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Old 11-28-2011, 09:13 AM   #1
Cack
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Question Pork Butt Noobie (need tips and pointers)

I believe I'm going to give my pork butt a shot this weekend. Anyone have any tips and rules of thumb for me to follow? Any injections I should try? Rubs?

Thanks in advance
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:21 AM   #2
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You are going to get a ton of opinions on what works good for other people...the best thing to do is experiment and see what you like and what works best for you. The things to remember are low and slow and pull between 198-205 internal temp. Some guys like the hot and fast method, its not for me but its something else to experiment with. BBQ is all about experimentation and finding what works best for you.
My first shoulder I ever did was just some lowery's season salt and pepper a simple base toy work off of then everytime I cooked after that I tried a diferent rub and injections until I found the perfect combination that I liked. That was about 6 shoulders later. Get yourself a couple BBQ cookbooks and try different things.

Good luck and have fun
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:21 AM   #3
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This is how I did my last pork butt and how I do them from then on... Really comes out great and full of flavor! A lot of people don't use a pan... but having the butt sit in the rendered juices really brings the flavor up a notch IMO!

Cheers
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:29 AM   #4
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Start with a minimum 8+ lb Butt; I prefer Bone-In. Slather the Butt with Yellow Mustard and sprinkle heavily with your Rub (This can be done the night before if wanted). Place on counter for about a ½ hour or so before putting into the smoker, (You could Inject at this time). Let your smoker stabilize at your cooking temp and the smoke is running light Blue before putting the meat on.


Cook Indirect at 225º-240º Fat cap down, after 6-7 hours start spraying quickly with Apple Juice every hour or so until the Butt is at 165º.
When the Butt gets to 165º-170º; Place onto Foil, spray well with Apple Juice, wrap Butt in foil, and place back into Smoker, and flip to Fat Cap up at this time (make sure the Foil seams are on top).



Continue cooking until Butt is at 195º-200º, or until the Probe goes in like butter. Remove from Smoker and wrap in old towels and place into a dry cooler for 3-5 hours (less time is Okay but it will be better with a nice long rest), (Butt will still be too hot to handle without gloves). I like to Pull fast but still removing most the Fat before serving, enjoy!
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:31 AM   #5
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Know that "low and slow" is most anything under 300; meaning there is no magic at 220.

Lower temps (like 220) pretty much just delay the cook.

I've always been of the mind to follow the KISS theory.

250, give or take 15 degrees.

Injection; KISS again. Most start with (even competitors) something as simple as apple juice and worchestershire sauce. Some add a little of their rub in it.

Rub, pretty much whatever you like. Some pre-slather on mustard to help hold the rub. I dont; I've never had a problem with the rub coming off... Plowboy's Yardbird is an excellent way to start (IMHO).

Nice sweet blue smoke. I stick with hickory, but your choice/preference here as well.

I'm on a stick burner that can get the meats VERY smoky and black. As a result I/we foil at the 4.25 hour mark. The butt is still wonderfully smoked and ends up a dark mahogany color.

Cook to 200+- (see above). Remove, allow it to rest for an hour or longer (while foiled).

You'll end up with very moist juicy heavenly meat.
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Old 11-28-2011, 10:01 AM   #6
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Thanks guys. I've heard people say it'll take like 2 hours per pound. Is that true or way off? I'm trying to find out when I should look to start the cook.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cack View Post
Thanks guys. I've heard people say it'll take like 2 hours per pound. Is that true or way off? I'm trying to find out when I should look to start the cook.
Two hours per pound is pretty high but one thing to remember is those guidelines are just that--guidelines. One thing you'll learn in is you're cooking to temp, not time. Don't overcook a butt that is done just because someone told you to cook it two hours per pound.

You've been given some great advice here, and I really like Lake Dogs' advice: keep it simple. This is your first butt, don't get crazy with your rubs and injections; give yourself a good flavor baseline and minimize the variables and things to screw up. Don't overthink it. Pork butt is very forgiving.

Yesterday a friend brought an 8.5 lb butt over at 3:00 PM and said he was craving pulled pork. I fired up the Big Green Egg to 350 and by 9 PM we were eating dinner. I don't normally do hot and fast cooks, but if I wanted to actually eat last night that was my only option. The method wasn't perfect; the bark kind of dried out and some of the end pieces were a bit chewy, but the meat inside was still very tender and juicy.

Anyways, good luck!
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:27 AM   #8
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i have an offset. so i try to avoid really long smokes. therefor i smoke hot n fast with pork butts. i do 8 pounders in about 8 hours. i smoke em about 275. once i foil em up ill let the smoker go as high as 300. ive never had a difference between that and keeping it low the whole time. its tender as ever.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:32 AM   #9
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When should I look to foil it?
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:39 AM   #10
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When should I look to foil it?
IF you're going to foil then do so around 165* internal. Or just leave it alone.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:01 PM   #11
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I try to get 9+ lb butts. At 250-260 it usually takes between 9.5 and 10 hours, so right at 1 hour / lb. I foil at 4.25 hours into the smoke.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:18 PM   #12
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After fretting over my first pork butts, I now know something nobody told me before.

It's very, very hard to screw up this piece of meat. Just let it cook and it's done when it's done Temp, Time, all really don't matter in the big picture. Just cook it till it gets to around 190 and check for doneness. If it's bone in the bone should pull right out.

I've done them hot and fast, low and slow, very low and slow(200) all of them came out great and I didn't get a single complaint about them.

So bottom line: DON'T WORRY and enjoy the Q.
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:29 PM   #13
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I've actually managed to ruin a few early on. It IS hard to do. However, in my case, I found out later that what I thought was 220 cooking temp was actually more like 185. That (at least not mine) does NOT make a good butt.

Relax, have a beer, cook it in a nice mid-range temperature, have another beer, burn your fingers pulling some wonderful hot barbecue, have another beer.
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:45 PM   #14
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This is a thread we keep in the Q-Talk Road map.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...5&postcount=67

Basically, the same question you had and how he made it through it.
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:11 PM   #15
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What type of pit are you cooking on/in, Cack? That can make a big difference.

When I'm cooking butts at home I keep things very simple.

1. I like big butts, and I cannot lie . 8 lbs minimum, but I prefer 9 - 10 lbs, bone in.
2. Trim off any thick areas of fat and any loose bits from a sloppy meat packer
3. Inject with Chris Lilly's injection mixture (recipe below)
4. Rub heavily.
5. Put it in the cooker at whatever temp your cooker like to settle in at. For mine that's usually 250-ish.
6. Forget about it for a few hours. No mopping, no opening the cooker door.
7. When the bark is the color that I like (dark red or mahogany) foil, or don't :) If I foil I add about 1/2 cup of the injection liquid (fresh, not used :) ).
8. When the temp probe slides in with little resistance remove from pit and open the foil for a few minutes to release some heat to stop the carry over cooking.
9. Place in a preheated cooler insulated with towels and let it rest for at least two hours.

For my cooker at 250 I average around 70 - 80 minutes per pound, but I budget 90 minutes per pound just in case I get a stubborn butt.


Chris Lilly Injection:
3/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
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