First Pork Butt Cook on IW885

GrillGuyMilwaukee

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Hello Traeger Community! Hoping to get some tips and tricks for my first "low and slow" cook on my new IW885.

Planning to have people over next weekend, and looking to do a 10# pork butt around 6PM. Been watching some different approaches on YouTube, and wondering everyone's thoughts on what I'm thinking.

Considering pork butts can be a little unpredictable, I want to allow enough time. Was watching Meat Church, and thinking about starting the cook the night before around 9PM, and smoke the butt for about 12 hours at 190F with super smoke. Then up the temp to 225/250 the following day to finish it off, possibly wrapping with paper if needed.

Do you think this is enough time if I include resting it for 1-2 hours? I know it's impossible to know for sure, but just winging thing first one.

Also, i used to put a little water tray in also, but will the blocking of the airflow do more harm than good? Should I just run without?

Any other tips and tricks appreciated!

Thanks all!
 
The nice thing about pork butts is that it is difficult to ruin them. I generally cook them at 225F until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Then I wrap them in foil (but paper will work as well). Then I will cook them to an internal temp of around 203F. The exact temperature is not as important as the probe feel when you poke the meat.

Since the meat will absorb no more smoke after it is wrapped, the final cooking temperature is not that important. Thus, if you are afraid you won't have sufficient time to finish before mealtime, you can always bump the temperature up. I generally finish using a cook temperature around 275-300F.

Pulled pork reheats exceptionally well. Thus, you can do the butt a day or two in advance and keep it in the refrigerator until needed. If you need to keep it longer, seal it in plastic bags and put it in the freezer. It is normally just my wife and I, so a pork butt makes quite a few meals. I will cook the butt, eat a couple of meals from it and then put the rest in the freezer in meal size portions.
 
The nice thing about pork butts is that it is difficult to ruin them. I generally cook them at 225F until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Then I wrap them in foil (but paper will work as well). Then I will cook them to an internal temp of around 203F. The exact temperature is not as important as the probe feel when you poke the meat.

Since the meat will absorb no more smoke after it is wrapped, the final cooking temperature is not that important. Thus, if you are afraid you won't have sufficient time to finish before mealtime, you can always bump the temperature up. I generally finish using a cook temperature around 275-300F.

Pulled pork reheats exceptionally well. Thus, you can do the butt a day or two in advance and keep it in the refrigerator until needed. If you need to keep it longer, seal it in plastic bags and put it in the freezer. It is normally just my wife and I, so a pork butt makes quite a few meals. I will cook the butt, eat a couple of meals from it and then put the rest in the freezer in meal size portions.
Have you tried smoking less than 225F with Super Smoke for the first several hours? I know Super Smoke goes up to 225F, just wondering if there would be any noticeable difference in the bark.
 
The nice thing about pork butts is that it is difficult to ruin them. I generally cook them at 225F until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Then I wrap them in foil (but paper will work as well). Then I will cook them to an internal temp of around 203F. The exact temperature is not as important as the probe feel when you poke the meat.

Since the meat will absorb no more smoke after it is wrapped, the final cooking temperature is not that important. Thus, if you are afraid you won't have sufficient time to finish before mealtime, you can always bump the temperature up. I generally finish using a cook temperature around 275-300F.

Pulled pork reheats exceptionally well. Thus, you can do the butt a day or two in advance and keep it in the refrigerator until needed. If you need to keep it longer, seal it in plastic bags and put it in the freezer. It is normally just my wife and I, so a pork butt makes quite a few meals. I will cook the butt, eat a couple of meals from it and then put the rest in the freezer in meal size portions.
I agree 100%. I set it at super smoke (225) and let it roll to about 160 degrees or 4-6 hours, which ever comes first, wrap it and then crank it up to about 275 until its done at 200-204. You can let it rest a LONG time if you want. I just keep it in the XL on warm-mode until I'm ready to serve.
 
Not to pile on, but I agree as well - hard to mess up a pork butt. I've only cooked two so far and both turned out great. My first one was done that very same day - started at 7:15 AM and ended up taking about 12 hours. See my thread To Wrap or Not To Wrap and esp the final post where I detail how I ended up cooking it complete with pictures.

My second cook was over night for Super Bowl; details can be found here . It's in the paragraph under the wing stuff; also, sorry but no photos. Honestly, I thought it was done a bit early, but better that then the alternative. It did stay moist and was the hit of the party. I still get people asking for the recipe.

Good Luck,
-PH
 
Just remember you cannot cook to time or go by the time someone else says they cooked one at. I always go by temperature. Like Ray said and especially being the first one, I would definitely cook it earlier. I just cooked two butts for a party Saturday, they was each about 11lbs and took about 14 hours at 225. I put them on Thursday evening about 8 pm. I cook butts to 195-200 then I double wrap in foil and put in a yeti cooler with thick towel underneath and on top. I took them out around 6 pm and pulled/shredded them. I put them in vacuum sealed bags, ice bath to cool down rapidly then refrigerated. I have a Sous vide cooker so I put them in the water set at 165 to heat up, took about 40 minutes. You could put in large ziplock bag and in a pot of hot simmering water but I would double bag it to be safe. Check it (unzip and probe) at around 30 minutes, you want to be at least 165 but not over 195) It will be as fresh tasting like it was just cooked. I haven’t found any benefits in wrapping them at 160 then cooking until temp. The downside to wrapping before done is you not only loose smoke flavor but you’ll have soggy bark. I also never open my door until they are done, unless like the last ones I cooked on my pro 780, I ran out of pellets. However I don’t cook butts on my Traeger anymore either. Let us know how it goes.
 
Yup, definitely cook by meat temp. I've done these before on my Camp Chef Smoke Vault, but I feel like the Traeger will be a totally different ball game.

Great tip on not wrapping if possible. We prefer a bark that isn't soggy. :)

Right now our biggest concern is it's supposed to rain/pour for most of my cooking time.... so watching the weather right now. Not good timing...
 
Just remember you cannot cook to time or go by the time someone else says they cooked one at. I always go by temperature. Like Ray said and especially being the first one, I would definitely cook it earlier. I just cooked two butts for a party Saturday, they was each about 11lbs and took about 14 hours at 225. I put them on Thursday evening about 8 pm. I cook butts to 195-200 then I double wrap in foil and put in a yeti cooler with thick towel underneath and on top. I took them out around 6 pm and pulled/shredded them. I put them in vacuum sealed bags, ice bath to cool down rapidly then refrigerated. I have a Sous vide cooker so I put them in the water set at 165 to heat up, took about 40 minutes. You could put in large ziplock bag and in a pot of hot simmering water but I would double bag it to be safe. Check it (unzip and probe) at around 30 minutes, you want to be at least 165 but not over 195) It will be as fresh tasting like it was just cooked. I haven’t found any benefits in wrapping them at 160 then cooking until temp. The downside to wrapping before done is you not only loose smoke flavor but you’ll have soggy bark. I also never open my door until they are done, unless like the last ones I cooked on my pro 780, I ran out of pellets. However I don’t cook butts on my Traeger anymore either. Let us know how it goes.
I provide the times and temps as a guidance - not as the end-all-be-all recipe. I go by temp and looks. Also, although I've only done two butts so far and wrapped both, the bark was not "soggy" at all. I know wrapping isn't for everyone, but it did help me get over the stall. Just my $0.02.
-PH
 
I provide the times and temps as a guidance - not as the end-all-be-all recipe. I go by temp and looks. Also, although I've only done two butts so far and wrapped both, the bark was not "soggy" at all. I know wrapping isn't for everyone, but it did help me get over the stall. Just my $0.02.
-PH
I use butcher paper exclusively, never foil, for wrapping. Glad to hear it wasn't soggy for you.
 
I use butcher paper exclusively, never foil, for wrapping. Glad to hear it wasn't soggy for you.
Actually - I now have a roll of butcher paper from my last brisket experiment. I'll have to try that for the next pork butt. What I have done in the past cooks is move the pork butt into a foil pan covered with foil so it would hold all the juices. So maybe wrapping in butcher paper is my next step. Thanks for the tip!

PS: No, I haven't used a water pan.

-PH
 
Have you tried smoking less than 225F with Super Smoke for the first several hours? I know Super Smoke goes up to 225F, just wondering if there would be any noticeable difference in the bark.

If you are going to finish off the pork butt by wrapping in foil or paper, you will destroy much of the bark that is generated no matter what your initial cook temperature. I plan on shredding the pork and drizzling it with Eastern North Carolina vinegar sauce, so the bark is not quite as important to me.

If you are planning on slicing it like brisket, then you might want to cook it low and slow and then bump up the cook temperature to power the cook through the temperature plateau phase without wrapping. Or you can wrap for a few hours, then unwrap the butt for the last phase of cooking to reset the bark as is often done in cooking pork ribs. In my case, I leave the butt wrapped to retain all the juices for the pulled pork.

The nice thing is that there are many ways of getting the job done. Only after doing your own experimentation will you find which method works best for you. No matter which method you use, the pork will end up making one or more great meals.
 
Right now our biggest concern is it's supposed to rain/pour for most of my cooking time.... so watching the weather right now. Not good timing...
I reported earlier of New Year's Eve cook where it rained continuously for 14 hours. The Traeger handled it without any problems, but burned through a lot of pellets:

You can also try using a "foil boat". It will keep the juices and also preserve some of the bark.
 

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