Boston Butt

Well, tonight is another slow smoke. This weekend was an Alabama away game in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We didn’t have tickets, so I thought what better way to support the Tide from home than by burning a pig in effigy. I had a 5.13lb trimmed Boston butt. At 1.5 to 2 hrs per lb to hit 195F plus an hour or more to rest, that meant getting up early. Kickoff was scheduled for 2:30 pm. Lunch was served about 2:20. #winning

Yellow mustard
1 bone-in Boston Butt

Prepare butt for the Egg (the night before):

1. Remove the pork butt from the packaging. Run cold water over the meat. Blot dry with a paper towel.
2. Place butt, flat cap up, on a sheet of aluminum foil and rub mustard over the surface of the meat. Same rule as the brisket cook before this. This is the glue that will hold your rub on the meat.
3. Liberally apply your spice rub to the meat. Make sure to work the seasoning into notches in the meat.
4. Flip the butt over. Apply mustard and rub liberally to the other side.
5. Wrap in aluminum foil. Put the meat back in the fridge and let sit overnight.

Prepare the Big Green Egg (3:15 am):

1. You need a lot of natural lump charcoal for this one. Overfill the fire bowl with natural lump charcoal. Add in wood for smoke. I used apple wood for this smoke. Hickory and cherry also tend to be a hit for pork.
2. Start the fire. Again, like the brisket, you’re looking to start a slow, gradual fire, not a lava hot bed of coal.
3. Stay with the grill. It will take a few minutes for it to heat up, but once it begins to heat up and produce smoke, it will heat up relatively quickly. With your Egg, you’re looking to catch the temperature on the way up, because there is no good way to quickly get the temperature back down.
4. At about 220 degrees, I started to close down the vents. I’m trying to cook this at a dome temp of 250F (for a cooking grid temperature of about 225 or 230F)
5. Once the fire is stable and you’re close to your intended temperature, open the Egg and add the platesetter, inverted, for indirect heat. Put down a drip pan. Add about an inch of water to the drip pan. Place the cooking grid on the platesetter feet, over the drip pan.
6. Close the grill and allow the preheated grill to bring the platesetter and drip pan back up to temperature.

Add the butt to the Egg (4 am):

1. Open the Egg. Lay the butt, fat cap down, across the cooking grid and over the drip pan.
2. Close the lid. Stay with the grill until it returns to your target temp. Make sure your temperature stays stable for 30 minutes or so before you leave it unattended
3. I went back to bed. Smelling roughly like bacon.

After 4 or 5 hours, you should hit a temperature plateau:

1. For me this happened about 8:30 or 9 am. Since College GameDay starts on ESPN at 9 am Central, this worked out perfect.
2. Check the thermometer. My dome temp was still 250.
3. Since I was on a schedule, to make sure that I was on time, I used my digital meat thermometer pen. 150F. At this point, the meat is no longer taking on smoke and magic is happening inside.

10:30 am:

1. Fire is still burning. Temperature still on target
2. Insert digital thermometer. Still only 155F. This is not going to be ready in 7.5 hours (1.5 hours per lb).
3. I laid out two sheets of aluminum foil. And put a fresh towel in the dryer (yes, in the laundry room) to spin and get warm.
4. Pull the butt, wrap tightly in the aluminum foil. Wrap warm towel around the foil. Put in a cooler. You want for the butt to rest for no less than 1 hour before you slice it. I had to keep it warm for 5 and a half hours until lunch.

11:30 am:

1. Insert digital thermometer. 165. Now we’re moving.
2. I laid out two sheets of aluminum foil. And put a fresh towel in the dryer to spin and get warm.
3. Pull the towel out and load it into the cooler to begin warming.

1 pm:

1. Insert digital thermometer. 196F. Yes, I took a bite. Don’t judge.
2. Wrapped tightly in two sheets of aluminum foil. Pull towel out of pre-warmed cooler. Wrap towel around the butt.
3. Let rest. There are two phases to this rest. The first phase is resting, wrapped in the foil. The second phase is to open the foil and let it continue to rest. Plan for both phases of this rest to take at least an hour (total time).

2 pm:

1. Grab the shoulder bone. Twist and pull. It should come out with little effort.
2. Pull the pork with two forks. I went over this technique in the Chicken Pignoli Pasta. This may take a while. If your forearms get tired, wash them and use your hands.

Lunch (2:20 pm):

1. Serve on white buns. With cole slaw and the sauce of your choice. Dill pickle slices optional.
2. There will be leftovers. Share them with your friends.
3. Bama won. 52 – 0. Roll Tide!

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