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Pork Butt 101
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jeepdad



Joined: 29 Aug 2009
Posts: 1202
Location: Stafford, VA

PostPosted: Friday 1-21-2011 6:11 pm    Post subject: Pork Butt 101 Reply with quote

I was prepping a couple pork butts (aka Boston Butt) tonight for some friends coming over for dinner tomorrow night and thought I would do a Pork Butt 101 tutorial for those new to smoking or new to smoking pork butts. This is the way I do it there are many ways.


I went to the store and picked up the two biggest butts I could find a 10.79 and a 9.10 pounder.


These are bone-in pork butts or the package says "Whole shoulder Pork Roast". These are not whole shoulders just whole shoulder roast.

From TVWB..."Choose pork butt with a smooth, firm, white fat cap and a good amount of fat marbling within the meat itself. The meat should be red-pink in color with a coarse grain.

People usually have two reasons for preferring bone-in pork butts. One is that it's fun to remove the bone from a properly cooked roast, since it usually pulls out clean with no meat attached--in a sense, the bone is like a built-in doneness indicator. The other reason is that some people believe the meat near the bone tastes better. There may be some truth to this, since there is more fat and connective tissue near the bone that adds moisture and flavor to the meat during cooking. However, the effect is negligible once all the meat is pulled, seasoned, and mixed together for serving.

One thing that the bone does not do so well is transmit heat to the interior of the roast. Bones do not conduct heat as well as the meat itself because they are porous and relatively dry.

Enhanced Meat: Lots of supermarket pork butts are injected with a solution of water, salt, sodium phosphate, and other ingredients to make the meat more moist. This is called enhanced meat and most barbecuers avoid it because they don't like paying for water instead of meat, and because the meat can taste hammy or too salty.

Enhanced meat can be identified by reading the fine print on the product label. Look for a phrase indicating the percentage of solution added to the meat and the solution ingredients."


Got my ingredients out for the rub I'm using this time....Southern Succor rub...it is simple and fantastic.


Tools needed.


This stuff smells heavenly.




Open the butts and wash them with cold water.


If they have that cryovac odor or I think need a bath I wash them in white vinegar...then wash them again in cold water. The vinegar will not add to the taste of the meat it washes off and cooks out. I also wash spareribs and any other meat that has that cryovac odor.


I lay down two pieces of cling wrap over lapping by a couple inches length wise. And place the butt on the cling wrap ready for rubbing. Add a spoon full of the rub.




Rub it around or use a marinade brush and spread it around.


Add rub to every side and spread it around. You don't have to rub it into the meat just on top.


Once done I gather up all the loose rub and add it back to the pork butt on the side that needs it most.


Done.


Wrap it up.


Repeat for the second one. The issue of FSU vs FSD is a debate that will last forever. Fat Side up or Fat Side Down. I personally do Butts FSU. I like for the rendered fat to flavor the meat as it drips its way down into the water pan....or beans if I'm cooking some on the lower grate.

The issue of crowning the butt is also a preference issue. Crowning is simply making diagonal cuts through the fat cap turning the butt 90 degrees and making more diagonal cuts. The reason given for crowning is it provides more space or area for bark to develop. And we love bark!

There is no right or wrong answer it is whatever you the Pitmaster wants. Here are several links to butts that were crowned. It is your butt and your smoker you make the decision.

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=30046&highlight=crown+butt

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=34885&highlight=crown+butt


Before throwing away the cryovac wrap I write down the weights of the butts.


Done and ready for an overnight stay in the garage fridge.


Sometimes I put them on a baking sheet in case there is any dripage. Is dripage a word? Another thing I often do is use those plastic bags from the grocery store. I place the wrapped butt in one of those bags and then place another bag double bagging each butt. Catches all the juice that can drip out.


I have smoke logs I use. They come in handy when you are using a new smoker or are new to smoking. I record the weight of the butts, the date of the smoke, the weather conditions (nice, windy, rainy, snowing, freezing etc) as it plays a huge role in smoking. And depending on your smoker I record the vents if they are fully opened or partially closed etc.


Also the temp of the smoker, temp of the meat, and the outside temperature. And when I baste, how much water in the water pan (1 gal, 2 gals etc), type of fuel (charcoal, lump, etc) and type of wood chucks (Hickory, Apple etc). And any other pertinent comments like internal cook temps, when to add other meats or side dishes (smoked beans, cabbage, salsa, ABTs, etc).


It is a simple excel spreadsheet. You can morph it to whatever fits your smoker type. It helps to go back over the years and see how long something took last winter or what rub you used or what type glaze you used etc. If anyone wants a copy shoot me a PM with your email address and I will send you a copy.

Well, that is it the butts are ready for the smoker tomorrow. Take the butts to an internal temp of 190. then wrap in foil with apple juice or whatever spritz you used and place in an empty cooler covering the foiled butts with several towels. They can keep for up to roughly four hours. I usually foil mine for two hours then pull.

Simple and easy stuff. I hope this helps. If you have questions please ask. All the best.

--Dan

Southern Succor Rub

1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
2 Tablespoons table salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix ingredients thoroughly. Makes enough rub for one pork butt.
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Last edited by jeepdad on Monday 7-8-2013 1:34 am; edited 6 times in total
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RGPaul



Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 692
Location: Plymouth, Wisconsin USA

PostPosted: Friday 1-21-2011 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me thinks we will see more pics on this tomorrow...
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jeepdad



Joined: 29 Aug 2009
Posts: 1202
Location: Stafford, VA

PostPosted: Saturday 1-22-2011 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha, hmmmm maybe! Laughing


We must love what we do...19 degrees. Coffee where are you!!!


Went to the garage to grab some old newspaper.


Grabbed my chimney. If you are new to smoking this is one piece of gear that I would highly recommend you getting...invaluable. You can get these on Amazon or at your local Lowes or Home Depot type stores for 10-15 bucks. The chimney works great with charcoal grills too....no smelly lighter fluid!


Wad up three balls of paper...not to tightly.




Go to your wall locker and grab your lump or charcoal whatever you use. And the Hickory chunks from the top shelf.


This time given the length of the cook and the temps outside I am doing one full chimney.


This is my go-to bucket. I got it at Lowes hardware store.


I flip the lid and presto I have a chimney stand and a place to drop the ashes when done.


With matches or a lighter light the paper thru the small slits on the bottom in 3 or four different places.


Since it is so cold and is not going to get above freezing today I am firing up a second chimney with about half a load of charcoal too.


A good rule of thumb is to set whatever you are cooking out for 30-60 mins before you put it on your smoker. This allows for more even cooking.


Mmmmm thinking of the sammies to come in about 12 or so hours.


On my style smoker (WSM) the heat comes up around the water pan of the smoker (around the perimeter). So this plays a role in where I place my meat.


If I have one butt I place it dead center of the grate. But if I have 2 or more I place the thickest part of the meat (ribs, butts, turkey, chicken, etc) toward the outside of the grate at the hottest point of the smoker. If there are hot spots (I use my hand to check the perimeter of the smoker) I will adjust my grate/meat accordingly. Make sense?


Found it!


After three hours time to get your spritzer ready. There are hundreds of mixtures folks use.


A very common spritz and one that works very well is plain apple juice.


I’m adding a little olive oil it helps the apple juice adhere to the butt instead of draining off....and adds flavor.


You can see that the apple juice and evoo separates. So, remember when spritzing to shake the bottle well then have at it!


Shaken. With butts and other longer smokes (like brisket) I will not spritz until the third hour. If I spritz any sooner than that the spritz will just wash the rub off. I want the rub caramelized to the meat when I start to spritz. The spritz keeps the meat moist and adds levels of flavor to your meat. And helps develop the bark as well.

For shorter smokes like chicken and ribs, and depending on the rub being used I will spritz much sooner.


Three hours in and she is rocking at 250.


Coming along nicely.




As you can see in these pics the bark is coming along nicely.


Spritzed.




When it is this cold (25 degrees) I will not spritz much at all (and there is a good fat cap on these butts anyway) as I want to keep the smoker closed up tightly to keep in the heat. So for this cook if I need to add water or coals to the smoker then I will spritz instead of two separate events of opening the smoker. Or I can always spritz thru the top vent without opening the smoker.

I always do an informal timeline too. For example…at 10 am I wrote it was time for the first spritz and to set out the cream cheese to prep the ABTs later so the cream cheese can get soft. At 11:30 it will be time to prep the beans that I will be smoking. It keeps me honest it keeping up
with everything that needs doing.
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Joanne
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PostPosted: Saturday 1-22-2011 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great tutorial Jeepdad!! Thumbs Up I've made this thread a sticky! Don't want it to get "lost".

Joanne
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ironhead



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PostPosted: Saturday 1-22-2011 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great tutorial Thumbs Up
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Polly Wog



Joined: 24 Aug 2010
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Location: New England

PostPosted: Saturday 1-22-2011 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great idea about the bucket, thanks for the info and great photos! If I leave now I might be able to make it to your place in time for the sandwiches! Laughing
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jeepdad



Joined: 29 Aug 2009
Posts: 1202
Location: Stafford, VA

PostPosted: Saturday 1-22-2011 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Joanne! I hope it helps.

Thanks ironhead.

Polly Wog Laughing Although the lid on the bucket get rusty (from the heat of the chimney) it holds up well for a long time. I use it for a trash can when I'm cooking on the deck...it is very handy. And I can buy a new lid at the hardware store for 10 bucks.


A common misconception is that the "butt" is from the rear of the pig. Nope, not the case. The ham is in the rear the butt comes from the front upper shoulder.


Stuff for the Drip Beans. I was cooking for a couple dozen guys a while back and one of the guys saw the pan of beans
in the smoker’s lower grate with the spare rib juice from the upper grate dripping into them…he said man those “Drip Beans”
smell and look great. Every since I call them drip beans.


Start with the beans.


Add everything…I used rib tips I had in the freezer. Pulled pork works great to or whatever you have…brisket, etc.


Mix it all up.




Add to the smoker for six hours letting the pork drip into the beans adding flavor!


Five hours in and likely the last time I will crack the smoker. Unless I need to add coals which
at these type temperatures I likely will.


Yep, the weather is a factor for sure. I loaded the firebox slam full of coals this morning (entire bag) and now 5.5 hours later the temp has dropped to 220-225. Dropped over 25 degrees in the last 2 hours. usually in moderate temps that much coal would last 10 hours easily and more. So, that means time to fire up a chimney and add some coals. You don't want the temp to drop to much more because trying to play catch up with your fire is a losing game.


Time to prep the Atomic Buffalo Turds or ABTs, Stuffed jalapenos. You can stuff them with
just about anything.




I love my jalapeno corer. It works like a charm.


Pulls the chile guts right out.


Good piece of gear and it was $5-6 bucks.


A bowl of goodness ready for the smoker.


After coring the jalapeno you can either slit them in two or not. Add cream cheese and
A little smokey sausage. Wrap in bacon and smoke roughly for two hours at 225-250.


Around 4 pm I got my cooler out and some small towels getting ready for the smaller butt to come off. Why put the pork but tin the cooler? This allows juices to redistribute and in general helps the tenderness of the pork.




Put one of the old raggedy worn towels on the bottom of the cooler as there is leakage at times from the pork.


Man it smells great. And the bark turned out very nicely.


The larger butt needs a little more time.


Beans looking good too.


The smaller butt was at 193 so she is ready for the foil and cooler.


I use the bear claws to lift the butt off the smoker grate.


Butt print!


Placed the butt on two sheets of foil.


Foil all sides tightly leaving one side open adding some of the apple juice mixture. Then close it up tightly.


Place in cooler.


Place towels over the butt and close.


I then put the cooler in an out of the way place while it rests.

The smaller 9.10 pound butt took nine hours at 225-250. The smoker never rose above 250 today as the cold air temps kept it at bay. Which is exactly where you want your pork butt!


My Honey making a batch of the hushpuppy mix.

The larger 10.79 butt took a little over 11 hours. I foiled it added the apple juice and placed it in the cooler also. Then when it was time to pull both butts pulled like butter....hot butter! With 16 folks coming over I didn't get any finished pics...I was too busy pulling and getting stuff ready to eat.....my apologies.

Pulling temps for a pork butt are 190-205 give or take. For a sliced pork butt the temp is 175. When taking the internal temp of the butt either pulling or slicing ensure you are taking the temp in the thickest part of the butt but away from the bone. And, I recommend wearing food grade insulated gloves when pulling as the pig is HOT!

I did take some leftover pics this morning however and I did go back in my files and grabbed a couple finished pics. I think the next time I smoke a couple butts and am not as busy as last night I will add a few pics of the actual pulling of the pork. It's been fun.


After pulling the butts






These hushpuppies are fantastic leftover!












It was a grand time last night there were a set of boy/girl twins celebrating their 7th birthday...they had a blast and enjoyed the food.

As I stated earlier there are countless ways to smoke a butt like injecting with a mixture for example but this is how I do mine. Pork butts are very very forgiving it is hard to mess them up.

If you have any questions or I failed to explain something clearly please do ask or send me a PM. All the best.

Hush Puppies

2 ½ c. self rising flour
1 c. white cornmeal
2/3 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 egg
1 ¼ c. water
¼ c. milk

Mix first five ingredients thoroughly; add egg and blend well. Combine milk with cold water and pour over dry ingredients. Mix gently but quickly, just enough to blend everything together. Allow to rest for ten minutes at room temperature. Drop by rounded tablespoons into 325 degree vegetable oil. Fry, rolling frequently, until golden brown, 6-8 minutes.


Smoked Drip Beans

Ingredients

2 Large Cans of Bush's Original Baked Beans - undrained (the 1 lb 12 oz cans I think)
2 large yellow onions - chopped
2/3 cup BBQ sauce (any brand will do)
1 entire yellow bell pepper - diced
1 entire red bell pepper - diced
1/3 cup syrup - either maple or cane
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 tsp dry mustard
1-1/2 cups BBQ pulled pork - chopped (pulled pork, rib meat, brisket, etc...from your last Que or whatever is in the freezer)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 lb uncooked bacon slices - cut in quarters (After 3 hours, add the bacon) (I don't always add the bacon if I have a lot of PP or rib meat in already)
1-4 shots Tabasco Sauce (to taste)
Optional (add any of your fav heat like chile powder, jalapenos, etc)

Mix all together put on lower grate of smoker under pork ribs or pork butt and smoke for six hours.

--Dan
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killswitch505



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PostPosted: Wednesday 2-2-2011 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan thanks for the how to wish i would have seen a post like this when i got started
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BBQ Bob



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PostPosted: Saturday 2-26-2011 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Jeepdad!

Great tutorial you posted here...and a great spread tooo! Gotta love them ABT's!
Been smokin pork for a number of years and it is sooo true when you say everyone does theres differently. I myself do inject my pork.

I do have one suggestion. Before wrapping your pork with foil, try wrapping it tight with plastic wrap (don't worry...the wrap wont melt) then foil then for a rest in your cooler. You'd be surprised how moist the pork turns out. Thanks for sharin.
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cliffmeister2000
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PostPosted: Saturday 2-26-2011 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am in total awe!
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dreadcptflint



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PostPosted: Sunday 2-27-2011 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is perfection. Thumbs Up
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Black Iron Chef



Joined: 05 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Thursday 3-3-2011 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic Tutorial Dan....I am going to follow this when I do my next Pork Butts this spring Thumbs Up Thumbs Up ..if the weather ever warms up here in Alberta. Snow Crying

I also need a new keyboard again...Some reason everytime I read your posts and see the pictures my Keyboard shorts out, I guess they are not drool proof Laughing Laughing Laughing
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PostPosted: Thursday 12-1-2011 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post, thank you. I must come and taste final product. " Can't judge a book by it's cover" great job I took notes.
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PostPosted: Thursday 4-26-2012 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kudos, jeepdad!
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cliffmeister2000
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PostPosted: Tuesday 5-1-2012 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jeepdad wrote:



Time to prep the Atomic Buffalo Turds or ABTs, Stuffed jalapenos. You can stuff them with
just about anything.


Pulls the chile guts right out.


A bowl of goodness ready for the smoker.





I'm planning an appetizer dinner for tonight. These will be t he main attraction!

I'm just going to use the Weber charcoal grill, probably the 22-1/2 inch one. I'm guessing if I bank the coals to one side and put the jalapenos on the other, it will still take about 2 hours. Does that sound right? Thinking
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