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First Boston Butt

StoogeStooge Posts: 6
edited 3:33PM in EggHead Forum
Doing my first Boston Butt this weekend. I have read tons on the forum and got a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do. My question is about wood chunks. What is the best for flavor, how much, do I layer it so it burns through out the cook. Any suggestions would be great!


  • I usually use 4 small chunks of pecan or hickory, dry. About 1" square by 2" long. After about one or two hours the meat won't take anymore smoke anyway so don't waste the wood unless you just like the smell like I do. When I am cooking I want to punish the whole neighborhood if possible.
  • BB1857BB1857 Posts: 131
    I am a newbie so take this for what it s worth. I think most on here will tell you the best wood chunk is going to be the one that you like the most. You really cant go wrong with the main choices. Just a matter of preference. Mine is mesquite when i do Boston Butts. As far as the layering thing i am not sure but i have been told the meat will only take on smoke for the first few hours of the cook so i am not sure if you need to go crazy with the layering thing. Maybe a more experienced egger can confirm or deny this.
  • GirlyEggGirlyEgg Posts: 622
    I like apple or cherry with mine. Mesquite and hickory are a little bit too strong and if you have too much it will make it have a bitter taste ...
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    WELCOME to the Forum. You have an excellent question, but there are several correct answers.

    One of the traditional flavor woods for barbecued pork is hickory, but that's because hickory is readily available in the Carolina's where barbecued pork has very deep roots.

    Cherry is a wonderful choice for pork, and it's my favorite. Apple (or a cherry apple mix) is another option that many use.

    As far as layering the wood, yes.... that's a good idea so you will get smoke flavor throughout the cook. Up to the time the meat reaches 140° on the surface, your smoke ring will develop. This does not add flavor, but it's something your guests will admire. However on pulled pork, you really can't see the ring once the meat is pulled.

    Smoke throughout the cook is what makes the bark flavorful, and since you might cook a butt 15 or 18 hours, the smoke needs to be gentle. If not, you can make a butt so smoky that 'Ol Rover will shy away from it. Heheheeee. I prefer mixing some chips into the lump, then arranging some splits in a couple of layers as I add new lump. This way, after the initial burn off, as the fire grows it finds new wood.


    One method I need to try comes from stike and he positions his splits vertically within the lump in several locations.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
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