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I pulled my first butt yesterday. I sent some photos to Smokin which he may/may not post. Not important. The roast looked great.. had great bark.. and it did have a $m0k@ ring Wink .

This thing pulled apart so easily I couldn't believe it. My only experience is with grilling and always had to use a knife.

This is the first one so I expected some issues.. and I think I did have some.

1. Not as smokey as I had expected.. I used 3 oz of hickory and one briquette. I put the butt in the Smokette at a meat temp of 46*.

2. The texture of the product after pulling and mixing with extra quantity of Smokins Pork Baste was almost like a pate rather than what I expected.. shards of meat.

So, wondering what I could do to improve this next time.

Here is what I did..

1. After thawing, I rubbed thoroughly with a mixture of CS Rib Rub and some turbanado sugar. Put in frig for 24 hrs. Repeated the process and kept in frig another 24 hrs. I did the second period in the frig because something came up and I couldn't do the smoke that night.

2. Put butt in Smokette at 1930 Monday evening with the CS set at 225*.

By 2200 the internal was ~145* and I figured it was climbing too fast. So, I dropped the t'stat to 185* and went to bed. Checked it at 0630 on Tues morning and it was at ~168* so I changed the t'stat back to 225* The beeper went off at 1200 with the internal at 195*. Pulled the roast, wrapped in foil and put in a cooler with blankets for about 2 hrs.

I unwrapped it and began pulling. As mentioned, it came apart easily. I could probably have blown on it to separate it. Smiler I mixed a bit more of Smokin's Baste with the product and bagged in in Ziplocks at 6oz per bag.

Pulled two bags for dinner and tried it in two ways. I made up a batch of slaw using the recipe nysmoker posted. Put 3oz on a sweet french roll with a bit of slaw and gobbled it up. The other way we tried it was to mix a bit of BBQ sauce with the meat on a different sandwich.

I don't usually use BBQ sauce with my smoked meats as they don't need it. But this piece of meat, while it smelled pretty darn good.. was blander than I expected (very light on the smoke flavor) and was almost like mush.. no texture.. like pate, as mentioned above

Any thoughts on what I may have done right/wrong?


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only thing I might say is that the two rounds of dry rub, over a 2 day period, is more and longer than usual... may have had an impact. I just hit the rub 12-24 hrs in advance (usually 12), cook to 190-200 internal, then pull right then (without holding). I add some rub after pulling, as well as some vinegar sauce. I get good results with plenty of texture and "pieces" of meat, which I like, rather than the very finely minced stuff you see a lot. I can then fridge or freeze the finished meat for future use. after reheat, I will again add some rub.
I don't have a 10th of the experience that most have on this site but I'll give you my two cents worth...

I've never "rubbed" a butt for 48hrs--but I don't see how it could hurt...

I smoke my butts at 225---and I don't mess w/the temp... My butts also climb real fast to around 150 or 160 then they plateau for quite a while before hitting much over 170...

I foil my butts at around 170 and put in half a cup of apple juice or smokin's finishing sauce and let it go until 195... I let it rest on the counter for 1/2 hr or so and then pull... I foiled/wrapped/coolered for a couple of hours once and my butts came out a little "mushy"--I figured they overcooked while in the cooler...but it seems to be a popular process so maybe i just had a bad butt or did something else wrong....

If I'm serving in a few hours I foil the pulled meat and put it back in the cs at 140...has been real successful for me...

I also apply a bit more finishing sauce right after I pull...then barbeque sauce...Like you, I also prefer sauce on pulled pork (not necessarily on other meats though)...

I use more like 6oz of wood and a couple of briquettes--butts can take a lot of smoke...

Good luck--hope this helps...
Have had some experience with mushy pulled pork. With butts I am not as concerned with the pork drying out b/c I am pulling and adding sauce so if it's a little dry, no one will know. I set mine out on the counter and let cool until I can pull and add vinegar mop and rub. Then wrap loosely in foil and into a 150 oven to hold adding more liquid if it starts drying out.

only thing i could add is pull it at an internal temp say at least 20 degrees cooler. think what happened is the temp continued to climb due to what is called carry over cooking ( don't ask me thats what the pastry chefs i know call it lol)
but i do know from experience that a large roast beef will gain about 20 degrees while just resting with no cover.
hope this helps
Most covered the subject well.

You can add more hickory,or add more half way through the cook.

Pull it out of the cooker,when you can twist the bone.Around 195�.

Like Jack said,a single butt will climb around 7�in the cooler.

You can butterfly the butt,giving you more surface for bark/smoke.

Break apart just enough to be sure you have rendered the fat.

Add a VERY Minimum of vinegar sauce, as you pull it, and adjust the seasoning with your rub- when you finish pulling.

You shouldn't require any vinegar sauce at all,if you are serving soon after pulling.

It is a flavor thing.

Add a light sauce on the meat ,after it is on the bun.

Just a couple of thoughts.

Hope this helps a little.
Thanks all for the input...
I thought I followed the prior postings on smoking a butt to a "T". If I read the last two posts.. by Jack and Tom.. I get two different temps to pull from the smoker. I pulled the roast from the smoker at 195* as suggested here by Tom and all the prior posts I read. Jack suggests pulling it out at about 175* and letting it rest, wrapped, in the cooler box for a period of time.

Given that the roast was pulled at 195* with the afformentioned problems.. what would the 20* give me? I suppose the answer is less rendering, although that didn't seem to be an issue.. Smiler

I'm wondering if the pulling might be part of the problem or not.. The meat looked pretty darn good as I began to break it up.. but the more I pulled it, the more it broke up into finer and finer pieces. Then when I added Smokin's sauce to it.. it turned to mush.

I say mush.. the thing I can liken it to is when you open a can of tuna.. there are chunks.. but as you add mayo and relish to it.. it breaks up more and more until you end up with a paste if you don't quit in time..

So, thanks for this info. I'd appreciate this discussion going further, if necessary. The nice thing is that it hasn't taken any tangents and might be great for other first time folks who might have the same problem.

For what it's worth, I've found that 195* internal seems to be a little too much for my taste if I'm going to foil and cooler. Meat will hit 200*+ in cooler and that seems to cause some of the mushy-ness you describe. I'm now pulling from smoker at about 185-190* if I plan to pull meat, and 180-185* if I plan to slice. Both these are anticipating using foil and cooler, which I do think helps render more fat and is worth the effort for best quality. I also never cook butts below 225*, and truthfully, I prefer the final texture I get at max temp setting, so I usually crank it to 250* and let 'er rip.

Other factors I associate with mushy texture is age of meat, and whether or not butt has "solution added". Letting butt sit in fridge until it approaches "use by" date on cryo lable seems to almost guarantee mushy. Same with the "solution added" butts, which I avoid like the plague for this and other reasons. One problem though is you might not know what the "use by" date is if you're buying repackaged butts from the grocery. I know I've bought a few that must have been packaged towards the end of their shelf life because after one day in fridge they were a little slimy and had all the signs of older pork. Came out mushy too.

Lastly, if you are going to sauce as you pull, the butt dosen't need to be handled too much. I basicaly break mine in half just to remove the bone, and then break the half's in half again. Then when I add sauce, I just mix/chop a little with a big spoon and things seem to usually work out fine as far as texture is concerned.
Some great comments.

I got the photos, but I can't upload them from my work computer as I'm not at home until tonight.

I think the answer is pretty straight forward -- Mushy butts to me mean over-cooked.

Regardless of the temp recommendation, if it's not what you want, then adjust it down until you get the texture. If you read Prisonchefs post, he was talking about beef roasts tend to rise.

My butts I look for 185 to 190 BUT it depends on the butt and that's why it's a touchy feely thing for me on when I pull them. I never pull on temp alone. I've had butts pull well at 180 and some not until 195.

Suggest you try pulling at lower temps to see if that meets your preference.
I think what folks are saying is that barbecue is an art and not a science.

Experience and personal preference will dictate each of our techniques.

Regional preferences will also influence what we perceive as "correctly" pulled for size,type/amount of sauce, texture/tenderness..

Temp is an indicator of "doneness range".

Even twisting the bone is a function of your experience and personal preference.

Different cook temps and time spent in the plateau will influence texture/tenderness,juiciness,fat rendered.

Amount of time in the resting stage and the volume of hot meats will have an effect.

Smokin' would usually come by about now and say keep it simple and take detailed notes of all you do and the results.

Change small amounts each time you cook and see what that does for your results.

Maybe try two butts at once and change one thing about each.

Give the forum a shot at a change to help a specific want.

I suspect that if you buy a cryovac two pak around 13-16 lbs,season them heavily with a good rub-shortly before going in the cooker,

Add 5-6 oz hickory.

set cooker at 225�,don't open door until it hits 190�,twist the bone to check for looseness[cook longer if not a little loose]

If loose, wrap in heavy plastic wrap and then in heavy foil.

Place in well insulated cooler for one hr.

Break butt into basic muscle groups,remove bone and obvious fat.

Break coarsely into bites[like steak,pot roast,sausage,etc.]

Season lightly with your rub,toss lightly by hand,
and taste.

Reseason,if need be.

Eat some by hand.

Try some on a bun,let guests try a little vinegar sauce or a little other sauce.

Add slaw and condiments last.

From here it should be simple to adjust to your tastes.

Well,I'll get outa here -before someone accuses me of makin' a Smokin' post.
Originally posted by Tom:
[qb] I think what folks are saying is that barbecue is an art and not a science.

*** SNIP ***

Well,I'll get outa here -before someone accuses me of makin' a Smokin' post. [/qb]
Big Grin Big Grin Thanks Tom.. the art makes sense. I'm just trying to avoid a bunch of obvious mistakes.

Appreciate all the input from you and all those who took the time to reply to my post. I'll try the smaller of the two tomorrow evening and pull if from the smoker at a bit lower internal temp. If it appears to pull apart easy, I'll not rest in the cooler.. rather out on the table.

We'll see how this goes and report back

I don't think so. It might be that I added sauce to the pork and mixed some more before putting in the bags. Could be that I should bave simply pulled and bagged.. period.. than added any sauce, if necessary, when eating.

Another thing I know I didn't do is to remove the fat on the back before pulling.. I thought of that.. but figured the "bark" is what everyone was talking about.. and left it.

Next time I toss the fat, pull (with the grain) and bag. I'm also going to use much more hickory than the 3 oz I used this time. It really can take a bunch. I was paranoid of using too much after the "first" bird I did. Subsequent birds with 2 oz of alder were great.. as was the tuna.

Thanks folks for all the input.. a process to base the "art" on is coming together.

I use a vinegar and tomato based sauce and I always add it right after I pull, but I only add just enough to coat the meat. That way the flavor of the meat, hickory and sauce mix together but no one flavor overpowers the other.

Like I said above, I use about 6oz of hickory. To me, it aint BBQ if it doesn't have a nice hickory flavor.
YeeHaw.. did the second butt of the cryo today. 6.5 lbs.. started at 7:30am out at 6pm. First rub with CS Rib Rub and Turbinado.. and 2nd rub with Pappy's just before putting in the smoker. Used 6 oz of hickory and 2 briquettes.

It was (is) awesome.. couldn't ask for better flavor and texture. I pulled it at 185* this time vs 195*. Soaked in the cooler for 4 hours. Pulled wonderfully. We'll have it tomorrow for lunch.

Thanks for all the help and support.


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