Happy Labor Day! Labor Day seems to be the unofficial end of summer. Here in Pittsburgh, summer is still going strong as it has been 90 degrees for several days and those temperatures are supposed to continue into the week. In spite of the heat, my brother (who is in town this weekend) and SP spent several hours yesterday smoking pork butt.
My brother has been smoking for years. SP just for a little over 1 year. We don't do it very often, maybe 3-4 times a year. My brother has what I call a "real" smoker while we have a "baby beginner smoker" that someone gave us when they moved to the west coast. Smoking does require close monitoring and patience. Low & slow. So around 8 am Sunday, they got the smoker fired up. My brother likes to rub mayonnaise or mustard all over the meat first (we chose mustard, any kind will do) to give it a nice crust. Next, he seasons it. This time, instead of making a rub, he used the Penzeys Northwoods Seasoning. Then it went in our baby beginner smoker.
It smoked from 9 am until 3:30 pm in the smoker. By 3 pm meat thermometer said it was around 150 degrees and it had been stuck there for quite a while. That isn't surprising in a smoker like ours, so my brother did what they sometimes do when the temperature seems "stuck" - took it off, wrapped it in foil, placed it on a cookie sheet, and kept it in the oven at 325 until 5:30 pm.
It was an almost 6 lb pork butt and they cut it in half to smoke it. 190 is the optimal temperature for smoking pork butt because once it hits that temperature, all the fat, etc., has had a chance to break down and tenderize the meat. Even after being in the oven for a while, our highest reading was 186 (the lowest was 180) depending on where we stuck it. That was good enough. The pork was very easy to slice, had a fantastic smoke ring, strong smoked flavor, a terrific black crust, it was juicy - it was terrific.
There were 9 people and we ate nearly all the pork, leaving just enough for dinner tonight. We served the pork with the Williamsburg Sauceand also served grilled zucchini, sauteed green beans with onions and bacon, and dinner rolls.