I was strolling past the meat counter at the local grocer the other day and noticed that they had Boston Butt Pork Roasts for half price--$0.98 per pound. I left the store with a five pounder in my cart.
My Butt sat in the fridge for a couple of days (sorry, I just couldn’t resist writing that without actually talking dirty) while I researched how to make pulled pork and my own barbeque sauce.
There are literally hundreds of opinions and recipes covering the subject in cookbooks, on TV shows, and on the internet, but the best ones all involve brining the pork before it is cooked and using a spice rub while it is cooked. Then, once you’ve brined your Butt and rubbed your Butt, you can grill your Butt, smoke your Butt, or roast your Butt in the oven. (Again sorry folks, I just couldn’t resist…)
Since we wanted to spend Sunday afternoon at the pool while the pork slow cooked, I chose roasting in the oven as my method du jour.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to cook your Butt…snicker…snicker
For the Brine:
1 gallon of water (more if you have a bigger Butt than mine…heh)
¼ cup of kosher salt
¼ cup of sugar
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup apple cider vinegar
(Increase the proportions of the other ingredients if you need more water)
For the Rub:
1/8 cup black pepper
1/8 cup paprika
1-1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
For ”Kansas City” style Barbeque Sauce:
½ cup light (or dark) brown sugar
1 tbsp dry mustard powder
½ tbsp chili powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp allspice
3 cups catsup
¼ cup black strap molasses
¼ cup water
½ cup white vinegar
½ tsp Gravymaster flavoring/seasoning
First things first. The day or night before you’re going to cook your Butt you need to make up the brine.
I put the brine ingredients together in our largest 3 gallon boiler, stirred it all up, and put my Butt inside after trimming off the excess fat and any muscle “sheath” that is on the outside (hey, no comments please…)
Place your brined Butt in the refrigerator overnight, or at least six hours. I brined my Butt at about 3:00 AM and let it sit in the brine until noon the next day. It can actually stay in the brine for as long as two whole days.
Next make up the rub for your Butt. Simply mix all of the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. I put mine “Butt rub” in a small jar so that I could save any left over for another Butt.
When you are ready to cook your Butt, pull it out of the brine, rinse it off real good in the sink, and place it on a platter to drain. Now pat your Butt dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towels. Dry off the platter also.
Now sprinkle your Butt rub all over your Butt and rub your Butt rub into the surface of your Butt with your hands (that has to be the record for the number of times I will write the word Butt” in one sentence in this recipe.)
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Preheat an appropriate sized Dutch-oven on the stovetop over medium heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Now place your Butt in the Dutch-oven and sear it well on all sides.
Once your Butt is seared, turn it over on it’s side and add a ½ cup of liquid to the bottom of the pot. You can use water if you want, but I used a little white wine and some left over chicken stock that I had sitting in the fridge. A lot of juice will cook out of the meat while it is heating, but the wine/stock mixture adds some flavor and it just seemed like a good idea to me.
Toss your Butt in the oven and go watch TV or go to the pool…I sun burned my nose this afternoon waiting on my Butt to cook.
Now is the time to make your Barbeque sauce if your aren’t using store bought sauce. By the way, everyone knows that real men don’t use store bought sauce.
Put the brown sugar, mustard powder, and the spices in a heavy skillet over medium low heat. Add the Catsup, molasses, water, and vinegar, and stir everything together.
Keep you heat low enough to avoid boiling your sauce. You need to treat it like a roux or a gravy and stir almost continuously. It needs to cook at least thirty minutes while you pay close attention to it. Once it thickens to where you want it, turn off the heat and let it coast.
Keep cooking your Butt until the meat flakes apart easily. I turned my Butt over in the Dutch oven once while it was cooking to keep both sides of my Butt juicy (for some reason that sounds wrong…never mind…)
A general rule is to cook your Butt in the oven about one hour per pound—on the grill it takes about 1-1/2 hours per pound.
Once your Butt is cooked (as opposed to your Goose), pull it out of the pot and place it on a clean platter to rest for a few minutes. My Butt was tired after all that work.
Now tear your Butt up with a knife and fork, place it on top of a couple pieces of light bread on plates with some slaw and potato salad, top with barbeque sauce, pour yourself a cold beer, AND EAT!
The Redneck Gourmet
(P.S, I actually got to write the word “Butt” 33 times in this recipe. Oh, to be thirteen years old again.)
UPDATE: May 16, 2005
After the meat cools, pick though it with your fingers to remove the fat and stuff you don't want to eat (I'm like Jack Spratt--I eat no fat) and place it in a covered container, adding the rest of your barbeque sauce, stirring everything up, and storing it in the fridge.
It heats up well in a small skillet to make sandwiches over the next few days, or you can freeze it for a few weeks.