Pulled Pork (4th cook)
This is another crowd pleaser. Pork butts (also called pork shoulders, boston butts or picnics) are huge hunks of tough meat that yearn to be cooked low and slow. The most common way to serve a pork shoulder is to "pull it" or shred it apart after cooking and make pulled pork sandwiches. These sandwiches are to die for and easy to prepare if you have the time and patience.
Buying Pork Butts
No matter what part of the country you live in, you are bound to have one of the following stores: Sams, Costco, BJs, Jethro, or Smart and Final, within 20 miles. These stores are where you will find the most bang for your buck. Pork butts are usually sold in pairs either bone in or removed. If you have the choice, always opt for the bone in pork butt.
Weight will be from 6 to 8 pounds a piece making the entire cooking weight 12 to 16 pounds of pork using two butts! This weight and size will shrink considerably (as much as 30%) during the 9 to 12 hour cook.
Preparing and Injecting Pork Butts
Trim the excess fat from the shoulder using a sharp boning knife. (see pictures for detailed instructions). Inject the butts with our pork injection recipe. Injecting flavored liquid down into the meat before cooking it is a great way to add flavor to the meat very quickly.
Injecting the pork butt will guarantee a moist and juicy finished product. Use a meat injector (we use and highly recommend the Cajun Injector Deluxe Marinade Injector) to inject the pork butts. It is both inexpensive and extremely well-made.
Pork Injection (split recipe between 2 pork butts)
2 Cups Apple Juice
1/4 Cup Vinegar
1 TBS Liquid Smoke
3 TBS Salt
2 TBS Hot Sauce
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
Rubbing Pork Butts
After injecting, pat dry with a paper towel and lather a coating of mustard all over both butts. You can use a basting brush or just glove up and use your hands. This step allows the rub to stick to the butts and will help create the dark thick crust or "bark" of the meat. Bark is a sign of a properly cooked shoulder. BBQ aficionados refer to the bark as Mr. Brown, and the inner meat of the shoulder as Mr. White. A mix of both on a pulled pork sandwich is your end goal.
After both butts are injected and coated with mustard, apply liberal amounts of our Patio Pitmasters Rub making sure to get every spot. Place the shoulders on a cookie sheet or glass tray and allow the them to "sweat" (the rub penetrates the meat) in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.
BBQing Pork Butt
Prepare your BBQ for low and slow cooking using the Minion Method. This a long cook, so fill the center ring almost to the top with charcoal (leaving room for one chimney starter worth of charcoal), Then add a chimney starter full of lit charcoal. Add 2 fist-size chunks of apple wood and two fist-size chunks of hickory wood.
Place the butts fat side up (and not touching) on a clean grate and do not touch for the entire cook. No poking, no turning, no flipping needed. Let the smoke do the work. Cooking time will be 9 to 12 hours depending on temperature (225-275), weight, and weather conditions. No matter how tempted, do not lift the lid on the BBQ for the first 4 hours for any reason! Each peak will add 10 minutes to your cooking time. This does not mean you will not be checking the temperature of the BBQ.
If you do not have a remote thermometer that tells you the BBQ and food temperature, you will be spending a lot of time with your BBQ over the next few hours. If you have a remote thermometer unit (great one: Maverick Wireless BBQ Thermometer) you can set the low and high temp alarms and go about your day.
At the 3 hour mark, check your butts. You are checking for a bark that is formed and will not wipe or scratch off the pork. If the crust has formed, the shoulder is ready to be foiled for part two of its journey.
Foiling Pork Butt
When your pork butt reaches 160 to 170 degrees (around 4 to 5 hours), you can start the foiling process. Begin by using a sheet of aluminum foil roughly twice the size of your pork butt. Place the meat to one side of the foil. Make sure to leave a minimum 2-3 inches of foil around the edges of the meat. At this point, you will liberally apply Stubb's Pork Marinade (found at your local market in the condiment section). Pour it all over the butt. You then need to fold the empty half of foil over the top of the pork but. Roll up the edges until they are nice and tight (imagine rolling up a sleeping bag). Place the foiled butt back onto the BBQ and continue to cook the butt until the temperature reaches 198 degrees.
Resting Pork Butt
After you pull the pork from the grill, setit on the counter top and let it rest for about 10 minutes or so. Open up the foil and let the heat release. Once that is done, grab an ice chest and a couple clean towels that the Mrs. won't mind losing. Place the butt in a dry ice chest. You can put another towel on top for even more insulation. Then, close the lid and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. If you need to play catch up with any other part of your BBQ, this is a good time. The meat can rest in the dry chest for 60-90 minutes and stay piping hot. Once the meat has rested, it is time to open up your little treasure.
Serving Pulled Pork
Remove the foil now and take a minute to ogle at your hard work. If you are cooking a bone in pork butt, this is where you will find out if you did your job correctly. The bone should come out with a little tug and have no meat attached. Take a minute to smile at your accomplishment. Then proceed to pulling the pork. Some people prefer their pork a little chunky. We recommend using a metal spatula and breaking it apart if this is how you like it. Others want it pulled to perfection. This method takes a little extra time, but the TLC is undoubtedly noticed. Take a fork and literally 'pull' the pork into little shreds.
Get the roll of your choice, slap on some pork, a squirt or two of our famed Patio Pitmasters BBQ sauce and a dollop of Aunt Sandy's EasySlaw and you are in for a treat.
The best part. Invite the friends and family over to enjoy your Patio Pitmasters inspired cookout. For more side dishes, check out the other recipes here: Patio Pitmasters side dishes.