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Pork Butt Tips

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Hopefully some guys will chime in. Any of the pros have some little gems to drop on a new guy? I've done wings, Bacon Explosion and beef cuts before but surprisingly never a butt. Thanks fellas!

 

 

 

I've got my prep down (I think). Going to brine, rub then smoke.

 

Figuring 1.5hrs/lb rough time, 225 degrees. Do you think mesquite will work or should I be using a fruit wood?

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I prefer hickory.

 

I don't prep, go straight to the rub. Push it down into every crease in addition to the outside.

Low temperature (225*) is especially important for the first hour or so, higher settings toughen

the meat. I only use wood on the initial fire. After that the smoke just chars the butt.

 

Cooking time is approximately 1 1/2 hours per pound. The internal temperature must reach

180* - 190*. Let the butt sit for 1/2 hour before pulling so the meat can reabsorb the juices.

Use rubber gloves to pull the meat, removing all visible fat. Note: If you don't care a thing about

calories, chop rather than pull. This will retain all the fat and flavor! 

 

 

 

:xmas-tree-070:

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Time & temp sounds fine, I like just a touch of apple!

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We make Italian sausage from pork butts. But we didn't grind some of it we either shredded it and cut some chucks. The real Italian sausage is different than the store bought stuff.

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Good deal. Sounds like I should be set to go.

 

I have hickory and apple wood both available so that won't be a problem.

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Top rack or above the water pan?

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Time & temp sounds fine, I like just a touch of apple!

 

Well, there are lots of tweaks you can try. I don't usually do this with butts or shoulders,

but this is something I do with ribs: When the meat is done, wrap it in tin foil, add apple

juice and seal. You will probally need a double wrap.

 

Let's say you are shooting for 6:00. Meat goes on at 8:00 AM., cooks until 4:00.  Form

an aluminum bowl, add apple juice.Wrap and seal and everything will be PERFECT. Also,

just use what you have left in terms of charcoal and heat. A low simmer is fine. If you get

delayed, the meat can cook for several more hours.

 

Either rack will be fine, but I use the bottom for less charring.

 

 

:xmas-tree-070:

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Rather than brine, Soak it in a spiced apple wine or at the very least inject it. I like using apple and hickory or apple and maple wood. Put some of the apple wine in a spray bottle and spray the butt every hour. Keep an eye on the smoker temp and keep it around 225* and don't keep peeking in to check progress.

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In addition to what RW said, Take the butt off the heat. I'll let the butt sit in foil and cool for at least an hour. It will continue to cook in it's own juices. and needs at least that long to cool before you can pull it without burning your hands.

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Top rack or above the water pan?

Top rack for me but I also don't think you need to brine a butt at all- it will be flavorful and tender with the fat content in it. 

all you really need to do is trim and rub.  I used to inject and marinate and found the only difference was the mess I made. 

225 is perfect but I think mesquite is too harsh to do the whole thing at, a bit at the beginning and then fruit wood for most of the cooking.

 

 I assume you are doing a bone in boston?  Are you doing the whole thing? 

 

I honestly usually smoke until it gets to 170ish, wrap with juice, honey, beer, whatever, and move to the oven at 225 to finish.  You really wont get anymore smoke flavor after that temp anyhow.

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Yes, bone in.  It weighs right around 8lbs if I recall.

 

As far as finishing in the oven, would it be fine to put in a Pyrex dish and then wrap the top with foil?

 

Also, I'm assuming the trimming consists of removing that layer of fat on the one side and then just obvious visible fat?

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The butt will only accept smoke for the first hour or so. I wrap the entire butt in foil and put it in a roasting pan on top of a cooling rack in the oven. I think if you just put in in a pyrex dish you run the risk of losing the juices.

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I cook it fat side up and don't remove any fat until the meat has cooked.

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Copy that.

 

Evaluate the rub:

 

1/4c brown sugar

1/4c paprika

3tbsp salt

2tbsp pepper

1tbsp cayenne

2 tsp dry mustard

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That's going to be real spicy. Double your brown sugar. You can also brush the butt with yellow mustard to help the rub stick. It has no effect on the flavor 

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You can add some garlic powder and onion powder as well

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Notice Emeril doesn't use brown sugar...it burns.

http://www.emerils.com/recipe/497/Rustic-Rub

 

On the other hand, this website ranks the Kansas City recipie #1 and brown sugar is included:

  http://bbq.about.com/od/rubrecipes/r/bl91211a.htm

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Noted.

 

I like sugar, garlic and onion so that will work well.

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yes, fat side up, and I only trim a bit of the fat off to make it uniform, and then remove some again after resting.  I move to a layer of heavy duty foil wrapped tight with the extras in there in the oven, and then on the lower rack of the oven on a baking dish.  Much easier to foil it, after you take it out and let it rest for an hour or two as well after it is fully done.

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Wait, I'm confused now.

 

Cut the fat cap completely off or cook it with the fat cap on? Sorry for the noob questions.

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I just did a pork butt this past weekend.  I trim all visible fat off the meat.  There is plenty of internal fat that will keep the meat moist and that same reason is why i don't bother to brine.  I also rub mine down with canola oil as many spices are fat soluble and if you just put them on they won't get into the flavor of the meat but rather just be on the outside.  I also inject mine with a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and raw apple juice mixed with whatever rub i have left over.  
 

As far as rub goes i use a bunch of stuff in mine and honestly it changes every time depending on my mood.  One thing to remember is if you are wanting spice you need to use a lot of cayenne because as it cooks it will mellow out considerably.  I also use cumin and chipotle powder in all my rubs as it gives it a different flavor.  My usual mix includes:

  • brown sugar
  • garlic powder
  • cayenne
  • smoke paprika
  • onion powder
  • coarse salt
  • cumin
  • chipotle powder

I prefer using fruit woods like apple and peach.  Mesquite just doesn't work for me and pork but it does do well when cooking brisket.  I will also agree with the others that really only the first few hours matter as far as smoke goes and after that it is more of an oven.  I have used the finish in the oven method once and the results weren't the same so i now stick to the smoker the entire time.  I like to pull mine off the smoker once it gets to 180-185 and if i didn't wrap it already i wrap it super tight and let it rest for at least 45 minutes and the carryover heat will get it up to probably 190-195 which to me, is the best for pulling.

 

Bottom line is it will turn out fine and as you can see there as many opinions on what you should and shouldn't do and what works and what doesn't.  Just keep it low and slow and if you make changes, only do one at a time so you know what the impact is to the overall product.

 

Good luck and post up some pics during the process.  I have two racks of ribs on the smoker right now :)  

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Check out beerandpig.com

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Keep the sugar; it won't burn at smoking temps. For pork, I go 50% sugar 25% salt and 25% spice on pork with the main spices being pepper, onion and garlic powder. Your rub looks more like something I would put on a brisket ot tri-tip. You can use your Pyrex, just make sure it seals well and or add a layer of aluminum foil. Hickory works great with pork. If you take the fat cap off before cooking I will come to your house and break your swim bait rods; it offends me that much. You can score it some, but leave it on. Coke or Dr Pepper actually make a great brine, or you can add them to whatever vessel you finish the cooking in.

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Hickory for pork, mesquite for beef. If you have a good butcher that can get you some small-farm meats, try it sometime. There is a huge difference in flavor. Your timing seems about right. Once it's in the oven or foil, it can stay there just about forever as long as you keep the temp low.

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