Friday, May 17, 2013

Four Boston Butts

Need some pulled pork for the ChiTech tech fair tomorrow and some more to take to Kamp Koegel over the Memorial Day holiday. We also plan to serve pulled pork when the kids visit tomorrow. I purchased two twin packs from Sam's Club that were just over 13 lb each.

(The labels have older labels undrneath. Last week butts were $1.28 at Sams. Grrr...)

Weather at the start of the smoke is 67°F with light clouds and no wind - ideal conditions! We expect to hit mid 70s and there might be some scattered showers (though none on the radar yet.) We peaked at 74° at about 1:00 and now we're at 67°. It did eventually drizzle for the last hour or two of the cook.

I prepared a rub similar to the one I used for this cook with the addition of Ancho powder and some salt and sugar and some mustard seed. Something else I did differently was to not make a slurry with the rub and oil. I just put it on dry. It seems like the rub went a little farther as a result.
  • 2 Tbsp black Pepper (whole)
  • 2 Tbsp Rosemary (dry, whole)
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander (whole)
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 Tbsp Hungarian Paprika.
  • 1 Tbsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp powdered onion
  • 2 Tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp powdered garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
One butt will get Slap Yo' Daddy original meat rub as a comparison. (I scored 'X' marks in the fat on this one to identify it.)

I'm also doing a Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage fatty. Half of it got some Big Poppa Happy Ending Finishing Rub.

Here are the butts rubbed and ready to go. They probably sat there about 2 hours while I prepared the cooker and the fire settled.

My initial plan was to smoke on the 18" WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain) but after looking at the size of the butts and the 18" grate, I decided to use the 22" WSM. It is fired with Royal Oak briquettes and for smoking wood I'm using hickory, apple, box elder and one chunk of black walnut. I'm going with a foiled water pan to see how that goes. After starting the fire I closed up the cooker which seemed to be producing a lot of smoke. I let it run for about 40 minutes before putting the meat on. Temperatures are being measured using using both ET-732 and ET-73.

timetemp comment
9:10 AM
Smoker closed up. Closed bottom vents to one about 1/2 open.
Lid at 200 and smoke shooting out of the lid vent and every other crack. Need to let the fire settle a little before proceeding. 
Meat on! (Grate was about 260°)
10:0557°/230°/116°/235° (pork/grate/fatty/lid)Off to a good start.
10:3370°/246°/165°/I think I need to probe the fatty with a hand held probe. It may be done! No. Repositioned to get a better reading - 132°.
11:1193°/261°/166°/255°Fatty off and resting. (And a little carved from the end is delicious!) At this point the meat probe from the ET-73 is left on the top grate to provide a second cooker temperature measurement.
12:22133°/280°/280°/265°Cruising along, doing fine, having a fatty sandwich for lunch!
1:37167°/253°/253°/240°Knocked the coals about a bit. Threw in a couple small pieces of hickory and apple.
3:10 181°/241°/243°/235°Time to throw on some more briquettes.
5:19192°/253°/251°/230°Bone wiggle says top butts are done. They're coming off and butts on bottom racks will be checked. Two butts on the bottom need a little more time. Bottom butt is presently probing at 181°. Light rain starting.
6:22187°/284°/***/220°Light rain continues. I wiggled the bones on the remaining two and I think they need a little more time.
6:58189°/228°/***/210°Need to stir the coals. Coals nearly gone - threw a few more in. Butts nearly done.
7:37190°/293°/***/*** Last two butts off and resting.

(pork/grate/fatty/lid) => pork and grate are on the ET-732 and the fatty is on the ET-73. The grate temperature is measured at the bottom grate.

The fatty came off after about an hour and twenty minutes and was delicious! I sliced a little and made a sandwich for lunch. This was a nice little treat while I waited for the smoke to proceed.

The two butts on the top rack were done first.

They came off at 5:20 PM. As is typical when I lift them, some of the meat stuck to the grate and provided some small pieces to taste. :D Very good! I think it was some with the S-Y-D rub. It seemed a little salty. Here are the first two to come off the cooker.

And all four done and ready to rest.

The butts were very tasty. I'm not sure I could tell much difference between the two rubs except that mine had a hint of black pepper whereas the Slap Yo' Daddy was a little salty. These flavors are only noticeable when tasting the bark. In the final mix I doubt they will make anything more than a very subtle difference.

I could probably have left the butts on a little longer. This is the first time I tried to determine doneness using the 'wiggle the bone' technique. The butts were still a little firm. Not making an oil based slurry for the rub did not seem to make any difference.

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