Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Smoked Pork Butt and Spare Ribs: Notes from Memorial Day Weekend Cook on the Big Green Egg

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We had a porkilicous BBQ dinner yesterday that was tender, smoky, and all kinds of delicious.

Spicy Smoked Pork Butt

Bourbon Barrel Smoked Spare Ribs

Southern-style Potato Salad

Bush's Smokehouse Grillin' Beans

BBQ plate of smoked pork, spare ribs, beans and potato salad
Smoked pork butt and spare ribs for the win!

This isn't a recipe post, just a summary of the cook. Here are my notes, thoughts, and some pictures of how everything went.

Meat Prep

My Food City had Smithfield pork butts and Smithfield spare ribs on sale for the weekend so I picked up one of each.

Pork Butt Prep

The pork butt weighed in just over 9 pounds. When picking pork butts, I look for a rectangular shape, not a lot of excess fat, a prominent money muscle, and a vibrant color (not pale pink). 

  • Timing - I like to do this so that my pork butt has 12 hours to rest in the fridge before smoking.
  • Trimming - None, this Smithfield pork butt was nicely trimmed of any excess fat. The one downside is that a deep gash almost cut off the money muscle. The gash was sort of like we do for competition pork butts to expose the money muscle to smoke, but the cut was much deeper, almost all the way through.
  • Injection - I inject mainly for flavor rather than moisture. I used Chris Lilly's recipe for his World Championship Pork Shoulder from his first book. The apple juice gives it sweetness, the salt seasons it, the cayenne gives it a hint of heat, and the Worcestershire sauce adds that umami "fifth taste". 
  • Rub - We opted for a spicy pork butt this time. Instead of a sweet rub like my Southern Sweet recipe or Meat Church Honey Hog, I pulled out the Albukirky Seasonings Anchonero rub. As the name implies, Anchonero has ancho (smoky, dark) and habanero (heat, bright) chiles. 

Smithfield pork butt prepared for smoking
Fat cap down on a wire rack in a half-sized steam pan. You can see I had the money muscle leaning against the steam pan in the front. If you look about 2 inches back, you can see a fine line that was the cut that I mentioned. If I did this without a steam pan, I would have tied the money muscle to the roast so it didn't flop open and cook faster than the rest of the roast.