Mr. T's "Easy Brined Pork Butt" W/Q View

Discussion in 'Pork' started by mr t 59874, May 2, 2015.

  1. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    This cook was inspired by Damon555's thread, Experiment, thank you, Damon.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Wanting to depart from the ordinary, my thought was to see just how one could smoke/cook a pork butt with minimum effort, yet produce a very pleasing finished product.

    The following butt was prepared and cooked at a single higher than usual temp (no temp stepping) than usual for a shorter time without any of the commonly used trimming, scoring, rub, mopping, spritzing, wrapping, long rest or finishing sauce.

    Preparation:   Inject the 7# butt with brine, place in the simple brine for 24 hours, pat dry and then place in cold smoker.


    1  - gallon water

    1 ¼ - cups canning salt, 370 g by weight

    8 - cups total fruit juice, combined apple, orange and pineapple juice


    Salt and water = 35%

    Total liquid = 30%

    pH = 4.3

    Smoker and temp settings, wood:

    Cookshack 066 Amerique

    Temp set 300°

    Cut off to hold temps - 200°, 140°

    3.15-ounce maple chunk

    Cooking times and temps:

    Ambient air temp - 45°

    Starting meat temp - 41°

    Time   Meat temp  Smoker temp

    1 hr        124°            265°

    2 hr        163°            294°

    3 hr        165°            304°

    4 hr        178°            298°

    5 hr        190°            298°

    6 hr        200°            300°

    6.5 hr     206°            281°

    Ingredients and equipment: Fruit juice combo of orange, apple, and pineapple, 7# pork butt

    salt and water, fermentation crock, pH meter, injector, salometer, and 3.15-ounce maple chunk. 

    Butt submerged and weighted down in crock using 1.5 gallons of brine.

    Butt after 24 hours in brine.

    Ready for some heat. Notice no drip pan was used during the cook.  This allowed the juices

    to drip onto the firebox creating steam and additional smoke. 

    Decided to use some secondary smoke on some cheddar curds for my wife.

    Smoked the curds for 20 minutes.  The smoke at this time was a white, moist, medium density.

    The curds were allowed to air dry for two hours and then were ready for consumption. Mild smoke flavor.

    6.5 hours and 206°.  First time the door was opened since putting the butt in.

    The bark was outstanding, a total surprise.

    The butt fell apart with very little residual fat.

    Very easy to pull.  There would have been more had someone stayed out of it.

    Naked pulled pork on a Kaiser roll sandwich with smoked cheese, curds, and a Kosher dill.


    This was a very easy to prepare butt that produced a surprisingly good mahogany bark, very easy to pull and very little fat, about a quarter cup.  The butt had a very delightful pork flavor that was wonderful without any additional seasoning or sauces.  All flavors were very subtle with no one flavor standing out.  The fruit flavor was far less than was expected, even after injecting. The fruit flavor was an excellent complement to the salt and natural pork flavors.

     My wife and lead critic commented several times on how good it was on its own with a mild smoke flavor and lower than the usual salinity.

    The end result was a product that was very good on its own yet one that may well be adjusted to any taste preference after pulling or serving.

    Will I do it again?  Absolutely.

    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  2. Tom that looks GREAT and sounds about as easy as you can get.

    Happy smoken.

  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Let me take this opportunity to provide some of the responses you're likely going to get for committing the heresy of smoking a pork butt at 300°:
    "That ain't BBQ"
    "Anything under 12 hours and it won't be tender"
    " you need THE STALL or the connective tissue won't break down"
    "It takes 18-20 hours to develop crispy bark"
    "Everyone knows that pork cooked for less than 12 hours is poison"
    "You need to calibrate your thermometers and your watch. Something isn't right"
    "BBQ is the process of smoking meat over hardwood coals at VERY LOW TEMPERATURES for MANY HOURS, which is necessary to make tough cuts of meat more tender"
    " you just got lucky. Every piece of meat is different. It'll get done when it wants to get done".

    It amazes me how consistent, predictable and EASY it is to cook a butt at 300°. It's almost boring. They all get done in roughly the same amount of time. They all have the same mahogany bark. They're all tender but not mushy and juicy as can be. And there is almost never a stall.
    Congrats on a job well done! Welcome to the world of easy pork butt.
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  4. damon555

    damon555 Smoking Fanatic

    That looks fantastic! It appears that this might very well be a good starting point before trying various tweaks.

    Unfortunately my butt didn't last 2 days after coming off the smoker. This was the first time that there were no leftovers to vacuum seal for later......
  5. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks amazing! [​IMG]
  6. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, David.  Sure was a snap.

    [​IMG]  Like any of the above comments are going to change my mind, been there, done that.   A good finished product is what we were after regardless how we got there.  I can see how these can be much more precisely timed.  Boring? No way, most of the above procedural comments are what is boring. The moisture content couldn't have been more desirable.  If there was a stall, I took it to be between the 2 and 3.5-hour period, not the long drawn out one.

    I'm sure there will be many more butts in our future now that cooking them can be so effortless.

    Some can take change, some can't.  Glad to be in your world.

    Thank you again, Damon.  The tweaks can be endless.  I did manage to get a couple pounds vac sealed.  Will be doing another soon to build my supply.

    Thanks, Duke.

  7. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks good, not so sure about orange apple and pineapple mixed though......

    I will nearly always go with the minimialistic approach on smoke. It is supposed to accent the flavor not be the flavor.

    Nice job and a very clinical approach as an experiment should be.
  8. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Foam.  was trying to go tropical.  We mountain people don't know much about palm trees though.  Leave it to you, who else would think of crawdad flavored pork?  My mix was good with vodka, not sure about crawdads.

    Agree with you on smoke, use it as you would any seasoning.  

  9. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    Nice smoke Tom! Love the tropical touch...

  10. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Post was very nicely done, I enjoyed the step-by-step; and so easy anyone who would be interested in trying it themselves could easily follow the recipe. I wish I could do one tomorrow, but I just ain't gonna have the time.

  11. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thank you, I knew that would get your attention.  The brine in the next one will be 1x1 water to juice just for comparison purposes.  The salinity of 30% in any future brines used for butts will be kept, as it was spot on.

  12. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thank you for the compliment.   One of the purposes of doing this was to help those who might be reluctant to try a butt due to the time required and the complexity of many recipes, not excluding my own.  Also, my thought was to keep the steps as simple as possible not only for those who may be reluctant, but also for those who may be under time constraints.  

  13. damon555

    damon555 Smoking Fanatic

    I've seen as much as 2 cups of salt per gallon of water recommended.....I don't know how anyone can stand it being that salty.
  14. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    At that strength, they were most likely curing the product.

  15. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    Nice job, Tom. Looks great and it sounds like you were pleased with the results.

    Nothing beats a simple straight forward plan and process that yields results equal to, if not better than, some methods that start sounding like science fair projects.

    I envy your ability to get a 7 lb. butt done in 6 hours, but since my smoker, a Cookshack Smokette, tops out at 250 I'm a long time member of the 2 hours per pound club unless I butterfly the butt. With big meats like butts, briskets, etc, I'm programmed to start smoking late the evening before serving the next afternoon or evening.

    Also, with all the 100s of butts I've smoked over the years I don't believe I've ever brined one. I'm going try your method with the brine the next time I do a butt though I think Ill go with straight unadulterated pineapple juice to see what effect it has, if any. Pineapple contains an enzyme known as bromelain that's a proven meat tenderizer, and in a powdered form, it's a common ingredient in the commercial tenderizers offered by Adolph's, McCormick's, Badia, etc.

    Again, great job and a nice write up, as always
  16. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice looking smoke Tom! Makes me want to do some Cuban pork!
  17. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thank you dls,  I agree with your description of some of the recipes and admit to doing them myself. 

    Straight pineapple juice sounds like it would work very well on a butt.  Be sure to let us know how it turns out.

     Got a message from another smoker who tried this technique.  He injected the juice without salt then added the salt to the brine.  He didn't give the weight although he said it was done in 6 hours, had an exceptionally good bark, tender, very easy to pull, and the whole family liked it. 

  18. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, ds,  After doing some research on Cuban roast pork, I can see why you would want to do some.

  19. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks awesome Tom, that had to be tasty !

  20. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks and it is.  Having some on homemade Kaisers tonight.  Fortunately one of the Cookshacks will cook at 300°.  It was amazing how an extra 50° - 75° cut the cooking time in half at the least.  I'm now considering doing one in the Weber Kettle and cook it at 375° like Cuban roast pork, thanks, ds.

    Just having fun doing things a little differently than what is normally done here.


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