Travis, Welcome to SMF, you have come to the right place for answers. Also please swing by Roll Call and introduce yourself to the rest of the SMF Family.
- Meat Selection- Boston Butt or Picnic? Bone in or boneless? Go with a bone-in Boston Butt-with the butt, there is less connective tissue in it vs. the Picnic-though if your willing to do a little extra work, the taste of the Picnic is great. You want the bone in a butt because when the butt hits the right temp for pulling, the bone will slip right out clean as a whistle
- Over night meat preparation- Rub with mustard or rub without mustard or rub with vegetable oil or brine or not at all? Inject? When I do an over night prep, I just put the rub right on the pork. The salt in the rub will pull moisture from the meat and turn the dry rub into a paste. Just before putting the butt into the smoker I'll add some more rub to the pork. The only time I use a mustard slather is when I'm short on time and can't do the over night rest. Injecting is a personal preference. I don't inject, but that just me.
- Smoker Placement- Fat up, fat down, or fat trimmed? Fat placement up or down depends on the smoker. In my GOSM propane burner and my electric UDS the fat go down and act as a barrier to any potential flare-up. On the Lang it's also fat down just cuz I like to keep the bark intact. If the butt isn't already trimmed by the butcher, I'll trim it down to about 1/4 inch.
- Mid-smoking- Mop or not? If you are with a brush or spray? Foil or no foil (aka Texas crutch)? This is one of those personal preference things- I used to use a mop that I sprayed on-using a brush can knock the bark down. Foil- I used to but don't anymore. Using foil helps get past the dreaded plateau (stall). The stall usually hits at about 167° and that when folks wrap the butt in foil. Some will even put the butt in a disposable aluminum pan and then put foil over the top. If you're prone to punchering the foil and losing all the juice-the pan trick is a nice way to go. Remember that each time you open up your smoker to spray or mop, you'll be losing heat and it will take about 10-15 minutes to recover (come back up to cooking temp). As some will tell ya-"If yer lookin-yer ain't cookin"!
- Post-smoking- How long to let it sit? Personal preference thing here too-I like to let the meat rest at least 20-30 minutes. If you find yourself ahead of the game and are waiting for other things to finish cooking or waiting on guest, place the butt in a towel or blanket lined ice chest and it will stay hot for several hours. If you don't already have the butt wrapped in foil, wrap it, then wrap the foil wrapped butt in a couple of old towel and then into the towel/blanket lined cooler.
I should add if your thinking about making your own sauage down the road-keep your fat. Put it in a freezer type ziptop bag, lable it and put it in the freezer. It's hard to find pork fat in the grocery stores unless you happen to be buddy's with the guys in the meat department.
Others will come on and give you their input so in the meantime~
Enjoy the Smoke!