If you’re a barbecue enthusiast like me, you can never pass up a good deal on pork butts. Recently, I stumbled upon an amazing sale at my local grocery store where they were selling pork butts for less than $1 per pound. Naturally, I couldn’t resist and decided to grab a couple. But instead of sticking to one recipe, I wanted to experiment with two different flavors – one for classic Carolina-style chopped pork and another for a savory smoked green chile pork. It was time to fire up the Big Green Eggs and embark on a smoky adventure.
Meat Prep – Friday 4pm
Typically, I like to give the butts and briskets a good 12 hours of preparation before they hit the smoker. However, due to time constraints, I only had about 8 hours this time. The secret to achieving incredible flavor and moistness lies in the process of “dry brining.” By letting the seasoned meat rest in the fridge for several hours, the flavors deepen, and the structure of the meat changes, allowing it to retain more moisture throughout the cooking process [source].
For my Carolina-style chopped pork, I did minimal trimming, injected it with an apple juice solution, and generously seasoned it with Meat Church Honey Hog. As for the smoked green chile pork butt, I also did minimal trimming and injection but seasoned it heavily with the mouthwatering green chile rub. After seasoning, I covered both pork butts loosely with a food bag and placed them in the fridge until I was ready to smoke them.
To add an extra punch of flavor, I crafted my own NMT Green Chile Steak Seasoning, packed with ground green chile, salt, black pepper, garlic, shallot, cumin, and coriander. Alternatively, you can save time and opt for a jar of Albukirky’s Green Chile Seasoning – Kirk’s seasoning is absolutely fantastic on a variety of dishes, whether it’s eggs, chicken, steak, pork, or even shrimp.
To ensure the flavors penetrated deep into the meat, I injected both butts with a simple solution of apple juice, salt, and sugar. While brining only reaches a certain depth, injecting complements the process and allows the seasoning to seep into every corner of the meat.
However, excitement got the better of me, and I only realized later that one of the pork butts I had chosen was boneless. Not to worry though, it wasn’t a major issue. In fact, I took advantage of the boneless option and seasoned it before tying up the butt.
As for the bone-in pork butt, I made sure to coat it with the tantalizing green chile seasoning on all sides, not just the top and bottom. It’s all about achieving maximum flavor!
Pro tip: When dealing with large meats, I like to wear gloves while handling seasoning jars. This way, I don’t have to worry about cross-contamination and cleanup becomes a breeze.
There’s not much difference when it comes to smoking a boneless pork butt. However, I prefer to tie the roast to ensure even cooking. Otherwise, the two flaps of meat where the bone used to be can separate, leading to uneven cooking.
While preparing for the cook, I made a quick stop at Academy, where I stumbled upon some newly released Jealous Devil products that I couldn’t resist trying out. Little did I know, they would take my cooking experience to a whole new level!
After prepping the Big Green Eggs, it was finally time to light up. I decided to use two large Eggs for this cook, allowing me to set up the cookers well in advance of the start time.
Smoker Set Up – Friday 6pm
For the Carolina-style chopped pork, I set up one Egg in the BGE Modular Nest. I filled a Kick Ash Basket with lump charcoal and added two large chunks of hickory wood for that signature smoky flavor. To create indirect heat, I used a cast-iron plate setter. While I slept, I relied on my trusty Flame Boss 200 to ensure everything ran smoothly.
As for the green chile smoked pork, I fired up the Egg in the Challenger Torch table. The setup was identical to the Carolina-style butt, with the same charcoal and wood chunks. For indirect heat, I used an Adjustable Rig with a spider rig/heat stone.
Lighting Up – Friday 11pm
An hour before I planned to start smoking the butts, I lit both Eggs. When using a natural draft with manual controls, I usually allow for around 90 minutes of preheating before the cook. However, with the help of controllers like the Flame Boss 200 and Signals/Bellows, an hour is typically sufficient.
I set the Flame Boss 200 and the Signals/Bellows at 250°F, ensuring the fan would run smoothly. Then, I strategically placed a Jealous Devil Boom! Firestarter in the coal basket of each Big Green Egg, positioning it towards the front left at around 7 o’clock. This way, the fire would gradually spread across the coal, igniting the two chunks of wood one after another. After lighting the starters, I closed the lids and headed inside, eagerly awaiting the delicious outcome.
The Cook – Midnight
At midnight, I placed the butts on the Big Green Eggs, maintaining a temperature of 250°F throughout the cook. Here’s the plan I followed:
Moisture is essential, so I made sure to add it regularly:
- For the Carolina-style pork, I spritzed the butts every 1 to 1.5 hours with a mix of apple juice and apple pie moonshine.
- As for the green chile pork, I basted it with a lime juice, oil, and green chile rub mixture every 1 to 1.5 hours.
Once the butts reached the desired color, usually around 6+ hours and an internal temperature of 160-170°F, I wrapped them tightly in foil to preserve moisture.
To achieve tenderness, I allowed the butts to rest in a warm Cambro hotbox when the internal temperature reached 203-205°F.
Before serving, I gave them a final kiss of smoke, resulting in a mouthwatering flavor that’s hard to resist.
The Wrap – Saturday 7:30am
After hours of anticipation, it was finally time to wrap up the smoking process. The incredible aroma permeating the air was a telltale sign that the butts were ready to be enjoyed.