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Does rub really matter on Pork Butt?


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I know everyone has their favorite rub, but do you think it matters that much?  I did two butts this weekend, both injected with apple/pineapple juice and smoked with some peach wood.  One was covered in Meat Church Honey Hog and the other in Cowtown Squeal.  Pretty different flavor profile between the two.  Although I have kept them separate, after pulling I am not sure you can tell the difference.    I am thinking on a butt there is so much meat and the rub touches so little of it, that once you pull, unless you are eating a piece of the park, it doesn't matter that much what rub get used.  Maybe if you were using a very spicy vs a super sweet it would matter.

 

Thoughts? 

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Butt are one of the most flexible cuts as far as what Rub you can use on them.  It really depends on the flavour you want.

 

I've totally lost count of the number of pulled pork Rub combinations that exist.

 

Cuban Pulled pork, Carolina Pulled pork, Cajun pulled pork, the list goes on forever.

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I use a spicy chilli rub on mine; I don't inject but rather spritz them with a spicy vinegar/hot sauce combo.  Lately I add a few roasted hatch chili peppers on top before I wrap them.  I used to toss additional rub on the pork after it was pulled, but don't anymore since I added the hatch chilis.

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12 minutes ago, rahrah12 said:

How long did you let the butt marinate with the rub on it - I wonder if you would notice it more the longer it sits prior to cooking...

I think the only diff would be the salt will penetrate deeper if you let it sit a while. The salt in theory should assist in moisture retention. I like to rub it down the night before, but if i dont have time no big deal.

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I wouldn't recommend not seasoning your pork. You would probably notice if it didn't have any salt!!  Anyway, yes the surface area proportional to the volume of meat is smaller on a butt than most other cuts- but that is why I season more aggressively than say, ribs. I use a fairly simple rub of salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, a little mustard powder and a touch of cinnamon. After I mix that I add about half of that volume in brown sugar. I typically season and put it in the fridge overnight. 

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I've gotten into the habit of salting the meat separate from the rest of the rub as a way to monitor and control the total amount of salt used in the cook. Not for health reasons but simply to manage the overall saltiness.


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Generally speaking, most basic pork rubs are pretty similarly based. Some have more sugar than others, some are spicier, but they aren't that far off unless you get something exotic.

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I have not noticed an appreciable difference with injected butts as opposed to those not injected.  I'd agree the bark gives flavour when added to the PP it does not penetrate.  It's more of a surface treatment.

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The spice molecules are generally to large to enter more than the surface of the protein. Given the fact that protein expels when cooked (moisture and fats) spices are in for a fight. Application of spices the night before or a few hours before will help them adhere better and not fall off. After cooking when PB is pulled they mix well and can add to the flavor profile.
This has been my experience.


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Absolutely!  I tend to be a plain S&P kinda guy.  I have friends who like sweeter rubs (Brown Sugar).  I have friend who like spicy rubs (Cayenne Pepper).  While the rubs may not enter the actual protein, bark is always sought after here at ChezChef.  Further, injection is always appreciated by my guests.  As for me, I just like a S&P rub.  Always a winner.

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Funny, I don't do many pork butts unless I have a crowd to feed, but I've been thinking the same thing since I've got one in the freezer.  Usually the pulled pork is served with a sauce anyway, so that would be where flavor could be changed.  But I also usually cook in a vessel of some sort and save the juices, so mixing those seasoned juices back into the pulled meat makes all the difference.

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