Not long after we got back from Indonesia last month, our college friends from Shanghai arrived to Houston. We had not seen Steve and Jessica since sometime in the late 1990’s. So when I knew Jessica was coming, I called my friend Lisa to see if she would host a reunion at her place. Lisa agreed and we decided that pulled-pork sandwiches would be the menu, plus, it is Lisa’s favorite food.
So prior to leaving for vacation in Indonesia, I bought three Boston Butts and froze them. It would be easier since I would be coming back from vacation the week Jessica was coming, and I would not have to worry about hunting for the Boston Butts. Excuse me… Boston what?? What in the heck is Boston Butt? Well, it is actually pork shoulder. Well, why it was named Boston Butt then? Ehm… according to Wikipedia, “It is said that in pre-revolutionary New England and into the Revolutionary War, some pork cuts (not those highly valued, or “high on the hog,” like loin and ham) were packed into casks or barrels (also known as “butts”) for storage and shipment. The way the hog shoulder was cut in the Boston area became known in other regions as “Boston butt”.” So… that is something new I learned today… 🙂
This is Boston Butt, Pork Butt, or sometimes it is also called Pork Shoulder Blade Boston Whole.
So the Tuesday we got back in town, we defrosted the Pork Butts in the refrigerator. It probably took a full three days to thaw the butts, and also, by Friday evening we needed to season the butts too.
The BBQ rub we used on the pork butts differed from the BBQ rub we used on the Brisket. It had Cajun seasoning, paprika, brown sugar, mustard powder, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and garlic powder. So it had the same basic ingredients as the other one, just varied it a bit. Again, we found several different rub recipes online, and we just combined it to suit our taste. For a printable BBQ rub recipe for the Boston Butt, click here.
So by Friday evening, we were preparing to season the Pork Butts. We washed the meat and towel-dried them with paper towel. The one in the middle shows a layer of fat cap on top. I will mention more about the fat cap later in the smoking process.
You see a bottle of French’s yellow mustard in the above picture? Yupe! If you had read my blog about the Brisket and Spare Ribs, you know exactly what we were going to do. We smeared the mustard all over the Pork Butts so that it would help tenderize the meat, as well as helping the seasoning to stick to the meat.
Then you do the same on the other side.
When you are done, sprinkle on the BBQ Rub you made earlier.
When it was all said and done, this was what they looked like.
Then wrap them individually with saran wrap and put them into the refrigerator and let it sit overnight.
Next, set your alarm for 4:30 AM, and go to sleep. Why at 4:30? Well, the smoking and cooking process for these Pork Butts takes about 12 hours. So, it you want to eat around 5:30 PM, then you need to count your clock backwards and go to bed early that night. You see, we are early birds… we go to bed with the chickens…
So the next morning you wake up, and you get your fire going. You need to warm up your smoker/grill to 250 to 300 degrees. You can read how to prep a smoker or grill in my previous post. In the meantime, you also need to take the Pork Butts out of the refrigerator and let them warm up to room temperature.
We put each of the Pork Butt into an individual aluminum pan. Why? In the lower right corner, you can see there is some liquid inside the pan. We put in apple juice to help moisturize the Pork Butts as well as adding the apple flavor to the meat. Also, fat cap layer! Fat cap layer needs to be put on the top, so when the fat renders, the flavor will go inside the meat and make the Pork Butts even tastier.
When your Pork Butts reach 50 degree temperature and your smoker is ready, put them inside your smoker.
Now close the lid and go back inside and drink some more coffee. An hour later… there was daylight..
And this is how the meat looked after an hour.
A close up of one of the butts…
Two hours after you put the meat in… Also, don’t forget to spray some more apple juice on the meat to keep them moist. You need to keep spraying the apple juice every hour.
Another close-up picture… You can see on the right hand side of this butt, the bark has started to form.
And my apology, I did not have a final product picture(s) for these particular Pork Butts. We were in a hurry to get to Lisa’s and make sure we got everything we needed, we forgot about the picture taking. But, don’t be dismayed. I looked around our old photos, and found a final product of smoked Pork Butts you can see.
The cooked Pork Butts has a dark crunchy brown/blackened layer called Bark. This is the one you are looking for when you BBQ. The Bark. It is crunchy, crispy, and bursting with flavor.
Then of course you need to pull the meat apart to let it cool down so you can shred the meat.
And when we finally finished pulled all the three Pork Butts…
Serve the pulled pork on a plain, white, hamburger bun with coleslaw and your favorite BBQ sauce. Don’t be looking for fancy or wheat hamburger buns with this pulled pork. You want a plain, cheapest white bun you can find, so you can taste the pulled pork rather than the buns.
Yummy!! So, the reunion was a success, we were all glad that we were there and enjoyed the good food. Thank you hubby for spending all of your time cooking this food!! We all enjoyed the food and appreciate your effort very much!! 🙂
Print BBQ Rub recipe here.
½ cup Cajun seasoning
¼ cup paprika
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup mustard powder
¼ cup chili powder
¼ cup ground cumin
2 Tbs ground black pepper
2 Tbs garlic powder
Mix all ingredients and put it in an airtight container.