Boston Pork Butt question--help!
I'm making a recipe tomorrow that calls for roasting a 8-10 pound pork butt in the oven at 300 degrees for six hours, until it's falling off the bone and fork tender. However, the biggest roast I could find was a shade under 5 pounds, and poking around the internet I've also seen arguments for roasting this cut at a lower temp (200 to 275) for longer time. Does anyone have any guidelines or rules of thumb for me? Thanks in advance!
It's a versatile piece of meat and you can do anything to it and get the same results. There's enough fat in it so it shouldn't dry out unless you totally overcook it.
Some background... the whole front pork shoulder has two parts, the butt (Boston butt) is the part up higher next to the body, and the picnic, which is below it on the shoulder. Finding a butt portion only at 8-10 lbs is a curious request to me... I see butts and picnics at about 6-7 lbs. each. And, thus, a whole shoulder at about 12-14 lbs. So, a 5-lb butt is just on the smallish side.
Now, traditional BBQ calls for "low and slow" typically around 225 degrees... a 6-lber will often go 1.5 hrs per lb, or more, for 9+ hrs. Oven recipes for different preparations often call for a higher temp, but I would not go over 300, since the butt must cook up to 200 internal temp in order for the tough collagen fat to break down and get tender... too high a cook temp and the outside will turn to charcoal before the inside is done.
Long story to say, yeah, I suppose a 5-lber at 300 wiill only take about 5 hrs to get to 200 internal. I think their original recipe is flawed, however: I do not think an 8-10 or more whole shoulder will hit 200 in six hours. And I dont think you're gonna find an 8-10 lb butt, except for in "Giant Pig Land."
Do they want you to cover and braise it, or roast uncovered? How is it being seasoned?
It's rubbed with salt and sugar, supposed to be roasted uncovered. After reading your very interesting post, I'm thinking of trying 275, then checking with the thermometer after 5 hours until it reaches 200 internal. Does that make sense?
P.S. For any Momofuku fans, this is the Bo Ssam roast from David Chang's new cookbook.
Your plan sounds good. Salt and sugar -- very simple, which can be good. I don't know the dish... is there a sauce involved as well?
I use a fairly traditional pulled pork rub:
2 T paprika
1 T each brown sugar, chili powder, cumin,
2 t kosher salt
1.5 t black pepper
Rubs 2 butts
That sounds great--will try your rub next time! This one is very simple because it's served with several different sauces (ginger/scallion, kimchee puree, and a miso-type paste). You pull the pork and pile it into lettuce leaves with steamed rice and choice of sauces, then top with a fresh cold oyster!
Use a meat thermometer. Boston Butt is fork tender when the internal temperature reaches 205-F.