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First non-wrapped Pork Butt on the PBC

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    First non-wrapped Pork Butt on the PBC

    I am new to smoking in general, only been in these parts for a few months. I like my PBC and have turned out some good BBQ on it using the tips from the site and the fine folks here. I have reached that point where I, and my friends, would rather eat my BBQ than go to any of the Q restaurants around us. One thing I have never done is power through a PB cook without wrapping. One reason was just the time I could get out of the coals on the PBC. Well, today I was off and had nothing better to do but give it a try.

    I lit the coals using the tips in the "light my PBC" section. It seemed to peak high and stay high for a while. Topped at 424 and was still at 360 1.5 hours later. I stuffed some foil in the holes until it came below 300.

    The PB seemed to hit a stall early, at about 147. Took hours to get to 152 at which point a cracked the lid and powered through to 170. At 170 I moved to the grate, put both bars in and the lid on tight. 2-hours later I was at 197 just as the coals were ready to give out. It was a 6.2lb Boston butt.

    It took 8.5 hours in total, about 1 hour was powering through the stall. The pit temp was 229 as I pulled the PB off. I wrapped in foil and put into the faux cambro (ice chest with towels) for one hour.

    Results: The PB was probably one of the driest I have done. The bark was much better than the wrapped ones for sure, it did not have that wet chalking bark that you get from wrapping. However, the pork was just not tender. In fact, I had very little juices in the foil when I pulled it from the cambro to mix back in after pulling. The flavor was good and I did like the bark, but did not like the dryness. Any tips or comments from those with similar results would be helpful.

    Also, how are you running the hooks through the PB? I'm using the method in the new PBC videos from the website, where the blade side goes down (put on top of your cutting board) and then you run a hook through each end, one to the left and one to the right. Im not sure I'm a huge fan, you can see in mine, it caused it to pull along the fat area the runs through the PB. Almost as if it where to separate halves.


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    It may have just been too quick of a cook to fully 'melt' all the fat inside. A longer cambro hold or a slower cook, or both, may help next time. On other devices an unwrapped PB will take 12-18hrs. I have done some on my kettle with SnS and they were at 16hrs.


      I did an unwrapped boneless portk butt in the PBC today. I purposely let the PBC find it's own temperature which seemed to be between 240 and 250F, with a puzzling rise to 260-270 at about 8 hours, and then it dropped back again. I never even cracked the lid until the coals finally ran out after 12.5 hours. The 8 lb. butt was firmly stuck in a 174F stall for the last 3 hours or so. I pulled it off the bars and wrapped it very tightly and into the fridge. I'll finish it in the oven tomorrow, and maybe back on a grill to firm the bark at the very end.


        Daniel ( dpsphotos ) when you powered through the stall, what was the temperature?

        Also, I'm not certain I would have had the courage to allow the PBC's initial temp to maintain as high as 360+ for the first 1.5 hours. I would have been stuffing those rebar holes after the first 15-20 minutes to coax the temp down. In my experience, when the PBC runs away with temp, it really runs.

        What kind of charcoal did you use?

        And was the PB probe tender when you removed it? Sometimes the meat temps vary from one part of the PB chunk to the other, so when it gets around 199 or so I start to trust probe tenderness instead of temperature. I've pulled PBs at 199 and taken others up to 205.

        I do my PBs unwrapped all the time. They take between 8 and 10.5 hours, depending on thickness (not weight) and I seldom rest them more than 30 minutes. They're always juicy with a great bark, at least in my cooks so far. I have yet to have a dry PB for a result.

        My PBC temp for a PB cook averages around 260. The butts weigh about 5 to 8 lbs, and, except for the first time, I always split them for more barky goodness, per Huskee 's excellent recommendation. In my PBC, a Kingsford Original fire can last anywhere from 8 to 11 hours or so before it starts to poop out. If it dies early (at 8 hours) I'll finish the butt up, wrapped, in a 225 degree oven but that has only happened once.

        My first (bone in) pork butt, 7.5 lbs unsplit, took 10 hours at 260 pit temp.

        In another cook a with a 5.5 lb butt, split, the 3.5 lb bone-in piece took 10.25 hours while the 2 lb boneless piece took 8 hours at 260 pit temp.

        Hope this info helps. The best thing you can do is to smoke another PB sooner than later to hoist yourself further up that learning curve. As I've often said, for a PBC, the learning curve is pretty short. Usually you can nail a technique in a couple of cooks.

        Best of luck with your next PB cook!


        Oh and P.S. I hang the bone-in PBs that I do just as Noah shows in the original PB video. I'm guessing it's the same hook method as in the new PB video, but I haven't watched the newer one.
        Last edited by fzxdoc; July 4, 2015, 06:56 AM.


          You need to tie it together to keep it as one hunk. Looking at the picture, you have some really thin pieces and gaps that look as dry as a desert.

          I like to run around 275 on butts, but (butt) higher temps don't worry me.

          If I have just butts hanging I will bring the Pit temp up to 325+ when they start to stall. I crack the lid to allow some excess moisture to escape.

          Most my butt cooks are maybe 9-10 hours. I cook them monthly for return customers, each one better than the last.


            I just think it got too hot, usually you have to try to get it over 300 by removing rebar or cracking the lid. There is always some shrinkage, a pork but has many muscles, the main two (by main I mean largest) are what is separating there, and that only happens, to my knowledge, when the pit is too hot, it causes the muscles to bind up and squeeze all the moisture out.
            I'm not an advocate of dry runs, mostly not to be wasteful but also testing a condition you will never find yourself in isn't helpful, but you need to get that sucker dialed in to ~275, if you are cramming foil in holes something else is wrong.

            What is your altitude and what does your opening look like? (get your mind out of the gutter!)


              Many thanks everyone for helping out. To answer a few questions.

              fzxdoc - When powering through the stall it ran about 325. However, the whole cook ran high, not just with the start, but I also had a hard time keeping temps below the 280 mark most of the cook. I agree, I will try foil the holes next time and keep them in longer.

              I was using kingsford blues with a few chunks of manzanita. Also, I believe the hanging technique has changed. To quote the new video steps: (This sounds like running both hooks through the money muscle to me). "Insert one hook into each of the small ends of the roast so that the hooks point in the same direction and have enough clearance to hang from the rods."

              Jerod Broussard - Never thought of tying, but will try that next time.

              _John_ - I'm at sea level and my port is open between 1/4 and 1/2. I opened my port a bit more, beyond the 1/4 opening a while back because I was having a hard time getting good consistent lights on my coals. However, since then I have adopted the lighting techniques that Kathryn recommended and I have been getting really consistent lights. Maybe I should go back to the 1/4 opening now that my lighting technique seems to be working well.

              I'll give it another go soon and report back. I good barked PB that is moist will not elude me I have loved my wrapped butts but want that great bark everyone raves about here.



                You asked about how to hook a PB. Here is the 9 lb butt I cooked yesterday. Photo taken just after hanging the meat. This took 7 hrs to cook to a temp of 200. I wrapped it at 162. The average temp for the duration was in the 250-260 range and there were periods of having to choke it back by plugging a rebar hole or two. I lit it with the chimney using 50 hot coals to start. Folks loved it. I flavored it with a dip after the "pulling". I reloaded a bit more hickory on the coals, choked the PBC down, and I then I put the meat in an aluminum pan, uncovered, and put it back in the PBC but on the grate. I smoked the meat an additional 30 min or so , being sure to turn the meat over several times to introduced all the pulled meat to some smoke flavoring. Edit: sorry, the picture is upside down.
                Last edited by Chuck; July 5, 2015, 08:02 AM.



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