Pulled Pork — The Naked Whiz
©2002, The Naked Whiz



Figure 0. This photo shows an 8.5 pound boston butt, seconds after lifting the lid.
The butt was cooked for 19 hours, 54 minutes and 53 seconds and the lid wasn't lifted
once during the entire cook. All the women were impressed with our ability to hold back.


Part 0 - Introduction
We're certainly no expert on cooking a butt low and slow, having done it just once as of this writing. However, everything went just as smooth as silk, so we decided to write up what we did with the hopes that other first timers will feel emboldened enough to do their first also. In keeping with our "It's gotta be fun, it's gotta be thimple, it's gotta be tasty" theme, we didn't use any rubs or mustard, just your basic thimple butt. We used an 8.5 pound butt, by the way.


Part I - Building The Fire
Keeping a fire going for 20 hours probably benefits from adequate preparation. Some folks will disagree on how to build the fire, but here is how we do it. First of all, clear out the egg. Get rid of any old lump and clean out the ashes that might already be in the egg. We don't take the firebox out and clean around the edges, but we do clear out the bottom of the firebox.

Dump your lump into a bin so you can see what you are putting into the egg. We don't advocate dumping a pile of lump in from a bag. Find several large pieces and place them in the bottom of the egg in the center. Then basically, what we do is start placing the largest pieces in the egg, evenly distributing them. Then just keep tossing in the largest piece you have left, keeping the lump level as you pile it up. When you get to the top of the firebox, distribute some pieces of hickory on top of the lump (or whatever wood you want to use to smoke with) then continue piling on the largest pieces of lump from the bin.

When you have reached about half-way up the fire ring you are ready to start your fire, assuming everything else is ready.


Part II - Starting The Fire
First of all, you need to realize that a butt cooked at 220 degrees will take around 2 hours per pound. Do the math. An 8 pound butt will take 16-18 hours. You have to start the night before you want to eat it! Ready? Our 8.5 pound butt cooked at 220 degrees and took 19 hours, 54 minutes and 53 seconds. Those 53 seconds are important, huh?

We use a Weber starter chimney. Place the chimney in the egg on top of the lump. Put about 2 inches of lump in the starter chimney, light a sheet of paper under it, and then wait until the lump is burning red hot. Dump this lump carefully into the center of the egg. Place a fist-sized piece of hickory (or whatever) on top of the burning lump and push it down in.

We then close the egg up and shut down the air vents to almost closed. The egg gets up to around 400 degrees when we dump the lump in from the starter, so we want to calm things down a bit. Meanwhile, we go take the butt out of the fridge, put it on the v-rack and bring it out to the egg along with some water and a drip pan. We don't pretend to have any information on rubs, etc., so we'll leave that up to you. However you have prepared your butt, bring it out on a v-rack.

When ready to start cooking, open the egg and put a plate setter upside down into the egg. Place a drip pan on the plate setter and fill it with at least 1 inch of water. Place the grid over the drip pan and finally your butt on a v-rack on top of the grid. Insert your Polder probe, making sure not to let it near any bone. We're assuming that you know to wrap the Polder cable with a layer of foil to protect it. If you don't, well, wrap the cable with foil to protect it from the heat. Close the egg.

By the time you have done all this, the egg should be down below 200 degrees. Open the lower vent about an inch and the daisy wheel open, meaning the sliding lid is closed, but the rotating part is open. When the temperature reaches 210, shut the lower vent to about 1/4 inch and the the daisy top to about 1/2 open. Now, it's just basic temperature control. You want to get the egg to 220-250 degrees.


Part III - The Cook
This next part shouldn't be too hard. When you are convinced you have the egg stabilized between 220 and 250 degrees, then go to bed. Ok, you can check it a couple of times before you go to bed to ensure the temperature is stable, but THEN go to bed. If you have built a good fire, it won't go out. If you have stabilized the temperature, it won't run away from you.

When you wake up, the egg should still be at the temperature that you left it. The meat should be in the 160's. Leave it alone. Be a good boy or girl and don't open the egg until the meat hits 200 and it's time to eat. That means don't open it even once. You can impress the women with your ability to hold back.

The meat will hit a plateau at anywhere from 160 to 180 degrees. It will stay in this range for a very long time while all the fat renders and collagen in the meat is converted to gelatin. We hit the plateau in the night, so when we woke up the butt was slowly climbing. Once you get through the plateau, it should slowly climb to 200 degrees. If you do find yourself, or rather the meat, stuck in the plateau and dinner time fast approaching, go ahead and heat the egg up to 275 to 300 degrees to get it going again. But regardless of how he gets there, when Mr. Polder says 200 degrees, open the egg, impress the women, take photographs, shake hands, pop the cork on the champagne, and take the butt indoors and cover with foil until it's showtime. If the butt gets done before you are really ready, you can wrap it in a couple layers of foil and then wrap it in towels. Place this in a cooler and you should be able to safely keep your butt warm for five or more hours.


Figure 1. This photo shows the amount of lump left in the egg after cooking for 20 hours at 220 degrees. The left side of the egg shows the starting level of the lump, about halfway up the fire ring. All the women were impressed by how long my lump lasted.


Part IV - Pulling The Pork
We hear this is best done when the pork is hot so that the meat will separate easily. We just put our v-rack with butt in a large baking pan to catch grease and stuff, and pull the pork with a knife and fork. Once you have pulled it, what you do with it is your business. You've cooked it, you've pulled it, now figure out how to eat it! We do have one observation, though. The traditional way to eat a barbecue sandwich, at least here in North Carolina, is to have it on a a cheap white hamburger bun. Well, we hate cheap white hamburger buns, but damn if it isn't the best way to eat barbecue! The bread isn't there to impress your palate. It's there to hold the barbecue. A nice soft cheap white hamburger bun doesn't get in the way of the barbecue, it keeps your fingers dry. A more expensive kaiser roll gets in the way. It's too much bread and when you eat a barbecue sandwich, bread should not be foremost on your mind. So even we, haters of cheap white hamburger buns, will put pride aside when it comes to eating a barbecue sandwich. You are advised to do the same.


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