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Friday
Jul242015

Smoked Boston Butts

It’s been over a year! How could I have waited so long?! I could go on about how busy I have been, how busy the restaurant has been, or even just gripe about how I’m very forgetful, but they are all just excuses. Let me start again….

I’ve missed you! And now we can begin. I’ve been lucky enough over the last 5 years to have a restaurant where I can experiment, play and develop the menu and events around my learning. Lucky enough this year we decided to have a “Pit Masters BBQ and Beer Dinner”. Perfect opportunity for me to try my hand at smoking meats and doing a top tier (high end) BBQ dinner. The next few posts will be some of the dishes we did from the event.

If you’ve never tried your hand at smoking, I highly recommend it. It is a science all in itself, and a new skill I was happy to develop. The following recipe is something you can easily do at home with simple ingredients, and perfect for a novice since I cut out all of the mistakes you could make on your own.

 

Ingredients (Serves 10 or 15 depending on your accompaniments)

2-6 to 8lb Pork Boston Butts

Brine:

6 Qts Water

2 Cups Kosher Salt

2 Cups Lightly Packed Brown Sugar

1 Cup Black Peppercorns

 

Dry Rub:

1 ½ Cups Brown Sugar

¼ Cup Kosher Salt

½ Cup Paprika

¼ Cup Onion Powder

½ Cup Garlic Powder

3 Tbsp Black Pepper, ground

2 Tbsp Celery Seed

1 Tbsp Cayenne

1 Tbsp Cumin

 

1 Cup Yellow Mustard

 

Mop:

1 Cup Canola oil

1 Cup Cider Vinegar

2 Cups Water

1 Cup Pork Butt Dry Rub

1 Tbsp Worcestershire

1 Tbsp Soy Sauce

 

Smoking Wood:

3lbs Applewood

3lbs Cherry

 

The best part about this ever so succulent pork recipe is that it takes “3 days”, but each of the processes (until the smoking) takes about 10 minutes to do. First step is to brine the pork butt for 12-16 hours. The brining will keep the moisture from escaping the pork during the smoking process which is essentially sitting in an oven for hours on end.

Day one: Place all of the ingredients for the brine in a pot, set your stove top to high heat and bring your water to a boil. Whisk the brine until all of the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Turn off the heat, and remove the pot from the hot burner. Let it cool down for about an hour, then add 4 cups of ice. One it cools down to about room temperature, place the untrimmed pork butts in a container and cover completely with the brine. Make sure the pork is completely submerged in the brine. If it isn’t, use smaller containers and split the two butts and brine in separate containers. Place in the refrigerator for 12-16 hours.

Day two: Remove the pork from the brine, discard the brine, and pat the pork dry with disposable paper towels. Once dry, lightly rub yellow mustard all over the butts…. I left room for giggling J. In a bowl mix the dry rub together completely, making sure there are no clumps of spices. Flip the butts over with the fat cap facing down. Sprinkle dry rub all over, using your hand lightly to spread evenly. Flip the butts back over and coat the fat cap and sides. If you have a pan big enough to fit the butts then you can just cover the pan with saran wrap. If not, wrap the butts individually, completely and tightly with saran wrap all over. Refrigerate for 12-16 hours.

Day three! Smoking day! This is the fun part. Remember, this isn’t pot luck, so you can’t just throw it in the smoker and forget it. Smoking takes care, like comfort food. You put your time and love in it completely. Every type of smoker varies a bit in directions so I will cover the common at home smoker which is electric. Plug your smoker in and set it to medium high. Let the internal temperature of the smoker reach 250 degrees. Once hot, mix the Applewood and Cherry together and fill the “wood pan” insert of the smoker (the part above the electric coil). Fill the water pan next to it with plain water. There are many ways to play with this by adding orange and lemon peels, beer, wine, etc. For this style, just water. Close the door and let the temperature rise back up to 250 degrees. If it starts going above, decrease the setting to a lower heat until it hovers at 250.

While the wood is starting to heat up, mix your mop. The mop is termed as such because when doing large scale smoking, you’re using an actual mop to slap this wet ingredient all over the meat. You can use a brush, but only this one time! The mop is necessary to keep the pork from drying out, and helps it form the “bark”. The bark is the delicious black pieces on the outside of the pork. Oh. So. Good.

Blend all of your ingredients together and brush all over the pork. Place each butt on a separate rack, with the fat cap on top and close the door. Set a 2 hour timer and check back after the first 20 minutes to check the temperature of the smoker. You want to maintain 225 degrees. Every time you mop the pork, the temperature will drop but rise back up to 225 after about 20 minutes. Adjust the setting a little at a time to find the right spot. Once you’re able to hold that temperature for half an hour, don’t touch it again.

After the first two hours mop the top of the pork completely, replace the burnt wood with new wood, and new water in the water pan. Do this every two hours for about 10-12 hours. Check the internal temperature of the pork with a meat probe or electronic thermometer. When the pork reaches 165 degrees, remove it from the smoker and wrap completely in aluminum foil, leaving a small flap to lift and check the temperature. You have enough smoke flavor inside your pork, now it is time to make it tender. Place the pork back in the smoker for 1-2 hours. Before you remove it, make sure the temperature reaches 195 degrees internally. It will hover around 170 degrees for what seems like an eternity, but will quickly spike so check it every hour. Once you reach the 195 degrees, remove it from the smoker and start shredding it.

Be sure to retain all of the juices, and do not trim off any of the remaining fat. Fat equals flavor, and that’s why the Boston butt is the best choice for pulled pork. Once it is completely shredded, serve immediately. If you cannot eat all of it, it is safe to freeze for another day. At the end of this, you have one of the most moist, succulent, mouthwatering pulled pork I have ever done. Now you know how to smoke pork, and it is time to play on your own!

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