Author Topic: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt  (Read 5709 times)

Offline bob_loblaw

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Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« on: May 07, 2010, 06:51:36 am »
Hey Guys,

Little background first.  Live in a condo in downtown Chicago.  No Charcoal grills allowed on balconies.  Mom out in the burbs has a WSM which makes for a fantastic summer afternoon/day, smoking meat, smoking cigars, and drinking homemade mojitos out of a giant mint patch!  However, I decided that once/twice per year was not enough and after some internet research settled on the OBS.  One of the biggest advantages was this forum.  Spent quite a bit of time over the last 2 weeks reading up on things.  Have the Maverick now and will probably add the Auber PID soon. 

Last night was the maiden smoke.  Couple pounds of cheese and some kosher salt.  2 hours of Pecan.  Cheese looks great, is seran wrapped, dated and in the fridge.  Salt looks ok.  Too thick a layer and only the top got the color.  Will just re-smoke with next cheese batch in thinner layers and/or stir often.

Onto this question.  I have 2 BONELESS pork Shoulders from Costco totaling 15#.  Last night while the cheese was smoking I made a Renowed Mr. Brown Rub and rubbed, wrapped and set in the fridge. 

The butts both have a solid thick area of meat on one side and a side that has a "hole" where the bone was.  The hole created leaves a few thinner flaps of meat on one side.  My question is should I tie the butt with string before smoking to keep the thin parts together or just smoke as is? 

Also, the plan is to get home after work and pull the butts, heat up the OBS while the butts get to room temp.  Apply more rub and hopefully start smoking around 6pm.  Gave a large finish window of tomorrow afternoon ideally between 12-4pm.  Only concern is supposedly 22 mph winds.  My balcony is recessed though so we shall see.  Vaulted Vinegar on the side.  Thoughts comments welcome, but I am most concerned about whether the hole need to be tied up or not. 

Oh, and after this I will be out of the office until I get home so I will not be able to respond.  Thanks in advance guys!  Great forum.

Offline FLBentRider

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2010, 06:56:11 am »
W E L C O M E  to the Forum bob_loblaw!

Congrats on your first smoke.

I would smoke the butt as is, make sure you get rub in all the nooks and crannies.

Sounds like you have a plan.

I usually start around 8-9 pm and they start coming out anywhere from 11 to 4pm
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Offline KyNola

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2010, 07:00:23 am »
Welcome to the forum!  I think I would tie them and place them "Thick side" up on the rack when going in the smoker.  You're smart to leave yourself that much time for them to finish, especially given a 22 mph wind that will suck the heat right out of your OBS.  There is an alternative though.  Many of us have done this many times and it works beautifully.  After the smoking period, the OBS is nothing more than an oven.  If you don't want to battle the winds, after the smoking period set your house oven to 225 and simply transfer the butts to the house oven for the remainder of the cook.  I don't foil butts as I think it impedes the bark forming.  I simply set them on a rack in a roasting pan and place them in the oven.

Others will come along and give you more advice, probably better too.

Good luck my friend,

Edit--Corrected spelling and grammatical errors
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 07:29:43 am by KyNola »


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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2010, 07:07:06 am »

Welcome from downstate IL!  Try to shield the OBS from those nasty Lake winds as much as you can..

22 sounds pretty mild to me.  I've been up there and almost been knocked to the ground at times.   :D

Offline Caneyscud

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2010, 07:11:53 am »
I've tied them, but don't anymore - laziness more than anything.  I justify it by saying to myself - more area exposed to the smoke - more bark!  If you truly have some very thin flats, they will probably get over done, but I just call them bark and chop them up  also.  Now, the wind will effect your cooking times - butt it looks like you allowed for that in your time estimates.  What CT are you going to use?
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Offline classicrockgriller

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2010, 07:21:15 am »
Welcome bob.

If you don't have any friends in the condo, you will after this smoke.

Sounds like a very methodical plan.

If you have concerns about the loose end, tie it up.

If you don't have concerns, leave it.

If you do tie it, I would tie once around the small end and then tie it length

wise to help bring it into a more uniform size and hopefully a more even smoke.

It's always fun to cook in your smoker, but KyNola has you set up with a plan

if you decide to go that way. Plus the Condo will smell delicious.

Sounds like Mom's place is some kinda fun.

Glad to have you with Us.

Offline RAF128

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2010, 07:40:22 am »
Smoking cigar.   You're in Chicago.    Where do you get them.   Wouldn't happen to be Jack Swartz would it?   My son in law goes to Chicago regularly and I order from Swartz and SIL brings them back on the Company jet.     I like their Benchmade Churchills.   That reminds me I'm all out.   Have to find out when he's going back ;).   Oh and welcome.

Offline KevinG

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2010, 07:42:08 am »
Welcome to the forum bob_loblaw. Looks like the guys got you all set. Tie it for more uniform cook, let it loose and use for extra bark. Either way sounds like you've got some good food comin around soon.
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Offline drewpatton

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2010, 09:08:20 am »
Love the name bob_loblaw! Wasnt that Scott Baio fplaying a lawyer in some tv show?

Offline DTAggie

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2010, 12:37:34 pm »
Welcome Bob.  Take pics.

Offline bob_loblaw

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2010, 06:05:32 am »
Thanks for all the help guys.  Super fast, great advice.

Here is what went down.  Abbreviated story then questions.  Preheated until the thermometer on front read 225ish.  RE-rubbed the butts after leaving out for an hour or so to warm up and they went it just before 6pm.  Decided I love bark so did not tie up.  Initial temp of the meat was around 48-52 degrees.  4 hours of Pecan and the door thermometer never got much higher then 240.  Scaled to around 200 and went to bed around 1 am.  One of the Butts was already approaching 170.  (no frame of reference whether that is fast or not, seemed fast to me, but maybe not).  Woke up this morning at 7:30 and checked the maverick, no reading (more on this below)  Went outside and one butt was 197!  Other is 180.  Pulled first guy off and FTC.  He fell apart so I got a quick taste.  Still tastes pretty good.  20 min later Meat probe is still in Bradley and reads about 260!  Front door only 200ish.  Second butt is 183 so I am took it out as well.  Ok, questions

1)  Set up that Maverick (or so I thought)  and was getting a reading from the transmitter.  Then 10 min later it stopped transmitting.  Just a blank dash of lines where remote temp is.  Rest of screen reads fine.  10-15 min later it reads again, but I need to redo it so to toggles between probe one and two again.  10-15 min later stops showing probe temp again.  Continues.  Thought it was some type of energy saver and figured it would still tell me when i hit 185.  Wrong!  Read the manual last night, but several beers and company made it unhelpful.  Will read again now.  So, stupid question set #1, is that normal for the Maverick?  How do I get a continuous reading from the probes instead of in/out every 20 min? 

2) Looks like I turbo cooked (sorta, 14 hours, but 1st butt got to hot of an IT).  I thought it would take forever with the wind, but apparently the wind cooled the door thermometer and not my temp.  Sooooo, I need an Auber PID huh?  My understanding is that will regulate the temp at whatever I set it to right? 

Scrambling to make early dinner into an BBQ brunch!  There are worse things I suppose . . .

Offline bob_loblaw

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2010, 06:15:17 am »
@ DP - Yep its Scott Baio's character from Arrested Development.  "Bob Loblaw"  the attorney.  Fantastic show and nice catch!

@ RAF - I actually live about 1-2 blocks away from Jack Schwartz.  Great people, excellent cigar selection, but unfortunate hours.  They are only open business hours M-F which leaves me SOL to get in there on a regular basis.  Plus buying in Chicago carries a 28% tax.  They ship so if you are out of state you can buy direct and avoid taxes.  The benchmade cigars are a nice cuban sandwich style cigar.  I enjoyed the few I tried. 

Offline bob_loblaw

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2010, 06:17:01 am »
Ok, one more before I get to cleaning setting up BBQ brunch.  I think the remaining probe was to close to the element.  Pulled it a bit higher without opening the door and the temp showed 198. 

Did the turbo cook happen because the butts were boneless and basically butterflied?  Pretty deep cuts to get the bone out and those were facing down so the fat side could be face up.  Just another theory. 

Can't want to do again with bone in!

Offline hal4uk

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Re: Intro and help with 1st Boston Butt
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2010, 09:16:38 am »
Welcome aboard Bob (from another down-state smoker)!
You really have to be careful with that wind up there --- practically ANY smoker will have problems with wind.  It just messes up the air flow, and can actually reverse it at times.  Chicago is the "Windy City" for a reason...  There's always some wind whipping one direction or another, and that big puddle to your east helps to fuel the wind.  But, what really takes the wind up a notch is all the tall buildings.  A small breeze will slowly move a large mass of air, but when it hits downtown Chicago, the same volume of air is forced through the "gaps" between the buildings, and the velocity increases exponentially.

If you've ever been to a fast moving wild river, you may have noticed that where a boulder protrudes above the surface, there is a small patch of water directly to the downstream side of the boulder that is dead calm.  That's called an "eddy" and the very same thing can happen with wind (air and water are both fluids).  You need to take advantage of that phenomenon as much as possible by placing your smoker to an inside corner of you balcony and/or creatively using other objects to your best advantage.  Otherwise, you will have drastically different results from one smoke to the next.  Sorry for all the rambling/babbling, but it's hard to over-emphasize how poorly wind and smokers play together.
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