Posted by / Thursday, November 21, 2013

EAT The Whole Pig: Smoking a Boston Butt

Let me tell you, there has been only one person more excited about my purchase of a whole pig than me — our Weimaraner, Basil. This Boston pork butt did not even make it to the freezer when bringing all the cuts home, as I had plans for it way in advance — this guy was headed straight to the smoker!

It was almost an 8 pound butt, and during my recent trip to up to NYC, I came across a bag of Greenpoint Trading Company's El Capitan rub that I just had to try! I trimmed some of the fat and made cross hatch cuts across the fattest side of the pork, rubbed it down with the spices and placed it in a tin pan to sit in the refrigerator overnight.

That night I also soaked a mixture of hickory and cherry wood in water — I like to get a good several hours of smoke going once I add the meat just to start the process.

I have a simple electric brinkmann smoker that does just fine for my current needs. My only complaint would be you really cannot adjust the temperature once it is on — it maintains a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees and there are times I would like a cooler setting. A more advanced smoker is an investment for another time.

For the first 3 hours I do not disturb the smoker other than adding chips if I see the smoke stop. After 3 hours, I remove the top and spray the butt with straight up apple cider. I continue to spray every hour with the apple cider.

The general rule of smoking a Boston pork butt is 1 1/2 hours per pound of meat, depending on your smoker's temperature. For this butt we were good to go right at 9 hours.

After removing the butt from the smoker, I allow it to rest for about an hour. Resting makes it easier to handle, allows it to soak up its juices and makes the chopping better! I actually purchased a cleaver of sorts years ago exactly for this purpose — it is heavy, sharp and although noisy, makes for an nice easy chop.

To make the sauce, I poured the pan juices from the smoking process into a sauce pan, then added a mixture of apple cider vinegar, Blanchard's coffee, ketchup, brown sugar, and some of my hot sauce to taste. I really just added ingredients slowly, tasting as I went, until it was just right. I brought everything to a boil on the stovetop, then allowed to simmer and thicken before pouring over chopped meat. It made for a nice flavored sauce to mix in with the barbecue.

I cannot wait to show you the barbecue sandwiches with a homemade red cabbage and carrot slaw!

More from this series: EAT The Whole Pig

E.A.T. local E.A.T well


  1. Mouth watering!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoyed your posts & pics shared, Tim!

    1. Thank you Emily as always for stopping by and taking a look!


"Some people eat to live; I live to eat." -Tim Vidra

An avid home cook, I believe in using simple ingredients, local when possible and am inspired by the principles of supporting a sustainable food system. I’ve cultivated this blog as a way to share my passion for the preparation and enjoyment of food in a way that everyone from beginners to long time foodies can get involved in.



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