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Monday, March 5, 2012

Pork Butt

Well Folks: Today we will talk about a BBQ staple, Pork Butt. The Pork Butt is one of the all time favorites for Pit Masters to smoke and is a category in KCBS and SLBS contest. To be completely honest everything I'll  be telling you I have learned by reading and listening to other Pit Masters. I will tell you, to do a pork butt properly you will have be patient and just know it's done when it's done. Every Butt will cook a little differently so there are no hard and fast time lines. Also just so you know, cooking a Pork Butt in a crock pot with some BBQ sauce ain't BBQ, so don't try and pass that off as BBQ, IT'S NOT.

Now let start to prepare the Pork Butt. I like doing a bone in pork butt, because the bone will act just like one of those pop up thermometer in a Holiday Turkey. By that I mean when the bone pulls clean, the butt is done. If the bone is not loose and easy to pull you're not done cooking. When it does pull clean, the meat will fall apart and is easy to pull into pulled pork for sandwiches.

You will want to remove any excess fat from the top of the pork butt , but I leave the bottom fat cap on. It protect the meat on the bottom from the heat. After trimming the Butt rub the entire butt with Yellow Mustard, as I've said before, the mustard helps start breaking down the meat and it acts as a binder for your rub. Now is when you will want to inject the Pork Butt. A simple injection I use with good results is Apple Juice.  Go all the way around the butt injecting the apple juice into all the different muscles. Take your time, it pays off in the finished product.

Now for the Rub, I like Plowboys Yard Bird, I know it say's for chicken but if you read the label it say's it named for chicken but made for pork. The other Rub I like  is Drapers All Purpose Rub  and the last choice is Dizzy Pigs Dizzy Dust. What ever Rub you use, be sure to apply plenty, this is going to produce the Bark on the outside of your Pork Butt. The Bark is going to look like its burnt, but believe me when this is pulled and mixed with the meat it is a ticket to flavor town.

 Now as far as the fire you want a good indirect fire built using the Minion method. I really like the Ugly Drum for smoking a pork butt, but a Weber Smokey Mountain does a good job and you can also do this on a kettle. On the kettle you will put the coals on each side  and use a drip pan in the middle and placing the Pork Butt over the drip pan. As far as smoke I use a combo of  MOJO Hickory and Cherry for a nice smoke flavor. I use the Hot and Fast method so you want the temp of the pit at about 300 to 325 degrees.

Using a remote thermometer inserted into the center close the lid and get ready to watch a ballgame or mow the lawn. Smoking a Good Pork Butt takes time,  basically it takes about a hour per pound as a good guess on how long you are going to be smoking before it's done. After closing the lid DON"T PEEK!! As I've said before   "If You're Looking, You Ain't Cooking" Watch the pit temp and get the pit set in at the 300 degree mark. Now watch the remote and when you get to about 140 degrees you will meet THE STALL, that's when it hits a temp and it stops going up, it just sit there. You will think the fire went out, it didn't. This is when  all the interior fat is breaking down and rendering out to produce the tender fall apart Pork Butt we are looking for. The Butt will start having a nice bark  and you are getting close. Now if you want to speed the cook up and get past the stall faster you can foil the butt at this time. Just wrap
 the Pork Butt in a double layer of Aluminum  foil an return it to the smoker.

Watching the temp of the butt at about 190 degrees you can check the bone and see if it wants to pull. If not continue cooking checking again at 200 degrees. Some times depending on the Pork Butt you will have to go all the way to 210 degrees before it is done, other times it's done at 190 degrees. Just remember it's done when its done  each Pork Butt will be different.

After it's done remove from the smoker and, if you foiled the butt, open the foil and let it cool for at least 15 minutes.This will allow the bark to firm back up. Here's trick if you want cook and hold the butt for later. Wrap the Pork Butt back in foil and place in a clean dry cooler and pack with towels. The Pork Butt can be held for as much as 6 hours like this and still be too hot to touch.

Now to pull this it should be pretty easy to pull because it will fall apart and I like to use some Blues Hog Tennessee Red to the pulled pork, adds a nice flavor. Also add the juices that was in the foil when you unwrapped  the Pork Butt.

Make a sandwich and enjoy. I like to top them with a little Cole Slaw, Messy but good.

Questions, contact me. I hope I didn't forget anything,but follow this and you should have some flavorful sandwiches to feed the family and friends.

Tomorrow. A Peach and Cherry Cobbler