1st Pork Butt Plan - Input Needed

Started by wowooo20, March 18, 2013, 02:17:53 PM

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Hi Everyone,
     I'm about to kick off my first official smoke of my 4 rack digital in the next few days with some pork butt.   

Here's my Plan:  I'm going to go with an Injection combined of apple sauce, sugar, salt, and Worcestershire.  I'll do this this A day before, and take out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.  When it come's out of the refrigerator, I will apply my rub, and I'll used mustard as a base.  The rub will be Jan's Dry Rub from the recipe section.

Cut of meat:  Whatever is at the store..bone in, out, trimmed, whatever.  I would like to see a little bit of a fat cap.  If not, I'll go with it.  If there is a fat cap, i'll put that side up.  I'm going to cook 2.  I'll have the larger one on the second to top rack, and the smaller cut on the very top rack.  (Is this a good placement strategy)

Smoke Choice:  I only have apple and mesquite, so I am going to go with Apple for this one. 
Smoke time:  12 pucks - 4 hours.  Might go longer if I am in the mood to stay up that late. 

Pre heat to 225 - I'll use this temp consistent for the entire time (open to ideas/theories)
Goal IT Temp:  190 before removing.  I'll be using my new Maverick Digital Temp Gauge
FTC for 2-4 hours after 190 goal is reached.

**Chamber Temp and IT Temp:  Man this is confusing.  Lots of theories here and it's tough to find a consensus.  I've decided on 225 chamber temp, and was going to take out of the smoker at 190 IT to start FTC

Some questions:  Should I trench?  If yes, at what temp, and do I need to apply a marinade in the foil, or as is?
Do I need to spray it down every 1.5 hours with an apple/vinegar spray?

I'm open to any other ideas?

Thanks for reading.  I'll either be starting this sometime mid-week or this weekend and will post pics.



Just a couple of thoughts as your plan looks fundamentally sound.  I have never injected a butt but no problem doing it if that is what you prefer.  Your smoking/cooking temp of 225 is good.  If you can, preheat the tower higher than 225 because when you open the door to put the cold meat in, the temp is going to drop like a rock and take a few hours to come back up.  The cold meat will act as a heat sink, absorbing all of the heat your Bradley will put out..  As the temp in the tower comes back to 225, lower your setpoint to 225. You will notice wild temp swings in the tower.  As hard as this will be, try to ignore them as they will lessen as the meat comes up to temp.  Be sure your water bowl is full of very hot water when you start.  At the end of the smoking period, empty the pan, refill with water and put it back in the tower to catch the hot fat that will drip from your pork.

As for trenching, not sure what that is unless you mean to wrap the butt in foil.  Again, you can do that if it makes you happy. I choose not to as I am looking for a pronounced bark.  Wrapping in foil captures the moisture that the pork gives, softening the bark.

Lastly, somewhere around 140-150, the butt will "stall" it's internal temp for a few hours.  Resist the urge to bump the cooking temp up in order to make the IT of the meat start up again.  Just leave it alone, that is when the magic is happening in the butt.  All of the collagen and connective tissues are breaking down.  The IT will begin to rise, I assure you.  Keep your vent wide open the entire smoking/cooking time.  Need the moisture to escape.

Hope I've helped a bit.  Others will come along that are more learned than me so you should take their advice.

One last thing, let me know how you like Jan's Rub.  I'm married to THE Jan.


Like he said except you may see the stall at around 160. Initially the temp will rise semi fast and you'll be thinking this is going to be done a lot quicker than I thought. Don't worry, it will hit the stall and last a long time.
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agrees with kynola with one change , after the smoking time, i would change the water to your favorite soda, it will add to the flavor of the meat with the flavor of the soda, beer would  even be good.

chamber temp is the temp of the box (  ie oven ) and IT is the internal temp of the meat. 

here is a thought
at about 165 - 170 mop your meat with your favorite BBq sauce,,,, let go and cook 5 to 10 degrees  of IT temp and mop again,,,  i usually  mop 3 times   with the last time being at 5 degrees before final IT giving  the meat a nice bark

if you are going to do pulled pork go a bit higher to 195 makes it a bit  easier to pull


Just one note.

I would place the butts more in the center of the smoker.

Avoid the bottom and top shelf.


I am pretty new at this, but I have found I get a great product by keeping things simple. I just use a rub on the butt(s) -- usually Mr. Brown. I put it on then leave it on the counter while I set up the smoker. I preheat to at least 225 and then just leave on high, not worrying too much about the oven temp. I smoke for 3 hours and go to 190. If I have to move to the oven for some reason, I do 225.

That being said, I think what you are planning will work out fine. Apple is great on pork.
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I never let my butts sit out for 2 hours.  One hour max.

Habanero Smoker

Butts has such a large mass, that you may want to apply a coating of rub right after you inject it, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then reapply some more rub just before it goes into the smoker.

You may see a slight stall and maybe a drop of temperature at around 140°F; especially in poultry. That lasts a very short period of time. The major stall occurs around 160°F; at the point which collagen begins to break down. This is the stall that may last for a few hours.



Thanks Everyone.  Now for the rain and wind to get out of here today.  Not exactly something I want to deal with for a first timer. 


These guys nailed it for you.  Your plan will work fine.  However, if you are trying to copy some smoked butt you bought at a bbq joint, they were probably not injected - probably just rub and smoke - with sauce added later - if any.  Note whether you have an "enhanced" butt or not.  Injection might not work as well with an enhanced product, and might need to watch out for salt.  Foil - no foil?  As KY said - to each their own!  Just a slightly different product either way - neither better nor worse - just different.  And I cannot emphasize this enough - do not stress out over the CT.  250 plus or minus 50 degrees is fine.  And swings are fine to the meat - it does not require dead on accuracy or precision.  On the lower side, you will get a slightly different texture and a longer cook time than the higher temps.  A butt is pretty forgiving.  However, you don't want to cook it too fast - the magic won't happen - but that is not likely in a Bradley - as this is temperatures definitely well above 300.   

My bbq has always been simple - honest meat and seasoning married with honest smoke.  As I get older, that continues.  I like to sit down, enjoy my smokes and sleep with my meat.  Anything that causes deviation - I eliminate.  About the only concession to KISS I make is that I do mop.  Not everytime with a butt, but when I do, it is not with apple juice - I don't like the flavor - I'll use a mop that will help build up the bark. 
"A man that won't sleep with his meat don't care about his barbecue" Caneyscud

"If we're not supposed to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat?"


My 2 cents:  I normally inject butts with very similar solution as above.  My last smoke I did not have time,and in my opinion, I ended up with a better finished product.  So who knows what i'll do next time!  The above plan looks great.  If you put that much effort into your smoke you'll definitely end up happy with your results.  Good luck!
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A few updates/comments:  I did buy a non enhanced pork butt last night.  2 came in the package,   Bone in:  17.5 pounds total, and one is clearly bigger than the other.  I'm figuring a 9.5 lb and a 8 lbr.  Give or take a few.   

I am not going to trench, foil, and/or boat before it hits 190.  I'm going to let it ride uncovered on the racks until I hit 190 on both , and then FTC for 2 hours.  I will use the middle 2 racks.  Bigger cut on the bottom.

The nice thing about have 2 butts, is I can experiment.  I'm going to inject the smaller one and rub, and not inject the larger cut and rub.  There is a thick fat cap, so I"ll trim one, and remove the other. 

A new addition to my plan:  I do plan on mopping both and would like to hear what you all have used, and how you did it.  when, the frequency, etc.   

I'll stop boring you all with the play by play and scenarios that are running in my head.  However, I'll provide detailed information from prep, smoke, oven  to finished product.  Again, thank you everyone for your input. 


Two things come to mind.  17.5 lbs is a pretty big load and will increase the overall cooking time.  Just be prepared for it.  Mopping is perfectly fine if that is how you want to do it.  Just bear in mind that everytime you open the door to mop the butts, the heat in the tower will drop, increasing the cooking time even further.  If you have the time, it's all good.  I have had butts take as long as 24-26 hours in a Bradley.

One thing you could do is to move the butts to your house oven set at 225 after the smoking period.  That way, when you mop the butts, the house oven temp will recover quicker than the Bradley tower.

Just some thoughts from me.  Others will come along with much more experience than me.


Great plan! I use to experiment every week with pork butts.

I have injected, mojo'ed, deboned and rolled out and smoked
and then re-rolled and tied up to cook, twice smoked, etc.

But I have never mopped a butt. Not saying it's wrong, it may
be great, I have just never done it. I like the bark to be firm
and flavorfull to mix back with the rest of the pulled meat.

Now this is just a thought and I will probably get corrected but
if you want to mop (and again it may be awesome) you may want
to stop mopping some 15* below your removal IT so the bark
will get a little firm.


does saucing add to bark eventually?