Long cook time for pulled pork/Boston butt

Ok so everyone was kind enough to reply to my brisket thread so let’s talk about pulled pork. Anyone see why 165 for 72 hours would be a bad thing?


Not sure that you’ll need the full 72 hours if you’re going up to 165F. It’ that time at temperature thing again which allows the conversion of collagen into gelatin. It happens faster at higher temperatures and slower at lower temperatures. I use 72 hours when I’m cooking pork shoulder at 130-140F. This usually brings things to the edge of the falling apart stage.

At 165F I would expect the conversion to happen more quickly and require less time.

But, having said that, I would happily defer to anyone else with experience as I’ve not actually had anything to do with a Boston butt which I believe is higher up the shoulder than I am used to.

I love Sous Vide for steaks, chicken etc. because it makes the perfect result every time. So it’s my go-to now for entree meats served in their unaltered form. When you’re shredding the meat and adding BBQ or other sauce, I’m not sure why for a pulled pork recipe you’d do the Boston butt in anything but a slower cooker for 8-10 hours. What is the value of a 72 hour timer when the slow cooker does it perfectly?

Jilly different cooking methods result in different outcomes
I applaud your striving for perfection.

Cooking pork using a low temperature precision SV technique yields a moist and tender product. It also conserves all the meat’s flavourful juices instead of them being dispersed into the slow cooker’s contents. Cooking at a higher temperature results in a drier product even when cooked in wet ingredients and then sauced. I usually explain the difference as a situation of wet meat v. moist meat.
Not everyone gets it.

It’s like the difference between a pot roast and braised beef. The differences may be too subtle to notice for some tastes. Cooking your pulled pork in a slow cooker isn’t wrong, just different.

I happen to prefer pulled pork resulting from a mix of smoking for a couple of hours followed by a low temperature SV cook.

Yes, pulled pork is different in the slow cooker and really hard-to-beat results every time. A crowd favorite and routinely asked for the recipe. It’s flavorful and juicy. I don’t think anything is lost. Again, it’s going to have BBQ sauce added at the end, so that is the kick of the flavor. I don’t eat just plain pulled pork meat unsauced. People I’ve given the recipe to have told me when they made it, they’ve also been asked for the recipe, too.

A pot roast on the other hand…a great pot roast is so hard to achieve. Even in the slow cooker. It was my Mom’s specialty and I’d love a great Sous Vide pot roast recipe!

Jilly…As Chatnoir has said…let your guests be the final word. If they rave…you did good!:yum:

Possibly preferences also have to do with prior bbq experiences. I was raised, more or less, on East Carolina pork bbq and have tried over time to recreate what I experienced. A month or so ago I decided to try to bbq a pork shoulder sous vide. Rub, sous vide for 18 or so hours at 165, rub, 1 1/2 hours in the smoker (hickory). My daughter and son-in-law were ecstatic and within the small Minnesota town I live in there is a lot of bbqing going on (I can see three serious smokers within a block). My son-in-law, born and raised in this part of the country, said it was the best he had ever tasted. I just did another batch last week: sous vide for 24 hours; I only had apple chips for smoking. Comments this time were that it was good, but the meat was a little mushy and the apple was a bit too mild. So I’ll go back to 18 hours next time and make sure I have hickory chips around.

Ed…I’m with you on the east carolina style. I think it was known as “pit-cooked” when I was young although there might not have been a pit. haha. I do LOVE the vinegar style sauces vs the sickly sweet BBQ sauces found at the grocery store. That sweet baby rays stuff might as well be like putting liquid chocolate on your Q. If the #1 ingredient is high fructose corn syrup it ain’t BBQ. JMHO!

Jilly, you asked for it.

What i consider to be a great pot roast may not be anything like your Mom’s. I’ll bet she didn’t use SV but you can.

For me a Pot Roast has the following essential steps on its journey to greatness:
Step One: select an appropriate solid cut or two like a boneless chuck roast and eye of the round. For even cooking slice the meat crosswise into 1 1/2 to 2-inch thick portions.

Step Two. marinate meat for a day in seasoned aromatics (onion, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf) and wine, or beer, please no water. Turn occasionally.

Step Three: remove the meat from the marinade which you will strain and reserve refrigerated. Season the meat the way your Mom would have done; maybe salt and pepper along with onion and garlic powders at least and a few sprigs of thyme and half as many of rosemary. Pack it all in a SV bag and vacuum seal.

Step Four: SV cook at 160F for 24 to 48 hours.

Step Five: gather all the accompanying vegetables you want to serve. Chunks of carrots and onions are a must. Parsnips, potatoes, celery root and fennel, even sweet peppers, are options. Season them, toss with oil and roast in a 425F oven. If you don’t cut all the vegetables in approximately the same size it will just about drive you crazy testing them for doneness. Besides, they aren’t cooking with an open oven door. You want them just fork tender and nicely browned.

Step Six: unpack the cooked beef adding the juices to your reserved marinade in a saucepan and simmer to reduce by at least half. I usually add about an equal amount of home-made unseasoned beef or dark chicken stock to the marinade so i have ample sauce to serve with the meat and vegetables. I dry, season, and lightly brown the pot roast slices at this point. Be quick and gentle so they don’t fall apart. Then keep them warm on a platter.

Step Seven: Do you make browned flour? If so, make a slurry with it and red wine, or my preference of dry Vermouth, to slightly thicken the sauce. If not, you can use cornstarch or arrowroot as a thickener instead. The addition of a small amount of softened gelatine powder to the slurry will enhance the mouth feel of the sauce. It replaces the result of having the beef bones Mom may have had in her recipe. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes after bringing it just to a boil. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning.

Step Eight: At last, - serve the meat on the vegetables on heated shallow bowls and top with a little sauce and offer more at the table. Or, i usually pass the lightly sauced meat and vegetables at the table. A sprinkle of some minced fresh herb of choice will enhance eye appeal and aroma.


Wow, that’s an amazing recipe full of love. I bet it’s sensational. I will HAVE to try it. I know Mom made awesome browned gravy with the roast. I can almost still smell the whole thing…my favorite dish growing up.

Thank you for sharing this!!

Jilly, i’m a firm believer that some classics should be left alone. I gave you my SV technique which will be delicious, but definitely not your Mom’s. Even using browned flour the gravy will not be as dark as you expect.

If you want that awesome browned gravy the meat needs to be marinated, then browned, and finally cooked in a conventional oven which provides the deep brown colour and evaporation which intensifys flavours which you can’t get in a bag.