First overnight butt cook

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Dave Lewis

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My first overnighter is approaching the end. I'm tired, but everything is looking good so far. I put a 7 lb butt on last night at 10pm, went to bed at 12:30am with the temp at a steady 250*. I woke up (unplanned) at 4:15am and went to check on the butt. Temp was 219*, added water, open up the vents a bit got the temps stabilized at 246* and went back to bed at 5am. Woke up at 7am and the temp was 280*! Oops. The next couple of hours I was behind the power curve, my temps yo-yo's between 220 and 270. Finally, around 10am found the touch and have been solid 250* to 260* ever since. The internal meat temp in the 168-172 range from 7 am to noon. Finally, its coming up. I just checked it at 180*. The butt looks marvelous. Approaching 15 hours, I'm tired but its looking good. I've got the time to let it reach that magic 195-205 range. I haven't had to add any charcoal yet (Minion method) I've only had to fill my water pan once. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Well, I made it. 18 hours to hit 199* I cranked opened the vents all the way the last 1 1/2 hours and got the heat up to 290-300 and the internal meat temp finally came up to 195+ I was in the 180s for hours at 250* lid temp. All that remains is the pullin' and the eatin' Its sitting in a cooler right now wrapped in saran wrap, foil and a towel until I'm ready to pull it. The finished butt was significantly smaller than when I started. I will barely have enough for dinner with lots of side dishes. Next, time I'll make 2 butts. I'll post how it tastes.
Good Dave,
Wow thats a lot of shrinkage on the butt. I usually expect 1/2 pound of finished pulled pork per person...its a pretty big sandwhich. I serve it with an ice cream scooper.

You should read the post here in the forum on another all nighter called "Night of 109 Slabs"... its a real enjoyable read.

Night of 109 Slabs...

As it is a new WSM I imagine that it has not built up that thermal mass of grease and smoke buildup that I think lends itself to a more stable temperature over your cook...after a few more cooks it is reported that the cooking temperature becomes more stable and you do not experience the high and low ranges of temperature...

If someone else has additional info as I am not expereinced with the WSM (yet!).


Dave, it does sound as though you had a lot of shrinkage. And, 18 hours for a 7 lb butt is a bit long, too. My first concern would be for the accuracy of the thermometer you used to measure the dome temperature. Maybe a boiling water bath to check it is in order? While you are at it, I would also check the one used to measure the meat temperature. Hanging in the 170? plateau for so long and the amount of shrinkage indicates that you either had a butt with an excessive amount of fat to render out and/or your cooking temperature was lower than you thought. I believe Jim mentioned it the other day about some people purposely keeping the temperature throttled back to allow for a longer time in the plateau - it renders out more fat. Glad you got through it and hope the flavor and texture prove to be worth the extra time. Remember, quality takes time! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
The butt was excellent. Everyone said it was definitely worth my all night effort. It looked smaller than it actually turned out. After I pulled it, I had a lot of meat, enough to feed 10 adults (actually, 3 men who ate 2-3 large pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw apiece and 7 women who ate one apiece or nibbled, so it worked out perfect with a little left over.

I've been thinking about checking my thermometer, just for grins. I use the Polder digital with the probe stuck vent on the lid. I imagine its pretty accurate, but it does seem to take me longer to cook than Chris says. Whole chicken takes close to 5 hours and baby back ribs 6 hours. 18 hours for a 7 lb butt seemed awfully long and added to my exhaustion. I just wanted to take a nap.

It was my first time using the Minion method, so I think my temperature yo-yo's were due to inexperience more than anything. My vent changes were too big, then I would have to close them down, usually too much. The last 6 hours of the cook they were rock solid. Using the standard method, I can keep my temps steady for hours. Even with the standard method, I usually have problems after the first time I refill the water pan. I usually use HOT tap water. The temps will be steady before, then add more water and battle temps for a hour or so, then steady again. It was just magified with the Minion method. Maybe I should just try warm tap water. I also seem to have better temp control if I adjust all three bottom vents a little rather than one a lot (e.g. 10, 10, 10 rather than 30, 0, 0) Anyone else have similar experience? I would appreciate the input.
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