by the harder it went in.

It was as if the meat was tightening up instead of getting more tender.

-Eric
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Unread 01-31-2013, 11:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eap0510 View Post
I understand what you are saying about cooking it longer but what I found odd was that at first it was probing nicely. As the cook continued the probe started to insert harder and the more time that went by the harder it went in.

It was as if the meat was tightening up instead of getting more tender.

-Eric
That's definitely odd. Is your thermometer working properly?
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Unread 01-31-2013, 12:02 PM   #6
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I actually had a similar problem a while back. The probe went in like a hot knife into butter a few hours before I thought it should be done. I took it out and wrapped it, thinking it was done. Two hours later, when I pulled it, it was very firm and I'd wished I'd cooked it a few hours longer. I don't know if our pork was related.
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Unread 01-31-2013, 12:23 PM   #7
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I have had this happen a couple of time, mostly on smaller butts, and when you leave it on, when they do kick over and start getting tender it goes super fast. I can't explain it, I assume it has to do with the nature of that particular cut of pork. Although, it has definitely been with smaller butts for me.
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Unread 01-31-2013, 12:53 PM   #8
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I am very interested in the resolution or explanation of this topic. It almost doesn't make sense scientifically unless the thermometer was off and the pork actually overcooked. Even still, there is a very forgiving range when it comes to butts.
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Unread 01-31-2013, 01:53 PM   #9
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Actually i feel like this does make sense... As the meat gets higher in temperature, the muscle fibers tighten, moisture is expelled, and the meat gets tougher and tougher. It's overcooked, just like a well done steak is tougher than a medium-rare steak. It isn't until enough collagen and other connective tissue has broken down and turned to gelatin that the meat becomes tender again. This can start at lower temperatures, but really speeds up as meat gets higher and higher in temperature. My guess is that this process in that particular butt just hadn't progressed enough yet. Just my 2 cents...
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Unread 01-31-2013, 04:21 PM   #10
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Bone in butts have a built in thermometer. The bone. When it wiggle freely and almost wants to fall out, the meat is done. At higher cooking temps, this seems to happen at higher internal temps. at 280, I wouldn't of even checked for "done" till the meat hit 200, and have found that most times it's not done till internal is around 205. Every pig is gonna cook up slightly different as always
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Unread 01-31-2013, 08:41 PM   #11
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The reason meats need to be taken to a higher internal temperature when using higher cooking temps is that the meat hasn't spent enough time at internal temperatures optimal for breaking down connective tissue. As meat goes from 180 to 190 to 200 degrees, the rate of this process increases immensely. When using higher cooking temps, the meat goes through these internal temperatures faster than at lower cooking temps and as the meat gets above 200 the rate of this process is so fast that the meat will become tender very fast. When using lower cooking temperatures, the meat will spend more time at high internal temperatures... lets say between 180 and 200 degrees... and can become tender before reaching the highest internal temperatures. That's my understanding at least….
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Unread 01-31-2013, 08:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Ropo View Post
Bone in butts have a built in thermometer. The bone. When it wiggle freely and almost wants to fall out, the meat is done. At higher cooking temps, this seems to happen at higher internal temps. at 280, I wouldn't of even checked for "done" till the meat hit 200, and have found that most times it's not done till internal is around 205. Every pig is gonna cook up slightly different as always
That's been my experience too. I cook butts at 300. I don't even check it until it hits 200 IT. If its not ready i just continue to check periodically until the bone lets go.
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Unread 01-31-2013, 09:06 PM   #13
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Was it by chance an "Enhance But"??? They can act strange and IMO be lacking in flavor. As to the meat tightening up it needed to cook longer and for you once again I shall kick the dead Pony"YOU CAN NOT COOK GREAT BBQ ON A CONSISTANT BASIS COOKING TO AN INTERNAL TEMP OR BY XXX MIN PER LB" Probe tender, Bone wiggle, Bend Test, are the most reliable means to determine properly cooked Great BBQ.
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Unread 02-01-2013, 10:29 AM   #14
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Thank you everyone for you input.

I thought my thermometer was bad as well but when I gave it the boiling water test it passed.

As for if it was enhanced I do not recall seeing anything on the package. I have to admit that it did lack pork flavor when I tested it. It sounds as if it might have been enhanced since it lacked pork flavor and had tightened up so much over the cook.

I picked up the butt at Kroger when they had them on sale for $1.29/lb a few weeks back. I picked up 3 of them and this is the only one out of the bunch that gave me trouble and lacked that pork flavor.

Thanks again everyone for your input.

-Eric
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