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Oct 22, 2007 08:10 PM

Best cut of meat for barbecue (the noun)?

Pork shoulder? Pork ribs? Pork butt? Help me out, here.

Favorite cooking methods & tips on sauces are also more than welcome! There's a boy I like that I'm hoping to make this for... =)


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  1. I believe that pork shoulde is the quintessential meat for barbecue. rubbed with a dry rub of garlic powder, new mexico chile powder, paprika, cumin, black pepper, a little 5 spice powder, coarse salt and small amount of turbinado sugar, let sit overnight in the fridge then sear over charcoal and cook off the direct heat with a pan of apple juice under the meat at 275 degrees, baasting with Wicker's cooking sauce/marinade about every half hour until 180 temp(for a 12 lb. shoulder, about 8-10 hours, until black and crusty on the outside and the blade bone is easily pulled out. let rest for about 20 minutes and shred, making sure the crust is distributed well throughout the meat. serve with sauce(my favorite commercial sauce is Gates' from KC, thinned with a little Wicker's and a couple of dashes of Lousiana) slaw on a hamburger bun or an egg bun if you can get them. If your taste is a little more adventutous, try a butterflied leg of lamb. make a coating by mixing a cup of whole grain mustard, 1/4 c. soy sauce, 68 cloves garlic, minced finely, 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley. slather all over the lamb and generously cover with coarse black pepper. sear over hot coals and cook over indirect heat at 450-500 degrees, till 120 internal temp. rest emat and slice thin and served with grilled onions on naan or pita with lemon wedges for squezing over the meat.. a saue of yougurt with chopped mint or basil leaves and more lemon juice. or take a brisket and use the same rub as the pork shoulder, with alittle allspice and ginger added, sear and place in the middle of a large double sheet of heavy foil, cover with sliced onions, and fold the sides up to make a pan. add the baste of 1 cup apple juice, 1/2 c. cider vinegar, 1/8 c. ketchup, 1/8 c. dijon mustard, 1/7 c. black soy sauce,and 1 c. orange juice. seal the package and cook at about 300-325 degrees for about 6 hours. open the package and pour off the liquid into a pan. add 1/2 c. honey and 1/2 c. hoisin sauce and enough apple juice to make 3 cups. boil to reduce to about a scant cup and thick. spread over the brisket and return to grill with the foil flattened. cook another 2-3 hours depending on the size of the brisket, until the sauce ahs firmed up and turned mahogany color. rest and slice thin accross the grain. anyway, I'm tired of typing. I'll come back later and give you my rib recipe if youre interested.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chazzerking

      Thanks for all this, chazzerking. Unfortunately I don't have a charcoal (or gas) grill. Any way to approximate this in the oven?

    2. It really depends on what the boy in question thinks of when he thinks "barbecue". Barbecue means different things to different people, and each is as convinced as the next that his (mostly always a male thing) vision of barbecue is the ONLY kind of barbecue, and anything else is an abomination. (This is only slightly an exaggeration.) In Kansas City, it's ribs. In North Carolina, it's butt/shoulder. In parts of Georgia, it's whole hog. And in Texas, it's BEEF, of all things. (Just kidding, Texans!) In California, however, it could be just about anything, including hot dogs (I'm so ashamed).

      Whereever he's from, real barbecue is typified by low and slow cooking, using real wood (and therefore real wood smoke). It is usually done in an enclosed cooker with indirect heat, but can be done over an open fire, too. Cooking temperatures tend to be in the 200-300F range, with times ranging from just 2-3 hours (baby back ribs) to 20+ hours (whole beef brisket). Spare ribs will generally take anywhere from 4-6 hours.

      Huge chunks of meat (pork butt, pork shoulder, beef brisket) are harder to give estimated cook times, because there are a lot of variables, but I've found that an 8-lb pork butt generally takes about 12 hours on my cooker. No matter the cut, tho, the important driver is the temperature of the meat. You want it to get to an internal temperature of 190F to make it tender and pullable. If you don't have a meat thermometer, there are a couple of tests you can try to approximate it. With a bone-in pork butt, try to pull the bone OUT of the butt. If it comes out, your butt is ready. With a brisket, jab a fork in it and twist. If you can turn it 180 degrees (a half turn), the brisket is ready.

      I use a basic Dalmatian rub on nearly everything I put in the cooker...simply equal parts kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. The wood is either apricot, apple, or cherry (usually). Don't soak the wood before you put it in the cooker - all that does is create steam, and makes it harder to tell when you've got the right amount of smoke coming out of the chimney (you want a thin blue smoke, not heavy black smoke). And, to steal a line, hunger is the best sauce.

      1. I'm an Eastern North Carolina girl, having been raised on whole hog bbq cooked over hickory wood, doused in vinegar/red pepper sauce. I do a close approximation with a pork shoulder - No special rub or searing needed...Just salt and pepper and a 275 oven for 6-8, even 10 hours, until it's falling apart and the meat can be pulled into long shreds...Mix apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, heat, then pour over the succulent meat....Gracious!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: RobinR

          I like the sound of this. Very simple. Do you baste at all?

        2. The best cut is whatever is on my plate. You can't make beef brisket from pork butt, you can't make pork ribs from beef brisket, you can't make pulled pork from beef ribs, etc.

          In other words, a bbq lover probably loves anything bbq - BUT - most people also have their favorite so you might want to figure out what he prefers.

          1. We use Boston butts for our BBQ - great combination of meat and fat. It's not the butt at all, but the back of the shoulder.