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I have a 6lb pork butt. Now what??

I was thinking of cutting it into 2 and doing two different things. I wanted to take one of the halves and use it for tacos, but not sure what recipe.

Should I cut it in two? If so, which is the best way to cut, or does it matter?

Any help would be appreciated.

(Note: I own both a slow cooker and a large dutch oven)

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  1. Slow-cook it in Mexican beer, orange juice, jalapenos, maybe some guajillos (if you can get them), salt & pepper, and perhaps a bit of tequila. Freshen it with a bit of lime juice, cilantro, and more salt if needed at the end. Simple & effective.

    1. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/si...

      I make this with pork shoulder instead of loin, love it, freezes well too. We like it without the potatos.

      1. If you are into big batch cooking, you have the makings for pulled pork for a good long time for one or two, or one giant blast of a party.

        Everyone has their own favourite recipe for BBQ sauce for pulled pork. From personal experience, though I would reduce the amount of vinegar in any recipe intended for use in the slow-cooker.

        I am sure there is a food chemistry reason why but I swear that slow-cooking tends to over-accentuate the sharpness delivered by vinegar versus a low-heat oven treatment. Tends to over-balance the recipe.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LJS

          I use about a 1/4 cup of cider vinegar when I do a pork butt in the slow cooker, and have never had that problem.

        2. Pork butt needs to be cooked low and slow to get tender. That will make it hard for a lot of traditional taco recipes. I would recommend that you use your Dutch oven to make slow roasted pulled pork. If you still want tacos serve the pork in tacho shells with taco toppings.

          Also I wouldn't cut it, I would make one recipe as pork butt takes long time to cook.

          Here is the recipe that I made last weekend to rave reviews. The fennel and jalapenos are an amazing combo. I served over rice but tacos might be good too. http://greatgrub.com/recipes/slow_roa...

          2 Replies
          1. re: AmyGB

            A lot of traditional tacos are made with pork butt, carnitas being a primary example. Stuff like Al Pastor is also often made with pork butt.

            1. re: joonjoon

              Yup. I wouldn't make pork tacos with anything *but* butt. Or maybe belly.

          2. I'm assuming it has a bone in it (maybe not) so not worth it to try to butcher it into two even pieces. Plus, it loses a lot of liquid, and gristle and fat pockets once cooked so I wouldn't bother.

            I also like to rub it with spices like montreal steak seasoning, cumin, oregano (if you're not doing the bbq), insert garlic slices all around it and let it sit in my fridge for a day or two, then roast it in a shallow pan with some wine or stock in the bottom, and slow roast uncovered for a few hours, it develops a nice brown crispy crust, and super moist tender meat. Shred for tacos. Or eliminate the mexican seasonings, go Italian, and make it like a porchetta roast. Same cooking method, different flavors.

            1. you can always go Hawaiian and do a faux kalua pork (thats Kalua, not Kahlua, no booze.) Here are a couple of good links.


              Personally I like to add the banana, in a traditional Imu the pork does pick up flavor from the banana, taro, and ti leaves that it is cooked in. Liquid smoke does a decent job of mimicking the flavor from the charcoal, but it can be overpowering, use it sparingly. But getting some vegetative flavor helps too.

              1. I have a really good recipe, unusual but everybody loves it, I brought it to a party last weekend because people were wanting it.

                Cut meat into 2 inch cubes. Season and brown, Cook 2 onions and lots of garlic and add to meat. deglaze with a cup or dry white wine. Season again, I normally use sage. Add i can Campbells beef consomme and one cup Italian style bread crumbs and some freshly chopped Italian parsley. Cover and bake at 325 for 2-3 hours. When meat is done add more parsley and 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Serve with mashed potatoes or spatzle, I vote for the spatzle.

                1. Pork butt is my favorite meat so here's another one. In the food processor combine crushed red pepper, garlic, anise seeds salt and pepper and enough olive oil to make a paste. Make big slits in the meat and fill the slits with the spice mixture. Any left, rub on the meat. Brown the meat in olive oil and put in slow cooker with 1 cup chicken stock. Cook 14 hours on low. Remove meat, season with lemon juice. Degrease drippings and serve.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Floridagirl

                    This has more than a passing resemblance to "Will Owen's Pork Shoulder Roast" which I've made numerous times.


                    I also will rub a pork shoulder with as many seasonings as I wish (several chili powders, cumin, etc.), brown really well, put in slow cooker and add rough chopped onions, garlic, jalapenos, star anise and cinnamon stick. Pour over a quarter cup of tequila. I start the SC on high for the first hour, then lower to low. Usually takes 6+/- to reach approx. 190.

                    Note to OP: if you look at the bottom of this thread you'll see alot of other threads on the subject. It's a popular one.

                  2. If you have a charcoal grill, season and slow cook.

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: Floridagirl

                      The same could apply for a gas grill. Charcoal isn't going to add anything. Wood will.

                      1. re: tommy

                        Except you spend about 10 bucks in gas when slow-cooking on a gas grill. A gasser typically loses a lot of heat, which makes indirect cooking very inefficient.

                        1. re: tommy

                          Tommy I've personally "smoked" meats with just charcoal and IMO it definitely adds some form of flavor that gas wouldn't.

                          1. re: joonjoon

                            If you don't have a charcoal grill, though, a gas grill is a viable option for slow and low cooking. The addition of wood chips would add much more pleasant smoke flavor than just charcoal. Charcoal is carbonized wood. All of the good stuff has been burned out of it before it gets put in the bag.

                            1. re: tommy

                              Right, I would say Gas < Charcoal < Gas+Wood. You actually get a little smoke ring when you smoke with straight up charcoal though.

                              1. re: joonjoon

                                It's really more the cooker than it is the fuel. Because a gas grill does not depend on air flow for its fuel to burn, it is not designed to move air through it, nor is it designed to convect heat. By contrast, a charcoal grill is designed with that use case in mind.

                                The impact of the charcoal itself should be negligible. Instead, the smoke ring and smoke flavor you get is determined by how the smoke travels across the meat. In a gas grill, not much smoke will get to your meat, when compared with a charcoal grill.

                                Now, if you have a gas smoker, that's a different story. You should be able to as effectively smoke food one one of them as you would be able to do in a charcoal or electric smoker.

                                For the record, my equation would be:

                                Gas < Charcoal < Gas + Wood < Charcoal + Wood

                                1. re: bagofwater

                                  All of the gas grills I've owned convect.

                                2. re: joonjoon

                                  I'm always amazed when people say that they get a smoke ring from charcoal. I've never bothered to try, because proper BBQ is made with wood. ;)

                                  1. re: tommy

                                    Actually, let me restate that. I'm not amazed when people tell me that they get a smoke ring from charcoal. The formation of a smoke ring is a complex chemical reaction not wholly due to actual smoke wafting over the surface of meat.

                                    I am, however, amazed when people say that they get good smoke flavor from charcoal. I get mine from wood. So does everyone who makes BBQ.

                                    1. re: tommy

                                      You bear a low threshold for "amazement." I've seen few people claim that charcoal adds smoke flavor to food. It is a fuel, and when properly burned it should impart little, if any, flavor onto the food your cooking. Even when barbecuing with charcoal, you want to add wood chunks to your fire to flavor your meat. That's pretty common knowledge.

                                      1. re: bagofwater

                                        I agree with what you're saying. Why, then does a charcoal grill tend to impart more flavor than a gas grill? I'm not sure I agree that there's no smoke flavor when grilling by charcoal, when there's smoke wafting across your meat as you cover the grill, why would it not impart any flavor? What do you mean by properly burned?

                                        1. re: Phurstluv

                                          That smoke is certainly not going to smell like cherry or apple or oak.

                                          1. re: tommy

                                            No, it smells like whatever I am cooking, steak, chicken, etc. I don't use wood very much, unless the meat will be slow cooking on the grill. For quick grilling, I think soaking wood chips and adding them to something that's on the grill for a total of 10-15 minutes is a waste.

                                            1. re: Phurstluv

                                              But you suggested that the flavor is coming from the charcoal:

                                              "I'm not sure I agree that there's no smoke flavor when grilling by charcoal, when there's smoke wafting across your meat as you cover the grill, why would it not impart any flavor?"

                                              Unless you're saying that the drippings are creating smoke and then getting back on the meat...which happens with just about every gas grill as well.

                                              1. re: tommy

                                                No, I think the flavor comes from the smoke, not the charcoal.

                                                1. re: Phurstluv

                                                  OK, I understand now. So we can take the fuel source out of the equation then. But then I'm not sure of the question.

                        2. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a huge (9-ish lbs) pork shoulder that my husband and I split - he made sausage with his half, and I took my half and braised it with some pork-ish flavors - garlic, sage, rosemary, black pepper - rubbed, browned, deglazed with white wine - then added plenty of water and a pound of soaked white beans. Once cooked, we de-fatted the liquid, and shredded the pork back into the beans. Fantastic with a squeeze of lemon juice, rice and some greens, and the leftovers, I tossed with some pasta, which was even better.

                          1 Reply
                          1. I love Mark Bittman's recipe for Pernil.

                            The meat can take a lot of seasoning. I once put limes and cumin in the blender (whole with peels and all) and then poured the puree over the meat with lots of salt, pepper, and mashed garlic. As long as you cook it slowly, you're in for a treat!

                            1. I just made Chile Verde via Epicurious and it was delightful.

                              1. All the Mexican dishes such as al pastor, carnitas, chile verde, are excellent suggestions butt (intentional), lets not forget a delicious Philippine adobo with peppercorns.

                                1. I have two words for you...COCHONITA PIBIL! The version by Phillippe de Vienne is always a winner with us.

                                  Recado colorado (rojo

                                  If you are in Montréal, there is a latin grocery on Bélanger near St-Denis; you can find everthing you need (including fresh tortillas) For the spice paste, rocou is annatto seeds; it's achiote in Spanish. It's worth it to use the banana leaves.

                                  1. Aside from BBQ or Carnitas, you could make a porchetta.