First Pork Butt

Discussion in 'Pork' started by randysavage, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Hey guys, got a few questions for you as I dive (head first) in to this PP experiment.

    I've read through the sticky page and various other threads trying to put together a basic smoke for my first go at it.  Went the store and got a 8 lbs. pork shoulder butt (bone-in), mopped it with a molasses and yellow mustard mixture and then covered in a basic rub I found using the handy dandy search function.  Wrapped it up, stuck her in the fridge and plan on leaving it there as long as I can.

    FYI, I'll be using a Brinkmann electric smoke-n-grill, the weather will be crappy (of course) with temps hovering around freezing with the likelihood of a few light snow showers.

    This is where you guys come in:

    1) I have a oven safe meat thermometer but have yet to invest in one of the fancy digital jobs.  Will checking the meat's IT periodically throughout the smoke be an OK way to monitor it?  Or should I just leave it stuck in the shoulder?

    2) Fat side up or fat side down?  In the pork sticky it says fat side down, but don't I want gravity do its thing, let the fat run down through the shoulder?

    3)  After I foil the shoulder at 165F, it continues to cook foiled until it reaches ~200F.  Does the plateau happen during the foiling stage?  Is the meat done at 195-205F? 

    I appreciate any input, thanks for helping out.
  2. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member


  3. Hey thanks for the input.

    How do I go about defatting the juice that is collected in the pan?  I wasn't planning on using a pan, I figured it would prevent the bottom side from forming a nice bark.
  4. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    pour the juice in a bowl and place in fridge or freezer to get cold .fat will rise to the top and harden a bit. Skim this fat off.
  5. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    the bottom side has the fat cap so you won't get bark on that anyway.

    if you don't foil you will get an even better bark. takes longer to get done

    but well worth the extra time.

    don't forget the Q-views
  6. Thanks guys.  So, to summarize, put the pork fat side down in the pan from start to finish.  Collect all the juice/fat in a bowl, cool it, skim off the fat and use the juice to impart some more moisture back in the pork after being pulled.
  7. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    yes that the way I do it. lot of people don't use a pan . i just like it for easy clean up in the smoker and putting the juice back in the pulled pork really help with the flavor.

    I will put 1/2 of the juice back in the pulled pork then make gravy out of the rest . you can put fat side up or down. I just like it down.
  8. berninga87

    berninga87 Smoking Fanatic

    Sounds like they have you covered. You don't necessarily have to foil it either, the bark will be more pronounced if you don't. I like to put a pan on the rack right underneath to catch everything and still get some bark on the bottom. I know you dont have a leave in digital thermo yet, but if you have time to run to walmart, I got two from them at about $16 each, and they are both very accurate to my surprise. Go grab one, stick it in boiling water, which should be about 212 degrees, record the temp that the probe reads and mark the difference. As long as you know what your temp reads compared to actual, you'll be fine. It will really make life easier to have a leave in thermo in the meat so you dont have to be opening your smoker and poking the meat to find out what temp it's at. Good luck with everything and feel free to ask any more questions!
  9. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Randy here is how I do my butts. I am in no way saying other methods are wrong, this is just how I do it and have had very good results. I remove any skin and score the heavy fat. I slather the butt with a mixture of cheap mustard and Worcestershire sauce 2 TBSP per 16 oz bottle mustard. I then apply my rub wrap in saran wrap and put in fridge at least 12 hrs, longer if time allows. Day of smoke I remove butt and re-apply rub, let it sit out while i get smoker ready.  Smoker temp is 200-225 target temp is 215.  I place butt in smoker fat side up. I place a pan under the butt to catch drippings. I spritz every hour or so after 4. I smoke till IT is 200- 205. Pull and place in foil pan spritz heavily and cover with 2 layers of foil. Place in cooler and pack towels around, and let it rest for several hours. While butt is resting I de-fat the juices from the pan that was under the butt. I remove butt from resting pan and pull. I add PP back into the resting pan and add a bit of cider vinegar (I just sprinkle some over the top). I add the de-fatted juices as needed till I get a nice and moist mixture. The spritz I use is 8 oz 100% apple juice, 6 oz Jack Daniels, 4 oz water, 2 oz cider vinegar. My bark is somewhat soft not real hard. 
  10. Thank you, sir.  Appreciate the input.

    Do you put the butt on the top rack and a pan on the bottom rack to catch the juices/fat?  Or put the butt in the pan itself?

  11. Thanks alot.  I am kind of concerned with the thermometer situation I'm in.  We'll see how it goes.

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