Sunday, February 8, 2009

I Like Big Butts and I Cannot Lie

I have been craving pulled pork all week long but when we got to Kroger's, all they had was little 4-5 lb pork butts (aka boston butts, it's the butt of the shoulder...not the south end of a north bound pig). Fortunately, they had one left in the back and it was a nice 9 pounder. I just don't like smoking them if they are under 7 lbs, they just don't do the same.

Note: This isn't a "how to" post. If you're interested in that, ask in the comments and I will send you some excellent resources.

I rubbed the meat with a light layer of Billy Bones Competition rub and let it sit while I set up the Big Green Egg for a 15 hour cook (1.5 hours per pound in general). I cleaned the Egg out for good air flow and then loaded it fully with Full Circle lump charcoal and chunks of hickory. I hit the meat with a layer of Billy Bones Original rub just before it went into the smoker running at 250 f (temp at the dome, grate temp would be about 225 f) at 6:45 last night.

"If you're lookin' then you're not cookin' " is the old BBQ saying. During the entire 15 hours, I only opened the Egg twice, to add a chunk of hickory. That's one of the great things about a Big Green Egg, you can cook seemingly forever on one load of coal. I've gone 18 hours and had coal left over.

At 9:38 this morning, almost 15 hours on the dot, the pork butt hit 190+ degrees and was ready to come off. That's one hunk o' pig!Then I double wrapped it in foil, stuck it in an empty cooler and put two beach towels on top of it to let it sit for 2-3 hours. The magic continues happening inside there, even if it's not on the cooker.

Meanwhile, I made my favorite slaw and pulled pork bbq sauce, a thin Piedmont style vinegar sauce.

Lisbon Fire Department BBQ Sauce for Pulled Pork
(This recipe is very personal to me as it was the first real NC BBQ I ever had as a kid and my grandmother gave this recipe to me on a 3 x 5 card shortly before she passed away.)


1 gallon vinegar
4 ounces lemon juice
1 ounce red pepper
2 sticks margarine
1 gallon catsup
4 ounces Hot sauce
1 ounce black pepper
Salt to taste
1 cup honey

Combine and heat over medium heat until flavors blend.
Could be easily reduced to 1/4 recipe which would still make 1/2 gallon; however, should keep for ages in the refrigerator. The Fire Department used either a whole pig or whole fresh hams.

Cole Slaw (from Ultimate Chili Cheeseburger recipe)
1 pound green cabbage (about 1/2 medium head), thinly shredded
1 large carrot peeled and grated
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 small onion minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Ground Black Pepper

1. Toss cabbage and carrots with salt in colander set over medium bowl. Let stand until cabbage wilts, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

2. Dump wilted cabbage and carrots into the bowl. Rinse thoroughly in cold water (ice water if serving slaw immediately). Pour vegetables back into colander, pressing, but not squeezing on them to drain. Pat dry with paper towels. (Can be stored in a zipper-lock bag and refrigerated overnight.)

3. Pour cabbage and carrots back again into bowl. Add onions, mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar; toss to coat. Season with pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Now we "pull" the pork by shredding it into pieces with two forks. The cooking process has turned all the collagen and fat into goodness, so the meat comes apart very easily. The only down side is that all of the "quality control sampling" that goes on during the pulling part tends to leave me full before we've even eaten:)

Finally, 18 hours later......heaven!
The final yield was about 4-5 lbs of delicious bbq pork. We vacuum sealed about half of it to freeze. We'll eat the rest over the next few days. Great stuff!

Cooking Log: I find these work well with the long cooks required for BBQ. They help me remember what went right (or wrong) so I can tweak my performance the next time.

For printable version, click here:
Lisbon Fire Department Bbq Sauce For Pork