Tips for overnight pork butt?

rwhapham

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I've done a bunch of pork butts over the years, but amazingly have never had to do an overnight cook so it could be served early in the afternoon. I'm going to be doing just that this weekend, though. I'm looking forward to the convenience of not having to tend to a fire, but I'm a bit concerned about it going that long without spritzing. Any tips or pitfalls to avoid from those of you that have tried to get some zzz's while the SF does its thing? I was thinking of possibly cooking it in a drip pan instead of just over one--let it soak it its own juices--but that seems like it might sacrifice the bark on the bottom. That may be the tradeoff I have to make vs. getting up at 3am to start spritzing. Thoughts?
 
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AHoneyman

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Start letting it sit directly on the grill. When it gets into the stall (150-165 degrees), wrap it up tight in paper, put it a pan, and let her go. You can plan the stall at about bed time, fill it with pellets, and sleep all night (I have not done that for years). When it hits temp, pull it off and you can wrap it if you want to which lets you pull it when you are ready.
 

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I cook on grid til the stall and then place in the pan and cover with foil. I’m not a butcher paper guy with butts. What I like about this method is you capture most of the seasoned juices so you can reincorporate them back into the pulled product. I put them through a fat separator, but it’s not a requirement. You can pour the juices and fat back into the pulled pork if you prefer.
 

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I just did an overnight pork butt on the SF Monday! It was 7.75 lbs, we wanted it for lunch the next day so I put it on at 8:30 pm, smokeboost for 2 hours, then set it at 225. At around 5am I had a low pellet warning so I had to get up to adjust. You could probably avoid this by refilling just before bed or starting later. The hopper wasn't low, just bridging, who knows if it would have fixed itself. I didn't spray at all, fat cap was on top, I put the butt on the lower grate and i had a water pan under it. I boosted the temp once it hit 150 to about 265 and then at 165 internal I pulled it to wrap in foil. I put it back on and it finish really quick at 204. I let it rest for an hour and it was pretty darn perfect for my 2nd butt! So juicy!
 
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rwhapham

rwhapham

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Thanks all for the advice. I did a bit more reading on the interwebs and I'm definitely not going to try the cook in a pan. Many confirmed what I suspected, that the bottom turns out more like braised pork than smoked. Juicy for sure, but completely lacking Mr. Brown. I'll probably just go with a partially filled water pan below the grate and start spritzing as soon as I'm awake. Also I just added some UHWM tape to my hopper, so I'm hoping that will keep the bridging gremlins at bay.
 

ftank47

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Also I just added some UHWM tape to my hopper, so I'm hoping that will keep the bridging gremlins at bay.
I hope you have more success than I did, I have the same tape and the gremlins still show up from time to time!
 

JpsBBQ

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Thanks all for the advice. I did a bit more reading on the interwebs and I'm definitely not going to try the cook in a pan. Many confirmed what I suspected, that the bottom turns out more like braised pork than smoked. Juicy for sure, but completely lacking Mr. Brown. I'll probably just go with a partially filled water pan below the grate and start spritzing as soon as I'm awake. Also I just added some UHWM tape to my hopper, so I'm hoping that will keep the bridging gremlins at bay.
One can simply add a cooling rack or even some veg to the pan to elevate the butt if that’s a concern. Once you develop the bark by cooking to 160-170, it’s pretty solid. It will soften some of the bark but that is countered by moisture and flavor. Most competitive teams cook them in pans at some point because you reserve and retain the juices most judiciously. Either way, it’s always good and the easiest most forgiving cook you can undertake in the BBQ realm. So much fat in a butt you have goodness no matter what. Enjoy.
 

Dassman5

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I tend to do all of my butts overnight.

The SmokeFire is set up just like my WSM, with the butts on the upper grate, with a half-size steamer tray ( water pan on WSM) centered directly on the flavorizer bars and 1/3 full of water. I set it to 200-225F let it stabilize, fill the hopper with Hickory pellets, put on the butts between 6 and 9 pm depending on size and number, and go to bed.

I also tend to use my Maverick probes which have set-point alarms, in addition to a meat probe and an ambient air probe to let me know if anything changes.

So far so good.
 
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rwhapham

rwhapham

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Mine did turn out quite successful. Serving time got pushed back a bit, but it still meant starting the night before. I put a 9 lb. butt on at 11pm at 250F over a drip pan filled partially with apple cider (not vinegar, just apple cider). Woke up a couple of times during the night and took the opportunity for a quick spritz. It managed to make it to the stall in about 7 hours, and it didn't quite have the bark I wanted, so I decided to forego wrapping. I instead bumped it up to 275F for a couple of hours, then back to 250F. Got a low fuel warning at one point, but it was because the steep side of the hopper had gone empty, but the long side still seemed to be feeding fine. Read that happened to someone else who installed the UHWM tape. It finally hit 203F after nearly 16 1/2 hours and it nearly shredded itself lifting it off the pit. Perhaps the best I've done, and, if nothing else, gives me some confidence in the SF for overnight cooks.
 

Dassman5

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Mine did turn out quite successful. Serving time got pushed back a bit, but it still meant starting the night before. I put a 9 lb. butt on at 11pm at 250F over a drip pan filled partially with apple cider (not vinegar, just apple cider). Woke up a couple of times during the night and took the opportunity for a quick spritz. It managed to make it to the stall in about 7 hours, and it didn't quite have the bark I wanted, so I decided to forego wrapping. I instead bumped it up to 275F for a couple of hours, then back to 250F. Got a low fuel warning at one point, but it was because the steep side of the hopper had gone empty, but the long side still seemed to be feeding fine. Read that happened to someone else who installed the UHWM tape. It finally hit 203F after nearly 16 1/2 hours and it nearly shredded itself lifting it off the pit. Perhaps the best I've done, and, if nothing else, gives me some confidence in the SF for overnight cooks.
Congratulations! I always figure 1 1/2 hr/# to 2 hr./ lb, knowing that if it finishes early there is always an old cooler around where I can wrap in foil and blankets and hold for 4-6 hrs. If needed.
 

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Mine did turn out quite successful. Serving time got pushed back a bit, but it still meant starting the night before. I put a 9 lb. butt on at 11pm at 250F over a drip pan filled partially with apple cider (not vinegar, just apple cider). Woke up a couple of times during the night and took the opportunity for a quick spritz. It managed to make it to the stall in about 7 hours, and it didn't quite have the bark I wanted, so I decided to forego wrapping. I instead bumped it up to 275F for a couple of hours, then back to 250F. Got a low fuel warning at one point, but it was because the steep side of the hopper had gone empty, but the long side still seemed to be feeding fine. Read that happened to someone else who installed the UHWM tape. It finally hit 203F after nearly 16 1/2 hours and it nearly shredded itself lifting it off the pit. Perhaps the best I've done, and, if nothing else, gives me some confidence in the SF for overnight cooks.
Pics?
 
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rwhapham

rwhapham

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Sadly, no glamour shots were taken of this one. I haven't yet gotten in the habit it documenting all of my cooks. But it very much looked like the cracked lump of volcanic rock that a good pork butt should resemble. ;)
 
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alexb

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For my overnighters, I start the butt around 10pm Saturday and let it cook through the night. You'll want to get a wireless temp gauge that tells you the temp of the smoker and the temp of the meat. I just put the receiver on my night stand. That way I can glance at it throughout the night. They can also be set to beep if the temp in the smoker goes below or above the temp you set. Like if it drops below 200 or above 250. That way you can go to sleep and it will wake you up if you need to go adjust the vents.
 
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