Pork Butt for Friends

We’ve got some of Sarah’s best friends in town, and some of their family is coming over Sunday, so I’m busting out the smoker to feed everybody. Time for some pulled pork!

2030, Friday: salted the 15 lbs butt with 2.5 Tbsp salt. It’s in the fridge now until Saturday night, when I’ll put 1 cup rub on and start it smoking at 225℉.

2215, Saturday: put the butt on the smoker at 225℉, after putting the rub on.

0820, Sunday: temperatures are 166℉ (top) and 162℉.

1015: temperatures are 167℉ and 163℉. We’re deep in the stall now…

1100: turned up the smoker to 275℉.

1330: meat is at 190℉ and 181℉.

1500: meat is at 197℉ and 188℉. Pork butt really takes a long time.

1510: took the top one off at 198℉.

1700 or so: took the second off at 203℉.

It came out awesome! Note that 20 hours would not have been enough time without cranking the temperature. Next time, just plan on cranking the temperature.

Pork Butt Baby Shower

Alright!  Time to BBQ for some other people.  We’re throwing a baby shower for some friends of ours, and one of the I’m going to bust out the pork butt recipe I used last time, and do it the same.

I got a 15 lbs butt from Costco again – it looks beautiful.  There’s a bunch of dry rub from last time leftover in the cabinet.

24 Feb 2018, 1420: Began trimming the pork (took out chunks, left layers of fat about 1/8″ thick – leaving a little more fat than last time), and then salting it.  1/2 tsp per pound meat, so 2.5 Tbsp.  I cut the pork into three large pieces.

1500: Salted butts going in the fridge.

25 Feb 2019, 0200: Wake up, put 1 cup dry rub onto the meat, start smoker at 225℉.

0230: Put the butts on the smoker! Let them sit for at least 6 hours, check them before 7 hours. Check it again when you wake up :-)  Well, except that you gotta wake up after the first 1:20 to check the wood…  Try to go for an internal temp of 203℉.

0930: Butt temperature ranged from 160℉ to 165℉.  7 hours, and still a long ways to go…  Looking at the temperatures from the last time I smoked butts, oh man – we’re off.  If I’m lucky, this is due to the “stall”, and we’re getting towards the end of the stall…  If I’m not lucky this is going to take 12 more hours and everyone at the party will be hungry.  I cranked the smoker to 275℉ like last time – except, note, last time I cranked the temp after only 4.5 hours.  If we’re unlucky – I’ve cranked the temp too late to get the butts all the way to even 195℉.  We’ll see.  Next check – 2 hours from now.

1130: Butt temperature ranged from 180℉ to 185℉.  Hopefully this means we’re past the stall, and we’ll be done around 1330!  That’d be excellent, but we’ll have to wait and see.

1230: Butt temp ranged from 185℉ to 190℉.  It’ll be done in time, but maybe not the temp I wanted…

1345: Pulled the butts off the smoker – temps ranged from 197℉ to 200℉.  Almost perfect!  I’ll take it

After smoking – we shredded them, froze most of it, but dropped 5 pounds in the crock-pot on the warm (lowest) setting.  I added 1/2 cup of water, 5 Tbsp melted butter, and 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s in there, then stirred it all around.  It was delicious and everyone loved it.  Pretty much perfect.

For next time:

  • Remember that it takes more than 12 hours if you keep the temperature low the whole time.  Bumping the temperature during the cook cuts off time.  I’d love to keep it low and slow the whole time though, so next time budget 20 hours maybe.

Third Smoking – Pork Butts and Salmon

I began prep on Sunday night with 16 lbs of pork butt split into three parts, and 5.5 pounds of salmon. I used the typical salmon recipe, this time I did one quart of brine and still separated things into 4 bags. I used this pulled pork recipe, and this dry rub recipe per Ben’s recommendation. The pulled pork recipe looked to be a reasonable beginner’s complexity, too… I considered this pork butt set to be just three of the one used in the recipe, so I had 1 cup of dry rub that I used on the three.

21 Jan 2018, 2020: Began prep of salmon and pork. Salmon was typical. I trimmed the pork, separated it pork and tied when necessary, then applied 3 Tbsp salt, dropped each in a gallon ziploc, and put them in the fridge overnight. I finished prep at around 2100.

22 Jan 2018, 1230: Prepped the dry rub, which made 2 or 3 cups. I used 1 cup of it over the three butt segments. To get the rub into a shaker, I used a sheet of paper from some junk mail as a funnel.

1315: Put butts in smoker at 225℉.

1345: Began fish drying.

1745: Butts have been on for 4.5 hours now at 225℉, time to check the temp! I want them to get to 203℉. Temp was 165℉. Unfortunately, Sarah and I need to eat sometime tonight, so I turned the temp up to 275℉.

1845: Butts are at 170℉. (Well, one of them, the other two were like 165℉).

2115: One butt was at 195℉, the other two were at 180℉. I removed the hotter one and we ate part of it – delicious. Very tender, but could probably be better.

2225: Two remaining butts are at 185℉.

23 Jan 2018, 0020: Removed the butts – one was at 195℉, the other 200℉. The 200℉ was extremely tender, next time I will go for the 203℉ temp.

0335: Put the fish on at 120℉. Just 1 or 2 min before putting them in, I cranked the temp to max to get smoke going. Next time I should give 5 to 10 min instead.

0740: In the intervening hours, I basted and modified the temp as per the recipe. I had little albumin – everything went beautifully. I took the fish off at 0740, one filet was at 135℉ and another at 142℉. Close enough – tastes good so far.

For the future:

  1. Plan for the butts to take 10 hours. They may even take longer.
  2. Dry rub was good, I think. Maybe leave a bit more fat on the butts next time – this time I tried to take it off, thinking of the brisket…
  3. A probe thermometer that can sit outside would be great… Multiple heads would help with the case where one butt was ready and the rest were not.
  4. Open the air holes for the fish. I think this might let more heat out, which will require the element to stay on more, which will generate more smoke. Just a thing to try, not sure it’ll work. I always get done with the fish with tons of wood still in there.