Saturday, January 7, 2023

New Year's Day Pork Butt

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I was only planning on smoking that brisket for New Years' Day but Food City had pork butts for $1.49 per pound and I couldn't resist picking one up. 

Smoking pork butt on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Smoked pork butt finishing on the Big Green Egg.

Meat Prep

I kept it simple. I started with an 8.7-pound Smithfield bone-in pork shoulder butt roast.

  • Trimming - None needed.
  • Injection - I injected it with a simple solution of 12 ounces of apple juice and 2 tablespoons of kosher salt.
  • Seasoning - I heavily coated the pork butt with Fire and Smoke BBQ Company's Second City Sweet BBQ Rub. I covered it and let it dry brine for 6 hours in the fridge. 

Second City Sweet BBQ Rub is balanced and not overly sweet.
Despite its name, Fire and Smoke's Second City Sweet BBQ Rub is balanced, so it's not as sweet as some rubs that are high in sugar.

It's a good idea to freshen up the rub after the dry brine period. I apply a light second coat.
After the dry-brine, much of the seasoning has soaked in so I like to apply a "freshen up" coat just before the pork butt goes into the smoker.

Smoker SetUp

I used a large Big Green Egg for this smoke.

  • Clean up. I cleaned out the Egg before starting; that ensures the best airflow. 
    • I had used coal so I shook the Kick Ash Basket to get all of the ash out.
    • I emptied the KAB Ash Can.
  • Fuel - Kick Ash Basket with fresh Jealous Devil XL lump charcoal and blocks of hickory wood. I then topped that off with the used coal that I cleaned earlier. 
  • Gear - I used a cast-iron plate setter and topped it with a drip pan. I used my favorite cast-iron cooking grates from Craycort
  • Controller - I used a BBQGuru UltraQ running at 275°f connected to a Pit Bull Fan.

A Kick Ash Basket is a tool that makes maintaining airflow in a grill, easy
I like to bury my wood chunks so they don't all ignite at the start of the cook. I top this with more fresh lump charcoal and whatever leftover coal was previously in the Kick Ash Basket. When I go to put the pork butt on, I make sure to put a block on the burning coals to ensure it gets smoke from the beginning.

Smoking pork butt on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Here's a look at my setup - cast-iron plate setter on the bottom, foil-covered drip pan on that, all topped with a cast-iron grate from Craycort.

The Cook


I lit the coals in one spot at the front of the Egg to give it plenty of time to come to temp and stabilize.


Time to start cooking! 

Smithfield pork butt getting ready to go on the Big Green Egg for smoking.
I took the pork butt out of the fridge and refreshed the rub by sprinkling more Second City Sweet BBQ Rub. 

Smoking pork butt on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
I put the pork butt on a wire rack and a small sheet pan and placed that in the center of the Big Green Egg. I spritzed it with apple juice and let it run.

Dual Big Green Eggs smoking a brisket and a pork butt
I let it run overnight at 275°f, spritzing with apple juice once or twice. The Egg is a moist cooking environment so I didn't have to spritz as often as I would on my stick burners.


The pork butt had the color that I wanted so I wrapped it in foil. I put the butt on two sheets of foil, gave it about 3 tablespoons of butter, spritzed it generously with apple juice, wrapped it up and put it back on the smoker.


The pork butt reached an internal temperature of 205°f. I tested it with a temp probe in a few spots and it was tender so it was time to rest. I put it in a Cambro hotbox that we pre-heated earlier and let it hold for a few hours. (You can make your own hotbox with a warm, empty cooler and some towels.


A KCBS Team of the Year pitmaster once told me that the last thing you flavor the pork with is the first thing you'll taste. So he recommended giving it that one last kiss of smoke.
  • I raise the temperature of the controller to get it to kick the fan on.
  • I added 1 fresh block of wood to the coals in an area that was burning.
  • I removed the pork butt from its foil wrap and glazed it with Blues Hog Original BBQ Sauce thinned by cutting it with apple juice.
  • I placed the pork butt back on the smoker just long enough to set the glaze and expose it to smoke one last time. 

Smoking pork butt on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Giving the pork butt one last kiss of smoke.

Smoking pork butt on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Just long enough until the sauce is cooked onto the pork butt - about 10-15 minutes.

Pork butt smoked on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Alexis dropping the pork butt to begin pulling it. Nice bark, eh?

Wearing cotton gloves under the food gloves lets you handle the steaming hot pork butt without burning your fingers.

When Trevor grabbed a bite of the pulled pork, he mentioned wanting to have a BBQ burger.  That was too good of an idea to resist.

So made 8-ounce patties from a brisket/sirloin blend, seasoned them with Fire and Smoke's Classic rub, and grilled them 4 minutes a side on my CharBroil Cruise temperature-controlled gas grill.

BBQ Burger - brisket burger patty, cheddar, pulled pork and candied bacon.
BBQ Burger - toasted brioche bun, half-pound burger, cheddar, pulled pork, mocha BBQ sauce, and candied bacon. NOICE!