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Step by step pulled pork on the PBC

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    Step by step pulled pork on the PBC

    I won't go too deep into lighting procedures since we already have an excellent post on the matter, I will however try to provide everything you need to produce a good edible pork butt with little experience. The most important thing I have learned is temperature controls, if you hit the temps in this post, you will have a good product in the end.

    The very first thing to do is dry brine the butt, this needs to be done 12-36 hours in advance. You can watch Dr. Blonders' seminar on salt, but I just sprinkle half a teaspoon per pound all over the meat and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Prior to salting I personally cut my butts in half, this does a couple of things: creates more surface area for rub, and splits my sometimes very large butts into two smaller pieces to help cooking time.

    I cut in half at a little bit of an angle to avoid the bone. There are several muscles in this shoulder, but 2 primary ones, one on top of the other with a thin layer of fat in between. These two can separate when cooking, so I hook as deeply as I can, and in a way that it goes through as much of both muscles as possible.

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    If you follow the temperatures in this post, and cut your butts in half, you should start the process about 9 hours before mealtime. This allows ample time to handle about any butt and provides lots of bark up and rest time. If you stay on top of your temps and don't care as much about bark and long rest periods you should be able to finish in as little as 6 hours.

    To start, i fill the charcoal basket to the top with Kingsford Blue charcoal, then I take out 40-50 coals and put them in the chimney. Some people do wood over time, I like to do a heavy smoke right at the beginning so I add all the wood i'm going to use to the basket now. Many people just like the smokiness of the charcoal and omit the wood, and some people add a little wood every hour or so, you can try any way you'd like.

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    Next I take 2 pages of newspaper and wad them up into pretty tight balls, but them under the chimney and light it up. Shoot for 15-20 minutes, but sometimes I seem to get faster burns than others, just make sure you get good flame and the top coals are mostly ashed over.

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    Once the coals are ready, put in your basket and pour them on. You can use your rebar to spread out coals.

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    Put in your rebar, hang the meat, and put on the lid.

    When I checked the temp after putting the lid on, it was only 260, we need to get an initial burn to 340 or so or I'll be fighting to keep the temp up all day. To me, this step up to about 340 is the single most important thing about getting the PBC to work. I cracked the lid until there was about a half inch gap at the widest point, about 10 minutes later the PBC was 345 so I put the lid back on. The lid went on at 8:00 AM and a few minutes later it settled down to 288 where it has stayed for the last 2 hours. If you drop too far during your cook just crack the lid until its a few degrees higher than you want to cook at.

    I always wrap my butts, I will do this either when the bark is the way I like it, or if i'm still in the 170's 2 hours from when I want the rest to start. As mentioned I like long rests (2 hours) so if it runs over even an hour it will still have plenty of time to rest before eating. I typically add just under a quarter cup of a cup of liquid, usually apple juice.

    Right now it is 10:30, 3 hours from first light, and 2.5 hours since the meat went on, I will update with pics when I wrap and when I take it off at around 200.

    I posted this below, but I figured I had better just edit this post to keep it together.

    As is typically the case, I had to run out of town for a few hours, but this is OK since the PBC runs so well. Temp was sitting at 277 when I left at 11:00. The boneless side was already 168, the other was 165. The bark was coming along so I could have wrapped and been done after 5 hours but since I don't need it done until 5 I am just letting them hang in and get some more smoky goodness. I did have one more temperature issue, the temp dropped to 255 and I cracked the lid to 300 and it went right back down.
    Sometimes even after the initial temp spike you can have some yo yo temps, when I get that I take the lid entirely off for a few minutes and the coals usually catch fire and spread. I think this comes from not enough coals being lit. After doing this it settled to 277 and barely fluctuated over the last hour.

    I was gone for 2.5 hours and got back to check on things at 1:30 PM. We have a cold front moving in so it is 25 degrees cooler than usual, pit temp dropped from 277 down to 252. The boneless side increased 11 degrees in that time to 179, the bone in side was 176. The bark was pretty good, so I decided to go ahead and wrap, at those temps it should hit 200 at 3:00 PM which is right on plan (kickoff of the Razorback game!).

    Here they are fresh off the PBC, you can see the bark is good and I have plenty of crust, and you can see on the bottom right that the meat is pulling back from the bone. As soon as I take the meat off, I take out the rebar and put in the grate, I leave the rebar out and the lid cracked while I am wrapping so the temps go back up.

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    This is the most dangerous part of the cook, the house starts smelling awesome, it LOOKS done, people are hungry...so you have to wrap it quick! I tend toward over wrapping because you don't want a bone poking through. I have had a bone poke through while taking them off and pour all of the 250+ wrapping liquid down my arm and about dropped the whole thing. Even a little piece of crust on the grate can poke through and dump your liquid all over your coals and put out your fire.

    I first wrap in one direction, then rotate 90 degrees and wrap again.

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    I have these cool containers that my wife gave me, I think they are a great idea. They are different colors and on the side you might be able to see the raised lettering which says RAW and COOKED. I think its great because I always have a clean container for cooked product and I can be sure to never contaminate my other foods.

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    A lot of people worry about how long the coals last, if you do things right you should have no problem getting 10-12 hours out of them. I took this picture just after putting on the foiled butts, the top was off for a couple minutes to get it heat back up, but you can really see how hot this thing still is and how many coals are still in there to burn.

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    I will update when they come off for the cambro.

    I was shooting for 3:00 PM for the butts to be done and a 2 hour rest to be ready to pull at halftime. By the time I had the butts back on I was running a touch late, so since they were wrapped I left one of the rebar out and finished at around 320. At 3:03 they hit 203 so I pulled them and opened the foil to cool them off a bit. They were cooking very fast, if I had just put them in the cambro they would have gotten even higher and continued cooking.

    I opened the foil and let the sit until they were at 195 so I knew they weren't rising anymore. I then wrapped the foil back, wrapped it all up in a bath towel and put them in a cooler.

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    Here they are, ready to pull.

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    The bone slid right out, they were at 165 and still a little too hot to pull, so I broke them apart and let them sit while I did other things. It takes me about 15 minutes to pull, I go through and make sure every gross thing is out, there are several sections that have a lot of fat including near the bark, make sure you remove all of this or you might get a mouthful of fat.

    It got devoured quickly, but I was able to snap a shot of my sandwich at least. Served with several sauces, but everyone preferred it dry or with a fresh batch of my mustard sauce I whipped up.

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    Ask if anything isn't clear or if you have any suggestions. Once this gets you up and running post back improvements and let me know ways I might be able to make my own better.
    Last edited by _John_; September 6, 2014, 06:38 PM.

    #2
    Glowing red embers much????

    Right now it is 10:30, 3 hours from first light,
    Where you at in Arkansas???

    Comment


      #3
      Yeah they were going big this morning, Bentonville.

      Comment


        #4
        I'm doing my first PB on the PBC tomorrow, John, so this is perfect timing. Thanks for all of the info, and keep it coming as the cook progresses.

        How big was that bone-in butt? I'm hoping it was 7.5 lbs since that's what mine is.

        Kathryn

        Comment


        • _John_
          _John_ commented
          Editing a comment
          It was right around 7, anything up to 9 or 10 will be about the same window. I always give myself a few extra hours and then either let it bark longer or rest longer, either way is fine.

        #5
        As is typically the case, I had to run out of town for a few hours, but this is OK since the PBC runs so well. Temp was sitting at 277 when I left at 11:00. The boneless side was already 168, the other was 165. The bark was coming along so I could have wrapped and been done after 5 hours but since I don't need it done until 5 I am just letting them hang in and get some more smoky goodness. I did have one more temperature issue, the temp dropped to 255 and I cracked the lid to 300 and it went right back down. Sometimes even after the initial temp spike you can have some yo yo temps, when I get that I take the lid entirely off for a few minutes and the coals usually catch fire and spread. I think this comes from not enough coals being lit. After doing this it settled to 277 and barely fluctuated over the last hour.

        Comment


          #6
          Yeh, sometimes for me it takes 320-350 at least to get a 275ish settle down temp with the Kingsford. Of course the amount of meat in the cooker, and what stage it is at, can affect that as well.

          Comment


            #7
            Finished up, let me know if I missed anything. Good luck Fzxdoc!!!

            Comment


              #8
              Thanks for all the details, John. They're great.

              I'm glad you were able to snap a photo of that sammie. It's incentive enough to me to get going on my PB. Time's a-wastin'.

              Kathryn

              Comment


                #9
                Awesome post and awesome barbecue. I like to buy small butts instead of splitting big ones, and I like to hit an even higher temp spike then I first close the lid (380-420) but otherwise this is pretty much how I'd cook a butt on the PBC.

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                  #10
                  I don't ever find any that small, but I agree with the temp spike, I am going to shoot for about 400 instead of 340 to see how that works for me. Thanks for the feedback!

                  Comment


                    #11
                    To hit the higher temp use my lighting method. Fzxdoc posted it here.

                    Comment


                      #12
                      Oh and let us know what differences you notice in the results between the two methods. =)

                      Comment


                        #13
                        "Top Shelf" cook right there.......

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Greetings PBC'ers: am I doing it wrong? Took me 5 1/2 to get my 8.7 PB to 158. Pit temps cruising between 265-290. Wrapped at 158, only got to 165 after another hour. Pit was down to 250, so cracked the lid until 340 and closed it up. Sitting around 290 now. I am 7 hours in...is it time to panic?

                          Comment


                            #15
                            Update 8 hours in. Cracked lid again as the temp was plummeting passed 240 and left it open 1/2 inch for the last 45 minutes. Temps hanging around 340 +- 10. PB 185-190, almost there! As a side note, should have mentioned I'm at 6600' and my vent is about 3/4 open.

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