Pork butt also known as Boston butt (not Bill Belichick) was on sale at Harris Teeter for .99 cents a pound which made this 8 pounder quite a deal. I wanted to slow cook it since it was summer and I had the time, but didn’t want to slow cook it for 14 hours. I did a bit of an in between method using indirect heat. First I got the grill started before I prepped the pork.
Keeping all of the heat to one side
I put down a base of charcoal and a few small logs on top as added fuel and to get a smoky flavor. I kept all of these to one side and started them up planning to put the pork on in about a half an hour.
In the meantime, I prepared the pork.
Fat jackets are gross, but necessary for flavor and tenderness
There was a bone in the meat
Next I took about 8 cloves of garlic and cut them in half. Then I cut small slits throughout the meat and put the garlic in, making sure it was deep enough that it could not be seen.
You wouldn't know it, but there is a lot of garlic in there
Next I prepared a dry rub by combining some dry seasonings. I prefer doing this over using a store bought one as they are often packed with sugar and or can be way too salty.
Just pick what you like and mix it up
Then I thoroughly covered the pork on all sides.
Next onto the cooking. The coals were white and ashed over and the wood was burning and smoking well. I opened the bottom air intake of the grill about half way and placed the pork on the grate on the opposite side of the heat so that there was nothing underneath it.
The flames will die down when covered but will still be plenty hot
I then covered the grill putting the top air intake over the meat and opening it about halfway also. This makes the smoke and heat travel over and around the pork in order to escape out of the top. Opening the intakes up halfway gives the flames enough air to be hot and continue to burn. To truly slow cook it, you would have barely opened the air valves, but it again would take twice as long (up to 8 hours 0r more). This is what I meant by using a hybrid method that was still slow (about 5 hours), but not the typical slow cooking process.
After about 2 hours, I opened the grill up and took the whole grate, pork and all, off and placed it aside. I stirred up the coals, got rid of some of the spent ash, and added a few more coals and small pieces of wood. Then I turned the pork so that the other side of it was facing the heat source. It was looking great already and could have probably been eaten, but it would not have been very tender.
After about 2 hours of indirect smoking
This was also going on during the process which really helped. The site's namesake!
I let the charcoal and wood heat back up uncovered for about 10 minutes then put the flipped pork back on. I checked it in about an hour and flipped it around again, and the same in another hour.
Because the temperature was close enough to what I had wanted it to be and it was getting late, I took the meat off after about 4.5 hours of total cooking time. This method also uses the fuel very efficiently as the coals could have gone for another few hours.
Got to about 205 degress at its highest
Government official numbers say to cook the pork to 160-170 degrees, but when slow cooking it like this, you want to get it closer to 200 for the tenderness. This was tender and did come apart pretty easily, but also could have gone for another hour or a little less. Towards some of the bone, the meat was not as uniformly tender, but was still tender enough.
Finally ready to come off the grill
I let the pork rest for a bit so that it could be handled. The fat jacket came right off and many other visible fat pockets were easy to remove, though some people(southerners) would keep most of them for the extra flavor.
In the meantime, I cut up some cauliflower and covered it in vinegar and mustard before grilling. I wanted something tart to contrast the pork and this easy mixture did that well.
Threw it in the grill basket for about 30-40 minutes
Once the pork was cool enough to handle, I shredded it with two large forks which was pretty easy except for a bit around the bone as mentioned. The smoky flavor and rub had really penetrated throughout and there were pockets of stronger garlic flavor than others which I considered prizes.
We put the pork in a bowl with some cauliflower and ate some plain and ate some with a bit of BBQ sauce.
Was good enough plain
BBQ sauce is good too.
It was great and I am really pleased at how it turned out. It could have been enjoyed on buns or with slaw or many other ways. As you may have noticed, we do not know how to cook for 2 people and base our portions on a family of 8 which means that there were tons of leftovers which you will see some uses of in the coming days. This may sound difficult, but really was not and also did not require a lot of attention. Don’t put it on and go to the store, but is easy to set up and entertain while the magic happens.
Recipe for Pulled Pork Dry Rub