Friday, June 28, 2013

Grilling Tutorial: 10 Steps to a Perfect Pork Butt

I posted this super fun grilling tutorial over on Endless Simmer last week & thought it deserved a share over here on my own blog!

I followed my boyfriend's step-by-step process in creating the most flavorful, juicy pork butt and documented it.  And you know what?  Grilling is not that intimidating, after all!

You, yes you, can create a perfect pork butt (or any other type of large meat) with just 10 easy steps!  Try it out and impress your friends for the upcoming July 4th holiday.
(I believe this technique would work well with a pork shoulder or a beef brisket, as well.)

Step 1: Buy a butt
Look for a butt for however many guests you are feeding.   I think ours was 8 lbs and it fed approximately 15  people.  You want some fat on the butt, but not a huge sheet of fat, because then it will be super greasy tasting.
Step 2: Make a rub
We made a rub using this recipe.  It tenderized the meat and gave it amazing flavor.

You can even make a shaker out of a mason jar!
Step 3: Make an injection
An injection keeps the meat moist throughout the long cook time.  We used this recipe here, featuring apple juice!

You can find injectors in lots of stores, in a variety of sizes and materials.  We like this stainless steel one found on Amazon.
Step 4: Prep your butt the night before
To prep the butt, you squirt some spicy mustard all over the meat and put a healthy amount of rub on all surfaces of the meat, rubbing it in slightly.
Then, inject the meat in several different places with the injection recipe.
Wrap it in foil twice and put it in a plastic bag (to safeguard against any leaks) overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 5: Light your coals, set up your grill

Fill a chimney starter with coals and newspaper and light it up.  Get those coals smoking and then put them on one side of your grill.  On the other side of your grill, you should have a drip pan filled with 2 cups of water.

Optional—you can also add foil packs of soaked wood chips into the coal side, periodically, throughout the grilling process.
Step 6: Mind your temperature

Try to keep your grill temp at around 225 – 250F degrees.  To maintain the heat, you can adjust the chimney stack thingy on your grill (to make it cooler) or add more hot coals (to make it hotter).  You’ll most likely have to add more coals at least three times to keep a steady temperature.
Step 7: Make a mop sauce & baste the butt
A mop sauce adds additional moisture to your pork as it cooks.  So you have a double whammy, the internal moisture from the injection plus the mop sauce basting the outside of the meat.  Can’t go wrong with that!
Here’s our recipe for mop sauce:
1 cup of apple juice
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Mix all ingredients together and baste the pork butt with a grilling mop about once an hour.
Step 8: Make your own BBQ sauce
Store bought BBQ sauce is okay, but making your own sauce really seals the deal and adds your own unique, fresh flavors to the meat.
We used an award-winning recipe, found here (except that we omitted the apricot preserves).  Highly recommended if you like a tangy hint of sweetness followed by a kick of heat.
Step 9: Check your internal temperature
The internal temperature for pork is 200 degrees.  Use a meat thermometer, like this digital one, for accuracy.

Almost there!
Cook time varies by the size of your butt.  Ours cooked for 8 hours before it reached 200F degrees.
We placed the meat fat side up, so it basted the meat throughout the entire cook time.  We did not flip or rotate the meat.  It needed to do its own thing.
Step 10: Wrap your butt & give it a rest
Once your butt is within 5 degrees of 200, remove it from the grill (careful!  It’s hot!) and wrap in aluminum foil to rest for about an hour.  This will keep the meat very juicy and enhance all the flavors.

Check out that smoke ring!
After, that, shred your meat with a fork and serve.

And bask in the glow of your grilling victory!  Also, you may commence with the butt jokes.

Have a safe & fun Forth of July, everyone!

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