Do you Brine Pork Butts/Shoulders/Boston Butts?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by snackem, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. I'm going to be smoking some pork butts for an upcoming wrestling tournament (fundraiser and hospitality room).  I need to have them done smoking by 0700 Saturday morning and I won't be able to pick them up until tomorrow morning.  I have plenty of time to smoke them however I'm worried about having the time if I brine them as well.  I have always brined in the past but I've been doing some reading and several people claim that it's not worth it and the brine doesn't really do anything.

    Normally I would brine the pork in 1lb of pickeling salt and 1lb of molasses dissolved in 1/2 gallon water for 12 hrs.
  2. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have never brined my butts, but have wondered if it would help like it does on poultry.
  3. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I can't speak to the value/non-value of brining, because I have never brined a butt.  However, they always come out moist and flavorful (read: they don't last very long) [​IMG].  Smoke them up and don't worry about it!
  4. big sexy

    big sexy Smoke Blower

    I like to brine mine in salt and apple juice.  the apple juice seems to tenderize the meat a bit.  something to do with the acid in the juice, but I'm no chemist. 
  5. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    I don't brine them usually I don't do anything but mustard slather and rub but on occasion I will inject them the day before I smoke them
  6. nozzleman

    nozzleman Smoking Fanatic

    Just mustard then a good rub down of the favorite rub. They always turn out great.
  7. I see a lot of people saying that they don't brine their butts so I'm going to skip that step which will allow me time to do pulled pork instead of sliced pork (from the sirloin roasts and rib roast that I already have).  I'll get some picks and keep everyone updated on the progress.

    thanks for all the responses.

  8. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I always Brine Rib/Loin Roasts because they are very lean and benefit from the extra moisture. I also only smoke them to 145*F and slice them. I have had Pulled Loin it is very dry and almost like trying to eat Grass, if you plan on pulling your loins include plenty of sauce ..Butts on the other hand have plenty of fat and collagen to keep them moist when they are pulled...The brine you use is very strong, a common brine uses 7-8 ounces Kosher Salt per 1Gallon Water, 6% solution, and some soak in fresh water to desalinate...Yours would be 4X Saltier, 25% solution...Interesting...JJ
  10. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I never brine butts/shoulders, but I do inject them.  apple juice manly.  Then mustard and rub.  Good luck and take lots of pics
  11. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Never brined them before either. Let us know what you decide.
  12. I opted not to brine (because of time constrictions) and I'm going to rub them with mustard and then a simple spice rub (corriander, cumin, brown sugar, kosher salt, red pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika).  I grind my own spices in a coffee grinder.  Normally I don't add salt or sugar to the rub but I do add salt and molasses to the brine so I'm compensating by adding them to the rub.  I'll let everyone know how it turns out.
  13. I've done them both ways - brine and no brine.  I have found 2 things:

    1.)  When I brine I can tell a difference in how moist the meat is

    2.)  The butt cooks a little quicker when it has been brined

    I don't know the science behind it, but this has been my observation.  I use a mixture of water, kosher salt, apple juice and honey for the brine mixture.  I tend to reduce the salt from what most recipies call for - just seems to make the end product less salty (this part may just be in my head :).

    I also wrap the butt about 1/2 through cooking.  I use a 40" MES at 225 degrees.  Typically takes from 14 - 16 hr. - depending on the size.
  14. berninga87

    berninga87 Smoking Fanatic

    Never tried it, always so juicy without I never really thought about it. Just pull right around 200* give a good rest and it falls apart on its own! Lookin forward to the Qview!
  15. I smoked 2 Boston Butts once to test if brining helps. The one I had put in the brine was juicier than the other one. I will say the one I put in the brine did have a better fat cap on it that could have made a difference also. Good luck....

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