Step 2: cleaning up the pork butt

This is a hotly debated subject, but I stand by my way of doing it. :D

If you're smoking/grilling, I think keeping the fat cap on is a great idea. In the oven, however, it can turn into quite a mess. Because you're doing it in the oven, you want the rub you'll be using to make direct contact with the meat for extra flavor, because you won't be benefiting from lovely wood smoke. Smearing your dry rub on a fat cap you'll pull off and discard later is a bad deal. There's also the issue of the fat cap never rendering down enough in the oven to be tasty. 

Before you start going to work on the fat caps, clean your sink thoroughly. Then place a baking rack in the bottom and put the butt on that, fat cap side up. Using a sharp knife and/or kitchen shears, start to cut away the fat cap and any silver skin you encounter.

I normally start this by finding the place the fat cap is the least connected and pulling it up. Then use the knife or shears to cut through the connective tissues holding it to the meat.

Don't fret about getting every single piece of fat - you just want to get off all the really thick bits and the silver skin hiding below them.

Flip the butt over and check the other side, too. 

As you can see in the last photo, I lost 2-3 pounds in the total weight just in fat. :D

Note: because you are working with such a large piece of meat, you might encounter some nasty stuff. There might be large veins and arteries and extra blood. Cut these away and don't worry too much about it. It's normal! Also, check the bone end for any fragments and remove those.
My wife and I are eating this now, and even though it took way longer than I expected (it's nearly 9 pm), this is hands down the best pork I have ever had. Coupled with some potato buns, and jessy's mustard sauce, it's almost criminal how good it all tastes. Thank you!
<p>MY LORD THIS IS AMAZING. I used the dry rub recipe and followed these instructions precisely. I used the exact measurement of every ingredient in the rub. My results were the best pork I've ever had. Including from restaurants. WOW!</p><p>One thing that I'll add; the baking pan/tray that you use under the rack will from then on be designated as a meat pan if you don't cover it with aluminum foil. Lots of hot water, soaking, Dawn, more hot water, more soaking, more Dawn sponge scrubbing, then SOS pad scrubbing still wouldn't completely clean the pan. If you are not also your home's cookie baker, and you use one of her good cookie pans, be ready for some serious stink eye.</p>
<p>If you can find it, try Dawn Power Dissolver in a spray bottle. (NOT the foam.) When my local store stopped carrying it I found it at an ACE hardware and bought a case of it. Best thing for that black backed on grease. I've removed grease from second hand muffin tins with this and a toothbrush and they look like new. </p><p>But I would still line the pans with aluminum foil if you can get some wide enough, just to make clean up easier. </p><p>DON'T USE SOS PADS. (Not unless they are the soft no scratch ones.) They'll scratch the pan and then each time it's used there will be baked on oil or grease. </p>
I've done a few oven Boston butts for pulled pork and this was very juicy and tasty, yielded about 7lbs (9 pre-prep) with very little fat in the meat (first time I removed the fat cap and cooked cap side up). The elevated cooking left a wonderful crust all around. Family loved it, so I'll do it again, I do want to try smoked.<br>
<p>Made the dry rub from the recipe here. Followed prep &amp; cooking directions for this 9.75 lb pork shoulder exactly. (well, I did sub out Sam Adams Summer Ale for the water suggested at the bottom of the roaster pan). Turned out superb. Superb. Insignificant shrinkage, and a tender and truly tasty pulled pork dinner; as well as a few more! Thanks for posting this recipe, Jessy.</p>
<p>Yay! That looks so good. I'm happy you enjoyed it :D</p>
Thank you, Jessy. This was fun! Your key comment: don't open the oven even once...I didn't. So when it hit the 10 hour mark and I pulled it out, my wife and I were a-mazed at the finished product.
<p>This came out good, but I plan on doing it again within the next month because I missed a few steps and timing was off. First, I figured ~10 hours no matter what (totally missed the part where you said ~1 hr/lb.) So I put the butt in the oven and left the house for about 7 hours. Came back and the thermometer read 203 so I took it out. Then I forgot the whole rest while covered with foil thing. So it's quite tasty but a bit dry and the bark is rubbery in some spots. I will definitely do this again and this time I'll do it on a day when I'll be home all day. Great recipe!</p>
Thanks for posting this! I've been doing pulled pork in the crock pot for years and wanted to give something different a shot. I ended up roasting it last night in my Nesco (otherwise known as a tabletop roasting oven). Overnight for ten hours, I woke up to a warm and delicious smelling house. I decided to do mine overnight because I wasn't sure how well it would work in the roaster. After following all of your directions to a 't' it fell right off the bone and shredded beautifully. I even used your rub and the flavor is amazing! Anyhow, my new challenge is to not eat it all before my guests arrive! Thanks again!!
it looks soo delicious *_* i can almost smell it through the screen. great recipe!
Very nicely written and thorough. I've been cooking pulled pork and BBQ for many years (I'm from the South) and you've got it down nicely. Those images are amazing! Now I feel compelled to go cook some.
So after 6.5 hours, the temp was only 170° on a 3lb Boston butt. Did I go wrong somewhere? was it to be covered while cooking? I followed all the instructions to the letter.
Forgive my ignorance, but do you cover it with foil while cooking?
We love this recipe. really yummy For more <a href="http://indonesiancuisinerecipes.com" rel="nofollow">http://indonesiancuisinerecipes.com</a>
Thanks, just used the cooking instructions for this today. There would be pictures but it didn't last long enough. I used a different rub that I always have ready to go when the summer gets here. This is a perfect set of instructions for those that can't manage a constant temperature in a smoker or when it is too cold or nasty to cook outside. Thank you!
I have been searching and trying different recipes and was about to give up! I will give this delish looking recipe a try in the am. It's so hot here in lalaland I could probably do it on my driveway. Lol! Thank you for yet another awesome instructable!
i made this in smoker sunday, turned out great. i really like idea of putting in oven at 400 for an hour,, gave me time to heat up smoker and get smoke going. thanks ps 18 other people also loved it.
Looks incredible!
Looks delish! You make it look pretty easy. I live in a country where I never see premade rub ingreidents, so what's in them? Looks like a good layer that gets rubbed in.
Wow. beauty, brains, and now you cook fantastic! Will you marry me???
Thanks. I bought my husband a new smoker for his birthday which he loves and uses frequently. Maybe I can get him to try this recipe. It looks wonderful.
You mentioned using a smoker. What changes would you make to smoke the pulled pork rather than do it in an oven?
I'd prep it in the same ways (trimming fat, applying rub) and make sure the smoker stays between 200-275 F while cooking. You'll still want to bring the internal temp up to 190 F in a smoker. :D<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/porkbuttselect.html">This page is a good resource!</a>
I laughed when I saw a Pork Butt, we don't see that in Australia. Now I know what &quot;pulled&quot; pork means also, we would call it shredded. Looks great and the Inst. is good.
FYI, despite what it's called, &quot;Pork Butt&quot; is actually part of the front shoulder. Don't ask me why it's called the butt.
I can't wait to try this, it looks (even smells good virtually) so good that as soon as I can get my hands on a pork butt big enough I'm going to give it a try. I have a couple of questions though...if I do it on the grill instead of in the oven, do you know the various timing for each step. And, you say to buy a 3-4 pound butt and then after you cut off the fat cap you've lost 2-3 pounds, doesn't sound like their is much meat actually left when all is said and done or am I reading it wrong. Thank you so much for sharing!
I'm honestly not sure about exact timing for grilling, but as long as you're able to keep the heat even and between 200-275 you should be fine. You wouldn't need to do it at a higher heat at first on the grill, just keep it slow and steady. :D <br /> <br />In my case, I did lose a lot of fat, but I started with 13 pounds of total weight. Sorry for not being clearer! For a 3-4 pound pork butt you'll lose a lot less weight in fat - only 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound, hopefully!
Excellent instructable! You can have good BBQ any time of the year with this technique. Very simple, however, the waiting is certainly the hardest part.
great job, my mouth is watering right now. you have to love a girl who can cook pulled pork, feeds her office pals,loves Tom Petty and is cute too. I will be trying your recipe this weekend if i can wait.P.S. The waiting is the hardest part
Wow! I was salivating just looking at the pictures - can't wait to give your recipe a try! Great Instructable.
So would this be as good to just cook on a smoker you think?
Absolutely! If I had one I would have used that instead. :D
I love pulled pork too. I have tried a lot of recipes, and developed quite a few of my own. This one looks rather good. I also like to prep the butt with 12 hours (or so) in a sugar/brine solution. This also works for chicken, but for a shorter period of time. An hour or so is fine for the bird.
That looks like good stuff. You're a woman after my own heart, ma'am. <br> <br>You mention using a little liquid smoke. What if you mixed a little into a brine and injected the roast before rubbing &amp; chilling overnight? It would tenderize the meat and infuse the smoke flavor throughout.
My mom's recipe was with a pressure cooker, It was the best pulled pork EVER! All family members would always welcome what they coined &quot;Lona-Q's&quot; (Her name was Lona). <br>This recipe beat it to heck Jessy! Tese are awesome! Thanks for this one!
Yum!!..Great as always from you!!..
mmm...this made my mouth water!! :D
BEST PULLED PORK EVER. Seriously. It was so good. Thank you for bringing it in!
This pork was SO GOOD!!!! I loved every bit!!!! Thanks Jessy, it was FANTASTIC!!! :-)

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Bio: Part of the Instructables Design Studio, former Contest Manager! I like embroidering, dancing, eating, jrpgs and inexplicably cute animals. // follow me for even more tutorials ... More »
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