NEW: Check out the Secrets to the Perfect Smoked Boston Butt post for a detailed look on how to smoke a Boston Butt.
A buddy of mine and I smoked a Boston Butt today for pulled pork sandwiches. He has joined my son and me in several competitions and bought himself a smoker. He and I talked for hours about the competitions we had participated in and decided to try out his new smoker. We found a recipe he wanted to try and as a good teacher would do, I made him practice. The trick? Time and patience.
Off to the store we went with recipe in hand. His first lesson was in choosing a quality meat.
We chose an 10 lb. bone-in butt with good helping of fat and collagen. The fat is good. During the long hours of smoking the fat will melt away and keep the meat moist. If you like science then you know that the process of smoking causes collagen to breakdown into simple sugars making the meat sweet and tender.
When we got back to his house my Type AAA personality kicked in. As I readied a jelly roll pan I had my buddy read the recipe again. After he was done we assembled the ingredients for the rub and placed them on the jelly roll pan. We also gathered all of our cooking utensils. This way we made sure we had everything in one place and on a surface to catch spills. I made sure he knew to follow the chosen recipe as written. If he was pleased with it, he should pull a Paula Abdul and "make the recipe his own" the next time by adding his twist on it.
Second lesson, make sure the first step in completing every recipe you try is to make sure you assemble all ingredients and cooking utensils BEFORE you start cooking.
Once the meat had reached room temperature we made the rub and liberally applied it. Remember that you are trying to flavor a large piece of meat. To apply, trim unnecessary fat and skin, rinse with cool water and pat dry. Take the rub and work it into the meat. Make sure that every part is evenly covered. I also injected the butt with apple juice. We let the butt sit in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to mingle.
Bright and early the next morning we lit the smoker. My buddy had soaked oak and pecan chunks in water. We are not ones to use charcoal fluid as we use Match Light instead. Who wants to eat meat that tastes like lighter fluid? We allowed the smoker to reach 225 degrees. We placed the Boston Butt on the smoker and just left it alone. We checked the flame and wood every hour and was careful not to let the temperature adjust. It's just like opening the oven in the house, heat escapes and changes cooking time and the quality of the taste.
So lesson three...Keep the lid closed and the oven door shut...follow the recipe! We allowed 1 1/2 hours of cooking time per pound. So it was 15 hours worth of smoking, completing honey-do lists, playing with the kids, and checking the temperature. We had to rekindle the fire about every two hours. The neighborhood smelled GREAT.
About six that evening we checked to see if the butt was done. When the bone pulled out easily the butt was done. We wrapped it in aluminum foil and let it sit in the kitchen for about an hour.
Last lesson for now...meat should rest to allow the flavorful juices to flow evenly through the meat. The meat should be cool enough for pulling after an hour. As you pull the meat apart, place it in a pre-warmed crock pot on a low temperature to keep it warm. You will need to separate the meat from remaining fat, bone or other non-palatable parts. From here you can serve.
Along with the Pulled Pork sandwiches, the kids enjoyed my homemade mint-chocolate chip ice cream. It is my wife's favorite. Here is the recipe!
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