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14 Hour Boston Butt (Overkill Galore!)


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Update 04/15/2014


Since this thread was added to the recipes forum, I figured I'd give it a quick review to see if anything needs to be changed. I listed my changes below:


1. I talk about cooking at 225 degrees in my recipe write-up but I have found, as many of you already know, that butts are very forgiving when it comes to grill temperature. I have had great results cooking at 225, 250, and even 300. Your cook time is shorter with the higher temps of course. I just wanted to add this so our newer readers don't focus too much on 225. It can be a challenge to maintain 225 for 14 hours and it's not necessary.


2. Brining is easy and inexpensive and I love it as part of my butt BBQ ritual. That being said, I don't think it actually makes a huge difference in the final result. I don't find my brined butts any more flavorful or juicier. I have entered two office BBQ contests, I brined one and just rushed through the other one. I won both contests; with and without brine. I still do it because I enjoy the whole process and it makes for fun conversation when your guests are in awe of how great your BBQ is! 


3. I believe the Chris Lilly injection is key! I love how simple it is to make and how the results turn out. Lilly's recipe listed below is for TWO BUTTS. Either cut the ingredients in half of save the other half of the injection. Don't try to pump the whole thing into one butt. More is not better. I tried that one time and it was entirely too salty.


Original Recipe Write-Up


This is the kind of cook that I would only attempt when time and patience are not a factor. I went all out on this Boston Butt for the fun of it. I know there’s a lot of debate as to whether brining, injecting, rubbing with good mustard and cooking at 225* is even worth the trouble, but for me, I just enjoy every step of the ritual and the results are outstanding. The 8 pounder took over 14 hours to reach 203* internal temperature cooking at 225* and a couple of days worth of brining.


I trimmed most of the fat cap off my 8 pound butt but tried to leave about 1/8 of an inch like AmazingRibs recommended. I let it sit in a simple beer brine for a couple nights just because I had the time. I didn’t want too many flavors in the brine since I was injecting and rubbing later.


Simple Beer Brine Recipe (I got this from an old BBQ cookbook that I have, can’t remember name)


12 oz beer

12 oz water

Crushed bay leaves

½ cup salt

½ cup sugar

A little pepper




Next, I rubbed the butt heavily with Meathead’s Memphis Dust which is great on its own but I add 2 tablespoons of cumin to mine.


Meathead’s Memphis Dust Ingredients


3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup paprika

1/4 cup Morton's kosher salt

1/4 cup garlic powder

2 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons ground ginger powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 teaspoons rosemary powder

+2 tablespoons cumin (not in original recipe but I like the taste of cumin in BBQ)


Then I injected the butt with an apple juice based injection. The butt came out super juicy but I’m thinking that was probably more due to the cut and the slow cooking. The injection is easy and cheap to make and as long as my BBQ doesn’t turn out tasting like an apple pie, I like it. The injection recipe is below (Chris Lilly’s). I only used half of this:


Chris Lilly's Six-Time World Championship Pork Shoulder Injection


3/4 cup apple juice

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup white sugar       

1/4 cup table salt

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.




I set up my Akron with a full firebox of Kebroak lump charcoal in a well configuration and about 10 hickory chunks. I lit a starter cube, threw it down the well and closed the lid in about 5 minutes once the coals starting lighting. I set the bottom vent at 1 and the top vent at barely open.




It took the grill about an hour to reach 225* but I was in no hurry since I was leaving it overnight and didn’t want to overshoot my target. I know 225* is probably overkill, I was more curious to see if I can get my Akorn to maintain that temp overnight. My Akorn is completely unmodified by the way. I kept myself busy while I was waiting for the grill to come up to temp. That was a phenomenal stout on a cool afternoon.




Once temp was stable at around 225*, I put the butt on. It was 8:30 PM. I never opened the lid again until 10:30 AM the next morning. What was very scary about that is 4 hours into the cook, and a few beers later, I couldn’t remember if I had my diffuser in there or not. Luckily it was there otherwise we would’ve had some crispy pork.




I left my Akorn bottom vent at a little less than 0.5 (edge of slider tangent to screw) and my top vent was only open enough to let air through the half moon part which kept temp pretty stable at about 225*-230*. I set my Maverick alarms at the following settings and went to sleep.


BBQ High: 250*

BBQ Low: 200*

Food High: 195*


Eight hours into the cook, around 5 AM, the temperature started creeping close to 250*. I went outside and closed the top vent a hair more. It really wasn’t hard to maintain close to 225* for the majority of the cook on my Akorn. Was it worth it? Not sure. I guess there’s no harm in it as long as I have all night to cook.


I slept through the first stall which probably happened around 150-160 degrees but there was definitely a second stall later on. I think 170 to 180 took over 2 hours for me. My cooking helper and I enjoyed a cup of coffee as the butt got through the second stall. I snuck him a few bites later on, he seemed to really like it but he also eats dirt so that kinda discredits him as a gourmet.




The butt looked great at 199 but when I checked on the bone I thought I could get it a little looser so I left in there until internal temperature reached 203 degrees. It was about 10:30 AM.




I took it off, wrapped in foil and a couple of beach towels and let it rest in a cooler until company got there. We weren’t eating the butt until the Alabama/Texas A&M game so it probably stayed in the cooler for a couple hours. Alabama won that day so I am dubbing this cook my lucky butt. I’ll fix another one when we play LSU.


The results were very well received by friends and family. It was very juicy with a great flavorful bark and a nice smoke ring.



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That was a really good post and a great looking butt. Akorn at 225* overnight who would have thunk it. ;)

When I do butts on my Akorn the temp always creeps about 25* towards the end. I just let it ride, you'll never know the difference in the final product.

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That was a really good post and a great looking butt. Akorn at 225* overnight who would have thunk it. ;)

When I do butts on my Akorn the temp always creeps about 25* towards the end. I just let it ride, you'll never know the difference in the final product.


I was pretty surprised myself considering this was a $300 grill with absolutely no modifications. I actually tried another 225 cook this past weekend and I left at 225 at 9 PM and went to sleep. Around 5 AM the Akorn had dropped down to about 200 so I had to opened up the bottom vent a hair and I went out for a run. When I came back at 8 AM it was stable at 230 degrees. I am slowly learning how my adjustments affect my grill temperature.


I'm still extremely impressed with this Akorn and I love my Maverick ET-732; it takes so much of the guess work out of long cooks and I almost NEVER have to peek.

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Great writeup and pics! That pork looks stellar... I can almost smell it even with my allergy-wracked nose this morning. :)


I've come to realize pretty much any temp below 300° will make excellent BBQ as long as it's consistent... what temp you choose should just be a variable based on how much time you have to cook. Looks like you had rock solid temps and perfect timing... nice work.

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