Smoked Pork Butt: A BBQ Beginner’s Dream

UPDATE: Added Jalapeño Lime Slaw recipe link! Enjoy!

Pork shoulder, Pork butt, Boston butt… It’s all the same and when you do it right, it’s the perfect beginner meat to smoke! Very forgiving and very delicious! If you are in a hurry or don’t like my post style (very unlikely!) then here is a summary of the steps to making your friends and family sing your praises for years to come!

The Prep:

As always, because I cook on a Big Green Egg, I prep my grill first. Then I prep my meat. So let’s get the grill up around the 225 – 250 degree range and get it stabilized with the heat shield/place setter on “legs up”. (Standard setup for smoking on a BGE.) I use some sort of wood from a fruit-bearing or nut-bearing tree. I’m partial to Apple wood, so that’ what I use with my pork (Sometimes I’ll throw in some Pecan with it to mix things up… Crazy, I know!)

IMG_1087As the smoker is getting hot and ready, open up your Pork Shoulder. We are going to use our tip “Cut the Cook Time in Half because time is money and this method doesn’t adversely affect anything in the end!IMG_1091

I ended up with some extra fat that came apart when I was dividing the muscle. So I’ll use season it and drape it over the place where it should have been. That way, it will render as much fatty juicy goodness as it can over and into the meat and when we are done I can take it off and throw it away.

IMG_1092I don’t typically trim any fat away from the butt. Mostly because I like to let as much render as possible to add flavor, and it’s easy to spot unrendered fat chunks when you are pulling the pork at the end. Now, put it in your foil pans (one half per pan) and give it

a very liberal amount of your favorite pork rub! I use my own special blend that I’ve developed over the last few years, but any rub you like will do nicely.


The Cook:

For Pork Butts (and everything else) I always cook to temperature. But for planning, I use the 1-1.5 hours per pound rule. Since we cut our butt in half, you just use the biggest half to judge your rule. If it’s a 10 pound butt and we were able to split it around 60/40, we would expect 6-9 hours depending on our temperature. If you are the high end of the 225-250 range then expect closer to 6 hours. However, we are going to use another trick commonly referred to as the Texas Crutch. This will help us speed through the dreaded stall that can unnerve even seasoned veterans.

Put the butts on, fat cap up, and put your probe in the thickest part of the largest half. Now wait… Wait until the temp stalls. You will know it when it happens. You will be trucking along moving up several degrees every half IMG_1099hour, then it stops like someone pulled the temperature emergency break! It usually happens around 160 degrees. It could be 155 it, could be 170 but eventually it will stall.

Take the pork off and wrap it in couple of layers of heavy duty aluminium foil. Make sure you don’t tear it and try to press around the butt so you don’t leave any air between the meat and theIMG_1100 foil. Only leave a small opening big enough for the probe to stay in (and try to seal this up as much as possible.) Put the wrapped halves back on the grill and lock it up.

Once the temperature reaches 200 degrees, it’s time to take them off and let them rest. If the cook finishes too early you can put them in a small cooler with towels to fill the dead space and they will stay warm for hours until everyone is ready to eat.

Finish It Up:

Once you take the pork off the grill, wrap it up again until approx. 30 minutes before you are ready to serve it. Let it rest at least 30 minutes to suck up some of the juices it lost during the cook (If you cut it now it will “bleed out” a ton of that juice that will add a bunch of flavor you want to keep.)IMG_1101

Get your claws out (I use these but I’m considering a new purchase because this just looks like an awesome way to pull pork!) and start pulling. Discard the bone once you have all the meat torn away. If you find large pieces of fat, discard those too.

Another reason I love Pork Butt so much, is the fact that there are so many ways to eat it! You can cook this every IMG_1102weekend for a month and never end up with the same meal. Here is a link to a wonderful Jalapeño-Lime Slaw that is very light and compliments the pulled pork perfectly. I have two preferred serving methods and both can be served with or without the slaw.

Pulled Pork Sliders

Pulled Pork Tacos – Start with a flour tortilla (Fresh if possible. I get mine from Kroger) add a generous amount of Pork. Top with the Jalapeño-Lime slaw and a squirt of your favorite BBQ sauce (optional).

Pulled Pork Sliders – Start with a slider bun (toasting the bun is optional but a great idea since many of the insides are wet). Top with Jalepeño-Lime slaw, onion & pickle.

The Summary:

  1. Use our Cut the Cook Time in Half tip and cut your meat in half.
  2. Season it liberally with your favorite spice rub
  3. Stabilize your Smoker at 225-250 degrees. Set for smoking with a heat guard.
  4. Put the Pork on until the stall starts. Then wrap them up using the Texas Crutch tip.
  5. Remove Pork from Grill
  6. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Pull the Pork apart using forks or bear claws of some sort (I use Weber claws)
  8. Serve in any of the several ways to eat Pulled Pork. My favorites are Pork Tacos or Pulled Pork Sliders!
  9. Be Humble! Everyone will shower you will accolades… Say Thanks and Smile… You will know you are awesome, try not to act like it. Ok, maybe act like it a little bit. You deserve it!

Let us know how you like to serve your Pork Shoulder in the comments.

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