Butt Took Way Longer than Expected

by Kevin James
(Thompsons Station, TN, USA)

Last week I smoked a port butt on my new pellet grill/smoker. The meat got to about 150 degrees and then took literally 8 hours to get to 174.

I am familiar with the stall; however, it seemed that this was a bit long, even for a stall.

1. The butt was about 7.5lbs

2. I used mustard as a binder for the rub. I have since been told this might have been the reason as it put too much moisture.

3. My smoker was in the sun, and I wonder if that kept the cooking heat down during the day.

4. I wondered about letting it sit for 24 hours with the dry rub to pull some of the moisture out.

I plan to do a 10lb butt this coming weekend, and hopefully, I will have better luck with this one. I will start it early on Friday morning, so I can ensure it will be done on Saturday.

Would splitting it into 2-5lb pieces help any at all? I am pretty new to this and am still learning.

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Jun 23, 2021

by: Joseph

Hi Kevin,

Sorry to hear about your problem. Let's solve it for you.

You put a lot of useful information in your comments. Thanks for that.

My first question is, what temperature did you cook your pork butt at?

Some recipes and older barbecue books will tell you to cook barbecue at 225°F. Unfortunately, that's too low for several reasons.

1. This low temperature takes too long to cook the meat. This can cause foodborne illness.

2. It takes too long to cook anything and makes it difficult to get past the stall.

3. Producing clean smoke with a wood or charcoal fire is difficult to do at this low temperature. (I know you're using a pellet grill, so this doesn't apply to you.)

I suggest you cook pork butts at 250°F for about 1-1/2 hours per pound.

For a complete rundown, check out my pork barbecue recipe.


Cutting a 10lb butt in half would speed up cooking if you cut it, so the pieces are thinner. But, if they're too thin, they'll dry out. So, I wouldn't recommend it.

The weight is not as important as the thickness. However, thicker cuts take longer to cook because the heat must travel farther to reach the center.

The mustard was not your problem.

Your cooker in the sun may have something to do with it if the sun heated some circuit boards and threw off the temperature reading.

Pellets grills should not be exposed to the sun or rain because of their electronics. Therefore, always use your pellet grill in a covered area.

Cookers in the sun usually work better unless they contain electronics.

Good luck with your pork barbecue coming up and let us know how it turned out.


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