Before I even get started here, let me lay down a little disclaimer…this is how I smoke a pork shoulder or butt. Some people call it a pork shoulder and some people call it a pork butt…it’s labeled a pork shoulder butt roast at the grocery. This may not be the way you or someone you know smokes their pork, but this is what works for us. Your temperatures or methods may be different, and that’s great! If you smoke your pork butt differently, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below…in a nice way :)
A few weeks ago, we purchased the most wonderful invention ever made. Not even kidding, I will never retract this statement. The Big Green Egg is a game changer. It’s not cheap, but sooo worth it. If you love to grill year round like we do, it’s worth saving for, and I am absolutely NOT getting paid to say this. This baby just cooks differently. I could try to explain it, but am afraid I would fail miserably, so I will just say, it’s awesome, and anything you cook on it is going to be fabulous. Period. End Game.
The first week we had our Big Green Egg, we grilled chicken, ribeye steaks, shrimp and chicken wings…but, we were waiting anxiously for the weekend to come so we could smoke our first pork butt. If you don’t know what a pork butt is, and you think it sounds kind of gross…you couldn’t be more wrong. It’s the stuff that amazing pulled pork barbecue is made from and is simply put, AMAZING! So, after waiting all through the week, we set out to smoke our first pork butt. We got some advice from our BGE loving friends, and set out to smoke one ourselves. It was crazy good!!! We took it to our friend’s home for a cookout and got rave reviews, so I thought I’d share how we smoked a pork butt here on the blog in case anyone (like me) needed help that first time. I know I did, and would have been swinging or smoking blindly if our friends hadn’t given us a ton of advice. So…here goes…let’s learn how to smoke a pork shoulder, y’all!
Start with a pork shoulder butt. We bought ours at Costco in a double pack for around $32. It comes with two large ones, so you can smoke one now and freeze one for later. One pork butt is enough to feed an army, so this is an amazing deal, folks!
We used Dizzy Dust from The Dizzy Pig for our rub. You will want to rub your butt (hee hee) generously to get a good crust or bark in the end. Once you have rubbed it down real good all over, allow it to sit while you get your BGE ready.
Isn’t she a beaut?
First…be sure that all of your vent holes are clear and remove any old lump and ashes from previous use.
Fill your BGE with lump charcoal (we used BGE’s lump, but also use Royal Oak Lump Charcoal) up to the top of the charcoal bowl.
Time to light your lump! I like to sprinkle in some dry apple chips first, and some like to soak their apple chips…personal preference here. There is no right or wrong way. Next, place a fire starter under a few pieces of lump and light. If you have an electric starter, awesome…just use that instead.
Let your lump get going…this usually takes 7-10 minutes.
Now, place your plate setter in, then an aluminum drip pan and your cooking grate.
Shut your BGE and wait for the temperature to reach anywhere from 230 degrees to 275 degrees. ***a little advice…don’t let your BGE get too hot, or you may have trouble bringing the temp down for smoking.
Once you reach your desired smoking temp, it’s time to adjust the daisy wheel. The daisy wheel should sit on top of your BGE with the handle and BGE logo to the right…this keeps it from falling off when you lift your lid.
For a 10-12 hour smoke, we open our daisy wheel just a little. Our friend Jason says it’s open about 20%. I took a photo to show exactly what that looks like since I am not much of a numbers kind of girl.
Next, time to adjust the vent at the bottom. We leave ours open about 1/2 – 3/4 of an inch.
Now, add your pork butt to the grill and shut the lid!
We usually hang around and make sure the temp is staying steady for about 20-30 minutes, head to bed, then wake up 10 hours later to this beauty! The internal temp should read between 160 and 170 degrees for slicing or 190 and 200 degrees for pulling. I’m not going to lie, the first time we smoked a pork butt, I got up every 2 hours to make sure the BGE was keeping the right temp. It was until about 6 am, so I opened the bottom vent a little more. The second time we smoked one, it did just fine all night long. Our friend, Orr, has a thermometer system that alerts him if the temp goes down, and I think that may be our next investment. Our other friend, Wright, has a fancier thermometer system that can be controlled from anywhere, but it’s a tad bit pricey.
At this point, I usually take ours inside to keep it warm. I place it in a casserole dish or aluminum pan, pour a beer over it, cover it with foil and leave it in our oven at 200 degrees until we are ready to eat it. (This tip was shared with us by our friend, Meyers)
If you wonder why I have referred to all of our advice giving friends by their last names, it’s because they are all Jasons, and that can get a bit confusing!
Once it’s time to eat, I shred it using a couple of forks…it should just fall apart…doesn’t the bark look amazing? It’s my favorite part!
Now it’s ready to eat! With the rub, there really is no need for BBQ sauce…the pork has tons of flavor. But…to each their own. My kids love to add honey barbecue sauce, and Matt loves hot barbecue sauce. Serve it as is or on buns with a little slaw and bakes beans.
So…that’s how we smoke our pork butt here in the Kielman house! If you use another method, I’d love to hear in the comment section below!
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