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Butt or Picnic??

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Post Sun Jul 18, 2004 9:11 pm
SRH_21 medium
medium

Posts: 104
Location: Attleboro, MA
What is the difference between the Boston Butt and the Picnic cut of the pork shoulder? I was smoking a Picnic today, and I was not impressed. I took it off of the grill after 7 hours at 225-250 deg F. The pork did not want to pull apart. I have a thermometer from Brookstone that has not failed me before. I am just trying to find out if it is the cut of pork or if it is the thermometer. I made pulled pork from a pork shoulder, a couple of weeks ago, and it was easy to pull apart and no troubles. Anyone have any idea where I went wrong?


Scott

Post Sun Jul 18, 2004 9:54 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3039
Location: Atlanta-GA
Picnic is the lower part of the shoulder near the shank, where as the butt is upper portion (think of it as the thigh area). The picnic cut tends to be tougher and has more fat and connective tissue. However, if it’s cooked slowly to internal temp of 195, it will pull easily and comes out very tender and juicy. 7 hours seems a little too short of a cooking time. How many pounds was it?
It usually takes 10-12 hours for a 6-8 pounder cooked at 225 degrees to reach 195.
Here is a picture of each cut:
Picnic
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Butt
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I hope this helps.
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Post Sun Jul 18, 2004 10:11 pm
Big D well done
well done

Posts: 616
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My goodness man, is there anything you cant do?

Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 1:26 am
Guest

No there isn't. He's " Cuedini ". Watch as he pulls a rabbit out of his grill. :shock:

Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 1:28 am
jm42fan well done
well done

Posts: 421
Location: OKlahoma, Yukon

Dang login got me again
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CGwSFB
Coleman 3300 gasser

Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 8:05 am
SRH_21 medium
medium

Posts: 104
Location: Attleboro, MA
That explains everything. I think I need a new thermometer. I was not able to pull the picnic a part. I had to chop it up with a knife, instead. The roast was about 7lbs. This was cooked to have as left overs during the week, should I still trust it? When I chopped it up, it appeared to be cooked all the way through.

Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 12:33 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3039
Location: Atlanta-GA
You sure can trust it. When we cook pork shoulder to 195, we’re not cooking it for doneness, but for the fat and connective tissues to melt. The meat is very safe to eat well below that temp.
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Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 1:10 pm
goldenbear medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 52
Location: Southern California
From the HTG book, Steve says that you should cook it at Medium-low temp (300 degrees). I made pork shoulder this weekend and because my chargriller had a hard time getting temps higher than 225 and when I finally reached 275, it cooked a lot better. But when I pulled the pork, the outer edges pulled very easily, while the deeper parts of the meat was a little harder to pull (but still juicy and tender)
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Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 2:10 pm
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Great response Z.
SRH - I've done both and have had no problems. The key is slow cookign to 195. Then it falls apart. I saw a neat trick on tv the other day where the guy showed a neat way to tell if the picnic shoulder was done. He grabbed the bone (which by then the meat had pulled back on) and pulled it right out. It was so slick and so cool and made perfect sense.
I prefer the picnic shoulder myself. I can't taste a difference but I like the way they cook better.
Good luck and enjoy.
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Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 2:11 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
When larger cuts of meat are cooked too fast, the outside will be hotter than the inside. Similar to cooking a steak fast, the outside is hot and sizzling and the inside is still pink and warm, but not quite to that extreme. Roasts cooked at a lower temperature will have more even internal temperatures. That is why low-n-slow is usually cooked at temperatures ranging from 225-250*. Higher temperatures will lead to shorter cooking sessions but uneven heating of the meat.
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Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 5:02 pm
goldenbear medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 52
Location: Southern California
That makes a lot of sense. So 225 - 250 degrees? How long should a typical 6-8 pound butt take?

Also, my water drip pan was filled halfway with water and after a while the water was all gone. Do I need to replenish the drip pan?
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Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 5:07 pm
SRH_21 medium
medium

Posts: 104
Location: Attleboro, MA
Ok, I see where my problems came from, this past weekend. I have one other question. This past weekend I tried spraying the chicken and pork with apple cider. Does this cause the skin to burn faster? Both the chicken and the pork were quite dark by the time I took them off of the grill.


Goldenbear -
I think it was Z who suggested about 10-12 hours for the butt. I was refilling my drip pans when they started getting low.

Scott

Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 5:35 pm
goldenbear medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 52
Location: Southern California
I would think adding water would lower the temperature in the smoking chamber. And I don't think I needed moisture in the chamber since I was mopping the meat every hour with the mop sauce. The meat did come out nice and juicy even with the water being gone for the last few hours of cooking.
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Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 6:14 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3039
Location: Atlanta-GA
goldenbear,
You have to remember that Steven’s instructions in the “HTG” book refers to cooking a shoulder in a grill and not a smoker. Most grills will have a hard time keeping the temp below 300 degrees. So it’s true for a grill, it will take 6 hours. However, if you’re cooking the same cut of meat at 225-250 in a smoker, it will take a lot longer. Once the internal temp reaches 195, the whole thing will pull (not just the outer edges).
Grand,
You’re absolutely correct about the bone test; it’s a very good test for doneness if you don’t have a thermometer. I also first seen it on T.V. and when I tested, it was true.
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Post Mon Jul 19, 2004 6:34 pm
goldenbear medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 52
Location: Southern California
Z,

Which way would provide better tasting meat? The 225-250 degree for longer hours or at 300 for shorter period of time?

I'm assuming the low and slow method since it takes so long but people still do it this way. :o
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