In this recipe, we'll be looking at creating a butterflied pork butt i.e. a butterflied pork shoulder.
I often remove the bone from pork butts before smoking them and sometimes I get them from the store with the bone already removed. The boneless aspect of this is not necessary but does give you a lot more flexibility with getting them done faster, creating more bark on the outside and more smoke access. It's a great method and in this recipe I'll show you exactly how I do it.
I used this time to go get the smoker going but how you use your time is entirely up to you;-)
After about 15 minutes, the rub will have stuck to the meat pretty good and obtained a sort of wet look. Flip the meat over and do the exact same process to the other side.
Looking good and ready to go into the smoker.
By the way: that smaller piece in the front was a piece that came apart from the rest of the meat when I was trimming the fat. No problem at all.. just make sure it gets some mustard and rub as well.
Step 3: Smoke Time
Setup your smoker for indirect cooking at about 225°F (107°C) using hickory, pecan, apple or whatever smoker wood you have available. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up for some nice humidity in the smoker.
Every smoker is different but in my pellet smoker, it took 11 hours for the meat to reach 190°F (88°C) in the thickest part. I wanted it to be tender but sliceable. If you're interested in pulled pork, just let it go a little longer to an internal temperature of about 207°F (97°C).
Be sure to use a tried and true leave-in meat thermometer so you can monitor the temperature without opening the lid any more often than necessary. I am using the Smoke X in the image below which is capable of 4 unique inputs. You can read my review of this excellent piece of equipment HERE.
Here it is about 6 hours in after mopping it for the first time.
You might be thinking that it should have gotten done a lot faster since it was butterflied however, it was around 25°F during the cook, there was snow on the ground with plenty of cold wind. On a nicer day, it may have cooked faster. I also opened the door quite often to snap pictures, apply my rub/butter mop, etc.
I could have wrapped it once it reached about 160°F (71°C) but since I wanted maximum bark, I opted to let it cook open even if it took longer.
These slices were about ½ inch thick and made some amazing sandwiches. Also good on fajitas, tacos, etc.
Opening these pork butts up probably doubled or tripled the amount of bark and that alone was worth it in my opinion.
In a future recipe, I will use this butterflied pork butt method to stuff the meat with something and then roll it back up, tie it and cook it in the smoker. Feel free to jump the gun and try that option. If you come up with something really good, let me know!
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Smoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.
It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.