From time to time I get emails asking about different cuts of meat: what are they, where do they come from, and how on earth should I cook it? Since we don’t exactly have a huge production budget (it’s my weekly grocery budget after all), these questions are often deferred until the cut in question goes on sale. January, at least in the South, is a great month to buy pork. Traditionally hogs were butchered in early winter for several reasons. Pigs born in the spring were mature enough, it reduced the amount of feed needed over the winter, and it negated the storage problem, since in the grand scheme of things refrigeration is still relatively new.
The Boston butt is not the butt of the pig. Do you feel better now? The name comes from the old way of storing the pork in barrels or butts. *I have the feeling the last sentence is going to bring out the Google pervs.* The cut is from high on the front shoulder of the pig and may have the blade bone.
You can expect 3 servings per pound, but if it’s been a long time since you’ve had pulled pork, those servings may disappear at an astonishing rate.
- BBQ Rub (my version is listed below the directions, I need 1/2 cup for a 4lb roast)
- 1 – 3 TBSP olive oil
- Boston butt (3-5lbs)
In a bowl, combine the BBQ rub with just enough olive oil to make a paste. Use your hands to rub the seasoning all over the meat. You want the roast well coated. You can perform this step the night before. Wrap the roast tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the roast from the plastic wrap and place the it with the fat cap up in a roasting pan on a rack. In this case the rack is important, it allows the fat to drip away and prevents the meat from boiling in its own juices.
The fat cap on top slowly melts and helps prevent the meat from drying out during the long cook time.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Place the roast uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes. Do not open the door, but reduce the heat to 225F. Check the roast after 5 hours. When the roast is done, you should be able to insert a fork into the center and twist easily. If the meat isn’t falling apart, give it another 30 minutes before testing again. If you use a thermometer it should be between 195 and 205. When placing the thermometer be careful not to have the probe measuring a pocket of fat.
When the roast is done remove it from the oven. The outside will be quite dark, but taste a pinch, it’s amazing. Allow the meat to cool enough to handle, then pull apart with two forks or your hands. Serve over rice with your favorite bbq sauce or on a bun.
Heather’s BBQ rub:
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons minced, dried onion
- 2 teaspoons peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
Measure all of the ingredients into a food processor. I use the mini one that came with my immersion blender. It’s perfect for small jobs Blend thoroughly until you have a fine powder. Store in an airtight container.