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Not Your Typical Pork Butt Cook(s)

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    Not Your Typical Pork Butt Cook(s)

    I've grown a little bored with the typical 8+ hour smoked butt thing, but still had a couple of butts in the freezer from the last big $.99/lb sale. Sure enough an old friend of mine from high school happened to send me a video of a buddy of his (Boonjug's Hillbilly BBQ) carving up a butt for different things - perfect! After watching the video, I decided to cut steaks and try out St Louis BBQ Pork Steaks and cube the rest for burnt ends.

    My biggest challenge, as usual, is my lack of knife skills and meat cutting knowledge. But I sharpened everything up and gave it a go Friday evening. I removed the bone first, did pretty well trimming it out clean and close. Then I cut three steaks each maybe 1.25" thick from the other more intact end. I cubed everything else up (its in the ziplock bag in the back in the pic).

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    I hit the steaks with some PBC AP rub and let them go overnight.

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    As I tend to do, I read online thru several different recipes for the pork steaks and took parts of each one that worked for me and rolled with it. Maybe not the best thing to do mixing different ways to approach it, but for various reasons I arrived at a plan to front sear them then smoke them to 190F IT. So the first thing I did was setup the Bronco for grilling, here's a shot with the charcoal lit and the charcoal basket in the raised position:

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    I seared them over direct heat for 3 min per side.

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    After that I switched the Bronco into smoking mode. This isn't too painful, here's how I go about it "mid-cook":
    • Take the cooking grate off and set it on my stainless steel table
    • Using the hook tool, lift the charcoal basket out and set it on my kettle
    • Remove the heat deflector and set it on the kettle
    • Using the tool, place the charcoal basket back on the ash pan inside the barrel (I added a nice applewood chunk at this time too)
    • Add the heat deflector back in the smoking position
    • Put the cooking grate back in place
    • Add my ambient & meat probes, close the lid, tweak the vents to lower the temp to ~250F
    At this point I let them roll to about 175F IT (they actually stalled a bit at 170F), this is what they looked like at that point:

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    I hit two of them with some Bone Suckin' BBQ sauce (very popular here in the Carolinas and of the stuff found in the grocery store, probably one of the more desirable), and left one dry at SWMBO's request. Then I let them go until they hit 190F. I really didn't know, but have heard folks here say "take a butt to 190 for slicing" and Malcom Reed said he takes these to 190, so - that is what I did.

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    Overall I was pretty happy with my first attempt at St Louis BBQ Pork Steaks. They weren't amazing, but they were solid, and a nice changeup which is what I was after. My wife and kid actually liked them better than I did. Some spots on mine had some chewy bark, and some bites were super juicy while others were a touch dry. Makes sense I guess that if you pull or chop it and and mix it together you just don't have that issue like you do in a steak. Plus, it was cool being able to switch up the Bronco configurations and do this all on one cooker! If I do anything differently next time, I think I might consider wrapping them in a foil pan for a while - a handful of recipes called for that, and maybe the braising would help keep things moist and keep the bark softer.

    So after woofing that down, I set about prepping Sunday's dinner, and started dry brining those cubed pieces in PBC AP rub overnight.

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    I preheated the Bronco to ~250F and used an applewood chunk again, and got them on the grate:

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    I went a little shy of the 90 min Mr. Boonjug suggested because my chunks weren't nice fat cubes like his, I kinda sorta had more strips. So after 80 min, this is what I had going on:

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    I took those off, got them into a half size foil pan, and topped them with butter and brown sugar:

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    I covered them up with foil, and got them back on the smoker for 45 min. When I opened them up, this is what they were looking like:

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    I stirred that up good, then topped them with a very light dusting of rub and some of that BBQ sauce. I left them uncovered, opened the vents up a bit to get my heat closer to 300F, and let them go about 20 min to caramelize.

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    Now, I liked these better than the steaks! My wife really liked them, and my kiddo enjoyed them "as something different but not as much as pulled pork" she says.

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    They're obviously not as rich as pork belly burnt ends, which was a good thing for us, cuz those two don't care for them (ugh). To me, they were like little individual "butt bites" each with their own bark and smoke ring.

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    Yummy stuff! I'd do these again too... maybe not every other time we cook a butt, but these will be in the rotation as a nice changeup for sure. Next time I'll try to cube larger pieces, and hopefully more cubes than strips if possible. I'll use a different rub too, I was wishing I'd used something like Meat Church Honey Hog Hot on these under that sweet BBQ sauce.

    #2
    Here are the other two pics which had to be removed due to the limit of 12:

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    Comment


    • HouseHomey
      HouseHomey commented
      Editing a comment
      Best pic ever!!

    #3
    Thanks for the good write up and photos.

    Comment


      #4
      Definitely worth considering. Thanks.

      Comment


        #5
        Great write up.

        I've gotten lucky from my local Aldi's, they bring in St. Louis cut pork steaks. I've done them twice on my PK360, once was a Malcolm Reed recipe, I loved them, tasted like ribs, same texture too. The last time I did them was just straight SPG, my absolute favorite, went Low&Slow with them, nothing in wrap but a spritz of apple juice on the steaks and in the foil.

        Comment


          #6
          I’d eat all of it,,,,,,,yes indeed
          nice write up, great pics

          Comment


            #7
            Fantastic share.
            I have been meaning to try the butt for burnt ends to get away from the richness of pork belly. I find myself overdoing eating belly burnt ends and sometimes it doesn't sit well. Self inflicted.
            Our butchery shelves are always full of shoulder chops and I cook them fairly often. The only problem is they usually cut far to thin but work well for a quick grilling over hot coals.

            Comment


              #8
              Those burnt ends look awful! Let me give you my address for proper disposal.

              Comment


              • FishTalesNC
                FishTalesNC commented
                Editing a comment
                I happen to have plenty of HAZMAT bags, no problem!😉

              #9
              Thanks for the write up. I may have to try it once I can start Qing again.

              Comment


                #10
                Sounds like a plan for Sat morning.
                May grab a pork belly too along with the butt and have a burnt end cook off....probably need more beer too!!!!

                Comment


                • FishTalesNC
                  FishTalesNC commented
                  Editing a comment
                  “Probably” need more beer? 😂

                #11
                I have two half butts in the freezer... I see a plan.

                OJB! OJB! OJB!

                Comment


                • FishTalesNC
                  FishTalesNC commented
                  Editing a comment
                  OJB...Ojb...ojb... 😎

                #12
                I like the way you think, FishTalesNC .

                Kathryn

                Comment


                  #13
                  Great work here sir!!!

                  Comment

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