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What is the secret to reducing the amount of time and effort it takes to pull apart pork butts to get out the unwanted fat so people can enjoy eating? I buy IBP butts from Sams club. Have tried many different ways to cook and every now and then I am amazed at how there seems to be no fat but other times there is so much left it takes 45 minutes per butt to make it servable. I have tried getting the internal temp up to 200 and that does not appear to be the secret. I am just looking for the secret of how to do this right
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Here's my approach:

I start with bone-in butts and set them on rack with the bone facing me with a digital temp probe set in the center of the meat (not touching the bone). When the bone begins to push out a bit from the meat, I'll give it a little tug. If it starts to pull away, I pull the butts to a foil pan...otherwise I continue to cook till the bone pulls free. The temp can be anywhere from 196 - 205 before that bone comes loose.

Once the butts rest for 15 minutes, I glove up and separate the major muscles, exposing them to air. After another 15 minutes, the meat's cool enough to work by hand.The actual pulling takes me no longer than 10 minutes.

As for the fat, most of it is on the outer cap. Look for a leaner piece of meat if time is that important. Personally, I like the flavor a well fatted butt provides. Heck, it takes 12+ hrs to get the meat properly cooked...what's a few more minutes in terms of pulling? Once you've cooked 6 or more'll get the knack of working quicker, pulling the meat.
Once the pork butt is smoked properly like MaxQue advises, there just shouldn't be a lot of fat that hasn't rendered. I use two large forks and pull away. Pull out some fat, but there just isn't a ton of it.

My wife usually helps me and that cuts pull time in half. At larger parties, I enlist my buddies. Adds to the excitement.
Originally posted by NUPOC:
I have used this product several times. It truely works as advertised. It takes twenty SECONDS to pull a butt. Just remember to take the bone out first. Roll Eyes


Sorry, that's just a ripoff. Almost $50 for a simple adapter for a drill?

Besides, that won't help with the fat issue, it will just shread everything up and you'll still have the fat.

I would disagree with max that there is a lot of internal fat and I know what you're looking at, but it always renders out for me. I've never had trouble with butts and the fat rendering and pulling by hand. Maybe if you're cooking a bunch of them, a few of them are different sizes and just haven't rendered yet.

For the ones you have trouble with, have them temp'd out to 195 to 200 and still have internal fat as you describe?
The secret is low and slow on PBs. The longer the PB is in the plateau the better job of breaking down the fat,IMO. I like them IPB butts from Sam's, but I have more problems of them being to dry. I figure that I'm just cooking them to long, but hey that works well with Smokin's finishing sauce.

Remember every piece of meat is different on how it finishes or the time it takes.
Thanks for the comments
Tell me how low and how slow is right?
I have tried multilple settings and times and this is what I have come up with
Cook at 165 for 3 hours or so. Then raise the temp to 220. When the internal temperature reaches 165 I wrap them in foil until the internal temp is about 200.
I wrap in foil to help the temp go up and to keep from getting too much burnt bark. If I do not wrap it, it seems to take forever to raise the temp unless I crank the heat up to 250 and then I get a lot of burnt bark. My goal is to melt as much fat as I can without drying it out.
Also just as a side note I am not overly impressed with the smoke flavor I am getting. used a few different flavors of pellets but favor hickory and apple
you are wrapping in foil not to get the burnt bark, but then say you dont have enough smoke flavor. try not wrapping for at least 8 hours.

I just set it at 225 and count on 12-14 hours cooking. I do wrap at times, depends on how the timing is going, but never before 8 hours.

the hugh majority of the fat is on the outside, trim it off if it really bothers you.

Okie, I know that gizmo is expensive, but it is made of stainless. It was also 10 cheaper when I got it. If you are doing one or two butts, then it is not worth it. But on the last two occasions I had 20 butts to pull. No way my hands could do that . The heavy rubber gloves are not that heat resistant. That gizmo worked fast and my hands never hurt. I do not work for them, just passing on something I found that works for me.
Stone Creek,

My suggestion for your next PB cook:
Purchase some Butchers BBQ Pork injection HERE.
Mix a batch the day before and inject the butt 6-12 hrs before you start your smoke.
Set the FEC for 225 using Cookshack/Fast Eddy Hickory pellets and let it cook uncovered until the internal temp reads 190 o and begin probing with an instant read're looking for little or no resistance with the metal probe. When you think you're there, make a note of the temp and remove the meat from the FEC. Foil it for an hour.

When you're ready to pull, pull apart the major muscles. When they're cool enough to handle, pull those muscles one at a time. You'll find some fat between those muscle groups...remove it. The outer skin is where most of the fat is. Just separate the meat carefully.

Unless you cook the PB into a cinder, you'll always have some fat...that's where the flavor is.

Try my method. If it doesn't produce the end results and smoke flavor you seek, PM me and we'll add in another tweak.
I think you have a bunch of ideas/issues and you just need to keep cooking more, butts aren't that hard, but you're having some concerns.


Originally posted by Stone Creek BBQ:
... too much burnt bark...

That's essentially what bark is, burnt/heavily smoked/well cooked outside.

Butts will get lots of bark, so I'd suggest cutting back on the amount or the sugars, but most BBQ people love the bark for it's flavor (after all, that's the only place that gets the rub.

I would bump the temp up to 250 instead of 220.

I'd also suggest learning the anatomy of the butt better and tell us which fat is not rendering.

If it's the outside, they it's the cooking as that should turn to almost nothing (except for the fat cap which pulls away)

If it's internal how MUCH of it is there? When I do PB's there are sometimes little pockets of fat.

I think if you just keep smoking, make some little tweaks you'll be fine but you will NOT render all the fat, ever. If you do, then that fat that was helping keep it moist will now delivery you a dry PB.

nupoc, I understand the tool well, but it has zero to do with removing the fat, his original question, so I didn't want him buying a tool that didn't apply. He'd still have to pick out the fat that was now mulched up. Many a people have pulled pork without one, but if it works for you, that's great.
Originally posted by MaxQue:
Stone Creek,

My suggestion for your next PB cook:
Purchase some Butchers BBQ Pork injection HERE.
Mix a batch the day before and inject the butt 6-12 hrs before you start your smoke.

I was reading this article and then followed the link to the Butchers BBQ site and checked out the PB injection and looked at the ingredients and compared them with a Cabelas PB seasoning that I purchased and they appear to be similar.

When I purchased my SM020 from Cabelas last month, I ordered a bunch of rubs and accessories with it. Some of the rubs that I ordered were the Cabelas rubs to try. However, when I received the Cabelas PPB and the Brisket Rub I was surprised to see this beiege colored "RUB". I then read the directions for use and they talk about mixing it with water or juice and soaking the butt or brisket in it. I had never seen this before for a so called rub. But now after looking at the Butchers BBQ site I noticed this injection and wonder in that is what I should be doing with the Cabelas rub.
If I'm doing just a few, or doing them for comp. I use the bear claws. Work well for movingthe meat and pulls without shredding the meat.

But I did buy the item to use on the drill. And it did what it said it would. Pull the bones and any extra fat and put two butts in a large pot and it is done in about 12-15 seconds. Did about 34 butts for one event and it took two of us about and hour to do them with the bear claws.

If you us the drill too long it will begin to turn the stuff to mush.

So it depends on how much you have to do.

Like the other fine cooks said.

I've been taught that the longer it stays in the plateau the better it breaks down the collagen and the more fat it renders.

When that bone gets loose,you can about drop the butt on the table and the muscles will break apart.You can slide the muscles thru your fingers and the ligtht fat,etc shuold slide off.

Then you can break the muscles apart to suit you.

Like Smokin' says,cooking it real low will about cause it to fall apart on the rack and takes more time than might be needed.

I really can't remember any cooks we cook with taking more than ten mins to do a great clean job of correctly cooked butts.

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