1st Boston butts - lots of questions.


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Jul 18, 2019
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Statesville NC
Pro 34
I ‘think’ I have a plan, but there are a lot of things I am not certain of, so I am looking for help. My meal time is 6pm Monday

2 almost 8 lb butts. Going to serve them pulled. Planning on starting them at 180 for 2-3 hours, then going up to 225. I have read to plan for anything from 1.25 - 2 hours per pound. That is a difference of 6 hours over the cook. My plan was to be done 4 hours before serving time, so if I run longer I have a buffer. I am just concerned about getting done on the shorter time frame, then I have a 10 hour gap. I know I am cooking to IT not time, I just want to plan ahead.

Question 1: what should my time frame be?

Going to inject with a 4-1 mix of apple juice to ACV, going to mix in some of my rub. Injecting a day before starting cook, rubbing a few hours ahead of start time.

Question 2: fat side up or down? Seen arguments both ways. Fat up seems to make sense but I am open to discussion.

Question 3: temp to pull. Seen anywhere from 195-205. A good friend of mine swears by 204. Again, I’m listening.

To recap, I need to know approximate time per pound, fat up or down, and pull temp.
1. I find that when I smoke a 9-10# butt it is about 9 hours cook time at 225 and wrapping it up at the stall. Then a 2 hour rest in the cooler wrapped in a towel. I would guess for two 8# butts about 10-12 hours smoke time if you wrap them during the stall which will be around 160-165f. The butts will get up the 160f range fairly quickly then they will sit there during the stall. If you decide not to wrap them then plan on another couple of hours to the cook time.

2. Fat side up or down is a personal preference. Seeing your smoking 2 of them at the same time, I would try 1 fat side up and 1 fat side down and see which you prefer if either.

3. Internal temp is a guideline and usually between 200 and 205. I usually start checking the butts for tenderness at 202. Remember it is about tenderness and not actual internal temp as each piece of meat can and will vary.
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Thanks @CampWhatnot. If it were just for me I would not be concerned. It’s when I am cooking for a group that I get nervous. I’ll post pics once it’s complete.
I'm curious to hear what others say about injecting it. I injected my first one with chicken broth and it took a long time to get through the stall. I also was unaware that I was cooking at 200...I had it set for 220 but the thermostat is not correct. Anyhow, my 7 lb roast took 24 hrs to cook, the stall was about 10 hours long and I did not wrap it at all, then it slowly crept up to temp. I finally got tired of waiting and goosed the temp to finish it off. It was very good and moist though and as long as I'm expecting that kind of a cook time I'd be OK with it. I suspect that any injected fluid will have to dissipate before you can break the stall and adding fluid will increase stall length, does that sound logical?
Agreed on 10-12 hours.

Fat side down to protect the meat. Fat side up will not melt the fat to penetrate or soak into the meat in any way to make it juicier or better.

I always pull at 202 (wrapped) and drop in the cooler for 2 hours.

Put on at 10 pm Sunday @ 180. Woke up at 2am just to check, & I caught a flame out just before my low temp alarm went off. Pulled everything out, scooped out firebox, relighted, and bumped to 220. Sat up with it through a few cycles, then went back to bed. Woke up a bit before 7am to some nice bark. Wrapped in butcher paper just before 11am @ 165, pulled one off around 2 @ 204, pulled the other shortly after. Rested in cooler for almost 4 hours. Bone slipped right out. Pulled most, coarse chopped a little.

Should have done 3, my guests wiped me out. Was hoping for some leftovers for Brunswick Stew.

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