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Presalting a Boston Butt


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I was reading Meathead's book and he applies salt separately to his pork the day before smoking.  He then applies his rub the day of the cook.

 

Every rub I have made has the salt mixed in the rub itself.

 

How many of you use his method?  Can you tell a difference?   

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"Salt, by itself," actually does make a difference – a process known as "dry brining" – and it does take time to work.  (Strangely enough, the resulting meat does not taste "salty.")  Therefore, I would suggest that you follow his lead.  The "salt in the rub" is intended to influence taste, whereas the prior "brining" really does not.  It really is a bio-chemical process.

 

The day before your cook, unwrap the meat and salt it (lightly) on all sides with kosher salt.  Put it overnight in the fridge, in a glass pan covered by shrink-wrap or aluminum foil.  You will notice a distinct difference, and as I said, the meat will not taste "salty."

 

(P.S. If you're curious about "the science," here's a go-to cookbook:  Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.)

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I try to follow Meathead’s method whenever I’m not using a commercial rub, which is often. It’s the primary reason I like to make my own rubs. The first ingredient in almost all commercial rubs is salt, which makes dry brining difficult, if not impossible.

 

BTW, the Memphis Dust rub recipe is the best pork rub I’ve ever had. I add jalapeño powder to kick the heat up a bit.

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I always put my rub on early.  The rub contains salt, which will dissolve in the liquid it extracts from the meat and re-enter the meat through osmosis.  the rest of the rub ingredients will not absorb into the meat.  

 

@jark87

 

Salt IS what makes dry brining possible so why would that make it impossible?  You can easily 'dry brine' with a typical rub that contains salt.

 

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John, how early do you add rub?

 

Food Lion has 99 cent/lb Boston butts. 
I’m getting 2 for this weekend. 

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1 hour ago, John Setzler said:

Salt IS what makes dry brining possible so why would that make it impossible? 

“Impossible” was probably the wrong choice of words. Commercial rubs with salt make dry brining more difficult, at least for me, because you have no idea how much salt they contain. I’ll go with homemade rubs any day of the week over a commercial rub. In addition to controlling salt, you skip all of unnecessary preservatives (chemicals). Having said that, I still have a pantry full of commercial rubs, mostly from recipes that have called for them. Once I figure out the taste and look at the ingredients list, I can usually get pretty close to replicating them from the spice drawer.

 

@Gebo I’m also cooking a butt for the 4th. Hoping for an easy cook that is ready by the time guests arrive! :)

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Salted/mustard rubbed two days ago. Also some "Butt Rub" in the mix too.

 

On to cook tonight with help from my Flame Boss.

 

Gonna make some SC sauce.

 

John Setzler, Malcolm Reed tips included too.

 

 

 

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I do what @jark87 suggested for the same reason – because then I know much salt I have applied.  Brining will not convey any flavorings into the meat.  It only causes a chemical change to the proteins of the meat itself.  It will not cause the meat to taste salty.  Whereas, the salt in a rub is intended to be a flavoring.

 

Salt the meat on all sides then put it on a wire rack in (or above) a pan in the refrigerator, so that air can circulate.  A "three-finger pinch of kosher salt from a foot above the meat" is the most common suggestion that I've heard.

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On 6/30/2022 at 8:11 PM, mike echo said:

Salted/mustard rubbed two days ago. Also some "Butt Rub" in the mix too.

 

From my own post-results-great.  Being simplistic, I did not do

 

53 minutes ago, MikeRobinson said:

A "three-finger pinch of kosher salt from a foot above the meat" 

:good: 

 

I held the cook in my oven for a few hours. Of course at the appropriate temp.

All good.

 

Enjoy the techniques y’all.

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So what I thought was a large butt was actually 2 small butts crammed into 1 cryovac. I hope that works in my favor from a cook time perspective. Does anyone have any thoughts on cook time for 2 butts? Not the cook time specifically, but should I expect to cook twice as long, same as a single butt, or something in between? I’m trying to determine my start time and I’d like to avoid a 3am alarm on 7/4. TIA!

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2 hours ago, jark87 said:

So what I thought was a large butt was actually 2 small butts crammed into 1 cryovac. I hope that works in my favor from a cook time perspective. Does anyone have any thoughts on cook time for 2 butts? Not the cook time specifically, but should I expect to cook twice as long, same as a single butt, or something in between? I’m trying to determine my start time and I’d like to avoid a 3am alarm on 7/4. TIA!

Last time I did two butts it took he same time. 6 hours or so at 325 then wrapped and in cooler wrapped in towels for at least an hour or in a 150 degree oven. 

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Thanks for the replies. I have a great thermometer (Thermoworks Smoke), as well as a cheaper one that seems to work just as well. Was mainly looking for feedback on the time difference between one butt vs. two. I have the KJ expansion grate and will use the SloRoller. If I place both butts on the main grate, they’ll probably take up almost the entire space. Any thoughts on using the expansion grate, assuming it will fit over one of the butts on the main grate? I’m probably overthinking it, but wondering about restricting airflow if only using the main grate. I’ve obviously never cooked 2 butts at the same time on the KJ.

 

Thanks again!

 

Edit: Oops - never mind. I just realized that since I mop my butts with a vinegar-based mop, I won’t be using the expansion grate.

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well, here’s what I am trying.  I coated my Butts with Myron Mixon’s rub (plus a little rosemary and ginger from Meathead’s rub recipe). Added a little extra salt and let them sit in refrigerator from 9 pm last night til 5 am this morning when I placed them on the KJ at 250.  
 

Depending on how long church goes, I’ll pull around 160-170 and wrap in foil with some added ACV and apple juice and go to 205 or so.  
 

keeping my fingers crossed.  

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