how to cook a Boston butt on gas grill

A year or two back, I made my first batch of pulled pork, which was excellent but wholly unauthentic.  I might have even used a slow cooker.  The terrible photographs from that early Shared Appetite post are available here: slow-cooker pulled pork.  My desire to create a more true-to-life rendition of pulled pork has grown over the past couple of years, especially after I visited the Big Apple BBQ Block Party in New York City and engaged in countless talks with friends who also enjoy the barbecue.

Considering that my now-wife and I were heavily saving for our wedding and that I had just acquired a super amazing gas grill, buying a smoker wasn’t in the cards.  I had to figure out how to properly smoke some pork shoulders on an unauthentic gas BBQ. The outcomes were… Well, look at this: For my birthday over the summer, my brother and sister-in-law gave me the Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book by Pitmaster Chris Lilly, so I was eager to try the Eight-Time World Championship Pork Shoulder dish as my introduction to authentic barbecue. (how to cook a Boston butt on gas grill)

Let’s start by discussing wood.  Wood chips or chunks are both acceptable.  The neighborhood “home improvement warehouse” had a wonderful selection of wood chips, so I bought a bag each of hickory and apple wood chips.  Bob Gibson’s preferred wood is hickory if you only wanted to utilize one kind of wood.  Lilly claims that “smoldering hickory wood gave his meat a depth of smoke flavor unmatched by other woods.” is a fantastic place to start if you can’t locate wood in a store close to you.

You must make a lot of foil wood chip packs if you’re using wood chips, as I did.  A small number of wood chips should be placed in the center of a sheet of aluminum foil.  Pierce many holes in the top of the pouch with a sharp knife after folding over and sealing it.  For the complete smoking process, you’ll probably need 8 packets. I learned from reading that it was crucial to soak the wood chips for at least an hour before putting them on the grill the first time I prepared smoked pork shoulder.  The wood chips won’t burn up and catch fire this way.  Not to catch on fire, but to smolder and smoke instead. (how to cook a Boston butt on gas grill)

how long to cook a 10lb Boston butt on grill?

I later learned that it was a myth after speaking with some BBQ fans and reading this awesome article, Mythbusting: Do I Have To Soak My Wood?  The wood chips don’t do much good after being soaked.  One less thing to worry about is fantastic in my book!  I didn’t soak the wood chips at all the second time, and they still smoked and smoldered on the grill properly. I’ll move on to gas grill setup.  An oven thermometer set on the grill grates is the most crucial piece of equipment you’ll need for this job. (how to cook a boston butt on gas grill)

I concluded that the built-in thermometer on your grill hood is useless after reading some articles on the topic and putting it to the test.  On the surface of the grill grates, the temperature was consistently 50° higher than the actual temperature.

Additionally, you will require two disposable shallow roasting pans made of aluminum foil.  Place them immediately on the flavorizer bars, which are the items that cover and protect the actual burner tubes, underneath the grill grates.  Water should be put in the one on the left.  As the water evaporates throughout the procedure, you will need to refill this water pan at least every two to four hours. (how to cook a boston butt on gas grill)

What does the water pan serve?  Temperature fluctuations are minimized thanks to the water’s capacity to absorb heat.  (Note: Avoid letting the water boil. The grill is too hot if it is boiling. The wood chips foil packet needs to be set up immediately on the flavorizer bar(s), in front of the water pan. (how to cook a boston butt on gas grill)

Your grill should be set up for indirect cooking.  As a result, the meat will be placed on the vacant side of the grill, which is away from the heat, and just one side of the grill will be lit.  In this instance, only the left side of the grill—the side with the water pan and foil package containing the wood chips—is being heated.

pork shoulder grill temperature

To begin, turn on only the leftmost hob at the lowest setting.  Put the lid on and wait for it to reach temperature.  You should strive to maintain a temperature between 225 and 250 degrees for smoking.  Try turning up the hob a little bit if it is nearly at 225° but not quite.  Try turning on the adjacent hob at its lowest level if the temperature is not quite 225°.  225–250° is the magic range that you’re looking for.  As outside temperature, rain, wind, and other factors can all affect the interior of the grill, you might need to adjust the burners at various points during the process. (how to cook a boston butt on gas grill)

For instance, there were times when I just used the lowest setting on the left hob.  In several instances, I had to turn up the burner’s heat to keep the temperature in the 225-250° range.  I also had to turn on the neighboring hob on the lowest setting when it was extremely chilly or windy.  Test out your grill and make any required adjustments. (how to cook a boston butt on gas grill)

I could only get a pork shoulder that weighed around 10 pounds the first time I tried this recipe.  The best option is to purchase a full pork shoulder that weighs between 16 and 18 pounds of meat (which I did the second time around by purchasing it in advance from the neighborhood butcher). (how to cook a boston butt on gas grill)

how to cook a boston butt on the grill

Remove the skin and hide off the underside of the shoulder, along with the majority of the visible fat (you can leave some). For instance, there were instances when I simply used the left hob’s lowest setting.  I had to increase the burner’s heat a few times to maintain a temperature between 225° and 250°.  When it was particularly cold or windy, I also had to turn on the neighboring hob on the lowest level.  Check out your grill and make any necessary modifications. (how to cook a boston butt on gas grill)

2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and 1/4 cup salt.  Fill the meat syringe with the meat and inject it into the upper side of the pork shoulder only at 1-inch intervals after stirring until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved.  If you have the entire 16–18 pounds of beef, use the entire solution.

Last but not least, make a dry rub with 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon plain granulated sugar, 2 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt, 2 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt, 1/2 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and a 1/8 teaspoon of each dried oregano leaves, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, and black pepper.  I made the measurements purely by eye, and they worked out well.  Apply the dry rub evenly all over, patting as you go to ensure that it sticks. (how to cook a boston butt on gas grill)

The empty, disposable aluminum pan on the right should be placed directly over the pork shoulder.  It will collect all of the meltings drips from the shoulder that is slowly cooking.  Keep in mind that this is the grill’s blank side.  The grill is only lit up on the left side.

pulled pork Weber gas grill

Keep the temperature between 225 and 250 degrees.  When the water pan gets too dry, add water to it. When the foil package of wood chips on the grill runs out, add a fresh packet.  When the smoke stops coming out of the packet, it is time to replace it.  That pork shoulder will appear gorgeous and victorious after around 12 to 13 hours, similar to this. (how to cook a boston butt on gas grill)

I learned my lesson the second time I smoked some pork shoulder and did 2.  The finished pulled pork freezes and reheats well, so if you’re going to go through all of this trouble, you might as well make the most of it.  Additionally, you can see a metal spike with a long wire protruding out of the pork shoulder in the picture below. (how to cook a boston butt on gas grill) A Polder Probe Thermometer is what this is.  Simply insert the probe into the middle of the pork shoulder, keeping it away from the bone, and set the temperature to 195°.  When it hits that temperature, it will begin beeping furiously, making it quite simple to determine when your pork shoulder is done!