Cook pork butt in smaller pieces.

Instead of cooking a7lb butt whole, why can’t I cut it up and cold smoke for a while then sous vide. Wouldn’t it absorb more smoke flavor?

It probably would as you have more surface area. After shredding and mixing with sauce for sandwiches I don’t know if you will be able to tell the difference between whole and quartered. It would be a good experiment.

Thanks for the reply, will try.

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nbmartin, you can and should.

Generally, the maximum thickness of a piece of meat to be cooked SV is a little less than 3-inches. Any thicker meat dangerously resists the internal flow of heat at the lower temperatures used in SV cooking as compared to conventional cooking or smoking. You don’t want to experience the results of a loss in the race between achieving a safe internal temperature and spoilage.

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@chatnoir Frank do you have any references that show bacteria or anything else in the center of a solid piece of meat like pork or beef? I have always read that the things that cause problems cannot penetrate and that is why a steak of any thickness can be safely eaten at any internal temperature if the outside is seared. Hamburger is different because of the mixing that occurs while grinding. Most cooks smoke a full pork butt for 12-15 hours at 225°F and there never is a problem because of internal contamination.

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Well now John, we certainly have divergent opinions on cooking and food safety. Your reading appears to have exposed you to folklore and bunk.

Science informs us that not just in the centre, but throughout every piece of meat, there are millions of organisms. They include a variety of fungi, parasites, viruses and bacteria. Some of them can make you very sick if you consume too many, depending on the state of your immune system. It happens to tens of thousands of Americans every year, sometimes with fatal outcomes. This is one of the fundamental reasons we properly cook food, - to kill the harmful pathogens.

You might find it useful to read a basic food safety book. To start, your local Department of Public Health would likely have some helpful reading material on preventing food born illnesses.

I recommend everyone who seriously practices sous vide cooking obtain and read Dr. Douglas Baldwin’s book Sous Vide for the Home Cook. He has generously made an abbreviated copy of his book available on his web site: In it he extensively sites his sources in the scientific literature that should satisfy your request for references.

Happy cooking.

I agree with you for certain types of foods.

One reference that is an easier read.

And i agree your reference is certainly an easier read being whimsical and imprecise, inappropriate for sous vide techniques.

It directs the reader to check for doneness visually or by cutting into the meat to see if it is “steaming.”


I’ll stick with Baldwin thank you.