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Author Topic: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt  (Read 970 times)

M635_Guy

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 36
My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« on: September 28, 2019, 05:36:01 PM »
This is my fourth or fifth time cooking with the Performer (and charcoal in general - I'm not really counting what I did in college nearly 30 years ago...).  I started prepping around 8:30 AM today and had the meat on the cooker by 9:30.

Pix and Thoughts:
I got a 7.5lb bone-in shoulder from the only real butcher shop in the area.  It was pricey.  I've got a Whole Foods that gets local stuff in every Friday and is a lot closer, so the next time I'm feeling like spending that much on one I'll probably try theirs.  I could use some opinions on the Harris Teeter or Publix shoulders vs. the butcher in terms of price-for-value.

I dry-brined the shoulder for about 18 hours.

The process is a life-lesson in being judicious in course-correction and going with the flow.  I had some peaks and valleys on temperature that had me fretting a bit.  Eventually I'll figure out the nuances of the vents, but a little can mean a lot.  I'm a little high-strung by nature, so I'll need to learn to relax.  That's a good thing :)  (I'm sure once I figure it out my friends will say I should have gotten this grill a long time ago...)

Again, the remote thermometer (one in the meat, 1 at the grate) is worth its weight in gold.  Flattens the learning curve and allowed me to get other things done without worrying if I was screwing up some pretty expensive meat.

I probably could have used more seasoning. 

Since I went fat-side up (which was the recommendation for the slow & sear), it was less-pretty than I expected when I checked it at 4 hours  (and the "top" was imprinted by the grate).  Oh well - it gets chopped up anyway, tight?


I wrapped at about 5 hours, and then went to 195F.  Almost exactly 8 hours total.


I wound up with one of my chunks of hickory un-burnt, though the other two were entirely gone.  I also had a fair amount of charcoal - guessing there was several-more hours of cooking available.  Wondering if 25% less coals would work better?  Any reason to think too much charcoal is less even, etc.  I'll just re-use what's left for whatever is next (thinking a spatchcocked chicken or maybe the redonkulous jalapeno-stuffed bacon-wrapped chicken thighs I saw on the HowToBBQRight channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZvhpkaAcqs.  That guy is evil, but the best kind of evil.  Anyway...

After about 80 minutes of rest - grate-marks from the rack I used.  Not gobs of bark, since the flesh-side was down...


I'm wondering if flesh-side up is better, but don't want to dry out the shoulder.

Bone came out nice and clean


Looks pretty good to my complete noob-ness (any insight appreciated)


This pic under-sells it


I made Eastern-NC style sauce from white wine and apple cider vinegars, brown sugar, cayenne, salt, white pepper, some pepper flakes, cholula and a secret ingredient (a few splashes of bourbon - I figured it would soften/round out the vinegar a bit)


I was pretty happy - it was tasty!  Still happy to learn any ways to improve


Next time I'll probably go with a smaller piece of pork.  Four pounds would still yield plenty with leftovers.  Going to surprise some friends with BBQ care-packages tomorrow. :)

michaelmilitello

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 1238
Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2019, 05:42:17 PM »
I think you did just fine.  Nice smoke ring.   Cooked to tenderness since the bone pulled out clean.   


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JEBIV

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  • Posts: 5787
Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2019, 06:38:06 AM »
I think you nailed it, now learn to relax, it will make it even more fun
Seeking a Black Sequoia I know I know, I'd settle for just the tabbed no leg grill

SMOKE FREAK

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 801
Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2019, 07:07:30 AM »
Fat side up? Fat side down? Try what I do. I trim it so there is little or no external fat. There's plenty inside to keep the pork moist and tender. Plus ya get more/better bark.

Looks like ya did a fine job to me.

demosthenes9

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Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2019, 08:25:14 AM »
FWIW, your local butcher shop, like Whole Foods, probably carries a better quality product than the grocery stores.    That said, think about judging a beauty contest.    Butcher store might be a flat out 10 and be better than the grocery store, but the grocery store could still be a "8".     Would you be happy with an "8" ?   Is a "10" worth the price difference?

FWIW, I buy all my meats at Kroger, Sams, Meijer's, etc.  The larger grocery chains.   I generally stay away from the really budget places like Sav-A-Lot as they tend to sell "select" grade meats instead of choice.    I also stay away from butcher shops and Whole Foods because while the ribeye there might be better, it's also $20 per lb versus $6 to $7/lb when on sale at Kroger.   

With pork, I'd wager that if your's was pricey, it was probably something like Duroc or some other "heritage" type breed.   That's kind of like "Prime" grade or Wagyu beef compared to mass market "Choice" grade.

demosthenes9

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Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2019, 08:25:45 AM »
BTW, nice job on your first butt.  Looks nice, tender and easy to pull.

kettlebb

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Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2019, 09:00:12 AM »
Not sure Iíve heard of brine for a Boston butt before. Thereís a lot of fat so youíd have to be pretty dim to fuck it up. Yours looks great. Donít worry about temp fluctuations. I aim for a range of 225-275. If Iím in the range Iím happy.  If you want more bark, cut your butt in half. Itíll reduce your cook time and give you more surface area for the good stuff.


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creed

  • Happy Cooker
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Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2019, 10:04:15 AM »
Nice looking cook.  I wish my first low-and-slow adventure had turned out looking that good.


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M635_Guy

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 36
Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2019, 02:49:58 PM »
Not sure Iíve heard of brine for a Boston butt before.

I've seen mentions in a couple places - HowToBBQRight and ABC among others.  The idea of pulling the moisture deep seemed logical. 

Thereís a lot of fat so youíd have to be pretty dim to fuck it up.

I'm a master of realized unlikelihoods...

Yours looks great. Donít worry about temp fluctuations. I aim for a range of 225-275. If Iím in the range Iím happy.  If you want more bark, cut your butt in half. Itíll reduce your cook time and give you more surface area for the good stuff. [/quote]

Much appreciated!  8)

M635_Guy

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 36
Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2019, 02:52:26 PM »
FWIW, your local butcher shop, like Whole Foods, probably carries a better quality product than the grocery stores.    That said, think about judging a beauty contest.    Butcher store might be a flat out 10 and be better than the grocery store, but the grocery store could still be a "8".     Would you be happy with an "8" ?   Is a "10" worth the price difference?

FWIW, I buy all my meats at Kroger, Sams, Meijer's, etc.  The larger grocery chains.   I generally stay away from the really budget places like Sav-A-Lot as they tend to sell "select" grade meats instead of choice.    I also stay away from butcher shops and Whole Foods because while the ribeye there might be better, it's also $20 per lb versus $6 to $7/lb when on sale at Kroger.   

With pork, I'd wager that if your's was pricey, it was probably something like Duroc or some other "heritage" type breed.   That's kind of like "Prime" grade or Wagyu beef compared to mass market "Choice" grade.

I live in central NC - there are a ton of hog farms fairly close.  I think I'll try a Publix shoulder next time or one from the Nahunta place at the Raleigh Farmer's Market.

M635_Guy

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 36
Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2019, 02:53:27 PM »
Nice looking cook.  I wish my first low-and-slow adventure had turned out looking that good.

I give full credit to the thermometer. ;)

kettlebb

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Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2019, 04:59:44 PM »
Also, try your next one without wrapping. Your cook time will go up and youíll have to be patient through the stall but if you really like bark thatís where it is IMO. Again, your cook looks awesome! The sauce sounds great and looks like you had it with some potato salad?  Iíve got a butt in the freezer and once it gets a tad cooler outside Iím putting my Chief to work.


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Walchit

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Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2019, 04:51:56 AM »
Looks like a good butt to me! I haven't messed one up yet. You might as well find a cheap brisket point or something and try that out, caise I think you have it figured out.

Foster Dahlet

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Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2019, 08:16:28 AM »
I think you nailed it, now learn to relax, it will make it even more fun
This

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M635_Guy

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 36
Re: My first-ever low-and-slow cook: Boston Butt
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2019, 08:20:41 AM »
Had some of the Q for lunch just now - the sauce I made is way better today!  I also added back some of the juice that came out after it rested. 

This will be a regular thing...  :)