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Help a newbie with Boston butt timing

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    Help a newbie with Boston butt timing

    I have two butts that I just trimmed, tied and dry brined that I plan on smoking tomorrow in my Weber with Smokenator. I had my butcher lop the roast in half, so now both weigh right at 3.25#, and are very similar dimensionally.

    I'm having some co-workers over tomorrow around 7:30 PM, and my goal is to have everything ready to go (and impress a pretty girl). What time should I start these guys tomorrow AM?

    I have a CyberQ, so even if I start them at 4:00 AM I'll be able to get some naps in. In test runs I've been able to get about five hours of good quality heat with the Smokenator without having to reload charcoal, but it's supposed to be pretty windy tomorrow, so I'm assuming I'll have to reload every two hours or so.

    What do you more knowledgable folks think? I have a well insulated cooler, lots of clean towels, and a heating pad, so I'd rather finish early and foil it than have everyone around waiting. Man, I'm apprehensive trying a new cut of meat with an audience.

    Thanks guys.

    #2
    Are you using a digital thermometer probe for the meat?

    You can hold a pork butt for pulled pork for hours with no issues. My advice is start early. Holding it after cooking for 4 or 5 hours might soften your bark some, but it will guarantee you're eating when you want to....versus NOT starting early, having temp trouble, and you don't eat until 9pm or you eat tough meat drowned in sauce (BTDT with both). I think that woman you're after would appreciate a guy who knows his way in the kitchen

    You did a great thing by cutting the butt into 2 smaller ones, I ALWAYS do that, I never cook a butt over 3 or 4lbs anymore. You'll get that much more smoke and bark now because of the extra surface area. And this will shorten your cook time.

    If you can keep your temps under control, I would suspect all total 10hrs, maybe 12, including the faux cambro hold, is all you'll need. I seem to remember giving my butts 6-7 hrs of smoke, by then they're well into the stall and hour or two, then I wrap, then another 1-2 hrs until 200-205, then the cambro hold until dinner. All the while keep them tightly wrapped in a double layer of foil, thermometer probes in.

    Comment


      #3
      Besides the CyberQ I also have a Thermopen, so I'm good to go as far as accurate thermometers go.

      I keep seeing varying opinions about foiling. Some say it's not needed, others that it's beneficial. If I do foil, I do so at the stall, correct? Should I add liquid or no?

      The wind is the biggest variable right now that I'm worrying about. I can shelter the smoker to a degree, but we get some pretty gnarly winds in NM. If it hols as well as you say in a cambro, I may start my fire at 4:30 AM or so just to ensure I finish in time.

      Comment


        #4
        There are varying opinions on foiling pork butts, it's like asking should I pour my beer into a glass or drink it from the bottle? One way will be better to each person you ask, for their own reasons. I know Meathead doesn't foil, and Pit Boss doesn't either. If you have a SIFI cooker like a pellet smoker or a ceramic kamado that won't need stoking, you can afford the time to skip the foil crutch, and start your cook at bedtime. I like to foil since it saves time, and saving time means saving fuel.

        I personally will foil mine after it's been at the stall for about an hour or two. I just like to give it that extra time for some more smoke contact and bark formation. The smaller butts will give you a much higher ratio of bark to meat, that the loss of some firmness on account of the foiling to me is irrelevant.

        I don't add liquid anymore, I found it to be messy and unnecessary since there's still liquid in there after wrapping dry (which gets added back to the bowl of pulled pork!). But again, that's just one guy's way. You might find adding some is fun and you like to do it.

        One thing is for sure, better to hold it longer before eating that wait longer to eat. This maiden voyage will give you your timing experience for all future pork butt smokes.

        Please remember to share pics and details!

        Comment


          #5
          Huskee you've been amazing, thanks so much! I brewed beer professionally for awhile, so I understand that different recipes, equipment, and conditions will change results so I've been keeping detailed notes. Also, beer goes in a glass!

          I'll take lots of pictures to document and start a new thread Monday.

          Last question, and I realize it's totally a personal opinion as well. What wood should I be using? I have Apple and mesquite, and might be able to pick something else up this afternoon as well. I was leaning towards apple because it's more mild, but I'm open to suggestions.

          Comment


          • Ray
            Ray commented
            Editing a comment
            Also, beer goes in a glass!

            I'm with you there, TAP!

          • Karon Adams
            Karon Adams commented
            Editing a comment
            you don't want to drink beer from the bottle. all that sediment. (HeWhoMustObey brews beer and roasts coffee so, at least he has some comp[any on the beer side of things)

          • FLBuckeye
            FLBuckeye commented
            Editing a comment
            MH recommends staying away from Mesquite. I use apple for my cooks

          #6
          You're very welcome TAP. I would go with apple, it's pork's BFF. I don't use mesquite, never have, I have read for years it is very harsh and can overpower meat. I would advise using it very sparingly if you do use it, but I have no personal experience w/ it. Yesterday I used two fist-sized oak chunks on my Weber kettle doing a beef chuck roast for pulled beef, adding the second one somewhere between the 1.5-2hr marks.. Pork can handle a lot more mild smoke if that makes sense. Keep your top vents open as much as your Guru allows and you can really hit that meat hard with apple if you like a good smoke profile.

          Comment


            #7
            7-9 hours with foiling (no liquid added) plus 1-2 hours rest. Don't foil until at least 1 hour into the stall to allow bark to set. You can even go a bit longer if the bark is still wet/soft. Also, whatever Huskee says. He is the king of butts and breasts, after all.

            Comment


            • TriedAndProven
              TriedAndProven commented
              Editing a comment
              That's an impressive title!

              Thanks for the foiling advice.

            • Huskee
              Huskee commented
              Editing a comment
              Well if I gotta be known for something, ha ha.

            #8
            I understand your concern about wind. I put off a cook today with 30 mph winds beating us to death. My cook would have been about 7 hours total under normal conditions. So I will just wait until tomorrow which is predicting no wind. However, you can't tell the pretty girl that. LOL

            Comment


            • TriedAndProven
              TriedAndProven commented
              Editing a comment
              It's always windy out here, but tomorrow is supposed to be up to 30 mph gusts in the afternoon. And what can I say, I like cooking for pretty girls!

            #9
            Who doesn't?? Be honest guys..

            Comment


              #10
              Here's my personal favorite woods for things:

              Apple- pork, chicken, salmon
              Ash (white)- pork, chicken
              Hickory- pork, beef (but I don't use it anymore)
              Pecan- burgers (both turkey & beef), Beef when mixed with oak
              Oak- beef
              Cherry- chicken, pork
              Peach- Pork
              Apricot- similar to apple
              Whiskey barrel oak- beef

              As you can see from my favs and from the above comments, pork works well with just about whatever wood you can get.

              One thing I know, I do NOT prefer chicken done with oak or hickory. (I edited to to say "prefer", since I still "like" it, it's just not my fav)
              Last edited by Huskee; February 21, 2015, 01:09 PM.

              Comment


                #11
                I just finished a nine pounder that went 1`4 hours WITH foil for 5 hours. Temp never got up but it was done for sure. Thaey will hold great which is why I do them for the CHurch socials.

                Comment


                  #12
                  Ever the oddball here. I wrap when I hit the stall. I add a little apple juice to the wrap. It will soften the bark, but when I get through the stall, I can remove the wrap and basically fix the bark if I want. But I am not a bark fanatic, so softer bark doesn't trouble me. I have only used apple wood (hence the apple juice in the wrap) with pork. I am not a fan of either hickory or mesquite as they overpower the food flavor for ME. Also, I let my smoker temp go up while I am wrapped, which saves time.

                  Beer goes in my mouth.

                  Agree with everyone else, start earlier than you think you need to. Better done early than late.

                  Good luck with your cook and everything else!

                  Comment


                  • TriedAndProven
                    TriedAndProven commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The more I get into BBQ the more obvious it becomes that there isn't a single correct way to do things. I appreciate the alternate perspective.

                  • Huskee
                    Huskee commented
                    Editing a comment
                    richinlbrg I agree on not being a bark fanatic. I am not either. I like a lot of it since the rub and the Malliard add to the whole taste (which is why I'm a big advocate of small butts), but if it's hard or chewy or soft I pay little mind.

                  #13
                  It is what YOU like, not me (or maybe in this case what SHE likes). Have fun, good luck and enjoy!!!

                  For me, it is about the love and sharing the love through Q. Making the world a better place, one cook at a time. At least my world! LOL

                  Comment


                  • TriedAndProven
                    TriedAndProven commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I feel you on that. This get together is us pretending spring has come to the mountains. BBQ is a better excuse than most for a get together, right?

                  • richinlbrg
                    richinlbrg commented
                    Editing a comment
                    TAP, I think that is why I get a kick out of winter cooks. You and I are of one mind on this! Hope you have a GREAT to e! Plse keep us updated on the progress!

                  #14
                  Originally posted by richinlbrg View Post
                  It is what YOU like, not me (or maybe in this case what SHE likes). Have fun, good luck and enjoy!!!

                  For me, it is about the love and sharing the love through Q. Making the world a better place, one cook at a time. At least my world! LOL
                  That's exactly right! There is no right way, just like some of us drive trucks, cars, or vans... which is "better"? Some of us like beer, whiskey, or V8. Some of us like lots of sauce, or no sauce (me, usually), salty or spicy, sweet or savory. Some like ribs that have tug, some like fall apart.

                  It's a beautiful thing when so many folks share their personal preferences & techniques, and then a newbie can narrow down to two or three ideas to try.

                  Comment


                    #15
                    Huskee, I like trucks, beer, whiskey, and V8 (the hot & spicy). Just saying

                    Comment


                    • Huskee
                      Huskee commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Then there's guys like us that like whatever! I have Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey, 2 kinds of gin, 3 brands of beer, and 4 diff types of wine on my shelf & in the fridge right now. I'm a truck guy at heart but I drive a car and a minivan (I have little kids). I fish & camp in the rustic wilderness w/o showers and bathrooms and I gut deer, but I also wear a suit weekly and run ventilators in a hospital. Some of us can't be put between bookends. I think Pit Boss knows what I'm talking about there too. Beautiful thing.

                    • David Parrish
                      David Parrish commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yeah Huskee I'd be hard to bookend as well. But we all love barbecue... It's the glue that binds us. =)

                    • DWCowles
                      DWCowles commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Awwww I think of BBQ everyday (awake and asleep).

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