Ask Mr. BBQ
Question: I'm a beginning smoker. What would be my easiest cut of meat to start with? -John K. , Sacramento
Answer: Hey John! Pulled pork is a great way to start smoke cooking. It's one the tastiest too!
You'll want to use a Boston butt (aka: pork butt, butt, shoulder butt, shoulder roast). Even thought it's called a butt, it actually comes from the front of the hog. I read on the internet that it's called a butt because, after it's trimmed, the butt is barrel shaped, and barrels were often called butts by English wine merchants. I'm sure there are many other stories or thoughts on that.
Anyway, butts come in a lot of different sizes, but you should start with about a 5 pounder. They typically have shoulder blade bones in them although you can find "boneless butts" in some stores. Just go with the bone-in as it seems to add more flavor to the butt.
Pulled Pork Recipe
Cooking time. Allow 7 to 12 hours or 1.5 to 2 hours per pound at 225°F.
- 1 pork butt, about 5 pounds (this will get you about 3 ½ pounds of meat when done)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup Texas West BBQ Rub
- 2 cups wood for smoke (enough to keep your temp steady)
- 10 buns
- Lot's of Texas West BBQ barbecue sauce (original or Secret Spicy)
- Beer (for drinking while your smoking your pork butt)
Trim some of the fat from the exterior of the meat but not all of it. Trim just enough to where you've got rub on meat and fat. If you're butt came tied with string to keep it together, be sure to leave it on there, you'll take it off when it's done.
Rinse and pat dry the butt then rub it with Oil. This helps the rub adhere to the meat. Cover your butt generously with Texas West BBQ rub and then let it sit in the fridge overnight.
Set up your cooker for indirect heat cooking and fire it up the cooker to about 225°F. Put the meat right on the grill grate, not in a pan, add 1/2 cup of wood chips to the coals or into your smoker box if you're using one. Get a comfortable lounge chair and relax with a good beer while you listen to the ball game. Check the cooker every hour or so to make sure you're holding at around 225°F. Keep adding wood chips, 1/4 cup at a time, every 30 minutes for the first two hours to keep the temp right. No need to mop the meat, it's not necessary for the pork butt and can cause havoc when trying to keep your temperature steady.
Allow about 1.5 to 2 hours per pound. Be patient. Use a meat thermometer and test it when you're about 7 hours in for a 5 pound butt. When the meat gets to 190°F, it's time to check it for doneness. The exterior will be quite dark brown or black, that's called the crust and it's really good! Don't worry, it's not burnt. If there is a bone, use a glove or paper towel to protect your fingers and wiggle the bone. If the bone turns easily and comes right out of the meat, you are done. If the internal temp hits 190°F but the meat is still not tender, reduce the heat in your cooker to about 180 or 190°F and check it in another 30 minutes.
After you take it off the cooker, let it rest for about 30 minutes then get to pullin'! It will go a lot faster if you get some help with this part! That's it! Pile it on a bun and top with some Texas West BBQ sauce. Enjoy!