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New twist on dry rub

So, as I wrote yesterday, I picked up a shitload of Boston Butts because the price was just too good to pass up.

I decided to smoke one of them, even though, by putting it in the Weber at 11:45 am, it wouldn’t be ready until close to midnight.

As I was pondering what kind of dry rub I’d put together (I was out of my normal mix), and, as one hand was raising the Young’s Double Chocolate Stout to my lips and the other was reaching for a bag of French Onion SunChips, I had a flash of genius.

What if I took a handful of SunChips and ground them into dust in my spice grinder and use that as the base for my rub instead of brown sugar? And how about just rubbing it on the pork instead of using a carrier like palm sugar or molasses?

So I set to work putting together the new rub. I only made enough for one butt so I only needed about 5 chips. I ground them up in the ole Krups coffee grinder that I keep for such purposes. I then took  2 dried chipotles and 1 dried cascobel pepper and ground them as well. I added some cumin, chili powder, turmeric, paprika, a little garlic powder, some coriander, a few turns of black pepper and some salt that I infused with dried sage from my windowbox about 2 months ago. I then added some of the secret ingredient that I talked about in my post earlier this summer about dried rub.

Patted the pork down with the rub without any sort of carrier. Got it on the Weber by a quarter til noon.

This was the first time ever that I didn’t take a single temperature, either air or meat. I pretty much know now that I can hit it with lots of heat upfront as long as I throw a few wood chips on the coals every hour or so. I had 2 hickory chunks to start. After about an hour, I threw some small alder chips directly on the coals and continued to do that every hour. When I augmented the fire the first time after about 2 hours, I did about a third of a chimney starter with 2 more chunks of hickory. That lasted another hour or so, at which point I did 3/4s of a chimney and let it rock for another couple of hours.

After about 5 hours in, smoke doesn’t really add a lot more flavor, so I took the butt off and put it on my kitchen oven at 250 and went off and forgot about it. I know that it’s going to be around 1 1/2 – 2 hours per pound, so this 6+ pound Boston Butt was going to take around 12 hours. That didn’t stop me from checking it around 10:30 though, because these hunks of meat are known for being a little unpredictable.

I was looking for around 195 – 200 internal temperature, which is about the perfect pulling temperature. So, how did I check the temperature without a thermometer? Fortunately the Boston Butt has a natural, built-in pop up thermometer.  When the blade bone slides out easily, it’s done. It’s like ribs in that the meat shrinks from the tip of the bone, leaving a convenient handle. I basically try to lift it up using the bone. If the bone doesn’t come out, it’s not ready, unlike ribs, where you actually don’t want to wait quite that long because most people like a little “tug” on the bone when they eat it. For pulled pork, you want the fat to be virtually completely rendered so that the meat almost flakes apart. Some people like to cook it less and serve it sliced like a brisket. If that’s the case, then you only want to go to about 180-185 (the pork won’t “pull” at that temperature).

Anyway, around 10:30, I could tell that it was getting close. It’s a funny thing – if you only go to 180, it will seem kind of hard and dry if you poke it, but as soon as a little runaway fat rendering starts taking place as the temperature rises, it will start to sizzle a little and it gets a little softer. That’s how I knew that it wouldn’t be too long at that point. When I picked it up by the bone, there was a little give but it didn’t slide out. I checked it again at 11:00 and it was about the same. At 11:30, it slid right out. Perfect.

It pulled perfectly and I got a really nice black bark as well. I had a nice smoke ring on most of it as well.

I liked the rub so much that I think I’m going to try a 100% SunChips rub the next time to see how that tastes.

So, if you’re looking for something a little bit different, you might want to try this yourself. I’ve since found out that some people have used BBQ potato chips the same way when cooking chicken. so that might be worth checking out as well.

Oh yeah, forgot. I also took some pale ale and rub and hit the butt 3 times. Normally I would have used a mister or a little mop, but I had neither handy, so I just carefully poured it over the top, being care not to wash off the existing rub.

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