Competition Style Pork Butt

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When competing in barbeque, you’re looking for one thing and one thing only: the ideal bite.

This competition-style pulled pork will give you the most soft, juicy, and delicious slice of pork you’ve ever had.

This hog butt recipe is wonderful for competition-style pork, but it is very simple to make in your own garden. Great pulled pork isn’t only for contests; it’s also a fantastic complement to family gatherings.

Competition-style Pork Butt

Competition Style Pork Butt

When we participate on the KCBS circuit, our favorite dish to submit is pulled pork. IBCA contests do not accept pulled pork since they are primarily focused on Texas-style barbecue.

Now, I’m from Texas, and everyone knows how much we love our beef, but there’s nothing quite like expertly smoked pulled pig.

Because pork does not have a strong taste, you want to cram as much flavor into it as possible throughout the cooking process. The rub and smoke will enhance the taste, but the true key is in the wrapping.

Another useful tip is that you can always season your pulled pork after it has been cooked. If you didn’t get as much rub taste as you hoped for, don’t be scared to put on some more rub after the pig is removed to add some more flavor!

Pork butt or pork shoulder?

Contrary to popular belief, a pork butt is not made from a pig’s butt. A pig butt is a component of the shoulder, but it is not to be mistaken with a comparable piece of meat known as a pork shoulder (also known as a picnic roast).

Both the pork butt and the pork shoulder are derived from the pig’s shoulder, but the pork butt is higher up on the foreleg while the pork shoulder is lower down.

In general, I like bone-in pig butt since the bone gives more taste. It may also serve as a sign of completion.

Simply tug on the bone and if it begins to fall out cleanly, your butt is done.

What to look for when buying pork butt

When selecting your pig butt, seek for one with a thick coating of fat on it. Look for a hefty crown that is around thick. During the cooking process, the fat will render down and provide flavor to the meat.

If you don’t have a decent local butcher, the Porter Road pork butts are the correct size and have beautiful marbling.

We normally seek for pork butts weighing 8-10 pounds, but a decent rule of thumb is to allow 90 minutes per pound, regardless of size. If you’re preparing for a large group, plan on approximately pound per person (pre-cook).

The money muscle

We can’t speak about competition-style pork without mentioning the money muscle.

This little piece of pig butt is located on one end of the roast. Pitmasters all around the globe consider this cut of pork to be the most succulent in the world.

The money muscle is located on the opposite side of the buttock from the bone. It’s a little, cylindrical-shaped piece of meat that’s soft and tasty, and it’s unquestionably the piece of pulled pork you want the judges to try.

Only by gently boiling the pig butt will you locate a perfect money muscle, and when you shred the butt, it will become extremely evident where the money muscle is because it will separate easily from the butt. So, when you shred your pork, save aside a little, cylindrical-shaped piece for yourself or the judges since it will be the most tasty and soft piece of flesh from the whole butt.

How to make competition style pork butt

1. Score the fat

The fat cap must first be scored. Seasonings will be able to penetrate the layer of fat and go down to the meat where they belong by scoring the fat!

Simply run a butcher knife in a diagonal manner along the fat cap. Then turn the butt to the side and score diagonally in the other way. The result should be a checkerboard pattern across the fat cap.

Some pitmasters like to trim their pig butts, but I prefer to score the fat cap.

Trimming may be essential if your fat cap is more than an inch, but for the most part, trimming is unnecessary on this cut of meat.

2. Add your binder and seasoning

I used a traditional yellow mustard binder for this recipe. A binder is merely an agent that you apply to your meat to assist the seasoning adhere to it.

You won’t be able to taste it since the rub and smoke flavor will overshadow any flavor in the binder, so use anything you like. I often use olive oil or yellow mustard.

Be liberal with the spice on your pork! You can’t overseason a pig butt since it’s a large lump of meat with little intrinsic taste.

Hooks Rubs & Spices’ Smokin Sweetness rub was used in this recipe. It’s loaded with brown sugar, salt, and spices that mix well with pork.

If you want to create your own, check out our pork rubs.

Allow the pork butt to rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes after liberally seasoning both sides. The meat will begin to sweat, and the rub will become glistening and wet. This pause allows the spice to enter the meat before placing it on the smoker.

3. Fire up the pit

Now its time to fire up the smoker.

I prefer to use a combination of Post Oak and Pecan when smoking meat. I’ll sometimes add a few Apple wood chips to the mix as well.

Because pig is a lighter meat, it is important to select wood that is not overbearing. I’ve discovered that combining Post Oak and Pecan makes the ideal balance that complements meat with a subtle, smokey taste.

This pork butt was cooked on my Oklahoma Joes Bronco Pro drum smoker. I began with B&B Charcoal Oak lump charcoal as a foundation, then added B&B Pecan wood chunks and B&B Applewood chips on top.

I prefer to smoke pig slowly, so I heated the pit to 250F. You can easily smoke pork at a higher temperature if you want to speed up the cook, but I feel patience is a virtue, so I stick to the low and slow way.

4. Smoke the pork butt

Once your smoker is warmed, place your pig butt straight on the grates, fat cap down. The fat will act as a barrier between the heat source and the meat, keeping it soft and moist.

If the heat on your smoker comes from above, smoke fat cap up.

The time is entirely dependent on the size of your pork butt. In general, at 250°F, a pork butt will require roughly 90 minutes per pound.

After approximately 90 minutes on the smoker, sprinkle the whole butt with a spray bottle loaded with apple juice. Continue to spray every 60 to 90 minutes for the rest of the entire cook time.

Although spritzing your meat will not add taste, the natural sugars in the apple juice will assist develop a lovely bark. The bark, in my view, is some of the greatest tasting pieces of pulled pork, so I try to assist it in any way I can.

The initial stage of the smoke will take between 6 and 8 hours, depending on the size of your pork butt. It’s time to wrap it up when the interior temperature hits roughly 165F to 175F and the bark has become a gorgeous golden-red hue.

5. It’s all about the wrap

This is the genuine secret to excellent, competition-style pig butt, leaving you with a perfect bite to please the judges (even if those judges are simply your friends and family in your garden).

Take an aluminum pan and place your pork butt in it. Then, pour some apple juice into the pan’s bottom. The apple juice will keep the pork moist and provide a sweet taste to the dish.

After adding the apple juice, top the pork butt with a couple pats of butter and another hefty sprinkling of pork rub.

The next step is to sprinkle some brown sugar on top and cover everything in aluminum foil.

Once your butt is wrapped, return it to the smoker for another 4 to 6 hours, or until the interior temperature hits 200F to 205F.

I pulled this one at 203 degrees Fahrenheit, and it was easily one of the greatest pork butts I’ve ever prepared.

6. Rest and shred for pulled pork

You should rest your pork, just as you would any other big piece of meat. I usually put the pan in my Cambro Go Box to rest.

I like Cambro Go Boxes since they are designed for food service and can keep food hot (or cold) for up to 4 hours. This allows me some leeway in terms of serving time and assures that my meat does not cool below 140F, where germs may quickly spread.

If you don’t have a Cambro, a cooler insulated with towels would do. Simply place a couple towels in the bottom of your cooler and tightly cover the metal tray.

Allow the pig butt to rest for at least 30 minutes, but if adequately insulated, it may rest for up to 4 hours safely.

It’s time to shred your pork when you’re ready to serve it. A properly smoked pork butt should be very simple to shred and should not need any special equipment. I merely put on a pair of gloves and start digging with my hands.

Remove the pork from the pan, but save the liquid at the bottom. Separate the pork and shred the whole butt. Once the pork has been shredded, add some of the conserved liquid from the bottom of the frying pan to help moisten the pulled pork.

The options are unlimited after it has been shredded. Pulled pork is delicious on its own, but it also works well in tacos, sandwiches, quesadillas, and other dishes.

Can’t get enough pork butt recipes?

  • Smoking Your First Pork Butt: Easy Pulled Pork
  • Easy BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Pork Butt Burt Ends
  • How to Store & Reheat Pulled Pork
  • Leftover pulled pork recipes.

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