This is my first post (aside from my introductory one), just signed up today and also just happened to smoke a 9 pound pork shoulder today as well! This was by far my best Butt yet, and I wanted to share my process (with mouth-watering pics, of course) and see what everyone thinks, and if anyone has any other pointers to add.
So, I'll start off with the meat. I got a Boston Butt and trimmed the fat to about 1/4" or so. My meat guy hooked me up on this, got it for $1.05/lb!! This baby was BIG.
Then, I lathered the butt up in some EVOO. Some people prefer to use mustard, but I find you get a better bark and the spices adhere to the meat better with EVOO. I then rubbed in a healthy portion of some Dinosaur BBQ Cajun Foreplay seasoning. This stuff is amazing, gives the pork a nice kick, it uses Cayenne Pepper, Chili Peppers, Garlic, Salt, and a bunch of other stuff. For those of you who don't know of Dinosaur BBQ, it's a famous BBQ restaurant/biker bar up in Syracuse NY. Best BBQ place I've ever been too up North. I believe you can buy this rub and some of their sauces on Amazon, if you're interested. Then I wrapped in up in some parchment paper (didn't have plastic wrap), and put it in the fridge overnight.
So I got up around 4:30am this morning, fired up the smoker, got it to about 250 degrees. Then filled my woodchip tray and tossed the pork in. For my wood I chose Maple. This is the first time I've used Maple. Usually I go with Apple, but I decided to try something new. I've found with the masterbuilt smoker, it's difficult to get a good smoke started under 250 degrees, so I put it there and once the smoked started going I dropped it to about 230-240. Changed the chips every hour or so, and whenever I changed them I would bring the temp back up to 250, then drop it down again once the smoke got going. Also, once the meat hit 100 degrees internal temp I sprayed it every hour with a 3-to-1 mixture of apple juice and Captain Morgan. I actually got that particular tip from Meowey's thread in the sticky. The sugars definitely contributed towards a darker, and yet sweeter bark in the end.
I kept the smoke going till about the 6 hours mark, where the meat hit 165 degrees. I then took tin foil, and sprayed it with that apple juice/captain Morgan spray and double-wrapped to butt. I then put it back in the smoker, and dropped the temp to more like 225 degrees and kept it there going forward. Here's the Butt right before I wrapped it:
So, I let this baby cook for another 4 hours or so in the foil until I got an internal temp of 200 Degrees. I took it out, unwrapped it, and pulled it almost right away. I know a lot of people swear by resting meat, but personally I've noticed almost no difference in the quality of the taste or texture of the meat in resting it or not. Admittedly, it's a bit easier to pull if you rest it but I use bear claws to pull my pork so it's not really an issue for me. If anyone has known there to be a huge difference in taste or texture from resting, please feel free to mention it below. I'm interested to see everyone else's feelings on the matter.
So finally, after about 11 hours total the pork butt was done and pulled. As a last step I actually mixed in a bit more of the cajun foreplay seasoning into the pulled pork, as well as added some Dinosaur BBQ sauce as well. Didn't go too heavy on the sauce, however. I find that too much sauce makes the pork's texture a little funny after sitting in the fridge for a day or 2. Instead, I' just add more sauce as desired to the sandwiches themselves when I make them. Below are some pics of the finished product (Pork fell apart a little bit when I was unwrapping it). This thing came out AMAZING. Got a real good smoke right, the maple gave it a bit of a sweeter taste, which was an awesome contrast with the spicy seasonings and sauced used, and the meat was oh so tender. Hope you all enjoyed reading!