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Unread 02-15-2013, 05:25 AM   #1
pahunter53
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Default Newbie here with question about smoking pork butts

Just got my first smoker and have been learning a lot from this site. Tons of knowledge on here and I'm enjoying my time.

I had a question regarding the length of time I actually have smoke hitting the pork butts I plan to smoke this weekend and I need a little more clarity.

For simplicity sake I'm going to assume its gonna take 10 to 12 hours to smoke my pork butts. How many hours should I actually be smoking the meat? Is it the first 3 to 4 hours with smoke hitting the meat and the remainder of time just cooking in the smoker, with no smoke, spraying the meat very hour?

Or should I have smoke going the entire time? or for 6 hours? I need some advice for my first time and expect to use that as a baseline for future smokes.

I think this also relates to creating a good bark....are those developed by smoking the entire time?

I'm using a vertical Master Forge gas smoker in case that helps. Thanks in advance.
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Unread 02-15-2013, 05:31 AM   #2
Trumpstylz
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Somewhere around 1.5 hour per pound, but it really depends on temperature (if you hot n fast it at 280 or 300, it won't take too long). The important thing is to stick a thermometer in it once it starts getting close and pull it between 190-205. If you don't have a maverick et 732 or igrill, they make monitoring/regulating temps a million X easier and will help you churn out better que.

Here's a thread I started a little while back on this exact topic and it helped me a lot- I've gotten really good- I've done 7 shoulder/butts since then (they were on sale .99/lb).
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=152671

For bark- brown sugar or mustard (I've yet to try both), and don't use water in the water pan.

It all depends on the weight of the meat, and even then it varies shoulder to shoulder. The important thing is that you regulate both the temp at the grate and the temperature of the meat and pull it when its done. And fat side down/up- you'll hear six say one way and a half dozen the other.

Also-if I don't think you need to spray it. I don't and wouldn't. Might inject it though. If its at the right temp, I wouldn't mess with it- if you do get one of the thermometers I listed, you will quickly realize how much opening the grill/smoker affects the cook. Here's a thread I found on it spraying/not spraying if you're still skeptical-
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=102855

Also- I usually foil at 160 (optional) with just a splash of doctor pepper, ginger ale, beer- whatever you want, to avoid the plateau and keep it a little moister (this does seem to sacrifice some bark though), just make sure your food temp probe isn't touching the foil or it will wreak havoc on your temp readings.

And especially if you're using kingsford blue bag, just make sure they're somewhat ashed over before putting the meat on.
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Last edited by Trumpstylz; 02-15-2013 at 05:54 AM..
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Unread 02-15-2013, 05:51 AM   #3
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There are as many approaches as there are cooks, but I say smoke as long as you cook, don't bother with spritzing, and don't foil. But that's just me.
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Unread 02-15-2013, 06:00 AM   #4
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keep it simple---for first time record temps AT THE GRATE and internal meat temp..basting is a waste of time--for pulling get out at 195 * for slices 185*...keep the smoke rolling although after interanl temp of 145 they claim no smoke is absorbed..however I like keeping the atmosphere...always keep your exhaust wide open on a propane jober
if you inject try 1/2cup each fruit juice--white vinegar--sugar---1/8 cup salt
enjoy the day---notes---learn--
dont worry about times..people get toooocaught up in that
try not to open the door. keep peaking and the food will get tough..
try to understand to cooking process and how the meat goes through a chemical and physical change
and when its done its.........done!
dont let rest in cooler, you meat will turn to mush...wrap in towels
let us know
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Unread 02-15-2013, 06:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBellyBBQ View Post
...keep the smoke rolling although after interanl temp of 145 they claim no smoke is absorbed...
The smoke ring stops after 150 or so, but the cut still absorbs smoke flavor long after that. I think.
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Unread 02-15-2013, 06:25 AM   #6
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First off, glad you're with us pahunter.

Second, I cook on WSMs and my method is to bury wood chunks throughout the charcoal so there is almost always one burning. I don't spritz butts or foil them until they come off to rest. Cook until the bone feels like it will pull out of the butt.

Good cooking!
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Unread 02-15-2013, 06:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pahunter53 View Post
For simplicity sake I'm going to assume its gonna take 10 to 12 hours to smoke my pork butts. How many hours should I actually be smoking the meat? Is it the first 3 to 4 hours with smoke hitting the meat and the remainder of time just cooking in the smoker, with no smoke, spraying the meat very hour?

Or should I have smoke going the entire time? or for 6 hours? I need some advice for my first time and expect to use that as a baseline for future smokes.
I keep smoke applied all through the cook

Quote:
Originally Posted by pahunter53 View Post
I think this also relates to creating a good bark....are those developed by smoking the entire time?
Some use foil, but many of us do not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pahunter53 View Post
I'm using a vertical Master Forge gas smoker in case that helps. Thanks in advance.
Be sure to use your water pan in the propane smoker to help control the temperature inside the cooker.

Also the estimated time of your cook and the internal temperature of the meat are just reference points for you. There is no cookie cutter method of cooking pork butts because meat will vary from animal to animal. Use the time and temperature as a guide and when you get close try wiggling the bone, when it wiggles freely it is done. Wrap or pan it and move it to an insulated cooler and let it rest for 4 hours.

Pork butt is very forgiving in a cook, especially at 250°, it will give you a greater margin of error.

In you wood chip pan you can use chips or chunks, but there is no need to soak them. Use small amounts and replenish them about every 2-3 hours when you check your water pan level. You can extend the burn of your chips by making foil packets and punching a few holes in them before dropping them into your wood chip pan.

Best of luck and keep us informed...
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Unread 02-15-2013, 07:26 AM   #8
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What BigBelly said about the temperature at the SURFACE is 100% spot on. The external mounted thermometer and the cooking surface temperature rarely if ever match...

1.5 hrs per pound is for that unnecessarily low 220 range. FYI: Low and slow, over the years, generally has been anything under 300, with hot and fast being most anything over 300.

Your smoker will usually find a range that it likes to cook. If that's 240, let it. If that's 270, let it. FYI: 260-270 surface temp usually cooks the pork at 1#/hr. With pork, it's done when it's done, and that's when the bone wiggles and pulls out cleanly, if you want pulled pork. Some like sliced pork, I'll refer to them for advice on that, but yes, it's generally in that 180-190 temperature range. Pulled pork is usually in that 200-205 range, give or take.

How much and how long on smoke really has more to do with the type of wood/chips you're using, the type of smoker you're using, YOUR smoker itself, and of course how much wood/smoke flavor you like on your meat. Some actually like creosote laiden black-as-all-tomorrow meat. I happen to like meat light to medium smoked, with a definite hickory flavor, but not so thick and heavy that the meat is black and all we taste is bitter smoke. For this, on my smoker, using hickory splits, I smoke 9# butts for about 4.25 hours and then I cover/seal them up in foil so they get no more smoke on them. Follow your gut the first time. It may be better to err on the less smoke side the first run and adjust your times and amounts based upon your results.
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