I was looking at my blog today and realized it’s been a while since posted anything about actually cooking BBQ. Well that ends today, the Que back in big way with Big Pork Butts!
Pull pork ready to eat.
Funny thing the Boston butt is not from the butt, it comes from the upper shoulder of the pig. Being part of the shoulder there is a lot of connective tissues, but that’s a good thing. Lot’s of connective tissue means more flavor in your pork when it cooks down and melts into your meat. Pork is also a very forgiving piece of meat and as long as it’s not under cooked it will be fall apart tender and delicious.
Pork tastes best with a good bark. You just can’t beat the combination of the sweet smoky crunch of the bark, and the juicy tenderness of the meat, it really is barbeque nirvana. To build a bark I mixed one bottle of BBQ rub to a 1/3 cup of brown sugar. That’s 3 parts rub to 1 part brown sugar. I coated the butt with a light coating of cooking oil and rubbed the bark seasoning onto the meat and packing it lightly to ensure a the rub will stick. I have a tendency to over season, so my rule of thumb it to cover the meat but should still be able to see the meat.
I loaded up the egg with Royal Oak charcoal and chunks of pecan wood and fired it up. Royal Oak is a blend of oak, maple, hickory and some other hard wood. It has a very mild smoke that works well with wood chunks and chips and will not over power the wood chunk flavors. It’s my favorite brand of charcoal and the best part is you can get it at Wally World for $6.50 a bag.
Before putting the pork butts on I threw on a handful of dry apple chips. I do not soak my chips, I just don’t believe throwing water on hot coals is a good way to maintain a constantant smoker temperature. During the cooking I would add apple chips every 90 minutes when I didn’t see any smoke pillowing out of the top vent. After 4-5 hours of smoke I quit adding the chips and let the butts just cook. By that time it was already midnight and I needed to get to bed. Honestly, the overnight cook is the best because you’re not opening the lid and letting all of your heat out. Just be sure your smoker is loaded up with plenty of fuel to burn for 6-7 hours while you sleep.
I like to cook pork to an internal temp 190-200F to ensure it’s fall apart tender. If you are cooking you butt and tracking the meat temp with a probe thermometer you will notice the temp will constantly increase but will plateau around 180F and will stay there for a couple of hours. Do not freak out! It’s a normal part of the cooking process. Around 180 degrees is when the connective tissues start to break down. When they are done cooking the temp will start moving back up and your pork is done it will be pull apart tender. Just be patient and let the magic happen.
Boston Butts on the Big Green Egg.
The next morning when I awoke I got dressed, poured a cup of coffee and went out on the patio to check the meat. I stepped out the door I could smell the smoky goodness still wafting from the egg. When I lifted the lid I swear I heard angels singing as the smoke blew away to reveal those succulent hunks of porky goodness. I pulled off a chunk and popped it into my mouth, when I tasted the sweet spiced bark followed by the juicy pork flavor of the meat I thought I had died and gone to BBQ heaven. There has got to be magic in that smoker because that meat tasted far better than the sum of it’s parts. Maybe the BBQ Gods blessed my meat during my slumber? Who knows if its magic or luck it was tasty and I will be happy to take all of the credit.