smoking an 8 lb. pork butt...

  • Team Orange

    I have never done a pork butt in my smoker before (mastercraft propane vertical). I have everything else figured out, but nowhere do I see whether or not anyone uses a tray of water in the bottom for moisture. I see that after developing a bark, people spritz the meat with a spray bottle every 15 to 30 minutes, with 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 cup of water. So my only question is… water tray when smoking, or no water tray? Thanks! John

  • Canning Sous Vide Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Regular Contributors

    IndianaJohn I have a Masterbuilt electric and don’t need a water pan
    In fact I have to make sure my box is tilted back slightly to keep the condensation from messing up my patio when I open the door and I run the vent wide open
    Pork butt is probably the most forgiving meat to smoke I don’t think you would have a problem either way

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Big Green Egg Dry Cured Sausage Sous Vide Canning Power User

    IndianaJohn I agree with glen either way will work. I have an electric, gas and stick. I my experience the gas itself has some moisture in the fuel itself. Not that I think it plays any part in cooking. If it looks like I am going to be stuck at a stall I will wrap to keep things moving along.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    IndianaJohn You can still put one in if you want to help speed the process along a little. It won’t be an enourmous difference but it can help. Like YooperDog and glen both mention, pork butt is pretty forgiving, just lengthy!

  • Team Orange

    Thanks for the replies. I put my rub on it, wrapped it, and have it in the fridge overnight. I will start smoking early in the morning… low and slow. Thanks again!

  • Team Orange Power User Masterbuilt

    IndianaJohn
    No water pan here but lengthy as Jonathon said. Let’s see some pics at the end.

  • Team Orange PK100 Dry Cured Sausage Sous Vide Power User

    I hope your cook is going well.

    I’ve never seen any benefit in adding a water pan for something like a pork butt. If you’re worried about moving things along with it, wrap it for a couple hours after about 5 or 6 hours, but you’ll probably make a better product if you just let it run (matter of taste, really). Since you have a propane cooker and not a stick burner, you can just let it run hands-off.

  • Team Blue

    A water pan isn’t necessary, though I use one sometimes for various reasons in different style of cookers. For a propane cooker, I don’t know that I’d worry about it.

    As was mentioned before, pork butts are super forgiving. About the only thing you can do to screw it up is undercook it (not undercook safety wise, but tenderness wise). Even then, you can slice it and still make some good sandwiches. There is a ton of fat in them, as well, which makes them very accommodating to higher heat. Don’t be afraid to bump it up a little. Whatever your cooking at, I almost guarantee you can up it by 25 degrees, cut a couple hours off the cook, and end up with the same product in the end.

    I’m also a big fan of wrapping them in foil, with some vinegar sauce, and then using the collected drippings to mix back in with the pulled. This gives a nice, moist product, but doesn’t come across like a “sauced” product, either, if that makes sense.

  • Team Orange Sous Vide Regular Contributors

    I use a cookshack electric for this. I never open the door. EVER every time i open the door i loose heat and prolong the cook. I dont spritz, wrap or anything. Set it, remote probe it and trust my smoker is doing its thing. Never gad a complaint. Cook to 195 at 250deg f


  • For years I smoked butts on an electric bullet-style smoker. It had a water pan that I used and my understanding is the water pan wasn’t so much to add humidity as it was to help control the heat. That smoker had no temp controls at all, you just turned it on. Apparently the water kept things from getting too hot. Some guys put sand in the water pan, but I always ran water. Don’t waste your money on adding wine, beer, spices or whatever, just plain tap water.

    When I got my first electric “box smoker” about two years ago, I had to shift gears because the box smoker is sealed tight and doesn’t need water at all when smoking butts.

    Haven’t used a propane smoker, but I’d try a butt using no water, temp at 225, and don’t spritz. Just use your remote thermometers and try to keep the temp at 225-240. Butts usually stall at 160-170 for me. An 8-pounder takes me 12-14 hours at 225. I do rub my butts the night before if I remember it. If I don’t, then rub 'em right before the smoke. I wouldn’t swear it makes much difference.

    Don’t be opening the door, unless you absolutely have to in order to add more wood chunks. Close it up, watch your meat/smoker temps and don’t worry about it. As others have said, butts are very forgiving.

  • Team Orange

    7.5 pounds, brined 18 hours, mustard and rub, than in the fridge overnight. Next morning started smoking it, went 14 hours until I reached 200. It made some darned good pulled pork sandwiches.smoked_pork_butt_14_hours.jpg

  • Team Orange Sous Vide Regular Contributors

    Smokey pork perfection right there!

  • Team Orange Power User Masterbuilt

    IndianaJohn
    Looks great. Well done!


  • Congratulations, John!

  • Regular Contributors

    You will be asking yourself why you did not try this sooner. Tasty leftovers for days to come. Also, BBQ freezes well.

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