A BBQ Staple!
Credit for this recipe goes to AmazingRibs.com
1 pork butt, about 2.5kg
45g Favourite BBQ Rub
1/2 teaspoon salt per 450g meat
About the wood. The idea here is to measure how much you use so next time you can add or subtract a measured amount until it is exactly the way you like it. You can use cups or handsful. Just be consistent. and go easy on the wood. Too much smoke is far worse than too little.
1) Trim most of the of fat from the exterior of the meat but not all of it. Leave no more than 1/8″. Some folks like to leave it all on hoping it will melt and baste the meat, but I want the seasonings on the meat, not on the fat, and I want the meat to get a crunchy flavorful, seasoned bark. Most of the butts I cook are 4 to 6 pounds, pretty well trimmed, and tied with butcher’s twine to keep them from falling apart. If yours is not already tied, hogtie it with kite string. Don’t worry if it isn’t fancy, you’re going to throw it out, just rope it so it doesn’t fall apart.
2) Rinse and pat dry the meat. Salt it. If you have the time salt it 12 to 24 hours in advance. Called dry brining, this gives the salt a chance to start penetrating. The rub will not penetrate, but the salt will. Just before cooking, wet the surface with water and sprinkle on the Meathead’s Memphis Dust. The water helps the rub dissolve and adhere. Water dissolves the rub better than oil. Some folks like to slather it with yellow mustard. I don’t think it makes much difference which you use, water or mustard. I’ve done them side by side and there are so many other flavors going on the mustard gets lost.
3) Insert a digital probe like the Maverick ET-733 and position the tip right in the center. Make sure it is not touching the bone or within 1/2″ of the bone. Fire up the cooker to about 225°F and set it up for 2-zone or indirect smoke cooking. Put the meat on, right on the grate, not in a pan, add about 4 ounces of wood chips, pellets, or chunks to the coals, and go drink a coffee. Go make your sauce, slaw, and beans. Go watch the game. Then cut the lawn. Wash the windows. Smoke a cigar. Unfold the lawn chair and read a book with a beer. You’ve got plenty of time. Just check your cooker every hour or so to make sure the fuel is sufficient and you are holding at 225 to 250°F. If it goes up to 300°F, don’t worry. Butt is forgiving. But try to keep it down under 250°F. Add additional doses of wood, about 4 ounces at a time, every 30 minutes for the first two hours. The exact amount will be determined by your preferences and your cooker.
4) When it hits about 170°F, collagens, which are part the connective tissues, begin to melt and turn to gelatin. That’s magic baby. The meat gets much more tender when this happens. And juicy. When it hits 195°F, it may be ready, and it may not be ready. But it’s time to check. The exterior should be dark brown. Some rubs and cookers will make the meat look black like a meteorite, but it is not burnt and it doesn’t taste burnt. There may be glistening bits of melted fat. On a gas cooker it may look shiny pink. If there is a bone, use a glove or paper towel to protect your fingers and wiggle the bone. If it turns easily and comes out of the meat, the collagens have melted and you are done. If there is no bone, use the “stick a fork in it method”. Insert a fork and try to rotate it 90 degrees. If it turns with only a little torque, you’re done. If it’s not done, close the lid and go drink a mint julep for 30 minutes. If the internal temp hits 195°F but the meat is still not tender, push on up to 203°F, my favorite target. At this number the meat seems to soften significantly. If it is still not soft, you’ve just got a tough butt. Wrap tough butts in aluminum foil and let them go for another hour. If you can’t control the temp on your cooker, wrap the meat in heavy duty foil and move it indoors into a 225°F oven. Do not add sauce while it is on the cooker. That comes after you pull it.