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Direct heat skin-on pork butt
First time posting and I’ll lead off by saying thanks to everyone who’s posted advice here.
I got an xl egg about 9 mos ago, and I read a half-dozen threads here every time I cook.
Figured I’d post yesterday’s effort.
Idea: follow this Chud’s BBQ direct heat pork method.
My local butcher does pork shoulders with bone in and ribs and skin on. Not a full shoulder/ham/shank like what Brad does in the video, but I figured it’s the same idea. This one was 12.9 lbs.
I set up my XL egg with the AR rack and the smaller grate set one notch below the top level.
Loaded up just one chimney full of big chunks of fogo super premium. Dumped that in. Moved the coals to the outer edge. Opened top half way. Plugged in my pit viper fan and set up my FireBoard grate probe. FireBoard set for 350 deg.
Put the shoulder on, ribs down and skin up. I started with a higher temp to make sure the cook was completed in a reasonable time. Though it sat out for an hour, the shoulder was still a bit chilly from the fridge (around 55 deg). No seasoning.
Coated the skin with kosher salt to protect it. At first, I didn’t use any liquid. Which worked ok for 80% of the skin, but the salt slid off the more vertically oriented bits. So I sprayed a bit of apple cider vinegar and water on the exposed skin and layered on salt. As the cook went on, my thick salt layer slid off twice. To prevent this, I’d recommend a lighter coat of salt.
Pictured below, the coals spread evenly. I reached in with some tongs and moved them to the edges.
Pretty soon, dripping fat kicked up some medium-heavy smoke. Only a few coals were in the fat shower as most of the coals were around the outside edge.
Every 3 hours or so, I’d add 4-6 chunks of charcoal. The larger fogo chunks helped. This produced a minute or two of less than ideal smoke, but not so bad. Perhaps another way to deal with this would be load up a half chimney every 3 hours or so and pre-burn the lump before adding it.
About 6 hours in, temp was 175, I scraped off the salt and flipped it skin side down. Salt did a good job protecting the skin.
Looked like rib bones were doing a great job of protecting the meat.
After flipping it skin side down:
At about 8 hours in and at 185-190 IT, I started mopping with a vinegar-heavy mop sauce. I think I could have been more frequent with the mop.
But a challenge with mopping - when you spend too much time with the lid open, you encourage flare ups. I think this contributed to some scorching of the skin and bones side. One solution might be removing the fat splattered coals and replacing with new pre-burned coals. Lot of extra work but I may try this.
Result was good! Took it off at around 10 hour mark. IT of 199-202 in different parts.
Bones were fairly scorched, but the skin held up well. The thick fat cap had mostly rendered out.
After pulling off the skin, the meat pulled easily and had some good smoke ring color. I pulled meat from the inside of the ribs but the bits of meat on the outside was too dark for use.
Smoke flavor was fantastic - very rich. I would have been happy with even more of it.
Salted the pulled meat and added just a bit of Lillie’s Q vinegar bbq sauce.
I chopped up the skin into little crunchy bits and put them on a rack so they would stay crunchy.
Sandwiches were nice potato rolls with pickles, homemade slaw, yellowbird habanero hot sauce, and Lillie’s Q sauce. And of course some crispy skin on top. That crunch is a game changer!
I really like the direct heat cooking. I did this with some pork steaks (3” thick ones that I sliced from a boneless pork shoulder) a while ago. Another chud’s bbq idea. It worked out well. It’s a nice way to get a lot of smoke in the egg.
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