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Searing Boston butt using Meowey's technique (sorta)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, the results are in!

Searing the butt works very nicely, thank you very much.

Sorry for the poor quality of the Q-view, but I had to use my phone camera.

I used Meowey's outline on how to smoke a butt and adapted it. I started with a 7 lb butt which I lightly rubbed with my own rub (outlined roughly in the rubs section - I use sumac and toasted ground coriander seeds in addition to the usual suspects). I went a bit light on the rub because I wasn't sure if searing it would make it bitter:

I then wrapped it up and put it in the fridge around 8 this morning. I was going to start it late last night, but decided to go ahead and start it at 1pm. I got out my brand spankin' new Weber 22" and got a fire going (one full chimney with mostly briquettes and a handful of Royal Oak red bag lump). I left them mostly in the middle so that I could sear the butt:

I seared the top side first after throwing some hickory chips on the coals since I planned on leaving it fat side down. The hickory fired right up and I went about 5 minutes (being a little cautious at this point). Here is the result:

I then flipped it over and seared it for another 5 minutes or so, once again throwing hickory chips on. This was the result (much better than the topside char):

When I flipped it over, I added a bunch more rub to the top (see first set of pics). I then gave it a liberal squirt of Meowey's Captain Morgan/apple juice mixture and added even more rub.

Then, I carefully moved it around to sear the sides, trying not to disturb the bark that had already formed on the bottom (you can see that I tore a little piece of it when I flipped it over the first time). At this point, I moved the grill and the butt off of the Weber and placed it on top of my uncovered Brinkmann Electric Gourmet (this makes a very handy pedestal BTW) and I moved the coals to the side and added a small Weber foil water tray on the other side and threw a hickory foil packet on along with some chips straight on the coals. I put the grill back on and covered it, but I left a crack open because I knew that it would be pretty hot.
I also had the top vents and bottom vents about half open as well.

At this point, I walked away and let it do its thing (except that I sprayed it every 45 minutes or so). I needed to be somewhere from about 4 to 7, so about 3:30, I filled my chimney about half full and started some new coals (about half and half briquettes and lump). Right at 4, I opened it up (it was getting fairly cool at this point and the butt's internal temp was only about 120 or so) and put the new coals in. I then closed it up tight and left.

I got back at 7pm and checked it. Once again, it was starting to get pretty cool and the internal temp was only about 140. So I just added a few pieces of unburned lump and got them going, sprayed it, and popped the lid back on. I left it until around 10 and I checked the internal temp and it was about 155. I figured, what the hell, might as well wrap it up now. So I plugged in the ECB, threw in a few chips of hickory for good measure and wrapped up the butt with the rest of the spray liquid. Once the Brinkmann started to heat up, I threw it on top and closed it up for about 5 minutes. I took the temperature and found that it was over 220 (the limit of my meat thermometer) so I opened the bottom door and cracked the top lid. After about 5 minutes, it was down to about 170. So I shut the bottom door. Within a minute it was back over 200. After tinkering with it for a few minutes, I was able to get it stabilized at about 210. I put the therm into the butt and found that it was about 160 or so. I said, "To hell with it" and I buttoned up the Brinkmann. Let 'er rip...let's see what 250 will do at this point since it had already been slow cooking for 9 hrs anyway. I putzed around a little and then hit the sack, planning to get up in a couple of hours. Well, I ended up sleeping until 2:30. I got up and checked the temp and it was about 205. Cool.

I wrapped it up in a towel and threw it in the cooler. Went back to bed. Woke up an hour later and here's the result (sorry about how dark it is):

Man o man! That first piece that you see torn off below took about the same pressure as it takes to turn the page of a book. I had my cleaver ready to do some chopping, but there was no need. It separated into strands as easy as you please. Any marbled fat was just melted into the meat. The bark was great and you can see the smoke ring in the last fuzzy shot. It was literally an inch wide and pink. The fat cap on the bottom was like room temperature butter held together by the bark. I pulled it off almost whole and just worked it into the meat as I tossed in some of Fla's finishing sauce.

When I was finished pulling (pulling is actually too violent of a word - this stuff almost melted), I literally had zero waste. I had a pile of pulled pork and a bone. And talk about taste. WOW.

I got the best of both worlds here. I got some nice char which resulted in a great bark, good healthy smoke using the Weber, and a combination of high heat and low heat which ended up being about 14 hrs long (a good 2 hours per lb). I was worried that the Weber would be overkill but letting the coals die down twice seemed to work pretty well.

Not bad for a first effort. I hope my co-workers find it as good as I did.
post #2 of 11
That's fantastic! I think that searing a butt is now on my to-do list. I see that the searing did not influence (i.e. shorten) the cooking time. When the butt melts, you know you did it right.

Great work! (If you want to call it work - LOL!)

Take care, have fun, and do good!


post #3 of 11
Looks pretty OK to me! Pulled well too apparently. All the better!

I have taken to searing without a rub, adding it after with a mustard base for adhesion. But I have not tried searing a butt yet, just brisket.

Nice work, that!
post #4 of 11
Great work....Looks Good!!
post #5 of 11
Bootiful, I bet that was tasty!!PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
It was. And it's still around at this moment since I'm taking most of it to work with me.

Just a couple of things to add:

When I broke down the Brinkmann, I noticed that I actually did a softball of foiled hickory in it as well.

Also, there was no problem with the bark getting soft or soggy from wrapping it up in foil. It wasn't "crunchy" but it was firm.

Here's a pic of the final smoking position in the Weber:

After that pic was taken, I added a bunch more rub along with generous spraying of the Cpt. Morgan mix. I added some, then spritzed it and then slathered a bunch on. The liquid helped to make it stick. I think this might be important to the process. If you load all of the rub on first, it might burn the brown sugar in the rub. However, you still want to start with some rub. Just not a huge coating of it. I relied on the moisture of the butt itself to make it stick.

Finally, I only put it into the fridge for about 5 hours. And I didn't bring it up to room temp. It was getting charred about 5 minutes after I removed it from the fridge. In an ideal world, I would have left it in for at least 12 hours. However, I have to wonder if it really matters to let it come up to room temp (I know that people have different ideas about this). Putting it on cold might have helped stretch out the time that it cooked.
post #7 of 11

Butt envy!

That butt looks great! I wish I was doing a butt now!!
I can't wait to sear it, I have not tried that with a butt...thx for the inspiration....yum
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

You might try my rub sometime as well. I've got the basic outline over in the rub section. I eyeball everything and taste it and then adjust it, so I don't have exact quantities. I do like to max out the sumac though. I usually twice to three times as much of it as I do cumin or chili powder. It's pretty mild so you need extra.

I couldn't believe the smoke ring on the thick part of the butt. It's hard to see in the picture, but it's easily an inch deep and very pink.
post #9 of 11
Nice job, thanks for the details and QVIEW.
post #10 of 11
Great looking buttPDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #11 of 11
Outstanding job PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
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