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Behold My Butt! (2007– )

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Waaay back uptopic, you can see that I learned the hard way: this is not an exact science. Sure, you'll cut down on the smoking time by halving the butt, but estimates like 1 1/2 hrs per pound are unreliable, particularly on a Weber bullet. You want to go by temperature and feel.

You can always rest it a little longer and keep it warm post-pull, so I'd get it started as soon as you can and keep fingers crossed. Having said all that, 9 hours sounds extremely optimistic to me -- and you don't want to hurry your butt!

Thanks for the quick response Chris. We decided to smoke half of the butt, still a substantial seven pounds, hoping that the smaller quantity of pork will cook more quickly. I am assuming that smoking butt is like making rendang – it is done when it is done.

I tied up my butt to make it more shapely, and then rubbed my butt with black pepper, smoked paprika, sugar in the raw, dry mustard, salt, and cayenne. Smoked paprika was not my first choice, but we were out of regular paprika and ancho powder. Must do something about that today. I am not (yet?) a purist like Susan - I do love pork with a spicy bark.

The half-butt went in the bullet at 9:30 AM, and we hope to pull the pork before sending the boys to bed. Later today I will smoke an acorn squash and perhaps a few bananas on the lower rack. If I get really inspired, we might have some frijoles to accompany.

Thanks again!

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Chris is correct -- this is not an exact science, which is part of the charm, I think. I've had boneless butts take longer or less time that bone-in butts, and visa versa. I think a lot of it has to do with the amount of connective tissue, which I'm sure also affects the temp at which your butt will stall and how long it will take to climb out of the stall. Patience, you will be well rewarded.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I am assuming that smoking butt is like making rendang – it is done when it is done.

When I first started smoking pork on the WSM I too was looking for timing advice. Several experienced smokers kept telling me "it's done when it's done". I thought that was a smart ass reply till I found out it to be true. One can certainly estimate when a butt will be done and often that guess will work out. But there are no guarantees. So,now I can tell you " it's done when it's done"

Always allow more time than you think and I never make plans to eat based on an assumption on when it will be done. As Chris says, you can always hold it if it finishes early, but if it ain't done when meal time arrives there is little that can be done, save for ordering pizza.

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Cold gusty winds made temperature control a challenge. The bullet is protected from the wind on three sides, but of course the wind was blowing from the unprotected direction. After nearly killing the fire once or twice, I opened vents all the way to maintain temperature. This burned up a lot of charcoal.

. . . if it ain't done when meal time arrives there is little that can be done, save for ordering pizza.

As dinnertime approached, the butt remained resolutely stalled around 160F. Instead of ordering pizza, Mrs. C steamed leftover ribs and sauteed green beans with sesame seeds. We barbecued acorn squash (good) and bananas (delicious) on the bullet’s lower grate, and served pinto-bean frijoles and =Mark’s South Carolina mustard BBQ sauce (a bit sweet for me, but delicious with frijoles).

The butt finally reached 180F after 14 hours on the bullet. Close enough. We rested the butt in foil, pulled the meat, and crawled off to bed well after midnight. Pictures to follow.

I am now 100% sold on remote temperature transmitters. As cold gusts rattled the windowpanes, we curled up in front of a cozy fire and watched Iron Chef while rising digits on the monitor tracked the butt’s slow but steady progress.

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Quick newbie question: if I cut my 14-pound boneless butt in half and smoke my two half-butts, does that double the cooking time? I will be cooking my butt(s) on a Weber bullet, so half of my butt would be in the top chamber and half of my butt in the bottom (heh) chamber.

There's not much you can do to shorten cooking time. You can cheat by cooking the butt hot and smoky in the bullet for a few hours to create a nice bark and then finish in a 200 to 225F oven until done. Put it in the oven before you go to bed and start checking for doneness when you get up the next morning.

Jim

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A hopefully related question - will be pan roasting fingerling potatoes for the first time.  My thought is to halve them and throw them in the roasting pan the final half hour of roasting.  How's my timing?

And a lovely butt it is, Bruce! Welcome to the wonderful world of smoking!


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Peter, peering over my shoulder as he looked at your's, wonderer if da boysz have rejoicedi n Butt Talk like he does!

But, what a bodacious butt. Glad to welcome you to the fold. Nothing better than welcoming a fellow member to the Order of the Butt, even if you prefer them not nekked.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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And a lovely butt it is, Bruce!  Welcome to the wonderful world of smoking!

Thanks, Marlene!

ETA: Oops, and thanks, Susan! Da boyz are still pretty wrapped up in their new Xmas games, so they missed a golden opportunity to talk about butts at the dinner table.


Edited by C. sapidus (log)

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I've never seen such nice butts in one place.

I use the Bradley for the first several hours, and do the majority of my cooking in the gas oven at under 200, with good results. I generally do this with brisket, too.

I was wondering, though, for those that pull from the smoker before finishing - why is dry-heat roasting seemingly the only 'finish' process I see? Has anyone tried smoking to develop the bark in the smoker, and then braising the butt to finish? Would the braise dissipate the smoke flavor too much? I would think finishing with a braise could yield a particularly tender butt.

I'm a relative n00b to smoking, but after a search of eG and elsewhere I couldn't find any references to this method. Perhaps it's just totally unnecessary.

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I was wondering, though, for those that pull from the smoker before finishing - why is dry-heat roasting seemingly the only 'finish' process I see?  Has anyone tried smoking to develop the bark in the smoker, and then braising the butt to finish?  Would the braise dissipate the smoke flavor too much?  I would think finishing with a braise could yield a particularly tender butt.

I'm a relative n00b to smoking, but after a search of eG and elsewhere I couldn't find any references to this method.  Perhaps it's just totally unnecessary.

rstagg, I’m new at this but dry heat preserves the bark, whereas braising would dissolve it. The bark is my favorite part, so I wouldn’t braise. That said, we did heat up leftover pulled pork in a little chicken stock to make tacos. The bark mostly dissolved, but we reduced the liquid almost completely, concentrating the bark’s flavors.

I dunno - give it a try and report.

Pulled Pork Tacos:

gallery_58047_5582_35947.jpg

menuinprogress, nice butt and beautiful tacos!

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Well, yesterday I fired up the ol' WSM for the first time in a while. A nice 8 pound butt was on for almost 13 hours and came out great.

No pictures this time as I could not find the *#@$ camera. It has since been located but the deed was done. Sorry I did not have it as I had a chimney starter of charcoal going well before dawn. Got my neighbors attention as he looked out to see were the flames were coming from. I think he went back to bed most likely saying "that clown is smoking meat again."

This morning when I was packing my lunch for work I opened the container holding the leftovers and was greeted with the wonderful smoky smell.

I do hope the intrepid memebers of the EG smoking group light a fire and start smoking. It remains one of my all time favorite things to do and my all time favorite things to eat


Edited by lancastermike (log)

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After spending three weekends "devoted to hog," as my wife said, I'm taking a brief pause for this weekend, but I have a Niman butt with a fine fat cap waiting to be smoked two weeks from yesterday.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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We've got about a dozen folks coming over Sunday night for some pulled pork, so the 9# butt is now brining in a small cooler with lots of ice and brine following Dave's ratios in his excellent eGCI brining course. I also added pepper (white and black), some bay leaves, onion and garlic, a few allspice berries, and some juniper berries. It'll brine through Friday morning and come out to be dried in the fridge until Saturday morning. Then I'll dry rub it, tie it (no crack cracks, thanks), and start smoking Saturday evening, hoping to pull about 20 hours later, give or take.

Still figuring on sides and hoping to use Jean Anderson's Love Affair with Southern Cooking for a few new ones. Definitely making more of that killer SC sauce, too.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I was wondering, though, for those that pull from the smoker before finishing - why is dry-heat roasting seemingly the only 'finish' process I see?  Has anyone tried smoking to develop the bark in the smoker, and then braising the butt to finish?  Would the braise dissipate the smoke flavor too much?  I would think finishing with a braise could yield a particularly tender butt.

I'm a relative n00b to smoking, but after a search of eG and elsewhere I couldn't find any references to this method.  Perhaps it's just totally unnecessary.

I think that if you get a quality butt, especially one with that collagen-rich skin on, you don't need to worry about moisture at all. I certainly haven't needed to do so, and I usually just let the thing finish in the Bradley without pucks. No need to transfer it into the oven.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I was wondering, though, for those that pull from the smoker before finishing - why is dry-heat roasting seemingly the only 'finish' process I see?  Has anyone tried smoking to develop the bark in the smoker, and then braising the butt to finish?  Would the braise dissipate the smoke flavor too much?  I would think finishing with a braise could yield a particularly tender butt.

I'm a relative n00b to smoking, but after a search of eG and elsewhere I couldn't find any references to this method.  Perhaps it's just totally unnecessary.

I think that if you get a quality butt, especially one with that collagen-rich skin on, you don't need to worry about moisture at all. I certainly haven't needed to do so, and I usually just let the thing finish in the Bradley without pucks. No need to transfer it into the oven.

While I occasionally get myself a really nice butt, most often I smoke regular skin-on, bone-in butts cryovaced from my supermarket, and as long as you get the fattiest and most well-marbled butt they have, no problems.

I also see a problem with finishing with a braise -- you'll eleminate that combo of crust/crunch and moist/melting butt.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Still figuring on sides and hoping to use Jean Anderson's Love Affair with Southern Cooking for a few new ones. Definitely making more of that killer SC sauce, too.

Oddly enough, one of the most popular sides I ever served with smoked butt (no crack jokes, BTW) was a Thai "salad" of cuke, shallots, birds, vinegar and sugar. The type of salad you normally have with satay. I did go heavy on the shallots, and I just wished I'd made more. It was more popular then slaw.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Oddly enough, one of the most popular sides I ever served with smoked butt (no crack jokes, BTW) was a Thai "salad" of cuke, shallots, birds, vinegar and sugar.  The type of salad you normally have with satay.  I did go heavy on the shallots, and I just wished I'd made more.  It was more popular then slaw.

Now that is spooky - we are planning a butt-smoking party (date to be determined), and I was just thinking how nicely Thai cucumber salad would taste with smoky pork. I have it written down and everything. Somewhere.

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Boneless pork butt smoked overnight in the Bullet for 14 hours. We used a dry rub and mopped with a vinegar-mustard mixture in the last few hours. We will be smoking a butt for company in two weeks, so this was a practice run.

The remote thermometer failed, so I used a deep-fry thermometer. Can anyone recommend a good dual-probe remote thermometer? I would love to monitor the temperature of the meat and smoker from a distance.

We made two “slaws” – a standard vinegar, mustard, and cabbage slaw, and Vietnamese pickled bean sprouts. I rather liked the sweet-sour crunchy bean sprouts with the pulled pork. Mrs. C had a pulled pork salad.

Pork in mid-shred.

gallery_42956_2536_4844.jpg

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Bruce, it looks good! this is the remote thermometer I use for smoking. I've had mine for a couple of years now and it still works great.

We also did a butt overnight on our new smoker which worked out really well.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Bruce, what kind of rub did you use, and did you think it added much? (We're fans of nekked butts here). Boneless, or bone-in/skin-on?

Oh, and for the thermometer, if you need a gadget, the one Marlene linked to is the one to go to. Me, I just use an old fashioned oven thermometer for the Trusty Kettle and an old fashioned meat thermometer for the butt itself.

The Thai salad -- ard jart (many spelling variations abound) -- with Eternal Cukes/shallots/hot peppers and a vinegar/sugar dressing is another fabulous choice.

There are several butts in my near future -- three friend are having graduation parties for kids, and all have enlisted me to provide smoked butts! It's been way too long. All families want to offer slaw, buns and sauce as well as tortillas, salsa and queso. Good thing I have a ton of charcoal, an ample suppl of wood and easy access to butts.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Bruce, it looks good!  this is the remote thermometer I use for smoking.  I've had mine for a couple of years now and it still works great.

Marlene, thank your for the kind words and the thermometer recommendation. I Googled the manual for my thermometer and it turns out that, um, I forgot to hit “reset” after changing batteries. Even so, I may get a new one because it was reading the temperature in our living room as 134F. The evening was warm, but not that warm. :hmmm:

We also did a butt overnight on our new smoker which worked out really well.

I would like to hear more about your butt. :wink:

Bruce, what kind of rub did you use, and did you think it added much?  (We're fans of nekked butts here).  Boneless, or bone-in/skin-on?

Susan, same rub as last time – Southern succor from Smoke & Spice. I know that you are a nekkid butt person, but I love spicy, smoky bark mixed with the tender interior meat. We smoked half of a 14-pound boneless skinless butt (Mrs. C wanted the other half for the crock pot). I suppose that a rub wouldn’t do much for a skin-on butt.

Me, I just use an old fashioned oven thermometer for the Trusty Kettle and an old fashioned meat thermometer for the butt itself.

You are truly hard-core. As a partial defense for my technological reliance, I offer that 1) I am still new at this, and 2) a remote thermometer reduces the number of times that I must convince the dogs that their help with the smoker is unwelcome. :biggrin:

The Thai salad -- ard jart (many spelling variations abound) -- with Eternal Cukes/shallots/hot peppers and a vinegar/sugar dressing is another fabulous choice.

Thai cucumber salad is a great suggestion. We plan to make that in two weeks when we smoke butt for company.

There are several butts in my near future . . .

I do hope you will be sharing your butts with us. :smile:

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Bruce, I will do my best to get some pics up here in the next few days. Uploading to two sites is a little time consuming. :biggrin:

I love that thermometer for two reasons. I can monitor the temp of the smoker and the butt at the same time, and I can do it from indoors. Important, when right now, blackflies are swarming at the cottage, and one goes outside to check on the smoker at their peril. :biggrin:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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