Booty Call: A tale of two butts – Mark’s Cook

Matt and I have been having some great discussion regarding different techniques, variance between types of smokers, choice of wood, sauces, and rubs. How the sauce and rub should complement the meat, while not overpowering it. The meat has to shine, and the technique should really be at the forefront. Each small touch made to the BBQ should add its subtle hint of something extra to the dish, and when focusing on it, should be able to be admired.

Sort of like tasting a fine wine, or a craft beer. Hints of chocolate, oak, coriander, orange peel. The same thing goes for great BBQ.

Between the two smokers, there is quite a difference. The electric smoker develops smoke through a pan of wet wood chips, while the pellet smoker uses wood pellets as the fuel.

Now, we can “bench race” all we want, and theorize on everything under the sun, but at the end of the day tasting is believing. So we wiped up the puddle of salivation which had accumulated, and decided we would do some experimentation.

Friday I picked up 2 bone-in pork butts from the same butcher, from the same source. To take quality of meat out of the equation. We also used the same rub and a similar NC vinegar-based sauce.

Mark’s Butt

  • Meat: 5.240 lb Bone-In Pork Butt
  • Rub: Smokey Rub-inson enriched with an extra 1T of granulated garlic, dark brown sugar, and 1/2T kosher salt
  • Brine Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 14 hours
  • Final Internal Temp: 194°F
  • Temperature: 235-250°F
  • Smoker: GMG Jim Bowie
  • Wood: Hickory
  • Sauce: North Carolina Vinegar
  • Served On: Southern Biscuits

I got to work at about 6PM on Friday night. Mixed my seasoning and rubbed my fine piece of as… I mean pork. I then wrapped it tightly in about 10 lbs worth of saran, and threw it into the refrigerator to allow the meat to really absorb the rub. I like the meat to be cold when it goes into the smoker, and have found that seasoning the day-of doesn’t yield as great a smoke ring and the meat isnt quite as moist and has also began to increase its internal temp slightly.

I then got to work on the North Carolina Vinegar sauce. I cant take credit for this one, though, I got the recipe at Meatwave.com. I did, however, substitute Louisiana Hot Sauce for the Texas Pete’s that they recommend. I couldnt find the TP, and was in a time crunch. Because last minute decisions…

I mixed together Apple Cider Vinegar, dark brown sugar, kosher salt, ground black pepper, chili flake, and Louisiana hot sauce. Put it over heat and boiled it. As it boiled i whisked the ingredients together until the salt and brown sugar were entirely dissolved. Once that was completed, I let it boil for another 3 or 4 minutes. I felt the extra boil time would help thicken it up a tad.

I removed from the heat source, and cooled the saucepan under some running water to help cool the sauce. I then transferred it to a sauce bottle and placed it into the fridge to rest.

The butt went onto the smoker at 6:25AM Saturday, at about 235°F. I initially had it fat side up for the first 5 hours. But upon reading some wisdom regarding heat creation and differences with a pellet smoker, I flipped it fat side down.

At 11AM

At 2PM, I threw on a chicken as well. I was registering about 160°F by this time.

4:30PM

Took a little longer than anticipated, I think my temps were lower than I thought they were. Likely due to the addition of the whole chicken, dropping the temp inside the smoker.

The internal temp stalled out at 194°F, and after about 45 minutes with little movement, I pulled it off. That was around 8:15PM. Then I let it rest for 15 minutes.

The meat had great bark on the outside, and fell apart when you handled it. The fat also rendered nicely and melted down. As I chopped it, the fat just melted into the meat creating a natural juice.

It would be nice to be able to have more bark in the meat after its chopped though.

Served aside a couple of biscuits, and drizzled with the vinegar sauce I made. The sauce tasted awesome with the pork, although I shouldve pulled it out of the fridge about an hours ahead of time so that it could warm up to room temp.

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