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Let's experiment, give me some ideas to test for my pork butt cook this weekend.

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    Let's experiment, give me some ideas to test for my pork butt cook this weekend.

    I have to cook pork shoulder this weekend for a get together, since I am doing 2 and they are cryovaced together I figured why not do some testing. I don't really have any test criteria other than they must be edible when done, and they will be cooked in the PBC (at least partially if that is part of the test).

    They are roughly the same size, about 6 pounds a piece, but can't be sure until I separate and they are currently frozen. This seems like a good setup for a comparison. As I said I am open to anything, but if I don't get many responses I am going to try one of 3 things:

    1: Following in the footsteps of Doc Blonder thaw one and leave one frozen and see if there is a large difference in flavor/bark

    2: From the smoke seminar, smoke for 30 minutes and then move one to the oven for the remainder (interesting but its kinda been done)

    3: Wrap one and leave the other unwrapped.

    I have also toyed with the idea of baking powder/soda in the rub to test bark formation, and I have a humidifier is was thinking of cranking up into the intake, it may not be enough but I think I could add a gallon of moisture over the course of the cook.

    Any other ideas or any from above you would like to see?

    Edit: Was just thinking, I might be able to do several of these if splitting the butts doesn't matter. I'm thinking along the lines of resting for 30/60/90/120.
    Last edited by _John_; December 9, 2014, 12:32 PM.

    I like the baking powder idea... just sayin'


      I've been wanting to see if using maple syrup instead of olive oil as a base before applying the rub makes a tasteable difference...


      • _John_
        _John_ commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm not sure how it would impact something as large as a pork shoulder, but I use maple syrup as a base when I smoke sausage rolls, it works really well but there is definitely a sweetness to the outside. It doesn't really affect the flavor inside at all.

      I like the Baking soda idea as well. Also, See if there is a noticeable difference between using Mustard as a binder as opposed to EVO or VO. I just want to see if there is any difference in Bark, taste, texture, smoke ring, moisture, etc. Thanks!!!


        I was going to suggest exactly the same as Spinaker. This mustard slather needs to be resolved! No one says they can taste the mustard, but then they compliment the bark. Could it be a vinegar contribution? The test might need to be 3 for control: Mustard Slather; Oil or fat; Vinagrette (some vinegar, just not overpowering).


          I had to prove the mustard thing to myself, so a couple days ago I slathered my beef ribs with mustard and let it sit in the fridge for 2 days, then put rub on them real quick and put them on the PBC... I could not tell the difference, although the ribs were really good And they cooked about 4 hours.

          It would be fun to experiment more with that, but need to set up a better experiment.


            I always split. Personally I would make those 2 6lbers into 4 ~3lbers. More bark, more seasoning!

            I like the idea of another wrapped vs non-wrapped. Henrik did that a month or two ago. Results were interesting. Also HC in SC got me wondering about a long pre-cook mustard slather affecting bark. Next up I would opt for the frozen one vs thawed, to plot the times as well as the visuals and the taste on each. That would be a cool test.


              I'll 3rd the mustard slather.

              Maybe it is all mental, but I swear the meat seems more tender when you add a heavy bath of mustard for the vinegar to breakdown the meat and a good 'glue' for the rub.

              Going forward I may or may not wrap at the stall; but doggone it I will always rub the butt with HRR, mustard slather, wrap and put in the fridge as long as I can prior to cooking / smoking.

              On another note you could try different wood smoke flavors on each one. I am partial to apple on butts.

              Good luck!
              Last edited by HC in SC; December 10, 2014, 08:53 AM.


                So I didn't get to do this last weekend, but we are go for Sunday. Since last week though I think we've basically come to a conclusion on the mustard slather. So what shall I do?
                If nobody has anything better, I will try adding baking powder/soda to one (or split the butts and do both) or wake up really early and do a side by side of wrapped vs unwrapped.


                  Have you given up on the frozen vs thawed? I think that's a first ever here at The Pit.


                  • _John_
                    _John_ commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I wouldn't say given up... the first cook was going to be for dinner, this one is for lunch. I'll have to listen again, but I think he said add 2 hours?

                  I vote for a split into 4 butts. Treat them as you usually would but try 4 different variations with mustard, EVOO, and baking soda. 1. Mustard and baking soda 2. Mustard 3. EVOO and baking soda. 4 EVOO


                  • Huskee
                    Huskee commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I was going to suggest the 4 butts thing, but I didn't want to seem overly pushy with my preference for small butts. Pork butts that is. I like pig butts and I cannot lie.

                  • HC in SC
                    HC in SC commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Ditto this. That is an awesome compare / contrast!

                  4 butts it is! So there have been a few things floating around about how long to let each sit, and how much to use.
                  My plan is this, though perfectly amenable to change:
                  1. Add baking soda to the salt I use for dry brining
                    • 1/2 tsp per pound of salt as usual, and a 1:4 ratio of baking soda per Dr Blonder
                  2. Dry brine 2 butts with salt alone (GroupA) and the other 2 (GroupB) with the salt/baking soda mixture for 24 hours
                  3. Add EVOO to one from GroupA and one from GroupB, then do the other two with mustard.
                  4. Add rub and let sit while pit is coming online
                  5. Cook as usual.
                  How do these steps sound? I know there has been some debate about applying the whole mess 24 hours in advance.


                    Looks good to me. I'll be interested to see the results (with pictures of course)


                      What spinnaker sez!


                        Injected with say apple juice and one of the msg containing powders vs uninjected

                        That would be useful



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