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My Summary Log of Indicative Cook Times for A Pork Butt


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A recurring question is 'How long will it take to cook a pork butt?

 

Well... I looked back a number of cooks in my personal cooking log and put together this "indicative" table of pork butt cooks.

 

While we all know the meat tells you when it is done and there are many individual variables, nonetheless I find this useful to give an idea of cook length.

 

I would love to expand the data and tables with info you folks may have gathered, particularly at higher cook temperatures.

 

If you have relevant summary data to share I welcome a PM or a reply to this post.

 

May you find this information useful!   As usual YMMV.

 

I tried to paste the tables into the post but they did not format correctly so I have attached as a PDF.

 

The tables are 1) a detailed temp over time log summary in 30 minute increments and 2) a table of  cooking temps, meat weights, overall time, and times per pound.

 

EDIT:  Cooking temps are grill grate tempertures.

 

Boston Butt Temps Profile Log.pdf

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very interesting.  thanks for the documentation.  have you noticed any difference in the final product over the different cooking temp ranges?  for example, are the butts cooked at 250 superior to the butts cooked at 225 or vice versa?

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very interesting.  thanks for the documentation.  have you noticed any difference in the final product over the different cooking temp ranges?  for example, are the butts cooked at 250 superior to the butts cooked at 225 or vice versa?

 

No real difference I can tell.  They were all good.  I have pretty much decided that I prefer to use a temperature range of 250 or higher.

 

I have been doing some butts at 275-280 range but did not instrument them with my recording thermocouple meter.  I need to start detailed logging some of those to expand the chart.

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What I am interested in is how the butt rendered out. Lately I've been getting greasy BBQ and I want to fix that. I typically cook my butts around 6 to 8 hours, depending on size, at 275-300F and wonder if a few extra hours would make a difference.

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What I am interested in is how the butt rendered out. Lately I've been getting greasy BBQ and I want to fix that. I typically cook my butts around 6 to 8 hours, depending on size, at 275-300F and wonder if a few extra hours would make a difference.

I have not noticed any really greasiness in any of these cooks that I recall. When I am pulling I remove any major fat and gristle areas that might be present on occasion and avoid pulling those into the meat.

These are also a mix of bone-in and boneless butts and I have not really noticed any difference in end result or in relative cook time for bone or no bone.

I also generally use a "choice" butt rather than the cheaper select grade which I have also used with great success, but prefer the choice for better result overall and consistency.

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The IT temps over time are proving to be useful to me today.  I have two 8lb butts on between 250 and 275, but I accidentally let the fire get too high while I was prepping so I started cooking a little hot and a little late - followed by lots of "burping" and locking down the vents to bring the temp down.  As a result, I was worried that I might have guests waiting for it to finish this evening, but I have been tracking the progress vs. your chart I think I am going to be fine - even if it need to go to 200+ (maybe, maybe not). After 9 hours they are at 192 IT with 261 at the grate.  I'll start checking at 195 and pull when the bone wiggles and the fork twists.  I've got 90-120 minutes to spare (with the rest) so I should be fine.

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The IT temps over time are proving to be useful to me today.  I have two 8lb butts on between 250 and 275, but I accidentally let the fire get too high while I was prepping so I started cooking a little hot and a little late - followed by lots of "burping" and locking down the vents to bring the temp down.  As a result, I was worried that I might have guests waiting for it to finish this evening, but I have been tracking the progress vs. your chart I think I am going to be fine - even if it need to go to 200+ (maybe, maybe not). After 9 hours they are at 192 IT with 261 at the grate.  I'll start checking at 195 and pull when the bone wiggles and the fork twists.  I've got 90-120 minutes to spare (with the rest) so I should be fine.

 

Glad the info has been useful.  Would love to know after you are all done how you think the numbers/timing/temps  in your cook compared to the table(s).

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I didn't record the temps, but they tracked pretty close to your timeline - except the one that I injected (Chris Lilly injection) got done faster (even though it was a little bigger).  They were side by side on the grill and I don't know if it was the injection or maybe just the lump wasn't distributed evenly, but next time I do 2 I will inject one and see if it repeats.  I had my sister blind taste them and said she definitely though the one that was injected was more flavorful, so I served that one.

 

I didn't pull it until we were about to eat and I was rushing to get everything on the table so I didn't get a clear picture.  That figures because they were my best butts yet. Both of them had really nice and tasty bark.

 

 

post-2927-0-87281400-1399858035_thumb.jp

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  • 8 months later...

How far above should my meat be from the deflector? Can you rest the cooking grate directly on top of the deflectors?

No, you really need an airspace to prevent burning as the deflector continues to heat from the direct fire underneath.  As importantly, you also need the air/smoke circulation under the meat to cook evenly in temperature and flavor.  I use a drip pan (1/2 sheet baking pan wrapped in aluminum foil) in my Big Joe on the deflector raised off the deflector by 1/2 spacers and I like several (at least 3) inches of space between the top of the sides of the pan and the bottom of the meat.  3 inches of open spacing is a good rule of thumb for air and smoke circulation.  

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