Grillax

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 AcademyIt’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!

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GrillMaster

Barin von Foregger founded Grillax with one mission ... Get the world grillin' and chillin'. A self-taught chef and grill master, von Foregger enjoys sharing his adventures with the world. In his words, "If you can eat it, you can grill it."

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GrillMaster

Barin von Foregger founded Grillax with one mission ... Get the world grillin' and chillin'. A self-taught chef and grill master, von Foregger enjoys sharing his adventures with the world. In his words, "If you can eat it, you can grill it."

Arkansas Razorbacks gear at Fanatics.com
Vanderbilt Commodores gear at Fanatics.com
South Carolina Gamecocks gear at Fanatics.com
Texas Longhorns gear at Fanatics.com
Tennessee Volunteers gear at Fanatics.com
Oklahoma Sooners gear at Fanatics.com
Texas A&M Aggies gear at Fanatics.com
Texas Tech Red Raiders gear at Fanatics.com
Auburn Tigers gear at Fanatics.com
Penn State Nittany Lions gear at Fanatics.com
Missouri Tigers gear at Fanatics.com
LSU Tigers gear at Fanatics.com
Alabama Crimson Tide gear at Fanatics.com
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Under Armour Gear
Kentucky Wildcats gear at Fanatics.com
Florida Gators gear at Fanatics.com
Ole Miss Rebels gear at Fanatics.com
Oklahoma State Cowboys gear at Fanatics.com
Michigan Wolverines Nike/Jordan Brand gear at Fanatics.com
Mississippi State Bulldogs gear at Fanatics.com