I recently met the owner of a BBQ grill and accessory store called “Cookouts.” That meeting led me to doing a customer appreciation event for Grainger Honda on Chatham Parkway near Savannah. Now there is nothing wrong with cooking in the backyard on the Weber, but it is always a lot of fun when we can bring out one of our big cannons…a Southern Pride SPK700. For this event The General prepped and cooked 14 pork butts which yielded 13 half pans (packed 5 lbs. per pan) of pulled pork.
It never ceases to amaze me how many techniques I used to use, but have forgotten along the way. In preparing these pork butts, I used a combination of Bad Byron’s Butt Rub, olive oil, and yellow mustard. Incidentally, pork and mustard go together just like a horse and carriage. The butts cooked all night for approximately 14 hours.
Now here is “the skinny” on cooking pork butt. No matter how much you try to penetrate the meat with your rub and spices, the pork butt is just too thick for your spice to fully penetrate it. What to do? Once you have reached an internal temperature of 190*, bust the butt with a cleaver or sharp knife, or like me a sharp pastry tool with a handle. This lets some of the heat out and allows the butt to cool so that you can handle the meat. Then pull the meat as if you are shuffling a deck of cards…separating the fat from the meat and breaking down the large chunks of meat. TLW prefers to have these pieces about the size of her index finger. I the pulled meat until each half pan was filled with 5 lbs. of meat, and then sprinkled the meat with more of Bad Byron’s Butt Rub…mixing it in like you are tossing a salad. My goal was to liquefy the rub and flavor the meat. Never let dry rub simply sit on the meat…it HAS to be mixed in and liquefied or you will get a gritty product.
Here is where we hit a home run with our BBQ sauce. It turned out that the owners of the Honda dealership were both from Eastern North Carolina. Those folks from the east part of NC like their vinegar sauce as well as there coleslaw on top of their meat. We were able to accommodate both. Here is our adaptation of a recipe from Steve Raichlen’s BBQ USA p. 304:
Kate’s Mountain Vinegar Sauce
(Don’t try this recipe unless you are having a party as it will serve 100 and will only keep for a week in the fridge.)
1 gallon cider vinegar
64 oz. of Heinz ketchup
4 C dark brown sugar
2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C salt
1/2 C fresh ground black pepper
1.5 oz red pepper flakes
Gradually bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer until it the mixture reduces to a thicker consistency than water…but nowhere close to regular BBQ sauce. (This process took about an hour and a half.)
What you will have is a vinegary spicy (peppery) runny red sauce that has a lot of heat to it…but it is not obnoxious. This is guaranteed to raise some eyebrows!
It was good to have the ’94 pickup out on the road again with the SP trailing behind it. It turned out to be a great afternoon.