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Jul 17, 2008 07:01 AM

Smoking a Boston Butt in Gas Grill

Okay here is what's going on.

I started smoking my 8 pound Boston Butt Roast at 8:00am this morning, I have read many different recipes and topics on how long, what temp, etc... to do this. I don't want to hear that you cant do it on a gas grill, because to me, anything is possible.

The Method I am using:

1.) indirect heat with a water filled drip pan. Butt roast over pan, no burners(3), under the pan.

2.) 1 burner far end of grill on as low as possible, foil filled wood chip packets above burner, closed lid, current temp. approx. 275 degrees, spraying any flames from wood with water to maintain smoke.

3.) Butt is rubbed with dry rub of Brown Sugar, Chili Powder, Powder Mustard, Garlic, Onion, etc ...

My question is, How long should I continue to smoke this roast, I am thinking 4 to 5 hours ?

Should I wrap it in foil after smoking, if so, how long.

8lbs., how long should it take at this rate to reach 165 - 170 degrees.

I will experiment until I get that nice bark on the outside and a juicy easily pulled inside, any and all recommendations welcome.

Thanks - Jim

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  1. Jim,

    Three years ago I was where you are now...just beginning to understand BBQ voodoo!

    Only difference is that I use hickory wood and not gas.

    Not sure if the difference in smoke-intensity, between our two techniques, will affect cook time. Our cook temperatures are relatively the same.

    I've come to expect to have the roast cooking for 24 hours. Not what you wanted to hear, I'm sure.

    Previous attempts, to rush the process, resulted in less-than-perfect just didn't fall apart like good BBQ should.

    I do not foil-wrap, but would if I ever needed to finish the roast in the oven.

    I wish you luck and please type back with your results!

    1. I am trying to answer so bear with me.
      I smoke a 8 pound shoulder @ 225 for 8-9 hours, but not on a gas grill. (I use a Brinkman smoker) I wrap in foil after all smoke has stopped. I use app. 2lbs of hickory chips that have soaked 24 hours in a water filled ziplock and smoking ceases around hour 3.
      Since I don't know how much wood you are using and how wet it was prior to starting it would be impossible to tell you exactly when to wrap, but wrap you should. Since you are cooking at a relatively high temp. wrapping will help keep the meat moist. I am concerned that at this temp. you won't achieve the tenderness you want. My test for doneness with a shoulder is when I can grab the shoulder blade (bone) and it pulls out easily and cleanly it is ready.
      Keep the drippings from the foil and incorporate with the pulled/chopped meat if extra moisture is needed. It will add flavor too.
      Good luck

      1. After reading a few things I decided to change my plan of attack part way through the cooking pprocess. Here is what I did.

        I have some lump charcoal made from hardwood in the garage, so I took about 12 pieces of charcoal (they are the large size lumps) heated them up till white, slid the roast to the middle of my grill and dumped six on each side, then I shut the gas off, made a chain of unlit coals from the lit pile to the back of the grill on both sides to maintain temperature. One they all have lit I will do the same bringing the unlit coals to the front. I added 2 chunks of hickory (soaked) to each side. The temperature is now down to about 230 to 240 where I want it.

        So I guess I will need to take out the shop vac tomorrow to get the ash out of the grill but, who says things can't be done. Innovation I guess. I will take pictures of the final product, if I remember. The beers are flowing before noon today, ouch !!! Oh well, thats what we work for.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jimbosox04

          Cooks Illustrated has a recipe for BBQ pulled pork on a gas grill and you can do something similar. I've copied the instructions below. The recipe specifies a 6-8 lb Boston butt. I've made this recipe except I didn't use the oven step. I refilled the pan of soaked wood chunks and kept smoking for the time that they describe for the oven portion. The results were very, very good. So it is possible to use a gas grill to do this.

          1. Mix all spicy chili rub ingredients in small bowl, set aside.
          2. If using a fresh ham or picnic roast, remove skin (see illustration below). Massage dry rub into meat. Wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (For strong flavor, the roast can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
          3. At least 1 hour prior to cooking, remove roast from refrigerator, unwrap, and let it come to room temperature. Soak 4 cups wood chips in cold water to cover for 30 minutes and drain. Place the wood chips in a small disposable aluminum pan.
          4. Place the wood-chip pan on the primary burner (the burner that will remain on during cooking, see illustration below). Ignite the grill, turn all the burners to high, cover, and heat until very hot and the chips are smoking heavily, about 20 minutes. (If the chips ignite, use a water-filled squirt bottle to extinguish them.) Turn the primary burner down to medium and turn off the other burner(s). Set the unwrapped roast in the disposable pan, position the pan over the cooler part of the grill, and close the lid. Barbecue for 3 hours. (The temperature inside the grill should be a constant 275 degrees; adjust the lit burner as necessary.)
          5. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place roast in pan and wrap with heavy-duty foil to cover completely. Place pan in oven and cook until meat is fork-tender, about 2 hours.