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Unread 03-28-2013, 09:40 AM   #1
tb80
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Default Pork Butt Smoking Advice - When to Start?

I tried searching for an answer on here, but was not able to find anything directly on point. Hopefully someone can provide some insight.

This weekend I am responsible for serving pulled pork for lunch on Saturday. It needs to be ready around 11-12. I am debating when to start the smoke.

It is a 9.5 pound butt, and I plan on smoking it on my mini wsm at around 250-275. Based on past cooks, I anticipate it will take between 9-11 hours, plus at least an hour to rest in the cooler.

I am debating when to cook it. Do I start it Friday morning, and then when it is finished, go ahead and pull it and put it in the fridge and then reheat before lunch on Saturday? My concern with this is how much flavor will be lost by putting it in the fridge and reheating it.

OR, do I start it around 11 pm or midnight on Friday and do an overnight cook? While I am not opposed to this, we have a busy day planned for Saturday, and I do not want to be exhausted all day. Plus, I have a 16 month old baby that I will be helping the wife out with all day, and I don't think it will go over well if I sleep all day Saturday because I was up all night Friday.

The mini wsm holds a pretty consistent temp, but considering I am serving about 10 people or so, I don't want to screw this up. So if I do an overnight cook, I anticipate waking up every hour or two to check the temp.

Any other options/suggestions?
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Unread 03-28-2013, 09:46 AM   #2
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Start at 11:00PM & foil/towel/cooler until pulling. A Maverick ET-732 takes the worries away.....
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Unread 03-28-2013, 09:47 AM   #3
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Start it on the smoker in the evening then finish it in the oven over night at 225 and get some sleep.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 09:50 AM   #4
tb80
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I don't have a Maverick yet, but need to get one. Probably won't have time to buy one before the cook.

If I start it in the smoker, how long should I let it ride on the smoker before putting it in the oven? Should I wrap in foil when I put it in the oven? Normally I do not wrap it on the smoker?
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Unread 03-28-2013, 09:56 AM   #5
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9.5lb pork butt at 250-275 will take approx 1hr per pound. If you are serving the pork butt for lunch. I personally would start it on the early side (8-9pm) wake up early about 5-6am and check on it. Then take it off the smoker when ready and wrap it in foil and keep it in the oven or cooler to hold. Then pull the pork butt right before serving so it is nice and fresh. The pork butt will hold temperature for many hours (I did 4 pork butts and held them in a cooler. I took them off the smoker at 2pm and pulled the last one at about midnight when everybody left. It was still nice and hot inside of the pork butt after 10 hours)
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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:05 AM   #6
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Put it on at 8 pm, wrap it in foil when the bone wiggles loose and stash it in a cooler until your ready to serve it only takes 3 min to pull it and remove the nasty bit that are left. If your mini will run for 10 hrs at your cook temp put it on look at it before you go to bed and forget about it. Trust your equipment. You rookies crack me up way to anal or paranoid, relax life is to short to stress out over somethig so trivial.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:25 AM   #7
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I'm with the guys who say start at 8 to 9 pm. It is far better to have it done early than to try and push it at the end when you have no time left. Plus you could get one that simply needs more time to get done. My mantra is "Start earlier, Start earlier!" Pork is best, IMHO, when it has a couple hours to rest before shredding.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:27 AM   #8
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+1 to Bludawg's advice
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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny_Crunch View Post
Start it on the smoker in the evening then finish it in the oven over night at 225 and get some sleep.
^^^ this. I generally use this technique, smoking for 4-5 hrs. in the smoker then move to a 225° oven, checking the temp a time or two overnight just to keep from overcooking it. Nobody likes meat mush.

I put the butt in the oven in a half pan with a little apple juice and cover with foil, then I remove the butt from the half pan and double wrap in foil for an hour or two, sometimes longer. This works great when I make pulled pork sammies for our monthly office lunch.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny_Crunch View Post
Start it on the smoker in the evening then finish it in the oven over night at 225 and get some sleep.
+1
I've done this plenty of times as I don't like letting my charcoal burn over night. after about 4 hours (160 degreees), the meat is no longer absorbing smoke. so if you start it 7 pm, you can put it in the oven by 11 or 12 and get to bed. set your alarm on your internal probe to 200.

if it is done between 5-8 am you can foil and rest until 11 am.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tb80 View Post
I don't have a Maverick yet, but need to get one. Probably won't have time to buy one before the cook.

If I start it in the smoker, how long should I let it ride on the smoker before putting it in the oven? Should I wrap in foil when I put it in the oven? Normally I do not wrap it on the smoker?

if you don't wrap it in the smoker, no need to wrap in the oven. In my experience, I don't wrap either.

without the maverick you may want to set your alarm approximately 10 hours after starting the cook and check. if it isn't ready, take another 30 minute nap then check again.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:50 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the input guys. Right now I am leaning towards putting it in the oven. I just have never done that before and it felt a little like cheating. However, if it means I get a good night sleep and some good cue, then I am all for it.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tb80 View Post
Thanks for all the input guys. Right now I am leaning towards putting it in the oven. I just have never done that before and it felt a little like cheating. However, if it means I get a good night sleep and some good cue, then I am all for it.
i've struggled with the idea of "cheating" before. but your kettle is basically a roaster. I bet your guests will never know
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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:55 AM   #14
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If you are worried about it, I see nothing wrong with cooking it early on Friday, finish Friday night and warm up on Saturday in the oven. Or even on the smoker at a higher heat. If you do pre-cook it, don't pull/shred it till you are ready to serve. It could dry out a little if pulled too early.

Cooking for a group and a time schedule can be very stressful. I would cook it the way that reduces the stress for you. Once you are a bit more confident in your equipement you will have a better feel as to when to start your cooks.

If it were me, I would start the cook around 9 or 10pm at 225*. I'd get up sometime between 6 and 7am and wrap in foil and turn the heat up to 275*. When the temp of the butt gets around 195* start probing for tenderness. Once it is done, place it in a cooler or oven, or microwave for holding.

As for a temp probe, don't stress getting a Maverick right away. Run down to WalMart and pick up one of their wireless meat therms. They run about $15 and work just fine. They have them in around the bbq equipment.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQdisciple View Post
+1
I've done this plenty of times as I don't like letting my charcoal burn over night. after about 4 hours (160 degreees), the meat is no longer absorbing smoke. so if you start it 7 pm, you can put it in the oven by 11 or 12 and get to bed. set your alarm on your internal probe to 200.

if it is done between 5-8 am you can foil and rest until 11 am.
+2 I've had flame-outs overnight, and I've also had whilst I was awake some smokers/grills catch fire themselves. I'm afraid that I've learned over the years to never leave a grill/smoker truly un-attended... For these reasons I'm not in favor of firing it up at 8pm or so and letting it run overnight. If you're 100% certain there is no way to either a) have it flame out and b) not catch fire or catch something else on fire, then that is definitely a great plan. However, I really like the idea better to cook it from about 8pm until midnight on your smoker, then remove it, foil it, put it in a deep pan in the oven (to collect the remaining rendered fat) at 230 and let 'er rip until the morning. Get 6 or 8 hours of sleep, get up, turn the oven off, let set until 11am and pull the meat.
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