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First successful pork butt

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    First successful pork butt

    Hi all,

    I'm pretty new to smoking and have been trying to figure out some good ways to cook pork. I've been able to get some moist and tender meat that has been good. Looking for a little help with what to improve on next to flavor a pork butt for pulled pork.

    With this last butt, I injected an oz the pork brine every 1.5-2 inches around top, working around the bone, and then injected a couple spots in between the bone and fat cap on the bottom. A little olive oil and a good amount of rub (usually use Memphis Dust but I was trying a store bought Weber rub this time), wrapped in foil and put it in the fridge for about 24 hours. Looked good when I pulled it out of the fridge for the cook last night, though it looks like a bit of brine leaked out --

    Click image for larger version

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    I have a 30" MBE smoker and I'm playing around with different temps and moisture/tenderness. Ran it at 250 for the first 5 hours with hickory chips. Every hour for the first three hours, I spritzed with an apple cider vinegar and water mix and added a few more chips. The meat climbed to 170, which was a little higher than I wanted, but I had some life reasons why I had to be away for a bit and it got away from me. Wrapped the butt at 170 and put it back in at 275 until it got to 200 --

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    The bone came right out, clean. It was very tender with a good bark and a light smoke flavor. Got the wife's seal of approval, so that's good. She said it's the first one I've done that she would eat without sauce.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	pulled.jpg Views:	1 Size:	3.18 MB ID:	485801

    I've got a good result that I think can be repeated, but I'm hoping to keep refine things. My question is, short of upgrading the smoker itself, what should I work on trying next?
    • I can cook slower, but, honestly, I'm pretty happy with the moisture and tenderness.
    • Seems injecting the brine improved the taste, so will probably keep on doing that. Should I mess around with extra spices in the brine?
    • Should I be adding the juice from the wrap back in?
    • Should I be using a finishing rub for some extra flavor?
    • Is there something else you do that gives your pork butt an extra kick?
    Thanks!
    Last edited by Bigjamoke; April 19, 2018, 08:23 AM. Reason: Fixing picture

    #2
    i don't inject, but i do take the butt out, shred it, sprinkle some more dust on the loose meat, and add back in the juices captured in the foils. i'm always happy with the result. however, if you are injecting with oil you might not need to add the juices back in.

    Comment


    • Bigjamoke
      Bigjamoke commented
      Editing a comment
      The injection is mostly water, stock, salt and sugar, so that should be fine. Do you strain the fat out of it? I'm not anti-fat, just curious haha

    • DeusDingo
      DeusDingo commented
      Editing a comment
      i pour the juices into a fat separator but that doesn't really strain anything other than chunks of things that might not want to go back in (i have a foil pan under the butts that i keep the juices that get poured back in) and the liquid is still hot so the fat is still rendered and mostly comes along for the ride.

    #3
    Looks like a great cook! But you are having to apply tricks that I never do to achieve the flavor you are looking for. I wonder if that is due to the Electric Smoker? I've never used one. I typically cook Pork Butt in my Camp Chef 24" Smoke Vault vertical gasser or my 22" Weber kettle w/SNS. Both use water to create a humid atmosphere in the cook chamber. And my meat is never dry. My prep is a simple dry brine overnight and the application of MMD just before going on the cooker. Perfect every time....

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      I've read on here that electric smokers tend to be much more humid inside than a gas or charcoal smoker. My guess is that they are more sealed like an oven, compared to the gas or charcoal models.

    • Bigjamoke
      Bigjamoke commented
      Editing a comment
      It could be the smoker, for sure. It's not been coming out dry, just not quite as smoky or flavorful as I was hoping for.

    • PJBowmaster
      PJBowmaster commented
      Editing a comment
      The results almost always speak for themselves. If what you are doing results in what YOU think is a better product then roll with it. This is why cooking is an art....

    #4
    Originally posted by Bigjamoke View Post
    I've got a good result that I think can be repeated, but I'm hoping to keep refine things. My question is, short of upgrading the smoker itself, what should I work on trying next?
    • I can cook slower, but, honestly, I'm pretty happy with the moisture and tenderness.
    • Seems injecting the brine improved the taste, so will probably keep on doing that. Should I mess around with extra spices in the brine?
    • Should I be adding the juice from the wrap back in?
    • Should I be using a finishing rub for some extra flavor?
    • Is there something else you do that gives your pork butt an extra kick?


    If injecting, the more spices the merrier if you want more flavor and think it needs it.
    YES! - add that ju back in, most definitely. Every time a person tosses the ju from a pork butt or brisket cook a baby gets slapped, and that's just cruel.
    Yes! Try Meathead's Memphis Dust (MMD) or I also have my Huskee's Rib Rub (HRR) in the Rubs channel that I love- both are easy to make at home. Or if you have a commercial rub try it, just beware of double salting if you use a salted rub and have already salted the meat.
    I like to cut my butts in half, or to around the 3-5 lb range. This adds a couple extra sides of surface area for rub, smoke contact, and bark. This improves the finished product IMO.
    Wrapping at 170-180 is something I recommend. You did good there and didn't know it! You might have much less of a stall in an electric, since they are tight and tend to be higher humidity, so go as long before wrapping as you care to, the more bark the better (generally). In some cookers waiting through the stall can be painfully slow and requires patience. Hence the term "crutching" which refers to wrapping at the start of the stall to speed things up. I don't do that, I wrap after.

    Comment


    • Bigjamoke
      Bigjamoke commented
      Editing a comment
      A baby gets slapped, made me actually lol

      When you're cutting them in half, are you removing the bone? Or cutting where the bone ends? Or would that be for boneless butts?

      I have some MMD mixed up and it was great. I'll give HRR a go. You get royalties for that?

      Good to know about wrapping later, too.

    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      No royalties
      I personally don't bother removing the bone pre-cook, I just steer my knife around it. It comes out later easily as you know. Removing it could be done but it makes a little floppier piece of meat which may or may not matter. Bigjamoke

    #5
    You are doing a lot more work than I ever do, and I've not met a butt yet that didn't get rave reviews from guests, family and friends alike. I dry brine, and rub right before putting onto the smoker. Anywhere from 225 to 275 works, but I *NEVER EVER* wrap a butt, or inject a butt. There is sooooo much fat in the typical butt that its self basting. I do cook with the fat cap UP, and currently cook until my probe hits 203F. I know you can go for probe tender and pull sooner, but the 203F works for me when I am typically smoking multiple butts at once, and I don't have time usually to be probing it those last few degrees. I used to smoke to 195F, and the 203F comes out much more moist as more fat has rendered by that point.

    Comment


    • Bigjamoke
      Bigjamoke commented
      Editing a comment
      Maybe I'll try cutting my next one in half, wrapping one and not the other. Best of both worlds.

    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      Perfect plan Bigjamoke! Some like the extra thick bark, I'm one who says enough's enough and a prefer a wrap at 170-180.

    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      What is this cutting in half you speak of? Haha. I rarely smoke less than 2 full butts at a time. To me the bark is the best part, it's like smokey pork candy.

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