Experiments with my butt

Discussion in 'Pork' started by turick, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    Hi all!  It's been many months since I've posted, but in the past several months I've had many successful smokes.  LOTS of smoked salmon, ham, bacon, hardboiled eggs, etc.  I make a chicken stock-based soup now with chicken, pork sausage, zucchini, kidney beans, and pesto.  I cold smoke the spicy pork sausage for a few hours in hickory and it adds so much flavor to the soup.

    Anyway, let me get back to talking about my butt!  I bought a 2-pack from Sams and decided to de-bone one of them and cut it in half.  Only reason being is the outside parts and bark are so delicious and smokey, and my biggest problem with pulled pork is that by the time I pull it and mix it all up, it never seems to have a very strong smokey flavor.  It seems to get lost.  So I thought if there were more surface area, I might get more of the flavor I'm after.

    I'm double lighting my pellets and have half the tray loaded with hickory and half loaded with cherry.  I always used to do all-hickory, but I'm running low, so I tapped into my cherry supply that I've been using for ham.

    Here's the meat:

    The very first pulled pork I ever did, I had some spicy store-bought rub and it turned out amazing.  Ever since then, I've had terrible luck with rub.  I've purchased other commercial rub and made my own, but never end up getting good flavor out of it.  I've also made huge amateur mistakes by loading too much rub on and ended up with pork that had ZERO smoke flavor.  I even went so far one time as to just add layer after layer of salt, pepper, a layer of mustard, onion powder, another layer of mustard, garlic powder, etc etc and just had a huge batter coating my meat.  That may be my funniest learning mistake ever.  I started omitting the rub altogether and found I got a much better smoke flavor out of my meat.

    Anyway, on the butt I cut in half, I decided to give it another whirl.  I mixed equal parts of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, sugar, and cyanne pepper.  Then using my hand, I literally "rubbed" a very thin layer over the meat, just enough to see that there is some on the surface.  I can tell just by looking at it that it's going to be much better than the massive amounts of rub I used to put on in the past.  My wife wanted me to rub the other butt too, but I decided not to so a) in case it's terrible, I didn't ruin both and b) I can have a true side-by-side comparison when it's done.

    I have it in the smoker at 275.  I know that's hotter than what most people go, but what happens to me every time I go with a lower temp is a 20 hour smoke, where I get fed up and crank it up to 275 at the very end.  I'm not planning on wrapping it at all, just letting it go until I hit 205.  I'll be watching the halved pieces close as I'm anticipating those getting done before the whole one.

    I'll post follow ups as I go!
  2. Looking Good

  3. robcava

    robcava Meat Mopper

    Great idea on cutting the butt in half for more flavor! I never thought of that....
  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I'm in. Can't wait to see the comparison. 
  5. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I'll be watching.  I am a huge advocate for cutting butts into smaller pieces and cooking at higher temps.  I do both all the time because a 20 hours cook is just not realistic for me.  Seems you are looking for a smokier flavor throughout the meat and I assume smaller pieces would make that more possible.  Also, you get more crispy bark.  I once cut a 9-10 pounder into three small pieces and it came out great.  Can't wait to see the results!
  6. robcava

    robcava Meat Mopper

    What temp do you use worktogthr?
  7. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Waiting . . . [​IMG]
  8. Thought the title of this thread was going to have an entirely different subject......LOL, sorry couldn't resist!!!

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  9. robcava

    robcava Meat Mopper

    I know what you mean. My wife always tells me I am just an overgrown 12 year old. I know she's right because I augh every time I see thread titles like rubbing my butt or smoking a fatty lol.
  10. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I usually run at 300 or so.  If I am using my electric I run it as high as I can get which might be slightly lower than 300.
  11. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    There are a never end supply of butt jokes to be made when it comes to pulled pork :)

    It's coming along slowly but surely..  Didn't run into any hiccups until I refilled my AMNPS and was lighting it and flung a hot pellet directly into my shoe!  Instant blister...

  12. robcava

    robcava Meat Mopper

    Looking mighty nice!
  13. twoalpha

    twoalpha Smoking Fanatic

    Looking like a good smoke. [​IMG]
  14. drewed

    drewed Meat Mopper

    Oh good, I thought it was just me!   
    You could fill those pans with beans.  Just saying'.  [​IMG]
    gary s likes this.
  15. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    Good point!  Except I'm the only one in the house that likes baked beans :(

    9 hours in at 275 and the smallest piece is only 162!
  16. Now that's a beautiful Butt   Good Job    [​IMG]

  17. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    I hate it that you got a blister, but I still would had loved to have seen your "Hot Pellet In The Shoe" dance.

  18. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    LOL!  I was so proud of myself because I saw it flying through the air and thought I dodged it, but then was a bit concerned when I couldn't find it.  It took about 3 seconds before I realized the flesh on my foot had a nice hickory flavored crust!

    So the bad thing about the MES40 is that when you turn the little remote on, it turns off the heater.  I forgot about this because I haven't used the remote in so long... I remembered it turning everything off, but when I turned it on this time, it still showed the heat set at 275, but my meat temp kept dropping.  Well, you have to reset the timer because it sets it to zero as soon as the remote syncs up.  So I noticed my internal temps dropping from 200 to 193 and I was freaking out.  Didn't take long to recover though, once I figured out the problem.

    I just want to say that I am HIGHLY critical of my pulled pork, every time.  I am NEVER happy with it when it comes off the smoker.  The two halves reached 205 and I took them off and immediately dug a fork into them.  By FAR (sorry for my overuse of caps) the best pulled pork I have ever done.  The flavor is remarkable, and I actually got a perfectly flavored crust.  Well, I probably could have trippled the cyanne pepper... I likes 'em spicy! 

    I just wrapped it for a bit of a rest while the other whole butt is struggling to reach 200.  But I can already say that the deboning, light rub, and high temps is absolutely the only way I will be making my pulled pork from now on.  The pics haven't uploaded from my phone yet, so I can't post pics, however it really looks like every other picture of pulled pork you've ever seen.  It's just that this is the best flavor I've ever gotten out of it.

    The wife says she wishes I wasn't low on hickory and could have done 100% hickory, even though she agrees this is the best PP to date, but I'm super happy with the hickory-cherry combo.  I love MORE smoke flavor, but the cherry has a really, really nice mild flavor that seems to add to my taste bud experience.
  19. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    Here's the first pic....

    robcava likes this.
  20. xray

    xray Smoking Fanatic

    That looks awesome!! I may have to try this!

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