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John Setzler

How to Cook a Boston Butt

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I have had great success (fail-safe) slow cooking pork Butts using Miron Mixon's Butt Rub and low and slow cooking method. Following are his recommendations...

 

 

Miron Mixon – Boston Butt Recipe

 

 

 

Marinade : (double for 2 Butts)

 

3 cups Apple Juice

1 cup White Vinegar

Warm mixture but don't bring to boil

Add 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

Add 3/4 cup kosher salt

 

Stir until mixed and dissolved (don’t bring to boil); cool down

Pour over butt and marinade 12 hrs +- in refrigerator

 

Dry Rub : (double and save for other grilling / Ribs)

 

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 TBS chili powder

2 TBS dry mustard

2 TBS garlic powder

2 TBS onion powder

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 TBS kosher salt

2 TBS black pepper

 

Apply dry rub all over and let sit for 15-30 minutes…Cook indirect @ 275* - 280* until internal temp (away from bone) is 195* - 205* (for pulled BBQ). Place drip pans under meat while cooking. Depending on size allow 7-9 hours till done. Two butts at 10lbs each recently took 10.5 hours…well worth the wait. When done, wrap butt in foil and let rest an hour or so before pulling.

 

 

(I have never had to add any sauce to the meat using the recipe above as it is delicious as is. This is Miron Mixons go-to basic BBQ sauce )

 

Vinegar BBQ Sauce:

  • For basic vinegar BBQ Sauce:
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup sugar

In a stockpot over medium heat, combine the vinegar, ketchup, and hot sauce. Stir together. Pour in all the remaining ingredients and stir to dissolve. Do not boil. When the spices are thoroughly dissolved, take the pot off the heat, and funnel the sauce into a bottle. The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 year. Makes 3 1/2 cups.

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Thanks for the recipe. I have found that I must keep my dome thermometer under 240-250° when doing a butt or it just gets too dried out. Actual temp at the cooking grate, however is probably 20°s higher.

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I have a question. I'm cooking my first pork shoulder on my Kamado Joe tonight. Do I add my wood chunks to the charcoal after lighting and before I start bringing the joe up to temp? Or after its at temp right before I add the meat?

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Add the wood about 30 minutes before your pork, you don't want the smoke you get right after adding wood, it's bitter. When it's almost invisible, that's what you're looking for.

 

My routine usually goes like this:

 

- Light fire (in the middle for a low & slow, in two places for roasting temps, in three places for high-temp), usually using a MAPP torch.

- Leave top open and all grill components out for about 5-10 minutes, let fire get established.

- Add however many chunks of smoke wood I plan to use.

- Put grill, deflectors, etc. in, close the lid and tweak the vents as I let it come to temp.

 

My thought process is that by the time I get the temp stabilized, all the dirty/white smoke should be burned out and I should be into the thin blue/invisible smoke.

 

 

I'm not saying that's the right way, but it's the way I've been doing it.  I'd welcome any commentary if there's room for improvement there! :)

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It took less time than I thought. The temp went up to around 300 about 2am, got it back down with some adjustments. Checked at 4:30 and it was around 260, but at 7:30 (45 minutes ago) it had dropped to 210-220. I probed the meat and it's registering 200. So as soon as I get my cooler ready, im taking it off to rest. If I remember, I'll take a pic.

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So I see you're saying this for Boston but. What about real butt... how much of this translates, what would you tweak?

The "real" butt of the pig is the cut where ham comes from. To make a ham from a pigs hind quarter would involve a brining process that would take several days, up to week. After brining you would smoke it at a low temperature for several hours. You could cook a hind quarter leg in the same manner as a Boston butt, but it would not come out as pulled pork. An uncured hind quarter would be a similar consistency as a sirloin roast, and would be marinated and cooked to a similar temperature and time as any other "white meat" pork roast.

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So I see you're saying this for Boston but. What about real butt... how much of this translates, what would you tweak?

The "real" butt of the pig is the cut where ham comes from. To make a ham from a pigs hind quarter would involve a brining process that would take several days, up to week. After brining you would smoke it at a low temperature for several hours. You could cook a hind quarter leg in the same manner as a Boston butt, but it would not come out as pulled pork. An uncured hind quarter would be a similar consistency as a sirloin roast, and would be marinated and cooked to a similar temperature and time as any other "white meat" pork roast.

I got talking to someone after posting about this and apparently the Canadianised version of Boston Butt is just Pork Butt (Or at least in our area) needless to say I felt quite foolish after that about having asked... I always thought it was all ham but what I looked at at the butchers was far from ham...

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So I see you're saying this for Boston but. What about real butt... how much of this translates, what would you tweak?

The "real" butt of the pig is the cut where ham comes from. To make a ham from a pigs hind quarter would involve a brining process that would take several days, up to week. After brining you would smoke it at a low temperature for several hours. You could cook a hind quarter leg in the same manner as a Boston butt, but it would not come out as pulled pork. An uncured hind quarter would be a similar consistency as a sirloin roast, and would be marinated and cooked to a similar temperature and time as any other "white meat" pork roast.

I got talking to someone after posting about this and apparently the Canadianised version of Boston Butt is just Pork Butt (Or at least in our area) needless to say I felt quite foolish after that about having asked... I always thought it was all ham but what I looked at at the butchers was far from ham...

 

The term "butt" confuses a lot of people in the U.S., as well Many do not associate it with the shoulder. There are actually two parts of the the shoulder that you can cook good pulled pork. The blade shoulder is the upper shoulder. In most markets it is referred to as a Boston butt, a pork shoulder, or simply a butt. The arm shoulder is also known as the picnic shoulder. They also cure and smoke the picnic shoulder and turn them into picnic hams. You can usually find a picnic shoulder for much cheaper than a blade shoulder, but there is significantly more bone and fat on the picnic, so the cost is generally about the same. Many people think that a blade shoulder pulls better and is better for pulled pork, however, there are many who think the flavor of the picnic shoulder is superior. I have cooked both, and really have no preference. 

 

Parts-of-a-Pig.jpg

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Well I have a butt that will be hitting the grill tonight for an overnight cook. Time to give the electronics a real test of reliability for the alarm function on temp fluctuations, and of course my cooking skills.

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Nice general write up, covers all the pertinent points nicely. 

 

For my Pork Butts I always use "Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Paste" which I slather all over the entire Butt in place of a dry rub.

The Walkerswood is quite salty, intense flavor and very spicy hot it makes a great hot salty bark. 

My target temp is 203.

I always try to keep my BBQ temp at the level of the meat at 225 degrees. I use 3 large chunks of Apple Wood and 3 of Hickory.

 

I also employ the Texas Crutch after the meat hits that plateau/stall somewhere between 150-170, I let the meat get past the actual stall which can take hours and up to about 180 degrees then I place the Butt in heavy duty aluminum foil wrapped tightly with about a 1/4 of a bottle of Angry Orchard hard apple cider , I cook until I reach my target of 203 degrees then take it out of the foil to get the bark back in perfect shape which is usually 30 minutes or so even though the temp will drop back on down to about 195 during that last smoke it has already reached 203. This will make the meat a bit more tender than not using foil but you only want it braising in the foil after the internal temp gets to 180+ that last 23 degrees is usually about 90 minutes, try for less than 2 hours in the foil. Any more than that and you start to risk the meat becoming mushy, too tender and some loss of flavor.

I also take a Cajun Injector and suck up all those juices in the foil that have escaped during this braising and then inject all that flavor right back into the meat in several spots it will reabsorb quite a bit of it as I leave it on the smoker that final 30+ minutes after the foil.

I have found that this method creates the exact Pork Butt that my wife and I prefer, great salty hot bark, very juicy, super tender.

 

I am going to do a Butt April 14th for my wifes birthday, I always cook her a nice dinner, usually a Prime Filet about 2" thick reverse seared on Apple Wood and one large Lobster tail that we split between us as a surf N turf.  This year she likes the Pork Butt so much that she actually asked me to do a Butt instead of her favorite steak.

In fact when it comes right down to it we both prefer a Boston Butt over ANY other cut of meat for overall flavor and tenderness nothing else really comes close.

 

This is what it looks like when I open the foil after reaching 203 and just before injecting some of the juices back and finish smoking for 30 minutes or so.

Bark is still really nice but I like to firm it back up just a bit and allow those juices to reabsorb a little.

 

post-8283-0-11684700-1428593216_thumb.jp

 

 

Meat just doesn't get any better than this.

 

post-8283-0-37531500-1428593508_thumb.jp

 

post-8283-0-18454000-1428594109_thumb.jp

 

this is how it looks when I first put it on, slathered heavily in Walkerswood.

 

post-8283-0-00315400-1428594225_thumb.jp

 

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