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Ok got your attention...

I see some folks not use a bit of rub on their boston butts or shoulders. Just the plain lovely delicacy of aromatic smoke to flavor the meat.

Seems like I2BBQ some time back mentioned that some of his relatives who ran a bbq place just used a dash of salt and pepper.

Anyone else just use wood smoke on their butt? If so can you advise as to your results?

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Hi there,
I was planning on adding spices, etc. after pulling. Seems that this is common technique in North Carolina pulled pork bbq. My better half likes thick bark so want to make sure this works.

Wonder if more wood would be used in this case?

I also recall that the chain bbq places dont use a rub on their spares, sliced pork or their sliced turkey (processed turkey roll).

I looked back through my logs and everything has had some sort of spice or rub on it...

Maybe its time to go ala natural, shed my inhibitions (pork butt not my clothes) and go with a naked butt.

Hey Preston!

The reason most places don't put anything on them is 1) cost (too much money adding rubs, etc) and 2) sauce (many just add sauce at the end so why waste the sauce.

More wood won't make more bark without a little work. Easiest way for more bark is to expose more of the meat to the smoker, just butterfly it and cook away.

For me, pork is just bland tasting without something added. Wood flavor is good, but not enough for us.

Try some experiments and let us know.

Actually I must correct a statement made in my earlier post, I mentioned that the chain places like Sonny's, Woody's, etc. did not use a rub. Well that much is true, but my nephew who worked for Sonny's and another friend of mine who works for Woody's both state that actually they baste the meat with a thick basting sauce before loading the smoker. The pork, ribs, beef and chicken all get basted with the same thick sauce. They both told me it is not the same sauce that is on the tables that the customers use but a sauce they get from their central warehouse and they didnt know what was in the sauce althogh both stated that the sauce was a very thick sauce. They only do this basting once before they put the meat in the smoker and they do not go back and baste it again during the smoking process.

So no rub, but a basting sauce is actually used. I am not trying to duplicate those establishments, because personally my bbq is better than most of them that I have been to, but I am trying to learn as much as I can about the business and I also saw some videos where no rub was used and was curious if wood smoke alone would be tasty enough.

I think Russ is right, it most likely will need something.

Just a couple thoughts.

What Smokin' said.

A fine cut of beef,fresh fish,or shellfish, and poultry, are well accepted with no bark and a light hint of smoke.

Places in the Carolinas that do whole hog,often chop the whole thing from tail to squeal.[Unless they do liver hash,etc]

50 lbs goes out into a rectangular pan ,seasoned and stirred with a paddle.

The vinegar will cut the fatty taste, salt and peppers ,do what salt and peppers do.

If the skin is over wood smoked,chopping it fine in the mix,will temper the wood,and flavor the mass.

Other traditionalists,will cook whole shoulders,which are mostly skin covered and rub is lost.

Thus,it is easier to season ,once the meat is clevered,or often run through a chopper.

A vinegar sauce will be added for the same reason.

Many places in the Carolinas,not all,promote that they are known for their sauces.

Hippie mentioned injecting, and that is the standard for Memphis in May cook teams,that must show their product on the grill.

The top teams are very close in their cooking abilities,so a lot of smaller things will decide the winners.

On the cook circuit,where different placements may be decided by 1/10 of a point -out of 700-800 total score,there are two types of teams.

There are those that build flavor through rub/bark and win some,there are those that don't use rub and are content to socialize.

Smokin' would usually say,try both,and then decide.
hi preston...
when i first started smoking butts i would do the rub thing in the fridge was ok but the bark had most of the flavor and some of the inner meat was not really flaverful at i never season until after it is smoked (i always use four of the largest chunks of hickory for two 8lb butts)i will pull from the smoker one at a time, put on some hd rubber gloves, pull and spread out on a large cookie sheet and season with the regular cookshack rib rub once, then i will toss it and season it again....then seems to get the flavor of the spices to all of the it helps mixing the heavier smoked outside with the lightly smoked inside...
Hey Dave and Tom,

Thanks for the updates...I think thats the ticket with adding the spices and what have you when pulling and will try this as soon as I do my next smoke.

I am looking at the links Tom provided, Lexington is definitely on the list. My sweet wife Donna gets a little freaked out at whole hog especially when they include the trotters and snoots and the squeal and she does NOT want something eyeing her that she is eating (I am not crazy about that either), so I promised her that I would stick to the places that do just pork shoulder and butts.

Thanks for the great updates...
Interesting topic this has become. I live in Davidson County, NC where Lexington BBQ was invented. I will say I have had east coast (NC) style BBQ while I was serving in the USMC on the coast and like it allot but Lexington style is still my favorite.

My first taste of Lexington style Q was "John Wayne's" like Tom reviewed at and I agree it is awesome but I have found something I like equally as well if not a little more.

I stopped off at "Lexington BBQ" for a taste and was impressed. I was alone and sat at the bar stools in the front and got to talking to a gentleman about (what else) BBQ. He told me he was a co-owner of the Lexington BBQ and was a law graduate of Wake Forest Law School. He admitted he loved the business he was in and wouldn't trade it for a career in law for anything.

As we talked I told him I made my own BBQ and would really like to see his pits. He said "sure, as soon as you're finished I'd be happy to show you around". I quickly finished up and he gave me the "nickel tour". His pits were huge, serving 1500 lbs per day, twice that around holidays with take-out.

I had to ask about rubs and brining and spices, he said "we just salt it", I said how much, he said "till it looks right". The pit masters had cardboard laying over the full shoulders in 3 massive pits cooking for the next day (weekday). They also do turkey, ribs, and ham. Wow what an operation.

Back to John Wayne's for a minute, I will say they make awesome BBQ but I noticed they have no chimney or stove pipes. I still go there for Q but had to ask about that. They oven cook the BBQ at John Wayne's, no smoke. I'll say nothing bad about it, it is awesome Q and even more awesome sauce. Just no smoke.

Where I'm going with this I have no idea, just food for thought I guess. If you get the chance, visit them BOTH, you'll not be disappointed.

Dave in NC

PS, Happy Birthday Marines, Simper Fi.


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