Originally Posted by toddwchandler
I've been kind of lurking in the shadows and reading all of these great posts for a few weeks now and just trying to learn as much as I can. I'm going to take the plunge on Thursday and smoke my first Boston Butt.
I will be smoking it on a Chargriller Akorn Jr.
I feel like I'm ready, but I have a couple of lingering questions that I have not seen answered yet:
1. Do you all trim the fat cap off of the butt prior to smoking or leave it on and trim it off after the cook? If you leave it on, do you place the meet on the smoker with the fat cap facing up or facing down?
2. Do you all apply your rub the night before and wrap it up in the fridge overnight before smoking, or just apply your rub right before putting the meat on the smoker?
3. Do you all place the meat on the smoker right out of the fridge, or do you let it sit out and get to room temperature first?
If these are answered elsewhere, please accept my apologies. Just trying to learn as much as I can so that I can get this first one right!
Thanks in advance!
Hi there and welcome!
As said earlier, pork butts are quite forgiving so as long as you cook it long enough AND you probe/poke it to ensure it is tender you probably will get a pretty good pork but that you will only improve upon during the next attempt.
I take it pretty simple with the pork butt and with it being forgiving you can try what you feel from all the info that gets posted here.
1. I don't trim but that is because I have yet to have an excessive fat cap and if it was I would probably trim some.
I place fat side up, which is opposite of my heat source that comes from beneath.
2. I just apply rub right before putting it on. My drive is simple time management. I go turn on the smoker to get up to temp and during that time I open and season the meat. I have no objections to seasoning the night before. My approach is just more efficient for ME since it uses up my waiting time for the smoker to come to temp.
Also after I pull I mix in more seasoning/rub into the pulled meat. The pork butt is just too thick for the outside seasoning to get that deep into the middle of the pork butt so seasoning the shredded meat makes a world of difference. Others also add BBQ sauce but I save that for the table since mixing in the seasoning/rub adds great flavor. You just mix some in, toss meat around, tasted, and repeat until you get the amount of flavor you are looking for :)
3. Go from the fridge to the smoker. The safety danger zone for meat is between 40-140F degrees over 4 hours. So, you want the meat to be over 140F before you exceed 4 hours of cooking. If you leave the meat out on the counter for an hour and then do not get over 140F in 3 hours of smoking then you have gone into the danger zone of producing meat that will make you sick or kill you :)
Just keep in mind that your pork butt will be ready when you can stab a toothpick/probe/skewer through the meat without resistance. So start checking around 200-205F. With pork butt being so forgiving I foil around 160-165F and kind of lazily cheat by letting it go to 208-210F and pull it and rest it for a couple of hours wrapped in 3 beach towels. Never had one be mushy and it all pulled perfectly. Hence it being forgiving. BTW, I smoke em at 275F. I've seen no reason to add more time by smoking lower and longer. Go with the smoker temp you feel comfortable with :)
As stated in an earlier post you will get a million different approaches. This is because they all work for people and you should be able to pick and choose what you want to try and what you don't.
Best of luck and be sure to post what you make with pics :)