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Help with Boston Butt

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    Help with Boston Butt

    As you know, no good deed goes unpunished. I was living proof of that today. I cooked a Boston butt on a Yoder pellet grill for about nine hours till it got to 207° per my Fireboard. I had had it wrapped in foil since it was it about 160° with a good bark. My intention was to take part of it to somebody who had a new baby and another part of it to somebody who had a knee replacement. I let it rest for an hour and a half and it was tough as it could be. I could not pull out the bone and it was a total waste. My question to this group is that I have heard over and over that a pork butt cook to 205° is supposed to be done and mine was not done at all. How in the world do you know when a pork butt is done by temperature?

    Every piece of meat is different and some need higher temps to be shredded. Next time, do a quick fork test and if it doesn’t work, leave it on until it passes.


      What temp was your pellet grill cooking at? My initial reaction is that your pork butt never got to 207 F internal. I am sure it can be done, but in my experience there is no such thing as an overly cooked pork butt. Only under-cooked. Two degrees between 205 and 207 would never cause a pork butt to be tough. The fact that you couldn't pull out the bone means it wasn't at 207 F. Pork shoulder cooked above 203 F falls apart and the bone pulls out cleanly. Your description describes a pork butt that wasn't really above 203 F.

      My buddy has a pellet grill. He smokes for about three hours at a low temp, say 250 F, then cranks it up to finish off the pork butt. No wrapping necessary.

      I cooked six 10 lb pork butts last weekend, unwrapped at 275-325 F for about 7 hours and all the bones pulled out clean and the meat fell apart.

      Don't give up! Good pork shoulder falls apart and it's worth pursuing! Let us know how your next cook goes!


      • Mr. Bones
        Mr. Bones commented
        Editing a comment
        True Dat!

        >chimin in on th banjo:<
        Last edited by Mr. Bones; August 21, 2021, 08:12 PM.

      Yes - every hunk o' meat is different. Next time don't take it off until the bone comes out.

      BTW - you could slice the butt across the grain thin and it should be OK.


        I also doubt it was actually 207. Either way, temp gives you a rough idea when it might be done. Probe tender tells you when it’s actually done.


          So, a question - where did you measure the 207 temp at? I ask because the bone conducts heat and if you measure the meat near it, you'll get a much higher temp than the rest of the meat is at.

          For large hunks of meat I like to temp it in several places with a thermopop once the main, leave in probe says it's getting close.

          PS: don't toss it. Pork. Chili. Verde.
          Last edited by rickgregory; August 21, 2021, 08:26 PM.


          • mnavarre
            mnavarre commented
            Editing a comment
            I'd probably with pork chili Colorado in that situation, but that's because I'd have to go to the store for peppers & tomatillos for the verde but I'd just have to go to the pantry for stuff for chili colorado.

          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            This ^^^^

            If your probe was touching bone, then the temperature could have been totally off. I always probe in multiple places once my cooking alarm goes off at 203F, and leave it on until it probes like warm butter throughout.

          Poking with an instant thermometer is how I know when it’s done. Once the temperature is consistently showing above 205 then I know it’s done. I’ve made 3 butts this summer in my pellet smokers and I really don’t even need the instant thermometer to tell me when it’s done. When I’m handling a done butt it’s like handling jello. But much better.


            I don’t worry much about meat temp until it hits 180-190. Then I move the probe around to find the coolest spot and leave it there.


              I agree with others, dont give up. I would also be curious of your cook temp. Typically butts take longer than 9 hours. I have had some go 15 or more. But as others have said every piece of meat is different. Hang in there.


              • holehogg
                holehogg commented
                Editing a comment
                Think it was my second or third butt in early 2018 and a whopping 17 pound hunk. Took just short of 27 hours at 210F. Lessons learnt that cook. I will add it did turn out fantadtic.

              You are getting really good advice, time and temp are guides, and using the butt for chili, etc.
              I made a similar error with ribs, tough, I just wrapped in foil again and back into the pellet grill again until tender.


                Higher than 203-205 it would be mush not tough. I would first calibrate that Fireboard. Always have a Thermapen for Final temp readings is my advice. Someone stated above about 1.5 hrs per lb is right for 275 ish temp. I have a Pork Butt Recipe and Process on Head Country BBQ website. https://www.headcountry.com/recipe/l...ree-bbq-sauce/


                • LA Pork Butt
                  LA Pork Butt commented
                  Editing a comment
                  My initial thought was the thermometer was off, but touching the bone could have been the problem. I typically cook at 225 to an internal temp of 200. Then I wrap and let it rest 2-4 hours in an ice chest. I never had a tough one.

                I take mine to 208° and if you drop it, it will pull itself. Your temp was off is my final answer. Should have taken way longer.


                  I always check with a Therma pen as I don't always get optimal placement with my probe thermometer.


                    Definitely ascribin to th School of yer temp indications weren't readin accurate...


                      I agree that temp is a reference point. I recently smoked 2 butts to 203 and removed without checking fir probe tenderness. After receiving many helpful comments I will from now on keep on smoker till either bone removes freely and /or tender when probed. Have two on right now. Will give update.


                      • Mr. Bones
                        Mr. Bones commented
                        Editing a comment
                        standin by.


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