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Is it normal to have two stalls on a butt?

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    Is it normal to have two stalls on a butt?

    First - thanks to Meathead and the people working hard to contribute to this site. I've made a lot of delicious BBQ on my smoker the past 2 months, and AmazingRibs.com is an incredible resource.

    Question - I've been doing lots of ribs, but I did my first butt Saturday, 9.75 lbs (prior to my trimming - I didn't weigh it after that, sorry - next time I will) and bone in.

    While I was prepared for the stall, thanks to this site (once it hit 160, it only moved to 162 in about 3.5 hours), I was not prepared for two stalls. Once I got past the first one - I hit another at 180. I ended up opening all the dampers, and dumping a chimney full of hot coals to swing the temp from the lovely rock solid 225 to 245 I had all day to a toastey 380.

    Of course I recorded temps, conditions, damper positions, and any actions taken every 15 to 30 minutes and used a Maverick 733 to get smoker and meat temps, but this was not a subtle thing I only noticed later - it was a real second stall.

    I wasn't panicked. Just annoyed. Minus the second stall, I had even calculated the time pretty well, I figured up to 12.5 hours, but adding a second 2 hour stall, it took 14.5 hours. I know time is highly variable and stupid to count on - but it was just me and my wife, and eating at 9 PM is normal for us. It came out delicious, still -- I am not complaining - and aesthetically pleasing, too - see photo for barktacular goodness. (And kudos to Meathead for the Memphis Meat Dust recipe, of course.)

    Anyway, the question is - two stalls...normal, uncommon, or something else?

    Common with big hunks, no worries. Most people don't experience it since they wrap at the first stall, which eliminates it and the second stall. Might I offer a suggestion. Next time, split the butt into 2 or 3 hunks. This will reduce your cooking time since you're cooking much smaller hunks, plus it gives you more surface area for salt, seasoning, and bark. This is how I do it personally, I usually don't smoke butts much over 2-3lbs. If I get a big hunk it gets split. The bark and seasoning on the finished product are worth it....and so is the 5 hrs less cooking time!

    Your pic looks like one delicious meteorite! That's Real Q!


      Wow, last time I did two 9 lb boneless butts and it took 13.5 hrs and reading your experience Bruce it is very apparent that I had the double stall to deal with. I like Huskee's idea of making smaller for more bark. I will try that next time and for the added benefit of no stall.

      And yes that Butt looks fantastic!!


        I concur Marauderer. When I did a larger 8 lb boneless pork butt I had it smoldering for 14 hours to get up to 200. Huskee I read your comment about smaller chunks in another post and thats why I got two smaller 4lb'ers (before trimming) for my current cook. Thanks man. I love the bark. I also slice a checkerboard pattern all over the meat... averaging .5" deep, 1.25" spacing.

        Blautens, I can relate to your frustration about the cooking time. Smoking meat always seems to take longer than I anticipated. I just accept it now When I was starting out a friend lovingly dubbed my ribs the "9 o'clock ribs" since the party usually starts at 6 but we don't eat till 9. For large hunks of meat I've started using the faux cambro approach Meathead writes about.


          Thanks for the advice all. Today I tried:

          1) Cutting it into smaller pieces, ala advice from Huskee. Well, in principle, anyway.

          2) The checkerboard thing (I dunno what I should really call it...scoring?) from Adam. Jammed some nice Memphis Meat Dust in those cracks. Nice, sir, thanks.

          I can't do the foil. I'm gutless. I can't play chicken (no pun intended) yet - I'm not good enough. I'm consistent with smoker temp, just not technique yet. I love the crispy bark, and I'm afraid it won't be crispy if I foil..

          And back to the smaller chunks idea - it was a whole boneless butt this time, so a bit bigger at about 16 lbs (okay, a lot bigger, and no bone, unlike last time), I probably trimmed 1 or 2 pounds off it (I HAVE to get a #^$&**@ scale!!! Why can't I remember to buy it???) and then halved it. When they deboned the butt it really turned into loose mass o' piggie - it did tie up neatly, but I should have just taken that as my cue to make 6 pieces instead of 2.

          Oh, well. I got up at 4 AM to put it on - I don't go to sleep until 1:30 or so, and don't sleep much anyway, so I'm good with that. And smoking pork in the cool morning darkness? Can you say awesome?

          My wife and son are at Legoland this weekend, so I'm quite happy to stick around and run through the breakfast/lunch/dinner drink menu here at the house whilst I occasionally toss the tennis ball for the dog and we catch up on our "me time".

          Almost 13 hours now, the butts are hovering at 190, the smoker is holding steady on 2nd round of charcoal at 230 or so. And hey, it's time for the dinnertime drink menu to start!

          Excellent tips all, I promise, I'm going to make even smaller chunks next time, and hopping over to Amazon via the links here now to buy a @&*#% scale.



            Sounds good Bruce. I have two 2lb butts on right now (4lber cut roughly in half, along the natural sep line). Mine are at 169 now, they've been there for an hour. I'm foiling, this prevents them from drying out too much and will get them to my ~200 temp much quicker using much less fuel.


              I just realized, only on a BBQ forum can numerous people read the title of your post and not giggle like a junior high student and say something about someone's mother.


              • Dewesq55
                Dewesq55 commented
                Editing a comment
                Oh, I giggled. You just weren't around to hear it. ;-)

              I've been waiting for someone to say: better two stalls on a butt, then two butts in a stall


              Ya know --- I just finished pulling two 8lb butts and I had two stalls as well. I THOUGHT the second was because I lost my fire and the torrential rains and wind were to blame. Maybe not. I wasn't aware there could be two of them. Meat came out perfectly.


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ID:	26142 I have had two stalls in a cook before just a couple months ago smoking a picnic. this last weekend I had a stall that lasted about 4.5 hours. I checked my thermo probes twice thinking they were broke. but as the pic to the left shows all was just fine and after 14 hours I was pulling and eating great pork butt.


                  The double stall happens to me all the time. 160 and 180. I'm usually doing 8+lb butts so at least that helps explain it. Perhaps I'll divide it in 2. Who doesn't love more bark???



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