Pork Butts

Shoulders, pork butts and hams are part and parcel of the same front leg and shoulder of a pig. When the top of the shoulder is separated, it becomes a butt. What remains is called a shoulder. The pork butt is to pork cookers as the brisket is to a Texan. Both pieces have layers of fat interspersed with the meat. When cooked low and slow, the fat melts while basting the meat to keep it moist until it gets done. This is what creates that soft, savoury succulence that cannot be had any other way.

When this uncommon alchemy is performed in the dry heat of charcoal coals, the meat becomes barbecue. The misinformed, who equate barbecue with pork and vinegar, would mistakenly call it smoking. The unfortunate choice and misuse of this word has led to ruin of many good pieces of meat.

The best barbecue -- and roasted meat -- is probably cooked over wood coals in an open pit. The juices dripping onto the coals atomise and return as flavour bombs that imbed themselves into the meat and later explode in your mouth. It takes longer; more fuel and more time, but, for those who can afford the time, the results unmistakably superior. Since we don't all have the time to dig pits and burn down all the wood it takes to cook in the open, Man invented the covered grill.

All of them had certain basic functions designed into their form. Barbecue grills must deliver consistent, low temperatures over a period of several hours. Therefore, they must allow replenishing the charcoal without disturbing the meat; allow the meat to cook at temperatures between 95C and 110C without burning on the outside; allow temperature control by controlling the draft and the distance of the meat grill from the fire grate.

In such a grill, one with a mere modicum of mastery of the methodology can convert the lowly priced lump of meat into a prized presentation.



Select and trim a couple of pork shoulders. or butts. You may as well do two while you are at it. Trim loose debris and bring to room temperature. Soak 1kg of 80% oak, 20% hickory chips for 2 hour before you start cooking, then put in to a cast smoker or aluminium foil . Start the fire with 5kg good hardwood charcoal. Open air inlet fully.

Leave the exhaust vent full open except to put out a fire.


Make a basting sauce as follows:

450ml   of Water
225ml   of Worcestershire source
225ml   of Vinegar
2   Cloves of Garlic
1   Large Onion, chopped
3   ribs Celery
2   chopped Carrots
1   chopped Sweet Pepper
1   Bay leaf
1 Tablespoon of Thyme
1 Teaspoon Paprika
3 Tablespoons of Salt









Simmer 20-30 minutes. Baste the meat well with basting sauce and let it dry before putting it on the grill and about every 20 minutes thereafter.

Note that this contains no oil in any form. A basting sauce should fit the meat. This meat needs no additional oil. This basting sauce could also be used on brisket.


When the charcoal is grey add the smoker box with the wood chips on top of the charcoal, shut down the air intake until the temperature inside the grill drops to about 100C. Put the meat on and close the grill. Check until you are certain that you have stabilised the temp. around 100C. Then, relax.

All things considered, allow about 45 minutes per pound and the centre temperature should be 75C. If you want softer, less fatty meat, you may continue cooking until the meat reaches 85C or begins to dry out--which ever comes first. When it is about done (check with your handy thermometer), start basting the finishing sauce.


Pork Barbecue Finishing Sauce:

450ml   of Water
340g   of Tomato Puree
3 Tablespoons of Mustard powder mixed with water
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 Cloves Garlic
100g   of Worcestershire source
100ml   of Vinegar
100g   of Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Ground Cloves







Combine and simmer 30-40 minutes. Adjust sweet/tart taste.

Remember to reduce the temperature when the finishing sauce is applied to prevent burning. Let the roast set after removing from the grill. Slice or pull meat from the bones. Serve sauce at the table.

Ought to be a prize winner anywhere.