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Direct heat skin-on pork butt

CoreyR Posts: 2

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. 


  • lkapigian
    lkapigian Posts: 10,652
    edited October 2021
    Boom !!

    welcome, walk on home run 
    Visalia, Ca @lkapigian
  • Foghorn
    Foghorn Posts: 9,764
    Great cook and pics.  

    Welcome aboard and please post more.

    Question:  Why do you not just load up the firebox with lump at the start of the cook?

    XXL BGE, Karebecue, Klose BYC, Chargiller Akorn Kamado, Weber Smokey Mountain, Grand Turbo gasser, Weber Smoky Joe, and the wheelbarrow that my grandfather used to cook steaks from his cattle

    San Antonio, TX

  • RRP
    RRP Posts: 25,838
    Glad it worked for you - but with a fat cap that huge plus cooking direct at 350º I think you were darn lucky that you didn't have a roaring inferno from all the grease. 
    Re-gasketing America one yard at a time.
  • johnmitchell
    johnmitchell Posts: 6,507
    Welcome and great write up and cook 
    Greensboro North Carolina
    When in doubt Accelerate....
  • lousubcap
    lousubcap Posts: 31,954
    Welcome aboard and enjoy the journey.  Above all, continue to have fun.
    Talk about rolling hot!!  Great write up and documentation right there.  Congrats across the board.  
    Louisville; Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!  Seems I'm livin in a transitional period.
  • loco_engr
    loco_engr Posts: 5,752
    Da Da Dayum . . . that is a big chunk o'pig!
    Nice cook!
    aka marysvilleksegghead
    Lrg 2008
    mini 2009
    XL 2021 (sold 8/24/23)
    Henny Youngman:
    I said to my wife, 'Where do you want to go for our anniversary?' She said, 'I want to go somewhere I've never been before.' I said, 'Try the kitchen.'
    Bob Hope: When I wake up in the morning, I don’t feel anything until noon, and then it’s time for my nap
  • Well done!  What a fantastic first post.
    XL BGE, Large BGE, Small BGE, Weber Summit NG                                                                                               
  • CoreyR
    CoreyR Posts: 2
    edited October 2021
    Foghorn: I tried to use the minimum amount of coals to prevent a grease fire (to RRP’s point). It’s an idea I got from that Chud’s bbq video.

    Brad’s “Chud Box” big metal box cooker let him bank coals off to the side. I think my XL is big enough and the pork shoulder was small enough that I could keep a lot of the coals out of the fat shower. 

    I did get a flare up or two, but it was mostly when I opened the lid. And when I shut the lid and closed down the top vent, the flares went out pretty quickly. 

    I used an even smaller amount of coals than Chud’s bbq used - which l worked fine because the heat retention of the egg. 

    It’s been raining since the cook, so I haven’t cleaned out the egg yet. I think my kick ash pan is holding a lot of grease. I plan to clean the pan and then do a hot burn to clean the grates and kick ash basket… 

    I think I may do round 2 of the same cook next weekend. I’ll report back if I lose any eyebrows in a horrific grease fire! 
  • Foghorn
    Foghorn Posts: 9,764
    That makes a lot of sense.  Thanks!

    XXL BGE, Karebecue, Klose BYC, Chargiller Akorn Kamado, Weber Smokey Mountain, Grand Turbo gasser, Weber Smoky Joe, and the wheelbarrow that my grandfather used to cook steaks from his cattle

    San Antonio, TX

  • dbCooper
    dbCooper Posts: 2,024
    Great write-up and pics.  Thanks for sharing.
    LBGE, LBGE-PTR, 22" Weber, Coleman 413G
    Great Plains, USA
  • Scott805
    Scott805 Posts: 349
    Welcome!  Great pics and story!

    Large BGE, 2 Tier Adjustable Swing Rack System, three (3) bricks from Home Depot for raised direct, Blackstone 22" Griddle - Finally have a decent cooking area!

    Dallas, TX

  • lkapigian
    lkapigian Posts: 10,652
    I see the forum flagger is back
    Visalia, Ca @lkapigian
  • stv8r
    stv8r Posts: 1,127
    definitely interesting and unique. Great pics for your thread
  • gmanrva
    gmanrva Posts: 424
    Great post!! Looks fantastic!!
    LGE Mechanicsville Va, XLGE Wake Va., LGE Duck NC.
    Formely Gman2 before password debacle 
  • Botch
    Botch Posts: 15,383
    Helluva first post, and cook.  Welcome!


    Once I thought I saw you, In a crowded, hazy bar..."

  • Canugghead
    Canugghead Posts: 11,329
    lkapigian said:
    I see the forum flagger is back
    Easier to hide under Disagree rock than showing up on @The_Buffalo 's radar with groundless flag repeatedly.