Massive Butt Cook

24 Apr

As usual, I am way behind on the updates, but am going to try to chronicle a butt cook I am doing tonight for a friend’s church dinner tomorrow night.

After a trip to Sam’s this afternoon to pick up a case of butts (five packages of 2 butts each) weighing in at about 72 lbs, plus two more two-packs for a total of 14 butts weighing in at about 100 lbs, the preparations got started in earnest around 9:30. Here is the first post, which was originally sent as an email to The Professor and a couple of the intended beneficiaries of the butt cook:

Gentlemen – as followers of BBQ, Esq., and being aware of a mammoth butt cook this evening, I wanted to let you know that as of 10:15, all butts have been rubbed and are on their respective smokers.

The final count was 14 butts – about 100 pounds total. 10 of the butts fit on the Traeger and 4 on the WSM.

When I came upstairs, the Traeger was humming along at about 225 on Pecan pellets and the WSM was climbing through 190, assisted by the BBQ Guru Digi-Q DX automatic temperature control device, on its way to 225, fueled with good old Kingsford and flavored with some cherry, apple and pecan wood. Both smokers will hang there over night, with a temperature check to coincide with my nightly “nature call” (BBQ is such a good old man’s sport for this reason), and when the butts reach 160 degrees internal temperature – which I estimate to be about 6 – 7 a.m., they will be wrapped in a double layer of heavy duty foil, a little rub and a splash of liquid added to the foil, and the temps will be bumped to about 275. I estimate that the butts will finish at around 198 degrees between 10 a.m. and noon. They will then be transferred to a cooler, wrapped in towels, and held for pick up by my “customer” about 2:45. EXCEPT that two lucky butts will be reserved for the Smith Family and two special friends (Sorry CPS, you’re family and would have a share except that you are headed west).

We are hoping for a slightly sweet, smoky finish with plenty of moisture and a noticeable but not tough nor chewy crust.

More updates later in the evening.

11:00 p.m update. I usually don’t check my cookers so soon after starting a cook, but I really want to get some sleep and I wanted to know that all was well. The Traeger and the WSM were humming right along at temperature, with a wisp of blue smoke coming from the WSM. The Traeger doesn’t produce much noticeable smoke after the pellets get going, but the smoke taste and smoke ring are there nevertheless.  The butts on the Traeger are going to need rotating at the early morning check to keep the outside edges from getting done too fast. No problem there. So, 11:00 p.m. and all is well. The BBQ, Esq. is off for a few hours of smokey dreams.

1:15 a.m. – Butt check. Temps are holding steady on both the Traeger and the WSM. Butts look pretty much like they’re supposed to after about 3 hours.  Checked fuel in the Traeger. Going back to bed.

5:35 a.m. – I really like automatic temperature controllers! They let me do overnight cooks without worrying about smoker temperatures – not that I worry much about temperatures on the Traeger or the WSM anyway (or the Kamado Joe or Primo XL Oval for that mattter), but still, I sleep better knowing that the technology is doing its job.  Got up and checked the butts this morning and they look great. I did get to the Traeger just in time since it was almost out of pellets. I refilled the hopper and now Traeger is happy again and let out a nice little puff of smoke from the smokestack to let me know. I haven’t checked the butt temps yet this morning because the Thermapen was upstairs and the cookers are downstairs, but judging from the looks of the butts, they are definitely ready to go into foil to finish. Butt first…… coffee…..

7:00 a.m. –  When I took the Thermapen down to the smokers, I found that thee of the butts were just north of 195 degrees internal – they all were on the Traeger and on the “hotter” end of the cooker. They were foiled an slipped into a cooler to hold for a while until the others finish. The biggest butts were on the WSM and they were still in the stall, being in the 160 range. No real surprise there because of their size. All of the butts were wrapped and the 11 that still had some cooking to do were returned to their cookers and the cooker temperatures were bumped to 250.

I will check the butts every 30 minutes or so and as the butts finish, they will go into the cooler. When all are finished, I will put the Traeger into “smoke” mode, which runs about 165 degrees, and hold the butts until my “customer” picks them up after lunch.

Final Update: The butts all finished in due course this morning. As they finished up, they were placed in a cooler and covered with a blanket. The last two to come off of the WSM were designated as mine. I pulled them about 1:30 this afternoon and they were good butts to say the least. Lots of moisture, good bark, very tender (these were pulled at about 200 degrees so they probably finished about 205-210, but they didn’t get mushy). I splashed in some vinegar and pepper sauce just to add a little spice and they were done.

First review was from my friend JST. A self-described picky eater, he gave it his seal of approval. Results in from the church also were good, so we’re calling it a success!

14 Butts – biggest cook to date!

So far so good – with only some minor min-cook adjusting.


One Response to “Massive Butt Cook”

  1. Phellepa April 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Ah, now we know your Heavenly calling!!

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