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Pork Butt Blunder: what did I do wrong?

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    Pork Butt Blunder: what did I do wrong?

    My daughter came over for dinner yesterday and she specifically requested a pulled pork Thanksgiving dinner the week prior. Good kid that one J Long story short, I haven’t been able to use my Webber kettle for 3 years so I was excited for this cook. For full disclosure, I only had 8 pork butt cooks under my belt prior to yesterday (I mostly grill), four of which were low and slow and the other four were hot n’ fast (300-325ish degrees). Yesterday’s cook was done in the hot n’ fast method. This butt (actually half butt, what I mostly find at my grocery store…4.3 lbs) was the driest meat of any kind that I have made for as long as I can remember (and I’m pushing 60). Setup: SNS with water (replenished as needed), 40 lit Kingsford blue on top of 40 unlit KFB. Pit thermometer and meat thermometer (Redi Check). Apple wood chunks and Memphis meat dust for the yummies. Each hour, the butt was spritzed with apple juice. Cook ran just a tad over 5 hours….meat temp ran a bit high at the end (Mark 4 instant read showed 205 to 207). Wrapped and then faux cambro’d for 90 minutes. When it came time to pull, it was flat dry….no unctuous fat and collagen. This morning, I went out to wrap up the foil layer used to catch the fat and drippings to keep the bottom of the bowl clean and there was next to no fat. Usually, it is a solidified gloppy mess.

    I am at a loss. The previous hot n’ fast cooks turned out fantastic table fare. I want to redeem myself! Where did I go wrong? Now to figure out how to eat this dry pulled pork for the next couple of days

    Was it actually a butt? Sounds like one of the leanest butts on earth.

    FYI- if just simply discussing cooking, place it in a Discussion Sub-forum. The Recipe sub-forums are reserved for actual recipes.


    • 7x57mm
      7x57mm commented
      Editing a comment
      Roger that, sorry Jerod.

    At sub 5lbs you were probably missing a lot of the fat that a full size 7-12lb'er would have had. 205 shouldn't have been the end of the world but obviously you wanna pull more like 201-203.

    Only 2 options I would suggest is in the future wrapping with foil half way through the cook, and/or adding a bit of apple juice to the pulled pork to give it back a little moisture.


      A Boston Butt is made up of multiple muscles with some having lots fat with others being fairly lean. I am betting your half of the Butt were mostly lean muscles. It probably would have been fine cooked at 225, but hot and fast was the killer.


        It sounds like you did everything right to me but that is a really strange piece of meat. Generally, it is far more difficult to get “small” briskets and butts right as the size means a lot of lost fat and makes the cook a different process than working with a larger piece of meat.
        Last edited by IFindZeroBadCooks; November 26, 2021, 10:51 AM.


          I’ve done lots of half butts and never had them turn out dry. How did the meat look…lots of marbling and thick fat seams like a typical butt?


          • 7x57mm
            7x57mm commented
            Editing a comment
            This half butt had one semi-thick fat seam and it appeared to have a lot of intramuscular fat, like on a nice prime ribeye.

          I have noticed a lot of times the meat surrounding the bone will be leaner and drier, but will be fine if mixed in with the meat from the other half. You just don't have the same margin for error when cooking half of a butt.


            Tend to agree with the above comments about the meat, sometime you get some old boars arse.
            As for eating the meat for the next few days, get out your slow cooker add a can of either root beer, coke, Dr Pepper and a bottle of BBQ.
            Toss in the leftover pulled pork, let it simmer for awhile, Bobs yer uncle....your eating
            Last edited by smokin fool; November 26, 2021, 06:57 PM.


              [QUOTE= Bobs yer uncle....your eating[/QUOTE]

              LOL, I love that saying. Thank you Sir....great suggestion 👍


              • smokin fool
                smokin fool commented
                Editing a comment
                one a can of either root beer, coke or Dr Pepper not all three....that'd be a mess

              Instead of hot n fast, i cut a full butt into 2-3 lb chunks, and smoke at 250 ish

              Smaller gets done faster, and has more bark. Still plenty moist.

              I don't fool with spritzing but will wrap in paper to help push through the stall

              Just my 2 cents.
              Other folks here have forgotten more about bbq than I'll ever know


              • zzdocxx
                zzdocxx commented
                Editing a comment
                Do you wrap the pieces separately or all together?

              • BFlynn
                BFlynn commented
                Editing a comment

              As many have said, it sounds like the butcher did some heavy trimming and you likely lost fat that would’ve kept it moist.

              Also…I’ve never had luck rushing a butt. It’s the longest cook I do - typically 14-16 hours. I only wrap near the end. I like’em looking like a meteorite.


                I did one this weekend that was 8 lbs, and I managed to keep the Weber kettle between 225 - 245 for the whole time. It took a solid 14 hrs, as I avoided the usual 300 excursions I often end up with. What stuck me about this butt was that it had gloriously juicy end, and a very dry end. Once it was all pulled and mixed - no problem. I'd have agree with the comments above - it sounds like got you one that just didn't have as much fat and the high temps dried it out.

                If the flavor is there but it's just dry, I've had good luck skillet sizzling handfuls in butter and making it into hot sandwiches, tacos, or scramble/omelet filling.

                Sorry it didn't work out, but don't give up on 'em!


                  I wound up using the Instant Pot, a bit of apple juice and BBQ sauce on steam mode for 6 minutes. It turned out better today than yesterday 👍 Tomorrow morning will be pulled pork hash and then I'll freeze the rest and make chili next weekend. Lordy I'm full....I ate too much tonight.



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