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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Blackberry Bourbon Bone-in Boston Butt Recipe


Ever since my recipe won the Tony Chachere's Tailgating Cook-off I've had numerous requests for the actual recipe of my Blackberry Bourbon Bone-in Boston Butt.  Since I don't actually have it written down anywhere on the blog, I decided it might make sense to feature it in on Bite and Booze one last time detailing the ingredients and instructions on how to make it!

Jay Ducote flanked by Celeste Chachere and Celeste Podojil at the Tony Chachere's Tailgating Cook-off
The recipe is fairly simple.  It combines meat, an injection, a rub, and hours of smoke.  Here are the ingredients you'll need:

1 large bone-in pork shoulder (Boston Butt)
1 jar of blackberry jam (8 oz or so)
1 pound of local honey
1 cup of bourbon
1 Tablespoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
Louisiana Pecan Wood

Ingredients for the Blackberry Bourbon Bone-in Boston Butt
So let's start with the injection.  The idea is that we're going to flavor the pork both inside and outside the meat.  The ingredients that get injected inside the pork will marinate the meat as well as provide some bold flavor.  Take the blackberry jam, honey, bourbon, and black pepper and mix it all together really well.  I use a food processor or blender for this part.  Once it is all combined, strain the seeds out if there were seeds in your blackberry jam.  They will have trouble getting through the injector.

Now take your pork shoulder.  One side will probably have an excessive layer of fat on it.  Go ahead an trim most of that off.  This isn't required, but I've found that I prefer to do that before cooking the meat rather than afterwards.  There is no precision required, just make sure you are trimming off fat and not muscle.  Pork has so much fat in it to begin with that you don't need that extra layer.

Now the fun part... lay the trimmed pork shoulder down on a pan of some kind and start injecting the blackberry/bourbon/honey/pepper mixture into it.  Feel free to take a little sip... it should be sweet, fruity, peppery, and have a little kick from the bourbon!  Stick your needle into the pork shoulder all over the place. Be very liberal with it.  You might as well use it all!  Flip the pork over and make sure to get the other side too.

Inject the pork all over the place!!!
Once you have thoroughly injected the mixture into the pork, the next step is to rub the outside.  The rub is a simple combination of brown sugar and Tony Chachere's.  That will provide the sweetness of sugar with the saltiness and spiciness of Tony's.  The brown sugar will caramelize on the outside and provide a nice bark while the salt and peppers will penetrate into the pork and leave it flavorful.  Just blend the ingredients together and rub it all over the outside of the pork shoulder.  It will mix with the runoff blackberry mixture, but that's ok.  Just let it form a paste on the outside of the pork shoulder.

Now get your smoker going.  This varies completely based on what kind of smoker you have... so its hard to give specific advice.  As a general rule of thumb you'll want to smoke the pork shoulder at 200 to 250 degrees until the internal temperature has maintained around 165-170 degrees.  I usually smoke it closer to 200 degrees, so it takes 8-10 hours.  I've even left them in the smoker for over 12 hours with no problem, but it was very indirect heat.  If your smoker stays hotter than that, you won't want to leave the shoulder on for that long.

The finished product should look something like the picture below.  The bark on the outside should be nice and caramelized.  The inside will be tender, juicy, and delicious.  This certainly isn't a traditional pulled pork recipe, so don't think of it that way... although I do suggest you pull the pork apart.  If it won't pull apart with your hands then it really isn't cooked enough.  It may be safe to eat, but it hasn't broken down like it needs to.

LSU's Winning Recipe: Blackberry Bourbon Bone-In Boston Butt
Jay readies the pork shoulder for consumption
Pulled pork at its finest!
Once you've removed the pork shoulder from your smoker and given it a little time to rest and cool, you should be ready to start pulling it apart.  Just grab and handful and go to town!  I hope this recipe brings you as much happiness as it did for me.  Enjoy!

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