Booty Call: A Tale of Two Butts – Matt’s Cook

While Mark prepped his Green Mountain for his pork shoulder smoking experience, I was doing the same on the south side of town.  My method of cook would be my trusty Masterbuilt electric smoker.  As Mark mentioned in his post, we got the meat from the same butcher on the same day.  We were even able to get pretty similar size cuts (about 5 lbs. a piece).  With the playing field leveled it was time to get down to business.

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First, the rub.  The combo that I used on this cook is my go to favorite; one that I lean on all the time when I need to serve a meal that I know everyone will enjoy.  Here’s what’s in it:

  • 1/4 cup ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

With the rub ingredients mixed well in a bowl, it’s time to rub down the butt (I will refrain from the butt jokes here since Mark already beat me to the punch).  No time to be shy here, be sure to apply liberally.

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Next, I wrap the pork tightly in Saran wrap and then place it in the fridge overnight.  This is going to be a looooooong smoke, like upwards of 18 hours long so I planned ahead and had this shoulder ready to go around 6 pm the day before our scheduled dinner.  In my opinion, my pork shoulders take so long because I leave the entire fat cap in place and don’t wrap during the cook.  This results in a pretty impressive stall; not quite as impressive as a full packer brisket but legit non-the-less.  Important note: when I pull the pork shoulder out of the fridge I rub it one more time and let it sit on the counter at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to placing it in the smoker.  Below is a picture of the meat before heading to the smoker.

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Into the Masterbuilt she goes at 220 degrees.  This cook had a stall for the ages.  After getting up to 170 degrees quickly, the meat sat there for the next 8 hours or so barely moving a degree.  Eventually the meat started to pull out of the stall and continued to climb to the 200 degree internal temperature that I was looking for.  I will say this is a nerve-wracking cook.  Especially if you’re hosting dinner, like me.  With the in-laws expecting pulled pork sandwiches for dinner, I sat next to my Masterbuilt sweating bullets, hoping that the 18 hours that I estimated for this cook was enough.  In the end, I finally made it to the proper internal temp and it was time to pull the butt.  We had about a 20 minute drive ahead of us to my in-laws’ place so I wrapped the pork in pink butcher paper and placed it in my cooler, which was also lined with towels.  Once there, I allowed the meat to rest just a bit more before shredding it with a large knife.

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This time when I shredded the meat, I went for bigger chunks.  In my mind this would produce more bark per bite and I have to say, I was pretty happy with not only the presentation but also how much of that beautiful bark was in each sandwich.  I will definitely be carving this cut the same way again.

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Each sandwich was served with coleslaw, sweet pickles, and a tangy Carolina sauce that was very similar to what Mark served with his.  By the way, give these thin, vinegar-forward sauces a chance.  One sandwich served with this stuff and you’ll be throwing your store-bought BBQ sauce in the trash.

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Matt’s Cook

  • Meat: 5.60 lb Bone-In Pork Butt
  • Rub: Down Town Mr. Brown Rub
  • Brine Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 18 hours
  • Final Internal Temp: 197°F
  • Temperature: 220°F
  • Smoker: Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
  • Wood: Oak
  • Sauce: North Carolina Vinegar
  • Served On: Roll with Coleslaw and Sweet Pickles
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