We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
How do you improve your grilling? If you are just starting, you will most likely go by trial and error. I hope to show you some ways to avoid some of the most common mistakes.
Selecting the Proper Pork Butt/Shoulder
How do you determine how which pork butt/shoulder to select for smoking? I generally use the theory that each person is going to eat around eight ounces if they have two sandwiches.
Some people may select to have pulled pork with no bread they will generally get about three ounces per serving. A good rule of thumb is to prepare a pork butt that will provide two to three servings more than the anticipated number of guests.
Frequently Asked Question
Can you use pork butt for pulled pork?
Yes, the actual cut of meat is called pork butt or pork shoulder, they are the same cut of meat. You have a variety of options on how to use this cut. It has a reputation for great pulled pork.
How to Choose the Right Pork Butt
Look for a pork butt that has a bone that goes all the way through it. This provides more flavor and helps the cooking process. You also need to have a fat cap on one side. The pork butt should have good marbling so that when the fat dissolves it helps enhance the flavor of the pork butt.
Choose one that you don’t have to trim very much. The more you trim will often lead to less flavor and dryness. The overall look of a good pork butt will look similar to the one pictured below.
Preparing the Grill
You will want to prepare your grill differently than if you were grilling hot dogs or hamburgers. Your temperature will be lower since you are not going for a sear or fast cook. Make sure your grill grates are clean of any debris from any previous grilling. It helps for a better smoking experience.
Let’s say you are preparing your coals inside the barrel of your grill. On the end away from the pork butt, use a charcoal chimney to start your coals. After your coals are started, spread your coals out to form a nice bed. You may have to wait a few more minutes for them to get to the right temperature between 225F – 275F.
Use the Firebox for the Best Results
Using the offset smoker is a wonderful way to smoke a pork butt. To start the coals for smoking there are a variety of ways to this. You will have to choose which method works best for you. I will show you both methods without using starter fluid.
The first method, which to me is the easiest. I will start my charcoal with a firestarter called tumbleweed. Place the charcoal in the chimney, underneath the chimney you will have the tumbleweed and light it. This will take a few minutes for the coals to become hot enough to spread throughout the firebox.
Choosing a variety of woods for smoking, gives you options on the different flavors available. There are many options for the smoke used for smoking your pork butt. Each of these woods can be used as stick, lump charcoal, or wood chips.
Whenever you use select woods for smoking, you have to be more careful in your selection. Select woods often burn hotter and faster, it may not require as much. Another method to use is select woods only. You have to be a bit more careful with this method, otherwise, you could get your firebox too hot. You will need to take a newspaper or some other paper or tumbleweed put it in the bottom of the firebox and place your wood on top of it. I would recommend small pieces such as kindling for a quick start after lighting your paper or tumbleweed.
Once your fire is established, begin to add the larger pieces of wood. Using larger pieces of wood may temporarily slow the temperature of your fire, but it should regain temperature in just a few minutes.
Preparing the Pork Butt/Shoulder for Grilling
When seasoning your pork butt, you may use a wet marinade or a dry rub. The method you use will be determined by the flavor you are wanting to achieve.
When using a wet marinade, use a pan with deep sides, and fill it about halfway. It is best to use a marinade that is low in sodium(salt).
You can add different flavors if you like, but using one that complements the flavor of wood selected gives better flavor. When marinating your pork butt overnight, turn it over halfway through the marinating process. Now that your pork butt has marinated it is time to place it on the grill. This is the flavorful time that your guests have talked about for months, their anticipation is greater than yours. They may even want you to do their grilling for them.
If you are using a dry rub, apply the rub liberally. You can either put it on the grill at that time or let it dry and marinate for a few hours so that the flavor of the rub will be infused deeper into the meat. You are now ready to put it on the grill for a flavorful feast.
Smoking The Pork Butt/Shoulder To Improve Your Grilling
Now at long last, the time has arrived to get the party started. It is time to put the pork butt/shoulder.
You have your smoker set between 225F and 275F, now it is time to place your pork butt in the smoker, fat cap up. Place your pork butt in the main chamber for smoking. I generally put a pan of solution of one-half water and one-half apple juice underneath the pork shoulder/butt to keep it moist throughout the grilling process.
Slow is the Way to Go To Help Improve Your Grilling
A good rule of thumb is 45 minutes per pound of meat. Check your temperature periodically, to determine how much charcoal or wood to add, if necessary. For a pork shoulder/butt that weighs around 9 1/2pound,s it will take about 7 1/2 hours. You want your pulled pork to be moist, tender, and tasty.
Take a thermometer and see if it is registering between 165 – 190F. When it reads that temperature takes it off the grill to let it rest before pulling. The resting time will be 30 minutes to 1 hour for best results.
Improve Your Grilling To Get Tasty Results
Now at long last, you have your pork shoulder/butt off the grill, you need to let it rest. I generally let mine rest for around one hour then take my bear claws to pull it. You will need a large cutting board for pulling. I always have a deep aluminum pan to one side to put the meat in.
The meat is so tender that in no time at all you have all the meat pulled and torn. You can add some bar-b-que sauce to it if you so desire or leave it plain so your guests can add it later if they so desire. You will find that not all people like bar-b-que sauce.
Time to Eat at Last
You have waited all day for the opportunity to enjoy the feast you have helped prepare. Now is the time to enjoy yourself with friends and family.
As your pork butt is smoking, have some fun with the kids or have a card game with your guests. You could even put the game on while enjoying time outdoors, watching the kids, or just enjoying time with family and friends. There is nothing wrong with sitting out listening to a game or watching the kids have fun in the yard.
As the smoking process is happening, your stomach reminds you that you need to eat, never mind the fact you are smelling all the goodness of the pork butt. Enjoy a picnic while your pork butt is smoking while listening to some of your favorite music.
If you have a picnic table in the yard, prepare it for everyone to eat out there if the weather permits. Enjoy the natural surroundings and family, while you have the opportunity.
Pulled Pork Makes A Tasty Treat
Tasty Deliciousness Done The Right Way
Please leave a comment or suggestion.
This post contains affiliate links.