View Full Version : Uneven cooking of butt

Code 6 Chuck
07-18-2012, 12:55 PM
So I recently built my UDS and smoked my first butt. It was about a 7 pound shoulder. Smoked it between 225-250. I had an internal probe thermometer in the middle of it and pulled it off the smoker at 190 degrees. Before I did, I stuck a fork in the top and twisted it, and it was moist and tender and melting in my mouth. Delicious!

The problem came when I went to pull it. One half was perfectly cooked and succulent and pulled very easily. The other half was still very tough, and a couple of jabs with a thermometer said it was only about 140 degrees.

WTF?? Did I screw something up? Is this normal? This is the first butt I've ever smoked so I don't really know the nuances of this whole thing.

07-18-2012, 01:14 PM
What did you measure the 190 in the UDS with? The same thermometer?
I usually like to get to 200-205 temp. Once my ET-732 tells me I have the right temp. I use my hand held intant read thermometer and check several spots in the meat. The bone is a little hotter. Maybe you probe was too close to the bone and gave you a higher reading.

07-18-2012, 01:22 PM
A couple of things. First have you calibrated or at least checked to make sure any thermo you use is accurate? Next, the internal temp is merely a gage. After I get an estimated IT I probe to made sure it probes easily (like butter) in various spots on the piece of meat or you can wiggle the bone and it would pull right out, before pulling it off the smoker and letting it rest wrapped in foil inside a cooler full of old towels etc. Last, is there any obstruction between the meat and the coals that could have shielded part of the meat? I put boston butts on and never remove the lid until I start probing for tenderness so I don't move it around to achieve even cooking and have never had this issue.

07-18-2012, 01:32 PM
WTF?? Did I screw something up?.

Yes, you didn't wait for it to be "done".

Is this normal?

Yes, if you remove the meat from the cooker prior to it's completion, it is normal for the meat to be undercooked.

Don't even bother with the internal temperature when cooking butts. It really isn't necessary. When you can wiggle the bone and it removes easily from the meat, it is done.

Code 6 Chuck
07-18-2012, 01:38 PM
Oh I should add that it was a boneless butt (one of the ones from Costco). Also looking at the remnants of the coals, it seems they were burning unevenly, so that probably had something to do with it.

07-18-2012, 01:39 PM
I cook to an internal temp of 200 and I don't pull it off any sooner. Once it hits the 200 degree mark, I test it in a couple of areas to make sure that, for the most part, it's done. You will have some areas that are hotter than others, so what I do is put it in a foil container, wrap it up, wrap the container in a beach towel, put the container in a cooler and let it rest for a few hours. This will allow it to "even out" a little bit and finish cooking if necessary.

It sounds like your temp probe might have been too close to the bone, or in a fatty pocket. Try placing your temp probe in the meatiest part of the butt, away from the bone.

Code 6 Chuck
07-18-2012, 01:40 PM
Yes, if you remove the meat from the cooker prior to it's completion, it is normal for the meat to be undercooked.Lol duly noted sir. :)

07-18-2012, 03:20 PM
I also agree with the guys saying wrap it up with tinfoil or plastic wrap, wrap that in a towel and put in a cooler. If you do this and leave it for a min of a couple hours it will even out nicely. Try to get bone in butts as well. The bone never lies! When it pulls out clean and easy. She is done.

07-18-2012, 07:28 PM
Chuck, the only other thing I'd say is it isn't going to hurt to run that smoker up a little hotter. My stickburner likes to run at 265, and that is the temp at grate level. I can throw 16 butts on there for 8 hours, wrap them, and invariably they are done 2 hours after that. I've never monitored internal temps, just know that it is done when it's done. You're not going to hurt those butts by cooking them a little hotter.