The key to perfecting this deliciously tender pork is all about keeping it very low and very slow. The constant temperature and long cook time will yield a butt that can literally be pulled apart by hand. The wild cherry wood smoke and 24-hour marinade provide enough flavor to complement the delicious pork without being overpowering. Serve it atop a brioche bun with sauce on the side or simply serve on its own.
Special equipment: Smoker.
Old-school butt rub (makes 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon MSG (monosodium glutamate)
Vinegar BBQ sauce (makes about 1½ cups)
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup tomato paste or ketchup
- 1½ tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- One 8- to 10-pound bone-in pork butt (Boston butt)
- 1 cup yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup old-school butt rub (recipe above)
- Wild cherry wood chunks
- Vinegar barbecue sauce, for serving (recipe above)
For the old-school butt rub:
Stir together all the ingredients in a bowl, and store in an airtight container up to 1 year.
For the vinegar barbecue sauce:
Stir together all the ingredients in a small bowl; cover and chill 1 hour.
For the pork:
1. Rinse the pork thoroughly with cold water, and pat dry. Score fat on the pork butt in a crisscross pattern, spacing the cuts about 1 inch apart.
2. Coat the pork in a thin, even layer of mustard. Liberally sprinkle with butt rub. Loosely cover, and chill 24 hours.
3. Prepare smoker according to manufacturer's instructions with an area cleared of coals to create an indirect heat area, bringing internal temperature to 200°F; maintain temperature 15 to 20 minutes. Place wild cherry wood chunks on coals.
4. Smoke the pork over indirect heat, maintaining temperature inside smoker around 200°F and adding more charcoal, if necessary, until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 200°F, about 20 hours.
5. Remove the pork from smoker. Wrap in aluminum foil, and wrap in plastic wrap. Let stand 1 hour. (If serving later, wrap in towels, and place in a cooler until ready to serve.)
6. Using your hands, remove the fatty layer and bone from pork. Gently pull the meat, and serve immediately with the vinegar barbecue sauce.
Recipe courtesy of The South's Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection.