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Monday, May 28, 2012

Competition Style Barbecued Pork from the Backyard

Competition Style Barbecued Pork
Barbecuing a pork shoulder or butt (the top portion of the shoulder) is really one of the easiest things to do. Pork butt is a very forgiving cut of meat with plenty of fat that helps to maintain moisture during the cooking process. If you are just beginning to cook barbecue, barbecue a pork butt. It's almost impossible to mess one up.

While cooking a delicious barbecued pork butt is easy it takes a lot of skill to take it up to the next level and turn it into something special. KCBS competition cooks do just that. The time, effort, skill, and expense that competition cooks put into pork butt is extensive and the barbecued pork they cook shows it.

Part of cooking a competition pork butt is knowing the muscles in the pork shoulder. Each muscle in the butt has its own unique qualities. The competition cook takes all of that into consideration when preparing, barbecuing, and pulling/slicing pork for turn in to the judges.

One muscle on a pork butt is particularly delicious. It's actually a part of the neck muscle. Competition cooks call it the "money muscle" because they feel they will win competitions when they turn it in.
The "Money Muscle" on a Pork Butt
The money muscle is a well marbled and very flavorful cut of meat. It really is one of the best parts of the pork butt that you can eat. The problem is, it cooks much quicker than the rest of the pork butt. That's the challenge for a KCBS cook. How do you cook delicious, mouth watering, tender barbecue using a pork butt without overcooking the money muscle and having it fall apart? KCBS rules do not allow the cook to separate the money muscle from the rest of the shoulder. So, the whole pork butt must be cooked to perfection in one piece.

One great thing about cooking barbecue in your backyard is, there are no rules. You can cook barbecue the way you like it. So, without going into all of the meticulous processes that competition cooks go through to cook a competition pork butt, here is how a backyard barbecue cook can easily cook competition quality barbecued pork.

1.) You need one 8 pound pork butt. Look for one with a large money muscle.

Money Muscle Removed from the Butt




2.) Trim off the excess fat. Then, cut the money muscle off as show in the photo.











3.) Apply your favorite barbecue rub.





4.) Fire up your barbecue smoker to about 290 to 300 degrees F. Make sure you are using indirect heat.

5.) Place the meat in the smoker and let it cook for 3 hours. Spritz it every half hour with water or a 50/50 mix of apple juice and water.

6.) After 3 hours of cooking, check the internal temperature of the money muscle. It should be around 170 degrees F. Double wrap both portions of the butt in foil and put them back in the smoker.

Money Muscle Ready for Slicing



7.) After about another hour of cooking, check the internal temperature of the money muscle. It should be getting close to 198 degrees F. If it hasn't reached that temperature, wrap it back up and put it back in the smoker. Check it every 15 minutes.


8.) When the money muscle has reached an internal temperature of 198 degrees F, remove it from the smoker, wrap it in foil then wrap it in a blanket and let it rest for 2 hours.

9.) After cooking in the foil for 2 hours, it's time to check the internal temperature of the large portion of the pork butt. When it has reached an internal temperature of 203 to 205 degrees, remove it from the smoker, wrap it in foil and wrap it in a blanket and let it rest for at least 1 hour.

10.) After the rest, pull the meat from the large portion of shoulder. Remove excess fat and other things you don't want to eat. Get a sharp knife and safely slice the money muscle into medallions.

11.) It's time to eat! Arrange the meat on a serving tray in a way that highlights those beautiful, moist, tender, flavorful money muscle medallions, serve (with or without sauce) and enjoy!


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