Improve Your Grilling

How to Improve Your Grilling For Awesome Flavor

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

Improve Your Grilling
Pork Butt (Shoulder)

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

Improve Your Grilling
Pork Butt before Preparation

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

Improve Your Grilling
Pork Butt Smoked For 4 Hours

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

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Pork Shoulder after 6 Hours Smoking

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.




20 responses to “How to Improve Your Grilling For Awesome Flavor”

  1. Logan Avatar

    I personally love grilling growing up in a family that eats meat about 6 out of 7 days of the week. Choosing the right pork butt is important but how you smoke the pork butt is even more important. I like your use of imagery and direction to preparation, thank you for this post.

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      I apologize for the delay in answering your comments. Knowing how to choose the right pork butt is important but as you say knowing how to turn it into something savory is another matter entirely. We all need to find ways that are easy for each of us with the flavor we expect.



  2. Coyalita Linville Avatar
    Coyalita Linville

    Exceptional great website Jerry your expertise in grilling and step-by-step instructions are wonderful. I do a lot of grilling in the summer but there is a lot I have no idea about doing. I never tried pork but now thanks to your instructions I think I could do it. I also liked the reviews on affordable grills that is another + great job Jerry.

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      Hi Coyalita,

      I apologize for not responding sooner. Thanks for your comments. Grilling or smoking pork is not much different than grilling beef. Once, you know the correct temperatures and cooking times it is a breeze that gives you incredible flavor. The right grill and the right pork butt can make you the master of meats in your neighborhood.


  3. Cynthia Avatar

    I’m a coward when it comes to grilling (I’ve never even attempted it) but this post makes me think that I could!  How long does it take to grill the roast?  And when you say to put a water/apple juice bath under the roast, does that mean that you’re setting the roast in the bath? Or setting the bath under the rack on the coals?

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      Hi Cynthia,

      I apologize for the lateness of my response. Grilling a pork roast will take 6 hours plus on the grill. A good rule of thumb is 45 minutes per hour. So, I would suggest to take the weight of the pork butt multiply time .75 and that will give you the correct time. For example, 7.5 pounds times .75 =5.625 hours. I would round it off to 6 hours. It should be done and ready to pull after letting it rest for 45 minutes to an hour.


  4. JerromyC Avatar

    Great pork butt smoking guide!

    I generally go for tenderloin, but after reading through your article, I am gonna have to pick up a nice pork butt to smoke next weekend no doubt.

    Do you have any suggestions for a dry rub?

    Personally, I like to combine onion and garlic powder with a little brown sugar. When I apply it to the meat, I rub it down with spicy mustard first to create a binding for the rub and then I coat it generously with the seasonings, then i let it sit in the fridge while I prepare the fire.

    Generally, you can’t taste the mustard after it’s finished cooking, but the spiciness is still there and it adds a nice kick to the flavor.

    A lot of people have scoffed when I mention the ingredients I use for my rub, but they cant muster two words against it once they take that first bite!

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      Hi Jerromy,

      I apologize for the late response. I have tried a dry rub similar to yours for a pork butt and it is spectacular. I also add a little chipotle chili powder as well. It gives it just the right amount of kick. I would let it marinade with this dry rub for at least 6 hours before putting it on the grill.


  5. Emilie Avatar

    Okay, I gotta say, as someone who does not eat pork, this had me questioning my diet choices lol! This looks beyond delicious and you outline the process thoroughly and in a way that is so easy to read and follow for those new to grilling. Like I mentioned above, I don’t eat pork, is there a beef cut that will grill and smoke just as nicely as the pork butt in your pictures? I’m dying to try this out! I’d love to hear your suggestions. Thanks again for such an easy tutorial!

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      Hi Emilie,

      I apologize for the lateness of my reply. The answer to your question about a substitute for pork you can use a beef chuck roast or a lamb roast. Either of those will do as well as pork. You will want to use the spices of your choice for the most savory flavor to complement the meat. Always use a thermometer to check the temperature with. Check out my website https://grilling-aglobalevent…. for other posts that deal with different cuts of meat in more detail.


  6. Erica Schulte Avatar
    Erica Schulte

    Hi, Jerry! I loved reading about these specific tips for improving the quality of meals prepared by grilling. I am a newbie to grilling and these strategies seem really easy to implement, which I appreciate! I can totally understand the importance of selecting the best ingredients in making a big difference for the flavor of the meal that results from them!

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      Hi Erica,

      I apologize for the lateness of my response. Most of the strategies I have shown are easy to do and once mastered you will not want to cook any other way. Grilling has been around for thousands of years and has been improved in the last fifty years. You now have different spices and flavors to cook with for spicing up you grilling process.


  7. William Avatar

    Hey Jerry, wow, sounds delicious. You have my mouth watering just from reading your description.

    I have been a big fan of the barbecue for many years, but must admit, I have never been brave enough to try this.
    Since then, we have moved from our house into a suite without space to BBQ. However,
    I have a nephew in the Philippines who loves to cook and BBQ. They will often cook over an open fire. This is definitely something that will be right up his alley. If its OK with you, I will forward this to him. I know he will love it. It would be great if we could be there when he prepares it. We plan to go this Christmas, 2022.

    Thank you for an amazing experience. I am looking forward to your future posts..

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      Hi William,

      I am sorry to hear that you no longer have room for grilling. That is quite regrettable. If you feel that your nephew would enjoy the post then be all means share it with him. Grilling started with an open fire you can go to my website for more information about grilling techniques from around the world.


  8. Austyn Avatar

    First off great advice! I have a pit boss and have smoked mainly tri-tip, salmon, and chicken wings. I have been intimidated by smoking the larger cuts of meets like pork shoulder or even brisket. I have been wanting to for a while but never really did research on how to properly pick the right pork shoulder or even how to cook it. This post is very beneficial for those beginner/ intermediate grill masters. 

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      Hi Austyn,

      I apologize for not having replied sooner. Following the rules that I have shown you is a good rule of thumb. It may take a time or two to learn what to look for. It is something that comes with time. You can use the same technique for brisket, just remember on a brisket that you will need to cut the fatcap down to 1/4 inch for best flavor. 



  9. Tammy Avatar

    I love any kind of smoked pork. I personally have a Traeger and I have smoked everything from chicken and pork to steak and jerky. I make my jerky using deer and elk. What types of wood and or pellets do you like to use for pork? And what type of meat thermometer do you prefer. I have used several different types, all having a different reading.

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      Hi Tammy, 

      Traegers are good for smoking with and are normally easy to work with. I would expect that your jerky is excellent. The wood I use most often is hickory or pecan, depending upon my mood. I have also used apple and cherry for a sweeter flavor, that way I use less additives in the smoking process. I use a thermometer that is just a plain jane insert. I don’t use one with Bluetooth or electronics of any type, to me they are not as accurate as one that is totally dependent upon heat.


  10. sujith Avatar

    I never had pork but i ate chicken. you explained really well in this article to grill the pork with proper flavour. I see that you have learned by expermenting and i think having experience is the best. can we follow the same with chicken? i mean, is the same process to be followed with the chicken like the temperature, time to cook?

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      I apologize for the delay in responding to your comment. To answer your question about doing the same with chicken, the answer is absolutely. You will need to change the length of time cooking. You can also do this with lamb or mutton. It is great with this meat as well.


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