It’s been a whirlwind last few days; between barbecueing, Fleet Week, and football it was quite an action filled weekend. I kicked off the busy weekend on Friday by paying a visit to my favorite wholesale warehouse store in the city, Cash & Carry. Trying to not get distracted by 10 pound wheels of cheese and 30 gallon tubs of mayonnaise, I made my way to the meat locker. There I found exactly what I was looking for: a Cryovack package of two untrimmed, boneless pork butts totalling 15.45 pounds in weight.
Pork butt still in Cryovac packaging
I prepped the meat Friday night so I could begin the cooking session early Saturday morning. I began by trimming off all large visible pockets of fat. Unlike with brisket, I didn’t have to worry about leaving a layer of fat as pork butt has more internal fat that keeps the meat moist during the long cooking process.
Untrimmed pork butt Trimmed pork butt
To ensure an even cook, I used kitchen twine to tie the pork butt. I then applied a generous helping of rub to the meat. The rub I used for this cook consisted of black pepper, paprika, raw cane sugar, sea salt, mustard powder and cayenne pepper. After applying the rub, the two pieces of meat went in to the refrigerator over night.
Pork butt: trimmed and tied With rub applied
I woke up at the unholy hour of 5:45am Saturday morning, cursed the heavens for being up that early, and then calmed down by reminding myself that this would all be worth it. I then stubbled to the backyard to fire up the barbecue. Some people drink coffee to wake up in the morning. I light 20 pounds of charcoal on fire in complete darkness while half asleep. What can I say? I love the smell of barbecue in the morning. Armed with the knowledge that this cook would take as long or longer than the brisket, I decided to use the same technique to light the coals and wood. I filled the charcoal chamber to the top with briquettes and interspersed my wood chunks. For this cook I used four chunks of oak and two of hickory. I lit 25 briquettes in a chimney starter and spread out the burning coals on top of the unlit ones in the charcoal chamber.
While the barbecue was coming up to temperature I removed the pork butts and applied the rub for a second time. I took them out to the back yard and threw them on the cooker just as the sun was rising.
After a second application of rub Just thrown on the cooker
My target cooking temperature was in the 220-250 degree range. Over the course of the cook I adjusted the three lower vents to keep the cooker within that range. At hour nine I checked on the meat and turned and basted it. The baste I used was made up of apple cider vinegar, water, salt pepper, worcestershire sauce, paprika, cayenne pepper, and the left over rub.
Meat being basted after nine hours
7:30pm marked the 12 hour point in the cook and by that time the internal temperature had reached my target of 195 degrees. I took the pork butt off the cooker and let it rest for 30 minutes. After this rest I used two serving forks to pull the meat apart. It was so tender that this took very little effort. I served the pulled pork in as classic dish with cole slaw and barbecue sauce on a hawaiian bun. The meat had a great smoke flavor with the pepper and a little bit of spice from the cayenne adding to the taste. The dark exterior bark was incredibly flavorful and led to several ballyhoos as to who got more than their fair share.
Pulled pork Let’s eat!