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Author Topic: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill  (Read 13820 times)

spinsheet

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 45
Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« on: July 20, 2013, 03:04:22 PM »
I'm looking to make Carolina pulled pork. This will be my first time doing this and since it's going to take quite a while to cook I was wondering if anyone might have any tips, suggestions, or any kind of advice. I saw this recipe (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Carolina-Pulled-Pork-Sandwiches-101803) and figured I would go with it. Any thoughts?

What is the best way to maintain a 225 degree temp? Should I leave the bottom vents open all the way and try and control temp with the upper vents? I have a Weber Gold One Touch Kettle grill and I just bought a thermometer and installed it in the lid so I can easily read the temp.

Thanks for any advice!

MartyG

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Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2013, 03:09:04 PM »
Pleanty of threads on the topic here, just do a search on boston butt or pork shoulder and read up. I used the snake method recently and liked the results. Plan for ten hours or so from start to finish. Take your time and have fun!

One Touch Platinum

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Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2013, 04:28:04 PM »
I have posted it so many times already I am sure everyone is tired or reading it but....use a water pan to help control the temp. Just use water....beer and juice will not add any extra flavor and water's boiling point will be constant and will help keep the temp right at that magic number. As far as your vents go, I would close the bottom as far as you can without closing it all the way ( adjust as needed)and leave your top vent open. If you are using a snake method or a variation of it you will only need to have a very small amount of coals lit to start your fire and only a small amount will burn at one time during your cook ....you want an efficient fire that burns clean and not a raging fire that you need to keep snuffed by closing the top vent....that will cause your fire to burn dirty.  I assume that you are using a kettle for this cook....if so the snake method will give you VERY stable low and slow temps...it will do all the work for you. DON"T forget the water pan! Good luck, I'm sure it will come out great!
If it needs to be Heated to be Eated, I can do it on my Weber!

spinsheet

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 45
Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2013, 04:36:02 PM »
I'll definitely be using a drip pan filled with water. As far as the 'snake method', I have no idea what that is. I'll search and see what I come up with. My usual way is to fill my chimney and after about 20 mins or so dump the contents evenly between my two briquette baskets that are at opposite sides of the grill.

One Touch Platinum

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Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2013, 04:54:30 PM »
The snake method is where you stack a row or two, two or three briqs high in a circle most of the way around the bowl of your kettle. ALL of these coals are unlit and you start about 8 to 10 pieces of charcoal and place them at one end of your snake and the controlled amount of air will only let a small amount of charcoal to burn at any given time and requires almost no fussing for 4, 6 or more hours. I just spread coals around the bowl in a semi-circle and do the same thing....10 coals lit at one end , let it go.  By the way....if you put hot water in your pan it will help your temp level out faster....also remember that you will get a temp fluctuation or drop when you put a big chunk of cold meat in you cooker so don't fret. You may also encounter the stall.....a point where your meat temp will level out for quite some time...maybe an hour or longer and the temp may even drop....this is normal and is no reason to freak out. If it happens DO NOT crank up the heat or put it in the oven ( Have seen posts on the net where people have done that) just leave it alone...it will push through it.  I have never had ANY success with using baskets for long sustained cooks....The snake method is really your best bet if you want even temps and pretty much a set it and forget it low and slow. I also recommend that after the first couple of hours that you spritz the meat with apple juice/vinegar or beer or juice etc....it will add flavor and help you get a great bark. If you have a large piece of meat you can speed up the cook by cutting it in half...even if you cook both halves at the same time it will come up to temp faster than one huge chunk of cold meat.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 04:56:13 PM by One Touch Platinum »
If it needs to be Heated to be Eated, I can do it on my Weber!

spinsheet

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 45
Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2013, 05:02:55 PM »
I'm going to do just as you recommend. I have a 8.5 lb Boston Butt. If I cut that in half and get the temp to a level 225 about how long should I expect to be cooking?

One Touch Platinum

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Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2013, 05:24:20 PM »
You will need to go by the internal temp of the meat not time. Having said that... I have done many, many pork butts on the kettle and it takes me about 8 hours to hit the internal temp of 200 degrees. You should plan on it taking longer than you want it to....if it gets done early just wrap it in foil and a towel and put it in a cooler....it will stay HOT for several hours....better to be done before everyone wants to eat than have them waiting on you. ;) I always take the meat off at 200 degrees and wrap it in foil and let it rest at least an hour .....even if I am not ahead of time.  I have done so many butts and the only time it took me longer than around 8 hours was when I was using my horizontal smoker. I always start the meat( Meat on the grill) at 8 am and we eat at about 5 pm. I have done 8 pounds of pork cut in half and just the one half (4 pounds) and the time was the same. Once you do one on your grill you will kind of get the idea of the time....that's not much help but no two pieces of meat are the same and if you plan on an absolute time you may end up disappointed until you see how your grill behaves.  So......if you want to eat at 5pm I would plan on putting it on at least 10 hours earlier than that....if it gets done in only 7 or 8 hours it will stay hot in the cooler once wrapped....too hot to pull with your bare hands after a couple of hours so better to be ahead of schedule until you get the hang of it. Pork butts are the most forgiving cut there is...the only real way to screw it up is not letting it get done. Be patient and DO NOT get stressed out, it ail get done when it gets done and if you plan for it to take longer than it probably needs you will be ready.
If it needs to be Heated to be Eated, I can do it on my Weber!

One Touch Platinum

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Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2013, 05:31:15 PM »
One more thing....you may need to add some unlit fuel towards the end of your cook depending how fast it has been burning.....if you stacked a nice snake in the beginning ...do not worry about it being neat if you need to add.....just add a handful or two to the end of the burning ring.....I guess I should also mention that you want the meat opposite of the coals as much as possible and if your snake goes under the meat you may need to reposition it at some point to keep it away from direct heat, although I have never had the need to do so. Have fun. Be prepared to make this pork a lot since once you make it the family and friends will like it better than what you can buy !!!!! :)
If it needs to be Heated to be Eated, I can do it on my Weber!

One Touch Platinum

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Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2013, 05:57:24 PM »

You can kind of see my version of the snake. Called "A lazy bastard too lazy to stack the charcoal" method. Even though it looks like all the charcoal is lit in this picture it is not. I was using left over fuel from the night before. I started about 10 coals at the bottom right side of the pork and let it burn clockwise at about 225-250 degrees. My pan is filled with water....if it is easier for you, put the water pan on top of your grate...you will still want something to catch the dripping just so there is less mess.

Here is a pic from right before it came off at 200 degrees. This was about 8 1/2 pounds before being cut in half and injected and rubbed and left to sit in the refrigerator overnight . I think this was a Father's day cook....I started the meat at 8 am and it was ready to come off at a little after 4pm if I remember correctly .....I know that I wrapped it for 1 hour and we ate around 5:30pm that night.
If it needs to be Heated to be Eated, I can do it on my Weber!

mike.stavlund

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Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2013, 06:26:25 PM »
Spinsheet, OTP is a master of the craft, so let him be your guide.

The only thing I'd add is that if you are using a One-Touch Gold, I would go ahead and make some marks to indicate your vent positions.  Before you start your cook, visually locate your vent fins *just where* they would start to occlude the bottom vents.  Then take a pencil or sharpie marker and make a small mark on your ash can ring to indicate 'full open'.  Then move it to where the vent is *just closed*, and mark that.  Then looking at the vent fin (and not at the ash can ring), figure out where the vent is halfway covered, and mark that.

The reason I find this useful is that anytime you open up your lid (which you should do as little as possible, muttering your new mantra, "If you're looking, you're not cooking" constantly), your temps will get all squirrelly.  Opening the lid obviously lets out a lot of heat, but it also introduces a bunch of oxygen into the equation.  So the temps will drop, then spike, and might even get away from you.  So if/when you do lift the lid for whatever reason, it's helpful to know that you were holding your 225 with 1/2 or 3/8ths or whatever was working for you.  Then you can choke out the air for 5 minutes or so to let things come back to equilibrium before resetting to your previous position.  I find that having some indicator marks keeps me from playing some guessing game where I'm constantly nudging up or down to chase the right temps. 
One of the charcoal people.

One Touch Platinum

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Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2013, 06:52:50 PM »
Good advice ! What Mike said! If you really can't help yourself and must peek.....use a flashlight and look through the top vent....no heat let out and you get to satisfy your curiosity . My Dad asked me what the hardest thing to do when grilling was, I told him "The hardest thing is to do nothing.". Once you get the hang of low and slow you will not feel the need to constantly fuss about....the Weber will do most of the work for you ....just keep an eye on your temperature and the temp of your meat and you will have the best tasting pork in town!
If it needs to be Heated to be Eated, I can do it on my Weber!

1buckie

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Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2013, 07:47:43 PM »


 ""A lazy bastard too lazy to stack the charcoal" method."

I've used this method a lot....always with great results !!!!

spinsheet,
 Mike & Marty & OTPlatinum have got you all set to go......all I can add is have fun & enjoy the lunch / dinner that it ends with,.....


Oh, and if you do like being neat & orderly, you can spend a little time stacking coals ~~~~>

http://weberkettleclub.com/forums/food-pr0n/bob's-beef-o-rama/msg20382/#msg20382
"If you want it fancy there is BBQ spray paint at home depot for that. "
    Covered, damper-controlled cooking.....IF YOU PLEASE !!!
           "But the ever versatile kettle reigned supreme"    

spinsheet

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 45
Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2013, 05:07:59 AM »
OK, I jumped into the deep end this morning. Neatly stacked snake, about 12 briquettes in the chimney (plus some old coals from the last meal), and a drip pan full of water. Lid is on and the temp looked to be about 300 15 mins after putting the lid on. I'll let it settle for about 45 mins or so and see what the temp is at that time and adjust the bottom vent as needed.

I did mark the vent handle when I got the grill so I already know the vent positions so I'll play with that as needed. The Butt is dry rubbed and ready to go.

The neighbors were a bit perplexed to see me firing up the Weber at 8AM but when I told them that Carolina BBQ was forthcoming they all just smiled and cleared their calendars for this evening. Good thing I have 8.5 lbs. I'll keep everyone posted with my progress. Thanks to all for all of the help!

1buckie

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Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2013, 05:25:21 AM »
"but when I told them that Carolina BBQ was forthcoming they all just smiled and cleared their calendars for this evening."

Better grab some sausages or make up some ABT's to keep 'em busy......or you won't have any PP left at the end...... :o

If you'd like to add a sauce, this is a good finishing sauce ~~>

S. Carolina Mustard Vinegar Sauce

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup Yellow mustard
1/4 cup onion finely minced
2 cloves garlic pureed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Combine ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For a smoother sauce, blend on high for a few minutes.


From MacEggs good buddy Roxy, up in Canada

PS: It doesn't hurt to have a little higher temp at the start....the cold meat going on will level it out pretty quick, with no ill effects......... ;D
"If you want it fancy there is BBQ spray paint at home depot for that. "
    Covered, damper-controlled cooking.....IF YOU PLEASE !!!
           "But the ever versatile kettle reigned supreme"    

spinsheet

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 45
Re: Slow cooking a pork butt on the grill
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2013, 05:32:41 AM »
The recipe that I had for the sauce was:

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

And it was not to be cooked and mopped on the meat every 45 mins. I do like your ingredients better, seems more complex (tasting, not making). I am concerned about them saying to mop it on every 45 mins. Everything that I hear says that lifting the lid is BAD. What would you recommend?