Boston Butts on the BBQ

Recently I’ve had several questions about cooking a Boston Butt for slicing. Now typically all of the butts I cook are pulled. Some people do request it chopped, but most prefer juicy, tender pulled pork with bits of crunchy bark mixed in.

You don’t see much sliced pork in Memphis, but in some parts of the country, that’s how it’s served. One of the best restaurants that I can think of for sliced pork is the famous Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City.

They serve piles of thin sliced smoked pork on Texas Toast. It’s a simple sandwich, but it’s loaded with smoky pork goodness. This week I’m cooking sliced pork… Arthur Bryant style.

I also shot of video of this process, if you want to check it out here.

The first thing I do is debone an 8lb Boston Butt. Normally the bone is left in the roast (meat cooked on the bone just has a better flavor), but because I want to slice the finished product on a meat slicer, I need the bone removed.

To debone the roast, use a boning knife and insert it next to the blade bone. The bone will show you were to cut just follow it. Work around the entire bone and it will come out easy.

Once the bone is removed, use butcher twine to hold it together. If you don’t tie it, the butt tends to flatten out and lose its’ shape. Tie 4 to 5 strands across the butt spaced 1” apart; then run two strands lengthwise. It will have a nice round roast shape when tied properly.

It gets seasoned next with a light coat of mustard and a good dusting of The BBQ Rub. I kept the injection simple just 8oz of apple juice with 1 tablespoon each Red Garlic Wine Vinegar, Worcestershire, and Soy sauce.

I fired up my Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS) and added a few cubes of cherry wood for smoke. The butt went on as soon as it was up to temp. (I was cooking about 250 degrees, 2 vents open)

After 2 hours it was time for a quick baste and more rub. This is what builds a beautiful bark on the exterior.

Normally a butt gets wrapped at 165 internal, but because I wanted to slice it, my target finishing temp was 165-170. There was no need for wrapping.

After 4 hours of cook time I checked the internal temp and it was at 154 degrees. I hit it with a little more baste and rub and let it roll for 1 more hour. It was sitting at 172 at this point, so I took it off the smoker.

If you try to slice it when it comes off, it will lose moisture and can fall apart, so I wrapped it in aluminum foil and allowed it to cool. To speed the process up I placed it in the refrigerator after resting on the counter for 20 minutes.

4 hours later I couldn’t resist the urge to run it through the meat slicer. I don’t have a fancy commercial unit. Mine is an inexpensive Deni Electric Food Slicer – and It works just fine for cooked meat like butts or brisket.

I dialed in the size slice I wanted – about 1/16” – and sliced the entire butt. It yielded about 4lbs of sliced pork.

It’s ready to eat at this point but I prefer mine warm, so I mixed the juices from the foil with a ¼ cup of chicken stock. Place the slices in a sauté pan, add a little of the liquid, and cover it. It only takes a few minutes to create steam, and you’re ready to eat.

Traditional Arthur Bryant style pork is served on plain Texas Toast with sauce drizzled over the top, so that’s exactly what I did.

The sauce I used was doctored-up Head Country, I piled up 1/2lb of meat on the bread and dove in. It was absolutely delicious.

The meat was smoky, perfectly tender, and melted in your mouth. If you’re looking for a different way to serve Boston Butt, you have to give this a try!

About Malcolm (the Author)

For over a decade now Malcom Reed has been competing in barbecue competitions... and it didn't take long for this hobby to develop into a full-blown addiction. After being inspired by the comradery and brotherhood of the sport, Malcom developed HowToBBQRight.com, a website devoted to sharing BBQ techniques and promoting the Competition BBQ Lifestyle. Through his cooking team, The Killer Hogs, and his barbecue business, Malcom is a constant student of 'Que... and his goal is to and his goal is to share his knowledge and passion with everyone.