Thursday, July 5, 2007

Injecting a Pork Butt

I have cooked a lot of pork barbecue in the past, from whole hog to country style ribs, and have never seen the need to inject it with anything. I know a lot of folks swear by it, so I thought I'd give it a try. Everybody raves about Bib Bob Gibson's shoulder injection (their white sauce is good, too), so I thought I would give it a try. I did one butt with the injection and the other without. I used the same rub for both butts and they were both cooked at 250ish degrees to an internal temp of 190 degrees.

The injection recipe:

  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
    • Note: I got this recipe from "Peace, Love, and BBQ" (Link in sidebar) and it says to finely grind the salt. I don't because it's going to dissolve anyway and once it's dissolved, well, it's as small as it's gonna get.
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

As you would expect the injection didn't affect the outside appearance of the butts. I wrapped them in aluminum foil after they were done because it was going to be a couple hours before supper. I just left them on the counter and they were still piping hot for supper. Sometimes I'll cook overnight and get the butts done even earlier. If so, I'll put the butts in a cooler after wrapping them and stuff a couple of towels in with them. The butts will stay hot for several hours (I've kept them for 5 hours before). This works well for brisket as well.

Now for the comparison. When I busted open the butts, I didn't immediately notice a difference. I was primarily looking for a difference in the juiciness of the butt and I didn't immediately find it. After looking into it a little further, I did notice that the meat right next to the bone was a little more juicy in the injected butt. This cannot be seen in the picture below. What can be seen is the color of the injected but on the right. It's a little darker, which I assume is because of the Worcestershire sauce in the injection. I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but I like the whiter butt better. As for taste, I couldn't really tell a difference, but I knew which was which. I had my wife and a friend do a blind taste test and they both could tell which was injected but said it was very subtle. They thought they were equally good, but just a little different. So, I doubt I'll be injecting any more butts because I don't think I gain anything from it. Now, a whole shoulder might be a little different. Darn, I guess I'll have to get me a couple shoulders and do another little experiment.

In the end pulled both butts and just combined them. It was some good eats, if I do say so myself.


WhiteTrashBBQ said...

I usually inject my butts. I do find a major difference in the flavor, but not the tenderness or moisture of the meat.

I've found that the recipe from Peace Love and Barbecue is just a starting off point. With a couple of minor additions it becomes really great.

Unfortunately I can't tell you, because their competition secrets.

Hogwild said...

Thanks for the comment, whitetrash. I see how you are withholding recipes and all. ;-) That's OK, if I competed I would to. Do you do whole shoulders or butts? I'm interested to see if there is a difference. Also, does does your injection change the color of the meat like that? I don't compete, but I'd imagine that that would be undesirable. To me, pork BBQ is supposed to be white or pinkish, not dark like that.

I may tinker with the recipe some, but, to be honest, I like my pork BBQ to taste like pork with a little added vinegar and spices from the sauce. That's one reason I love BBQ so many variations!!!