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Grillax Academy — How to grill Boston Butt

Among the most-asked questions of grill masters, how to grill Boston butt is at the top of the list. Grilling a tasty portion of a pork shoulder, the Boston Butt, is one of the best tests for future grill masters to hone their cooking skills.

Grillax Academy

It’s a big piece of meat, however, it’s not difficult to perfect. Once you get your method perfected, you’ll be the toast of the neighborhood.

Are you ready?

Let’s start by choosing what type of grill you will be using. If you’re using a kettle grill, use indirect heat for the cooking process. For smokers, set it up for a six- to eight-hour smoke. Before you begin, soak a few handfuls of pecan chunks (or any wood you choose) for about 30 minutes in water before adding to the coals.

Rub your (Boston) butt

Grillax Academy: Boston Butt Rub
Grillax Academy: Boston Butt Rub

Start with a pork shoulder in the seven-to-eight-pound range. Some experts say to trim the excess “fat cap,” but we find that doing this is bad to the overall slow smoke. The fat, which essentially melts and bastes the shoulder as it cooks, helps to keep the meat moist during the slow cooking process. Generously shake on your favorite rub, spreading it and patting evenly around the pork shoulder. Save some rub for later in the cooking process.

Slow smoke

Place the butt fat-side up on the grill, close the grill and bring the temperature up to a constant 225 degrees Fahrenheit to 250 degrees, using the vents to regulate the temperature. If your grill doesn’t have a thermometer, pick up a digital barbecue thermometer, such as the Thermapen by ThermoWorks. Be sure to check the internal temperature of the grill every hour or so. Add more charcoal and/or soaked wood chips as needed to maintain temperature and steady smoke.

Temperature

Grillax Academy: Boston Butt with the Thermapen
Grillax Academy: Boston Butt with a Thermapen

The USDA recommends that pork be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The federal agency says it is lowering the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160 degrees to 145 degrees and adding a 3-minute rest time. Although the safe zone temps have been lowered, the science behind the cooking makes the end product better, which means allowing the shoulder to reach 200 degrees is ideal. The high internal temperature allows collagen to break down, making the meat more tender. Keep in mind that the pork shoulder will continue to cook internally by 10 degrees even after you pull it off the grill. Remove the butt from the grill using barbecue gloves or by rolling it onto a shallow cooking sheet, cradling the meat to prevent it from falling apart.

The chopping block

Once the butt is off the grill, let it rest for at about 15 minutes to allow the juices to settle back into the meat, which comes when the temperature gradually declines and stops the cooking process. Pull off any remaining sections of cooked fat and discard. Now you are ready to render the butt. The most common method is to pull it apart with two forks or claws that literally “pull” and separate the tender strands of pork. Another way is to slice, then chop. Either way, be sure to mix the “bark,” or crusted outer meat, with the inner meat so that the varying textures and flavors meld.

Happy Grilling!

Carolina Pork Sliders

AuthorLauren CookCategory, , DifficultyIntermediate

Pulled pork is great for BBQ beginners, and creating Carolina Pork Sliders can catapult your skills when grilling.

Carolina Pork Sliders

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time25 minsCook Time6 hrsTotal Time6 hrs 25 mins

Carolina Pork Sliders
 1 Pork Shoulder
 1 gal Apple Cider Vinegar
 10 oz Worcestershire
 6 oz Chili Sauce
 ½ tbsp Red Pepper Flakes

1

Mix all sauce ingredients and whisk together. Set aside and use to baste the pork as it slow smokes.

2

Set your grill or smoker to about 225 degrees, with indirect heat. Grill time could be about 1 1/2 hours per pound, but ideally you should check your pork for an internal temperature of 202 degrees.

3

Once your pork is done, let it cool before pulling apart. After removing the fat cap, use your hands to pull the pork apart and keep all the fat that remains and mix with the pork. Add more sauce to the pork and mix well.

4

Grab a small portion of pulled pork and place on the bottom portion of a toasted slider bun. Top with more sauce and fresh cole slaw. Finish it off with toasted, buttered slider top and enjoy.

Ingredients

Carolina Pork Sliders
 1 Pork Shoulder
 1 gal Apple Cider Vinegar
 10 oz Worcestershire
 6 oz Chili Sauce
 ½ tbsp Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

1

Mix all sauce ingredients and whisk together. Set aside and use to baste the pork as it slow smokes.

2

Set your grill or smoker to about 225 degrees, with indirect heat. Grill time could be about 1 1/2 hours per pound, but ideally you should check your pork for an internal temperature of 202 degrees.

3

Once your pork is done, let it cool before pulling apart. After removing the fat cap, use your hands to pull the pork apart and keep all the fat that remains and mix with the pork. Add more sauce to the pork and mix well.

4

Grab a small portion of pulled pork and place on the bottom portion of a toasted slider bun. Top with more sauce and fresh cole slaw. Finish it off with toasted, buttered slider top and enjoy.

Carolina Pork Sliders

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Lauren Cook

Fire. Food. Fun ... Get the world grillin' and chillin'. Grillax, y'all!

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