Pork Butt – i.e. Boston Butt – i.e Pork Shoulder is a cut that comes from the upper shoulder of the pig, ranges from 6– 11 lbs, and usually runs between $2.05 and $2.99 a pound. It can be purchased bone in or boneless (I prefer bone-in), and is a very flavorful/economical cut of meat to prep and serve. Plus, unlike the elusive brisket, pulled pork is one of the most tolerant of slow cooked meats. The proper consistency is VERY easy to achieve, and with the simple steps below you can serve up a great meal.
Prepping the pork is quite simple. I like to start the process about an hour before it hits the smoker. I pull the pork from the plastic wrapper; give is a good wash under cool water, then pat dry with paper towels. Personally, I like to trim some of the fat before applying any seasoning. I think it makes the end product a little more appealing.
Next, I place the pork in a foil pan, rub with mustard (I prefer Dijon), sprinkle a liberal amount of Classic Cruiser on both sides, and let the rub settle for the remaining hour while I’m prepping my fire (typically at the 275 to 300 temperature range). This additional time gives the rub some time to soak into the roast, and makes sure that the butt doesn’t get placed on the fire at an extremely cold temperature.
Once the pork’s on, it’s pretty low maintenance. I typically smoke uncovered for about 3 hours. After that time has passed, I wrap the meat in tin foil, or place the pork in a foil pan and cover. If you are wrapping with foil, make sure any seams end up on top of the butt. The meat continues to cook for another 3 to 4 hours and produce a tremendous amount of natural juice.
Personally, I prefer the use of a foil pan as it provides a convenient way to capture the natural juices this cut produces. Those juices make great gravy to serve over the top of the meat when serving. Plus, if you are using a foil pan, you can introduce some additional liquid to advance the flavor of your pork butt –i.e. apple juice, or vinegar and cider, sprite, beer, or cola.
The pork needs to reach an internal temperature of between 195 and 205 degrees in order to have the right consistency. At a temp of 275 to 300, this will take an additional 3 or so hours of cooking. I monitor every now and then, and when the meat is nearing this milestone I’ll give it an additional 30 minutes to ensure maximum tenderness. When the butt is taken from the fire, let it "rest" for 15 to 20 minutes to make sure it’s settled and the juices have drawn into the meat.
Serving is a breeze. Take a pair of Bear Paws and shred the pork into small strings.
As a finishing touch, sprinkle some Classic Cruiser or Pedal to the Metal to the shredded mix. Add your favorite side dishes, or layout rolls,BBQ sauce, fresh cut onions and cold slaw, and you have pork sliders that can serve a significant size crowd.