Questions about Injection vs Mop recipes for Pork Butt

Discussion in 'Pork' started by gitaryzt1985, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. gitaryzt1985

    gitaryzt1985 Fire Starter

    I'm smoking my first pork butts for Thanksgiving, so with friends and family involved these have to be good haha!!!  I've done ribs several times, usually go with an apple juice and Jack Daniels 50/50 mix for my spritz with some sprinkled on brown sugar about half way through.  Love the bark, and no one complains about my ribs.

    First question:  What's the main difference in flavor between apple juice and apple cider?  I would assume apple juice is sweeter and the cider imparts more apple flavor.

    My plan is to inject the pork butt with Apple juice/cider, cider vinegar, Bourbon, Worcestershire, brown sugar, ceyenne pepper, and mustard powder. 

    Second question:  Can you mop/spritz with the same stuff you inject with?  I thought about using the injection liquid as a spritz, but adding a little bit of maple syrup to the top about midway for a nice sweet bark.

    Am I doing too much?
  2. Second question first: Absolutely! I wouldn't go too heavy with the brown sugar, though, because it can burn, rather than just caramelize, over the course of the cook. Personally, I would use either bourbon or Worcestershire, but not both.

    First question: There should be no difference in the appleyness of the two. Cider is unfiltered and unprocessed. It will have bits of pulp and, possibly, other solids. Apple juice has been filtered and, usually, pasteurized for longer shelf life.

    Last question: I think so. Your mop should be all it takes to create that nice bark, and, unlike ribs, in which you get everything in every bite, sweetening the surface of a butt serves little purpose, IMO.
  3. gitaryzt1985

    gitaryzt1985 Fire Starter


    So in your experience, would you still inject but maybe spend less time on the mop and not do the syrup?
  4. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Injection will get flavor deep down inside the meat, where as the mop, spritz, rub and smoke will only penetrate so far.  Look up Chris Lillys' World Championship Pork Injection, good stuff for sure (it has worcestershire in it).  And yes, skip the syrup, between the brown sugar and spritzing, you'll be good.  For less chance of burning the brown sugar, try turbinado sugar (also called sugar in the raw). 
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I can only pass along what I have found on Apple cider vs. Apple juice

    It all depends upon the actually distributor.

    Sometimes it is;

    The difference in pressings, first apples verses late apples (sugar content)

    The difference in filtration processes, some allow fermentation some don't

    The difference in the label only. Marketing ploy

    And the unmentioned, cider is not a mixed and flavored juice. Most juices on the market that state 100% juice are 100% juice, but from numerous fruits and then it is flavored to taste like cranberry or apple, etc.

    Its one of those grey areas that the government has missed exerting their will upon to guarantee more control.

    If you like to drink it, use it. I like the fresh squeezed honey crisp juice in the gallon jugs. Company's name starts with and "F".
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Injection vs. mop

    It depends upon your smoker type. Firebreathers tend to have dry heat whereas electrics have wet heat.

    I use a lot of light brown sugar just before I put it in the smoker. The sugar turns liquid, then caramalizes, then almost crystalizes. Its like an M&M. It makes a candy shell (you can't taste it), which helps retain that moisture in the butt.

    Currently I am enamored with my electrics, it swaps back and forth, but I am a bark person.

    If you are making pulled pork, I most highly recommend to do it a day or a week before for numerous reasons. First and foremost the pork benefits from it. Pulled pork is always better the second day. If you add a bit of finishing sauce (Chef JJ's recipe is a hit around here now), it seasons so there is no need for injection, it also allows you to maintain the exact moisture content that you most desire. It not cheating, but its as close as you can get. I then also adjust when I reheat.

    Also rememebr that even as smart as pigs are, no one ever teaches them to tell time. Butts are the very number one on the unpredictibility chart of meats. Do it ahead and don't worry about that clock. You'll get to sleep later, shower and shave before company arrives. Its win/win.

    I use an electric as I said, I would cook mine ahead, pull it, sauce it, bag it and tag it, let it rest till the day. I don't need to mop or inject.

    When using a firebreather, I mop about every hour when tending the fire, I would still cook ahead.

    Cook ahead, its my best advice. Use Chef JJ's finishing sauce, my second best.

    Bon Chance
  7. gitaryzt1985

    gitaryzt1985 Fire Starter

    Wow, you guys are great! 

    So, I'm thinking now about no injection.  I'm going to have to smoke these butts the day before (maybe 2) and reheat, so I will take the juices from the pan once I transfer the butt towards the end and use those juices when I reheat in the crockpot on Thanksgiving Day...may even add a touch of bourbon on the day of when reheating ;)

    I swear, half of the fun in this is the preparation and possibilities!
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  8. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'll second all the fantastic advice you've been given.  The great thing about pork butt is it is so forgiving and adaptable.  Definitely use the drippings.  They are packed with flavor. If you want to save a little on the fat just cool them in the refrigerator then add all the gelatin and only part of the fat back to the pork to reheat.  

    You can do so much to pork butt AFTER it is smoked and pulled to adjust the flavor profile.  I will add a little rub, cider, and raw sugar if needed. The finishing sauce that Foam mentioned is a must have around our house.  I have two bottles made up in the fridge.     

    I prefer ciders and juices that only have pressed apples in them.  Like Foam said lots of apple juices are actually white grape juice, 10% apple juice, and apple flavorings.  They may say "100% Juice" but the first ingredient is grape juice.  We have fresh pressed apple cider and apple juices available now due to the season.  Off season Simply Apple is my go-to 100% apple juice choice and it is available nationwide in the US.   
  9. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Save the bourbon for your
  10. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have a bit different way of doing my Smokes . I have a SFB (fire breather as Kevin says) and feel there is more moisture from the wood than in Watt Burners , but each to his own... that said , I place my 'rubbed' Meat in my Smoker and leave it(probed , of course) , until my target temp. is reached . No Spritzing , no injections and no looking at it until it reaches the 'done' stage... i.e.

    and all fall apart good... just saying...
  11. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    LOL... I have a shelf in the door, JJ's sauces, apple juice or cider, apple cider vinegar, BBQ sauces, marinades, I keep the empty sqeeze bottles like Ketchup and BBQ sauce and refill with my homemade BBQ sauce when I make it. I bet every smoker on here has something like it. ROFLMAO.

    AND Oldschoolbbq, That word of yours is what its all really about. Leave the door shut and have a little patience, its the best advice.

    Smoking is 15% preparation, 5% dumb luck, and 80% patience!
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  12. gitaryzt1985

    gitaryzt1985 Fire Starter

    Can't argue with results!  My goodness that looks amazing!
    I'm well on my way.  Going to try the JJ sauce this weekend, as well as a sweet and spicey bbq sauce I've been meaning to try.
  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Remember ChefJJ has numerous sauces for ever step of any smoke. I was refering to his finishing sauce. I add a little honey to mine or maple syrup to offset the vinegar. JJ's is great, but I don't think he minds if after you try it, you bend it to your will. I sure hope he doesn't anyway.
  14. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mmmmmmm....... hard cider!
  15. davefincher

    davefincher Fire Starter

    Those look amazing!

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