The Illusion Of Time And The Six Hour Pork Butt

Spoiler Alert: Contrary to advertising claims and sales pitches, you can’t save time. You can’t make more of it either, and you surely can’t buy it, because it just keeps ticking, no matter what is going on around you.

And there it was. My sudden realization that Labor Day has arrived. Who would’ve guessed? I mean, with all the other stuff going on this past summer, the back and forth rumors, arguments, and political debates, it just seemed like we had more time, you know? But it was all an illusion because time keeps going. Time doesn’t care what else is happening around or to you. It just is. So I suppose that the best we can do is make better use of the time we have. So I started with a quicker, more efficient version of the smoked pork butt.

The only thing I knew that I would miss was the quiet peacefulness of being out and about under the moonlight, setting a spark to wood and waiting for the first glimpses of rolling smoke while the sun begins it’s ascent. When it comes to these types of things, I am a traditionalist. Heck, I didn’t even know if this was gonna work, and frankly, I felt a little guilty getting a full night’s sleep. But there I was, mid-morning, firing up my trusty Weber grill, yes…grill, in the hopes of having pulled pork that very evening, all while my smoker sat a few yards away, lonely, covered and no doubt feeling a little unproductive. Do I sound skeptical? A little. Am I willing to try? Of course. Were there alternate dinner plans made just in case? Absolutely. But as it turns out, none of that was needed because the beautifully barked pork butt was finished, adequately rested AND perfectly pulled with time to spare. No foolin’.

But look at me, sitting here spewing words at ya while we’re talking about using our time more wisely. Let’s just get to what was done, what happened, and how it happened, shall we? Indeed we shall.

Some things don’t change, so rubbing down the pork butt the night before and letting it rest overnight in the fridge is a given. This day called for a firm and complete massaging with Project Smoke Carolina Pit Powder from Steven Raichlen, another way to save a little time yet still get a great bark and flavor profile just as if you’d taken the time to make your own.

With the weber set up for indirect cooking with a water pan on the cooler side, it was preheated to 350° using lump hardwood and both apple and cherrywood chunks. The pork was situated directly over that water pan and given the first of many spritzes with a combo of apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and water. About three hours in we were well spritzed and on our way to having pulled pork for dinner.

I was a spritzing machine, hitting the mark about every hour to an hour and a half, and by golly that pork barreled through the stall with such a head of steam that it was barely noticeable, and a mere six hours later this eight and a half pound beauty came in at 202° with a jiggly bone just waiting to be pulled out. No wrapping involved, just wood-fired cooking with rolling plumes of smoke and a whole lot of tasty bark. Lordy!

The grill was still hot enough to prep some buns for the upcoming sammies. You know the drill…and yes, I try to crosshatch my buns.

When it came time to commence the pulling. I honestly would’ve never thought this pork was completed in six hours, start to finish. All the characteristics, taste, texture, color and aroma were that of the more traditional long smokes taking at least twice as long, burnt ends included.

After the shredding session during which I swear I probably didn’t eat any more than a pound or so, probably, the sauce that completed the package and put it over the top was the Smoky Mustard Sauce by Steven Raichlen.

Juicy pulled pork and perfectly charred burnt ends on a grilled bun topped with our homemade spicy bread and butter pickles and then drizzled with Steven Raichlen’s Smoky Mustard Sauce, adding a secondary level of tanginess and smoke flavor, and oh Lordy, this grill jockey was transported to pulled pork heaven.

And I’m willing to bet that right now, you want one of these too, don’t ya? Well, what are you waiting for?

Time’s a ticking…

Because Life Is Better Wood-Fired