|See part 1|
Boston Butt joined together. If you have access to a friendly butcher, by all means use that cut. If, like me, you do *not* have access to a custom butcher, use a ratio of two Boston Butts to every one pork picnic shoulder.
Most retail grocery store butchers will be happy to "special order" a whole shoulder for you; likewise, they will also be more than happy to charge you the price of the more expensive cut (typically the Boston Butt) for the whole thing when it arrives. Picnics, at least here in Virginia, are often significantly cheaper per pound than Boston Butts, so for me at least it makes more sense to just buy them the way the retail grocers package them.
Hey, it's all going to be mixed together in the end anyway...
V: THE INFUSION PROCEDURE:
STEP ONE: Bring the meat up to room temperature. Get your smoker started, and when you have a good base of coals in the burn chamber put the pork in the cooking chamber--fat side down for the first hour, fat side up for the rest of the smoking process. Maintain a steady smoke and a temperature between 220 and 260 degrees at the *surface* of the meat. Ideally, stay as close to 220 degrees as you can. Have about 8 whole bulbs of garlic soaking; every couple of hours toss a couple of the bulbs into the burn chamber [trust me :-)]. Smoke the meat (no baste, no mop, no rub) for a *minimum* of 8 hours (this would be if you were using a vertical water smoker, since 8 hours is about the outside limit of what you can get from those units in a single session). Ideally, you should smoke the meat for between 10 to 12 hours. Beyond that, I have found you begin to run into diminishing return in regards to smoke penetration of the meat.
STEP TWO: Transfer the meat to a large, covered Dutch Oven. Put a little bit of water and apple cider vinegar into the bottom of the oven so that the pork does not dry out. You can leave the oven in the smoker, or bring it inside and put it in your range oven. Bake the pork at 275 degrees for an additional 2 hours or so, until the internal temperature of the pork at it's thickest point reaches 160 degrees. The pork should be separating from the bone at this point.
STEP THREE: Let the pork cool until you can handle it without burning your fingers. Pull the pork into thumb sized chunks, discarding as much fat and gristle as you can. In a large cast iron skillet, pack about two or three pounds of pulled pork. Make a finishing sauce of 16 ounces good quality apple cider vinegar and 1-2 tablespoons cayenne pepper flakes (this is a rather fundamentalist finishing sauce--by all means feel free to experiment with other variations of Eastern North Carolina sauces if you desire something a bit more elaborate). Dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt into 2-3 cups hot tap water and pour this over the pulled pork. Add 8 ounces of finishing sauce, turn the heat to medium, and cook the liquid down by about a third. Add another 4 ounces of finishing sauce, and cook the liquid down some more, stirring frequently with a spatula so that Mr. Brown and Miss.
White each spend some good quality time together in the sauce. When the liquid is cooked down to the point that it *just* oozes over the spatula when you press down on the pork, remove from heat, and serve your homemade Eastern North Carolina style barbeque.
VI: CLOSING THOUGHTS:
While this procedure is for Eastern North Carolina style barbeque, I see no reason why it couldn't be adapted to other regional styles of barbeque.
Experiment, make improvements, and above all have fun with it. I hope it works as well for you as it has for me.
Suggested Wine: Dixie Beer
Serving Ideas : French Fries, Hush Puppies, Coleslaw, Camp Beans Posted to bbq-digest V4 #093
Recipe by: Tom Solomon
From: Tom Solomon <bigheat@...> Date: Fri, 13 Dec 1996 10:13:36 -0800 (PST)