First Timer! 9lb boston butt feedback?

Started by Ostranza, December 16, 2010, 10:48:29 PM

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So after seasoning my 4 rack electric smoker I'm going to try this boston butt with the bradley website recipe, Hickory smoked pulled pork . Has anyone had any experience with this one? I bought a 9lber and did the rub for the first time too...hoping I managed that ok!

Can anyone give me a good ballpark for the cook time for a 9lber? I'm making my first smoking experience a pot luck dish too...hopefully! Also, suggested smoking vs. cooking time would be helpful too. I don't want it to come out too strong or bitter.

Any feedback and criticism is appreciated. Thanks!

Habanero Smoker

Others will be along. I can't give you a time frame, but I generally use four hours of smoke, and with pork I either use pecan or maple, but hickory will work fine just a little stronger in flavor than pecan.

I can tell you that it will take longer then the 9 hour estimate in that recipe. Most on this board take the internal temperature to 185°F - 200°F for pulled pork.



Habs has you covered on this and he makes a very important point.  It is going to take much longer than 9 hours to bring that butt to pulling temps.  One thing you will experience is that somewhere along the way the IT of the meat is going to stall, maybe for 3-4 hours.  Resist the urge to bump the cooking temp to make the IT rise again.  It will rise on its own.  When it is "stalling" that is when the collagen and connective tissue break down and the magic happens.

Cooking time is simply this.  It's done when it is done.  Don't be surpised if it takes 14 hours or much longer.  Cook until the IT of the meat is around 190 or so.

Good luck.  You can do this! 


W E L C O M E  to the Forum Ostranza!

I concur, and will add that your evironmental conditions are also in play here.

Ambient temps, and especially wind will affect your cabinet temps and cook time.

Not to mention opening the door, that will add 30 minutes or so to the cook time each time you do it. "if you're lookin' you're not cookin'"

That butt may take 14-20 hours. be prepared and use FTC to hold it if it is done early.

FTC = wrap in Foil, then an (old) Towel, and put in a cooler. You can keep it warm at least four hours or so using this method, I have done longer with multiple butts keeping each other warm.
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Along with what has already been said you will need to dump your water pan after the smoke and refill it with HOT water.

Then in about 4 or 5 hrs you will need to refill the pan, or get a bigger pan, one that fits in were the original pan sits. A foil roasting pan works, just make sure it dont touch the heating element or mess with your smoke generator.

Also when checking the water make sure the whole in the V tray stays clean so the grease can drip down into your water pan.

Sounds like allot of work but it aint just check in on your new toy every 4 hr and youll have some mighty fine eats comin outta there.


These guys got you covered! I too am new to the OBS scene. I have had numberous electric and propane smokers before this beauty. With the automatic smoking generator, this unit kinda dumbs down what we have to do. The temps are lower than what I was smoking with before - yeah 200 - 225 is the goal, but I always found myself trying to get DOWN to that level. In this unit, it takes a few hours to achieve 200. The name of the Bradley Smoker game is patience.
Keep it fed bisquettes for the appropriate amount of smoking time, keep water in the bowl, don't peek more than once every 4 hours (trust me, it's still in there), and then WAIT. Like they say, good things come.
(I've got two 10 pound butts nearly done myself right now. I know, waiting kinda sucks)
Enjoy, and welcome.


Thanks for the comments guys! I'm heading home for work for my lunch break and going to toss it in. Expecting it to be done by 4 or 5am tomorrow before I head in to work for the pot luck. Gonna be a loooong day!

Bit of weird weather down here in Chandler, AZ suburbia. Rained yesterday and now the whole town in covered in a fog that I've never seen in AZ before....any things to be worried about when smoking? Quality or otherwise?

Thanks again for all the input! I'll be basting the butt every 5 hours too, should I just let it run off or should I have a catch pan during the process? Maybe next rack down?


Well I made a whoopsie when seasoning the smoker. Left the remaining 2hrs of Special Blend bisquettes on the ground next to the smoker outside and let the dog out this morning. Looks like she devoured them, paper and plastic and all! I sure hope she'll be ok! Yikes! Didn't know they could be tasty themselves!

Hoping that the 500W element is working now....sure takes some time as you guys pointed out above   :P


Quote from: Ostranza on December 17, 2010, 10:46:39 AM
I'll be basting the butt every 5 hours too, should I just let it run off or should I have a catch pan during the process? Maybe next rack down?

If your gonna baste wait till the last half of the cook then stop about a hr before its done, to form a bark.

I put a foil roasting pan with a couple warm beers in it on the rack below your meat after the smoke when your changing the water.

Then after the cook put the pan in the fridge wile the butt is doin the FTC. Pull the pan outta the fridge when the fat becomes solid again, discard the fat.

Now you have the juice to put back in the meat after you pull it.

Mmmmmmmmm gooood.


Thats a bit confusing with the beer. You have a picture? Just cans or empty them in the foil pan? So you're using it to catch the juice and fat that rolls off during cooking and then skimming it off after cold hardening. Hmmmmm, that IS genius! So it'll be a juicy beer broth?


Update: Got home from work about 5hrs into the cooking and IT was 170°F while smoker temp maintained around 235°F. Took the water bowl out and spent chips and cleaned off burner and put another HOT 3/4 full bowl of water in. Did some quick basting with two cans of beer in a foil pan underneath (thanks for that tip!). IT is now 163° and smoker temp at 210°. Kinda wondering at this point if I should aim for a higher smoker temp or IT...

To be continued!


It's normal for a temp drop after opening. I've done the turbo butt thing without it hurting anything, but low and slow is always better.
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Also, smoked with the vent just cracked for those 5hrs or so with 4 and half hours worth of pucks, enough for the temp probe to come out. Do you guys think this might have been too little? Gonna come out extra smoky? Is it better to have the vent open wider and then close it as much as possible for the cooking part just to have better heat retention?

I realize the temp does drop after opening the door but was just wondering if I should shoot for something like 200° rather than 235°. Actually I'm wondering what the best temp for being done about 4am in the morning ;)  that would be 15hrs on a 9 pounder.


I always leave the vent wide open. If it is closed it will retain moisture and actually be cooler than if the vent is open. Doesn't have to be wide open but 1/2 to 3/4 at least.

I have had 8 lbers take 20 hours. It all depends on the butt. Some are stubborn.
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I use various vent openings for controlling moisture and temperature. Try 1/2 opening, and see if your temperature rises. You don't want to use a fully closed vent when smoking/cooking. Besides causing your temperature to stay low, the moisture and residue will backup into the smoker.

Here is a guideline you can start with, then make adjustments from there.
Vent Openings