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John Setzler

How to Cook a Boston Butt

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On 9/29/2018 at 12:21 AM, DrunkenMeatFist said:

It seems like you have identified that the time unwrapped directly effects the amount of bark you get. ...

There's a trade-off between bark and the volume of captured fluid.

 

On 9/28/2018 at 11:37 PM, Icepaq said:

... my buddy told me heavy smoke at around 225 for two hours. Wrap and up temp to about 300 for four hours. It’s been solid advise except for I’m not getting the “bark” I would like.

Foil is not mandatory. Lots of great pork cooks never wrap until it's done. Bark benefits from low temps and long times; you want the fluid expressed by the meat to evaporate on the surface and caramelize into bark. 

 

But, collecting the fluid has advantages, too. I don't wrap until the meat hits the "stall" at 160-170F internal temperature. The stall is a plateau in internal temperature rise due to moisture coming out of the meat. It's also the point at which the smoke ring reaction stops. The pork gets as much time under smoke as it can use, while capturing as much fluid as possible. Skimmed of fat, the fluid is like Jello, seasoned by pork juice and dissolved  rub. When this fluid is returned, the meat fibers drink it all back up. 

 

You've been wrapping, and that may be what your crowd expects. My one concern about your process is that "heavy smoke" doesn't taste as good as long-term, light smoke, especially if it's from a young fire. You want a light, bluish smoke for best taste. That means about 6 hours of smoke to hit 160-170F internal, not 2 hours.

 

Have fun,

Frank

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I am doing my first major smoke this weekend. I decided to do the Boston But. I didn’t realize it until I got home but I bought one that’s 21 pounds! My question is can I cut this in half and freeze one half for a later time? I really don’t want to smoke this thing for 30 hours. Thanks

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3 hours ago, Smoke33 said:

I am doing my first major smoke this weekend. I decided to do the Boston But. I didn’t realize it until I got home but I bought one that’s 21 pounds! My question is can I cut this in half and freeze one half for a later time? I really don’t want to smoke this thing for 30 hours. Thanks

 

You didn't get 21lbs.  You probably got a two pack.

 

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4 minutes ago, John Setzler said:

 

You didn't get 21lbs.  You probably got a two pack.

 

 

Yeah I agree. Definitely got a two pack. That would have to be hogzilla for a single butt cut to weigh in at 21 lbs. 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, ckreef said:

 

Yeah I agree. Definitely got a two pack. That would have to be hogzilla for a single butt cut to weigh in at 21 lbs. 


21 lbs. Is most definitely two - and two pretty good size butts at that.  I cooked a large whole shoulder this summer (picnic + Butt), and I think it was only 18 lbs.  It was one of my better cooks.  I would vacuum seal, if you can, the other one and freeze.  They take forever to thaw out though. 

 

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In Canada, I often see the Boston butt referred as Pork Shoulder, I asked my wife to pick some up which was on sale at our local grocer and she came home with Pork Shoulder Picnic Roast, is this Boston Butt and will it yield the same pulled pork results?

 

my other issue is that she purchased fairly small ones in the 5-6 pound range, so I plan on doing them at the same time on my Big Joe, should I be reducing the recommended 250 smoking temperature based on the smaller size?

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23 minutes ago, Mark_from_Quebec said:

In Canada, I often see the Boston butt referred as Pork Shoulder, I asked my wife to pick some up which was on sale at our local grocer and she came home with Pork Shoulder Picnic Roast, is this Boston Butt and will it yield the same pulled pork results?

 

my other issue is that she purchased fairly small ones in the 5-6 pound range, so I plan on doing them at the same time on my Big Joe, should I be reducing the recommended 250 smoking temperature based on the smaller size?

 

I should have read the thread first and I see the Picnic roast is very similar and is just under the butt, so I don’t think I have any worries there, I’m more concerned about how small my pieces are.

 

It’s my first long slow cook, and only my third cook on the Big Hoe. I’m going to do one shoulder with Lanes Pork Rub and the other with the rub recipe John have here or on his video.

 

the other thing I’m unsure of is how much Charcoal to place in the big Joe.

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Fill the Joe; you can always kill the fire and use whatever's left the next time. Keep the fire small for low-n-slow, and I suggest keeping the deflectors/grates out until you're ready to cook. Putting in cold stuff, like steel, ceramics and food, is the only effective way to lower temperature quickly, and this gives you some leeway. 

 

Smoke under the same conditions you normally would, just expect it to be done quicker due to the smaller size. Conversely, it's thickness that matters; a 6 lb. "ball" would take just as long as an 8 lb. "slab." Thermometers are your friend!

 

Sounds like you got a front leg "ham." Should be wonderful!!

 

HAve fun,

Frank

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So I've smoked about a dozen Butts on my stick and electric smoker and was anxious to try one out on my KJ. Picked up a small 6lb from the Ingles (local SE grocery chain) and put it on at 8AM with heat plates and a temp of around 250 degrees. Cooking temps were mostly stable, but it did vary by maybe 20 degrees as I am still getting used to managing the internal temps, but I ran into the 160 stall and it sat there for 2 hours. Finally pulled it off the KJ and put it in the oven at 265 and it sat there for damn near 2 hours before slowly moving up in temps. 

Besides throwing dinner plans all to hell, I just could not believe it would stall that long. Any comments on this or if I might of done something wrong? I did not have any injections inside and wasn't peaking at the cook at all. 

 

Thanks....Kyle 

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The one thing I find lengthens the stall is my impatience. If I leave it in for hours without lifting the lid, the stall seems shorter. If I keep checking it, things take forever. I try to foil it quick, put it back on the grate, insert a temperature probe and close up.

 

Then adjust cook temperature based on when you need it done, and target temperature based on the cook temperature. The last part addresses carry-over cooking.
Cooking at 225F, I target 200F.
Cooking at 275F, I'd target 195F.
Cooking at 325F, target 190F

 

And plan a longer rest; you shouldn't cut into it until the meat's internal temperature drops to ~160F. Conversely, coolers are your friend if you need time, and they will not hurt a thing. Butts keep well.

 

HAve fun,

Frank  

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