Butt Brines

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Original poster
Nov 16, 2005
Upstate, South Carolina
Hi all, new here. Thanks in advance.

Any ideas on ingredients to brine up a butt with "sauce" flavors prior to smoking?

A lot of storebought sauces cover the smoky flavor imparted by the wood. I'd like to do most of the flavoring with a good 72 hour soak if possible.

I'm still kind of new to smoking. I used to do Crock Pot butts for sandwiches before I got my smoker. It is a shame to dedicate the effort to smoking meat to cover it with a lot of sauce, even if its homemade. I'd like to follow the "taste-it-before-you-add-anything" rule to what I put on the smoker if I can pull it off.
My advice, don't brine a butt. There are lots of threads on this forum that give good advice about cooking a Boston butt and that is what I presume you are talking about. (Otherwise known as a shoulder.) Brining is not customary for a shoulder and would impart a different taste than you want.

Try keeping it simple. Get smoker to 225 degrees, remove the shoulder from from the refrigerator, dust with rub and place on the rack. Cook slowly for about 1.25 hours per pound until the interior temperature gets to 200F. Keep the smoke going (thin blue smoke only) the whole time. Remove and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Eat or wrap in foil and refrigerate for later.

Aubrey Page
i dont think boston butts benefit any from brining.....you could always shoot it up with an injection

here is one from Dr BBQs book

Big Pig Pork Injection

1 Cup Pineapple Juice
1 Cup Apple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 tbs worcestershire sauce
2 tbs hot sauce of choice
1 tbs dry mustard

combine all ingredients in a saucepan, Heat untill well blended. Refrigerate before using
Just my .02, but I personally don't feel that pork (or beef for that matter) require any brining. As a general rule, I brine only poultry and other foul.

The best preparation for boston butt, in my opinion, is to apply a thin coat of yellow mustard and your favorite dry rub, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The mustard flavor will cook off, but it acts as a binding agent for the dry rub and also helps to create a deep mahogany "bark," which is the most coveted "nirvana" of pulled pork bbq.

Smoke at a chamber temp between 220*-230*, spray/mop periodically throughout the smoke with apple or pineapple juice and any spices you like, until meat reaches an internal temp of around 200*. Allow the meat to rest for at least 20 minutes, or double wrap in HD foil and several thick towels and rest in an insulated cooler up to 2 or 3 hours until your ready to serve. At this point, the meat should pull/shred very easily. Serve with sauce on the side.

To quote Willkat98, this is not THE way, but rather one way that works for my family and I. I like it alot, and I hope that you do too. :)

As always, experimentation is the key. If you try a different method, whether it be brining or something else, please post your results. We are a pretty open minded group, and I for one, am always willing to try something new.

Howdy HartDP

I've never brined or injected a butt so I couldn't tell you if there are any benefits to doing it but I will certainly be interested in the results if you decide to. Brian posted nearly exactly what I do with mine. Good luck with your new smoker.
Hi HartDP, Glad you found the best site on the web for smoking meats and other things. These guys gave you some excellent advice on not brining your pork shoulders (butts and picnics), The flavor of your meat is gained in part the the rub you apply to the meat and the bark that developes during the smoke. The sauce you serve with it makes a difference too, you want the rub and the sauce to compliment each other. Brian gave you the scoop on appling the rub, yellow mustard slathered over the pork and the rub applied will keep the rub from coming off. After I pull my pork from the fridge, I like to give it another sprinkling of rub before it goes into the smoker. Don't worry about the mustard taste-it will disapate during the smoke and you won't taste it.

Again, welcome to the Smoking Meat Forum.
Oops! Nice catch, Earl. I did forget to mention the "double rub." I always apply a second coat of rub right before going to the smoker to replace any that stuck to the plastic wrap and to ensure a rich and even bark. This is a good practice for ribs and briskets too.

To give credit where its due, however, I should note that I originally learned the idea from SoFlaQuer. His teaching has been the source of many a successful smoke for me. (Thanks, Jeff).

Thanks all the information!

I smoked a pork loin afer using a brine recipie I found on the net for pork and it tasted very good. It was moist and the brine gave it some tastes to the center meat that complemented the hickory. Granted a pork loin is a blank canvas, but it gave me the idea. A loin has a higher surface/thickness ratio, so it had a good smoke ring and good flavor in each slice.

It must be the cut.

I'll have to look into the sauce recipies now.
Thanks for the accolades, Brian..........you've been an astute student of the Art! It takes alot more Herbs/Spices and resources to do it, but the "Double Rub" makes a decided difference in the finished "Bark".

Never Brine a Butt unless you like Smoked Salt Pork! LOL!

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