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Smoked Boston Butt with Rosemary and Brown Sugar Rub

Pulled Pork Sandwich

My experiences with smoked Boston butt always end with the same half-dejected reassurance that, “well, it was good, but I can do it better next time, I swear.” And the next time I set out determined to ‘finally’ turn out a ‘perfect’ piece of smoked pork.

Then it happens, like the torturing clockwork of a stacked game of cards, the smoker is too hot, or even worse, too cold, I forget the thermometer, the coals die out ¾ of the way through cooking, the thermometer is too close to the bone so I remove it only to see hordes of flavorful juice escape from the now bone-dry pork, we should have taken it 5 degrees further, the crust is too thick, the rub doesn’t taste good, we forget to rest in foil; the list goes on and on. Oh what an unbearably frustrating list it is.

In the midst of such frustration I’m reminded of a quote from Thomas Edison who said, in response to a question regarding his failure to successfully create the filament for the light bulb, “I have not failed seven hundred times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those seven hundred ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

I bet you’re thinking, “Hey, that’s not such a bad way to look at it, Chase. How insightful, through all of your failures you’ve learned a wealth of information in your quest for perfect smoked pork. With the right attitude and some persistence I bet you’ll get there one day, buddy!” Yea. Right. That’s all well and good until it’s nearly midnight and you’re running to Walmart for more coals and, as my new friend Sasa @ sasasunakku would say, you’re hit with a bought of  ’hanger’ (hunger that turns to anger) so intense you’d actually rather smash a car window with the pork than eat it.

But when the hanger fades and I’m done cleaning up the glass and explaining the situation, I guess I really have learned quite a bit about how-to smoke a piece of pork. Which is what I’m here for– to help prevent you from making the same mistakes that I’ve made and getting hangry (…now listen here, Johnny-boy, you know daddy loves you right..?)

Smoked Boston Butt with Rosemary Brown Sugar Rub:

For the Boston Butt -

  • 4 to 5 pound Boston Butt, bone in and extra fat trimmed
  • Dijon mustard
  • Rosemary and Brown Sugar Rub
  • Choice of firewood, hickory and apple are both fantastic with pork
  • Favorite brand charcoal briquettes, I use regular Kingsford
  • Lighter fluid, optional

Tip: If your considering using lump charcoal — don’t. Stick with charcoal briquettes and save the hardwood lump charcoal for high-heat grilling. The briquettes burn longer and at a more consistent temperature.

For the Rosemary Brown Sugar Rub -

Let me just say, I’ve never had a pork rub that I really liked. Until this one– rosemary and pork pair exceptionally well.

  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rosemary Brown Sugar Pork Rub

Slather the entire butt (..heh) with Dijon mustard and season with a even layer of the rub. Set aside at room temperature until ready to cook.

Smoked Boston Butt with Rosemary Pork Rub

Modified Minion Method:

I’ve been searching for the best way to maintain a consistent smoker temperature with even smoke output for almost two years now. I happy to say that I’m searching no longer. The Modified Minion Method is pure brilliance. With a little-set up and virtually no effort you can run a consistent smoker temperature of around 225 – 275 degrees for at least 10 hours, maybe more, with even smoke output the entire time.

Tip: If you run into trouble and find the heat too hot or cold a simple adjustment of the bottom vent will quickly solve the problem.

To begin, arrange 2 rows of briquettes along the the rim of the grill. Follow with another layer of 2 rows. Finish with a layer of 1 row of charcoal and 1 layer of wood (this isn’t depicted accurately in the picture due to figuring this out after spending an hour attempting to get the grill to the proper temperature). But hopefully this will give you a good idea…

Modified Minion Method

Next, squirt some lighter fluid (you heard me, lighter fluid, don’t be shy) on the first 8 coals, ignite, and let burn uncovered until ashy white.

When the coals are white, place in a drip pan. The bottom to a terracotta pot works great (it also makes a perfect pizza stone), as does a foil covered glass bowl, but I thought I’d take the 10 hours of fat and smoke-rich environment as an opportunity to further season my little carbon steel frying pan. Fill with water, if desired.

Tip: If you don’t happen to have lighter fluid on hand, like me, use a chimney starter to get the coals hot and then place in the grill.

Chimney Starter and Drip Pan

Smokin’ The Butt:

You’re now ready to assemble the grill, arrange one thermometer probe in the thickest part of the meat (away from the bone) and rig the other to monitor the temperature near the pork in the smoker, put the lid on, and get that butt a smokin’.

At a temperature of 250ºF it will take, on average, about 1 ½ to 2 hours per pound to finish cooking. However, be warned, barbecue can be  unpredictable so it’s better to start early than finish late to avoid eating at midnight with hanger pains.

Tip: The meat can be ‘held’ in foil for up to 5 hours after cooking (more on that below).

Smoked Boston Butt

Just as an aside, I’d like to recommend a product that I couldn’t live without when smoking or grilling anything. The Maverick ET-73 Dual Probe Thermometer with a wireless receiver allows you to simultaneously monitor both the ambient smoker temperature as well as the internal temperature of the meat at a range of 100 feet. That’s right, lazy one, you can monitor the entire thing in the comfort of your own living room or beside the pool. Also, if you get busy and forget to monitor the temperatures, alarms can be set to alert you if your smoker is running to hot or too cold. Best of all it’s easy to use, reliable, and accurate. It’s truly the best on the market and will make smoking anything from pork butt to ribs and chicken that much easier, enjoyable, and tasty.

The Finished Product:

Once the meat registers an internal temperature of 205º F it’s ready to be taken off of the grill and be wrapped tightly in aluminum foil for a minimum of 1 hour to allow the juices to redistribute and the meat to come to a final temperature of 210º. I know it’s tempting to take the freshly smoked pork and chow down right away, but take this part seriously and let the meat rest. It really does make a huge difference and you will be rewarded with better meat.

Tip: If you’re going for sliced pork, take it off when the internal temperature reaches 190º to 195ºF.

Smoked Boston Butt

From here the meat can be pulled, chopped, drizzled with cider vinegar with fresh thyme sprinkled in, slathered with your favorite barbecue sauce,and made into a delicious sandwich with arugula or your favorite coleslaw or chow chow.

Oh, and don’t forget to strain the hickory smoked pork fat (and boil the water out, if necessary) from the drip pan and reuse. It makes plain old bacon fat look worthless.

Rendered Pork Fat

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1 Sasa { 04.27.10 at 8:28 am }

Chase! Thanks for linking, you’re a doll (and doing your good service for the day to the hangry-but-don’t-yet-know-it masses ;P)…Do you have an awesome camera , a lot of patience or just mad skillz?… ’cause your photos always look awesome.
.-= Sasa´s last blog ..Daring Bakers Steamed Sticky Date Pudding and Memories of Winter =-.

2 Chase { 04.27.10 at 9:46 am }

Sasa – just doing my good deed for the day ;) Thank you for the good words!

As for my pictures, I’d love to say it’s a mix of all of those, but it’s really closer to none.

My camera, the Pentax K100D (apx. $300 on eBay), is about as entry-level as you can get in the DSLR market. It’s great, but nothing like the ($600+) cameras people are using on their websites (davidlebovitz, whiteonrice, etc).

A lot of the magic happens in post-processing in Photoshop CS4. My pictures wouldn’t be half of what they are without it. I always shoot in RAW which allows my to fine-tine every element of the photo after being shot.

After that, it’s about being knowledgeable about angles, composition, color scheme, props, etc and being creative and trying new things. I’m still learning all of this (<2months) so hopefully my pictures will continue to improve over time! That's what it's all about… getting better one day at a time. Hope that helps!

3 Liam O'Malley { 04.27.10 at 10:37 am }

Hey Chase… great post and like Sasa said, great pictures. I’m really enjoying your blog and your approach to food, so I’m giving you this award: http://mysocalledknife.com/2010/04/who-me-an-award-seriously/ – for being awesome.
.-= Liam O’Malley´s last blog ..Who, Me? An Award? Seriously? =-.

4 Sasha { 04.27.10 at 11:48 am }

Great post! One day I’ll try smoking meat (other than once in my CIA class).. and when I do, I’m going to reread this wonderful post.

.-= Sasha´s last blog ..Travel Tuesday: Bahrain =-.

5 heather { 04.27.10 at 3:50 pm }

my fiancee and i will be catering our own wedding next autumn, with the plan of smoking a bunch of meat for the entree. this rub for the pork shoulder would be perfect!

cheers and thanks,

.-= heather´s last blog ..simple, incredible roast chicken =-.

6 Chase { 04.27.10 at 3:58 pm }

Liam – Wow, thanks! I’m honored. Am I expected to pass on the award to a fellow food blogger now?

Sasha – don’t be weary! once you taste your first batch of freshly smoked meat you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. It’s amazing

Heather – Oh wow, congratulations! I hope my rub lives up to your weddings standards! Let me know how it turns out!

7 Weekend Treats « { 04.30.10 at 7:07 am }

[...] …Smoked Pork with Rosemary and Brown Sugar Rug from Chase Blackwell [...]

8 Scott { 04.30.10 at 8:52 am }

Hey there, great write up, except I’m disappointed that you would recommend using lighter fluid! Chimney starting charcoal is the only way to go in my opinion. I do like that you recommend the minion method and I like your use of the Weber kettle grill for the full smoke.

Nice finished product!
.-= Scott´s last blog ..Hall of Fame Sandwiches at All Star Sandwich Bar =-.

9 Chase { 04.30.10 at 12:23 pm }

Scott – under normal circumstances I would never recommend the use of lighter fluid on charcoal. However, in this case when only 8 or so coals are being lit I have a hard time not recommending using lighter fluid. Especially considering it will all burn off, it saves time, equipment, and clean-up — I really see no down side. As you can see in the post, I didn’t have any lighter fluid on hand so I chimney started the coals, but it would have been infinitely easier with a bit of fluid.

Thanks for the compliments and I appreciate your input! I always enjoy a good debate ;)

10 Scott { 04.30.10 at 12:31 pm }

I did see that you used the chimney to start your coals. Another thing I noticed is the ring of charcoal that you made for the burn. Did you notice if one side of the butt cooked faster than the other? Did you have uneven temps inside the grill/smoker because of the way the ring of fire was burning? I’ve smoked chickens in my weber with two piles of coals on either side of the drip pan, but have never used a minion style ring of fire. Which, by the way, I think is pretty cool!
.-= Scott´s last blog ..Hall of Fame Sandwiches at All Star Sandwich Bar =-.

11 Chase { 04.30.10 at 1:35 pm }

Scott – in short, I’ve tried a slew of methods, including the one you described, and IMO the ‘minion ring of fire’ (nice name, btw) is the be-all end-all method for smoking on a kettle grill… 10+ hours of even smoker temperatures, even cooking, even smoke output — it really is as close to perfect as you can get.

12 Scott { 04.30.10 at 3:47 pm }

Now if we could only get Johnny Cash to sing about the ‘Minion Ring of Fire’ – oh right, he’s dead. Damn. I’m going to have to try that method. When I smoke chickens, I keep the temps around 350, and although I cook the chickens for about an hour and a half, 1 chimney of charcoal fully lit will give me about 3 hours of cooking at 350.
.-= Scott´s last blog ..Hall of Fame Sandwiches at All Star Sandwich Bar =-.

13 Scott { 04.30.10 at 3:48 pm }

One more question, it’s hard to tell in your photos, but does your ring burn in one direction or in both directions?
.-= Scott´s last blog ..Hall of Fame Sandwiches at All Star Sandwich Bar =-.

14 Chase { 04.30.10 at 4:28 pm }

Haha… too bad, it’d be one hell of a BBQ anthem… “my pork fell into a minion ring of fire.”

To answer your question, the ring burns counter-clockwise in one direction.

Also, you’re correct about smoking chicken in the 300-400 degree temperature range. Since chicken doesn’t have a lot of fat it wouldn’t really be of benefit to cook it “low and slow” like a Boston butt. Two questions — do you brine the chicken before smoking? and have you ever smoked it at high temperatures (450-550) in the style of ‘Zuni chicken?’ I see those being the ‘methods’ to perfect smoked chicken, IMO.

One last question, have you ever tried smoking Cornish hen as opposed to chicken? I find that it’s exceptional at temps. around 250 until the meat reaches around 160 internally.

15 ajcomputerdoc { 05.04.10 at 10:55 am }

will this work with ribs? maybe if i roll it it and skewer it?

16 Chase { 05.04.10 at 11:08 am }

Aj – I’m not sure what you mean by “roll it and skewer it,” but this method would work great on ribs, brisket, chuck, etc. Basically anything that is cooked “low and slow.”

17 ajcomputerdoc { 05.05.10 at 2:53 pm }

at the 2 hour mark now…

curled slab into a circle and skewered the end to hold…added a few chunks of dead apple wood tree limbs

cookin right now (on a fake weber).
grill has a big coffee cup shaped thing on the bottom that has 2 vents…slides out to remove ashes i guess

both vents on ash catcher wide open and hood vent wide open…its maintaining at 250 degrees

got very windy and wanted to move it…didnt want to roll it over the grass and disturb the charcoal ring…but i could put one hand directly on the bottom where the unburned coals were and on hand a leg and pick it up bare handed!

no basting…gonna do the foil thing in a bit!

i have an electric smoker only used twice…i wonder if i can convert it to charcoal?

18 Chase { 05.05.10 at 6:55 pm }

Ajcomputerdoc – very cool, thanks for the update!

That’s interesting about the curled slab, can’t say I’ve ever heard of doing that.

And I feel your pain with the wind, the day I made this post it was windy and rainy and it about drove me nuts trying to get the grill up to temperature!

Btw, let me know how your ribs turn out!

19 ajcomputerdoc { 05.05.10 at 8:30 pm }

turned out a bit tough…i think 250 degrees is too much…gonna try 225 next time to help break down connective tissue…

but the ring was so easy to maintain temperature!

never had that control before!

(after reading elsewhere on how to choose meat…i think the ribs were from old hog…big bones…may have contributed to toughness….dunno)

20 Chase { 05.05.10 at 9:14 pm }

Hmm.. like I said in my post, something always goes wrong in the quest for perfect smoked meat.

There’s always next time, though! I’m glad the ring worked out for you at least. It’s great to have such control over the smoking temp.

21 jeff { 05.09.10 at 7:34 am }

I watched a barbecue champion use lighter fluid to start his briquettes.Iam just defending your use for lighter fluid even though i use a starter 99% of the time.

22 Dave { 05.11.10 at 12:07 pm }

Chase -

Killer write-up and great pics. A couple questions; is your wood wet when it’s placed on the ring? Have you used this method multiple times, and what wood gives the best smoke flavor? I am partial to hickory chips compared to mesquite (the 2 most widely available wood chips), and was wondering where you get your wood chunks.

In saving the drippings, when you boil off the water from the pan, does the fat burn???

Again, nice work, great pics.

23 Chase { 05.11.10 at 1:34 pm }

Jeff – Thanks for the info. I knew lighter fluid wasn’t as big of a deal as people make it out to be!

Dave – Thanks for the compliments and no, the wood isn’t wet when it’s placed on the ring. I suppose you could try, but I suspect that after an hour or so the wood that hadn’t yet burned would be bone dry anyways.

I have used this method multiple times. In fact, I used it yesterday to smoke chicken wings and I’m going to use it later today to make hickory smoked bacon fat. The only thing I’ve learned from doing it multiple times is to change the amount of charcoal used depending on the weather conditions (I.e. wet, cold, windy use more charcoal. Hot, dry, and sunny, use less charcoal). It’s the most reliable method I’ve used, but it’s still not an exact science, by any means.

As for type of wood, it’s difficult for me to find anything other than hickory and mesquite, and since I really only smoke pork and chicken, I exclusively use hickory. It’s hard to find, but apple wood on pork would also be great, for a lighter and more ‘fruity’ smoke. Mesquite is best on beef and Mexican-themed smoked pork. I picked up the wood chunks from Publix (a local grocery store), but Whole Foods also has some nice wood chunks.

I’d actually characterize the process of removing the water the drippings as a low-simmer. To be honest, there wasn’t much, if any, water left in mine so I didn’t simmer it for long. I didn’t use the drip pan as a water pan, though. So if you do, there will much more water left.

Another method that would work, if there’s a significant amount of water in the fat, is refrigerating the strained fat and allowing the fat and water to separate in the fridge. Pour it into a mason jar and once it’s fully cooled you should be left with a ‘hockey puck’ of fat and the water left down below.

Whatever the case, it’s the best fat I’ve ever used (better than butter, olive oil, bacon, beef, chicken… everything). The smoke flavor is heavenly.

24 Lou { 07.03.10 at 9:16 pm }

This recipe looks great. I bought a butt today and am gonna try your recipe/method tomorrow for a 4th of July feast… 6 lbs at 1.5-2 hours per pound, I guess I have to wake up pretty early. Smoked pork is perhaps my favorite thing to eat, but I’ve never smoked meat before. Here’s hoping it turns out well.

25 eman { 07.04.10 at 10:38 am }

great blog ya got here ! Allthough i don’t agree w/ all of your methods as long as the final product is great low and slow smoked meat it’s all good.
i will be checking back in from time to time.

26 smokin’ good - My Culinary Quest { 07.26.10 at 12:35 pm }

[...] Since I still consider myself an amateur pit master, I searched for what I thought looked like great recipes. The brisket recipe was adapted from Bobby Flay’s recipe and the pork shoulder was adapted from a blog, Phoo-D that made me want to eat my computer. The second time I used a different rub for the pork, not that the first one wasn’t good, I just wanted to try another recipe I had found from another blog, by Chase Blackwell. [...]

27 Mike K { 09.27.10 at 10:47 am }

i used a Weber kettle this weekend with this method, got the grill to about 230′ (according to the thermo built in to the handle of the lid) and let her rip overnight, put the meat on around 11pm… 7.2lb, boneless, Boston Butt… i dont know what the grill maintained at, but when i woke up about 8 hours later it was at around 250-260′ and the right at about the end of the ring for charcoals… put a meat thermo into the pork and it was registering well over 190′, i’d guess 210′-215′ (thermo doesnt go above 190′)… took off and wrapped in foil for about 2 hours before pulling.

meat came out awesome, nice and tender and juicy with great smoke flavor, though there was about a good 1/2 inch lost around the outer surface that was rock hard… this was my first time smoking pork so i don’t know if this is normal, or that my grill got too hot overnight, or that the thermo being at the top of the lid was understating the true temp for the meat and it was too hot altogether (only took 8 hours for 7.2lbs so a little more than an hour a pound).

anyway, great method and i look forward to trying it again!

28 Chase { 09.29.10 at 7:06 pm }


Awesome that your overnight BBQ adventure turned out well. The crust that formed on the outside layer, known as the bark (I believe), is entirely normal, even prized as a delicacy in BBQ circles!


29 Weekend Treats | Grey Likes Nesting { 10.01.10 at 5:42 am }

[...] …Smoked Pork with Rosemary and Brown Sugar Rug from Chase Blackwell [...]

30 Brett { 10.01.10 at 11:55 am }

I have a re-purposed gas grill that I “converted” into charcoal. There are some openings on the side and I’ve rigged the bottom openings with a layer of tin-foil, so that I can open it as much as I need. Having said all of that, I wanted to know if it would be recommended to use two side panels of charcoal or if I should attempt the ring, as this is a rectangular shaped grill. I worry that there isn’t sufficient space between the coals and meat if I were to use the ring, which would be more of a rectangular outline at this point. Assuming I need to use the coals on the side, how many (est.) should I start with for a 6.35lb bone-in boston butt? With this method, and size of butt (heh), will I need to add coals throughout? Or does that just depend on my grill, which is obviously less than stellar…
I did have one more question as well. I’ve always used orange juice or vinegar and/or sliced lemons/oranges, etc in my drip pan. Did you only use water because you were boiling it out and saving for later?
Thanks again for the post. I’m getting up early and getting to work on this bad boy in the morning!

31 Chase { 10.04.10 at 6:31 pm }


Grateful :)

Choose to set-up your grill. There’s no need to worry. With a high fat content, Boston Butt is a forgiving part of the whole Hog.

I love to encourage y’all to experiment with both methods. It’s awesome how you’ve ‘rigged’ together and purposed your gas grill– a true innovator!

Yes, the smoked pork fat is transcendent, transported to the country cabin of childhood summers when I cook with it.

32 Mike K { 11.08.10 at 4:14 pm }

hey Chase,

i tried it again this weekend and the meat came out better this time… but not, too…

first of all, the entire roast was usable (or edible!) this time. something must have happened when i cooked overnight the first time because the end product looked like a hawaiian lava rock, it was so burnt… so burnt that it couldnt have been sliced, you would have had to eat around that portion. that being said, the inside of the roast and what was pulled, was epic… moist, full of smoky flavor and just damn good. it was just a shame to lose so much meat and not be able to use that exterior “bark” you mentioned.

this time around i smoked during the morning/day with an over thermo placed next to the meat (away from the area where the minion ring was burning). i maintained a cooking temp between 215-260′ (i checked every 30 min and adjusted the vents accordingly) and cooked it for about 8.5 hours (7.3 lb, boneless, boston butt). put a meat thermo in after about 7.5 hours and it was around 180′. reached about 195′ after 8.5 hours and took it off (people were gettin’ hungry, i know… i know…) and wrapped in foil for about only 30 min (i know… i know…).

this time, the entire butt wasn’t just edible but delicious, with the crispy “bark” pieces on the exterior just a heavenly mix of sweet spicy brown sugar & paprika/cummin laced with hickory smoke flavor. that being said, a lot of what i pulled required more effort than before and the meat, while still moist and flavorful, was dry in comparison.

im wondering if this was due to (a) not reaching an internal temp of 205-210′ or greater and (b) not letting it rest in foil for 2 hours to let the juices distribute like i did last time.

that being said, still very good (2 thumbs up all around), but being the perfectionist i am… wanting to improve this method ever more.


33 Justin { 12.17.10 at 12:03 pm }

I’m going to give this method a go for christmas dinner. Two questions are do you rotate or flip the meat at all? How to you “rig” up the smoker prob on the ET-73 (which i just ordered)?


34 Chase { 12.17.10 at 12:44 pm }


I apologize. I don’t know how. Your experimentation is wonderful, all the same.

P.s. Love the moist ‘n smokey, “epic” meat!


Welcome. I love to encourage y’all to experiment and express creativity in both ‘rigging’ and cooking.


35 Patrick { 01.18.11 at 2:02 pm }


Thank you for giving me a new method for using my Weber kettle for smoking, not just grilling, ribs! I have a big smoker rig with offset firebox, but for just one rack of ribs, it’s too much smoker. First time I tried your setup, I built a complete circle of charcoal and it burned around the circle both ways. Ooops! Bronto-crisp. The “modified Minion ring of fire” yielded a superb rack of pork spareribs the second time I tried it. NICE BARK AND SMOKE RING ON THOSE RIBS!


36 jungwook lim { 03.23.11 at 1:03 am }

your recipe no good. american food no good. pork no healthy.

37 Scott { 03.23.11 at 7:11 am }

Wow, I’m late to reply here! No I do not brine the chickens before smoking but I bet that would produce even better results. I brine my turkeys for roasting but never have I brined the chickens. I have also not tried smoking at high temps, have you?

I have never smoked cornish hens but I’m willing to give it a try.
Scott´s last [type] ..P is for Passion- and Pizza!

38 melvin { 05.02.11 at 11:44 am }

I tried this rub and it is great. Thanks for sharing this.

39 mike { 06.02.11 at 12:20 pm }

kudos on the boston butt & Modified Minion Method,,,actually, I stumbled on this while searching for something else,,,i know im late, and maybe not relevent, but my ques. is: ever mix/ combine GROUND (RAW) pork butt w/ground beef chuck for grilled burgers?
what %/ratio do you recommend? i prefer 50% or more (butt to chuck),,,chuck cooks faster, but has flavor & the butt has the fat to keep the chuck from over-cooking and, thus, make very juicy burgers,,,? would you suggest the minion method?

40 Patrick Gonzales { 06.02.11 at 1:13 pm }

Hey, Mike:

From experience, NEVER try to smoke a hamburger. The flavor will be very smoky, but the fat will render right out of the patties. We’re talking hockey pucks. For the butt/chuck patties, definitely go with high direct heat for the sear and move to medium heat zone to finish to 165 F.

I’ve used the MMM (Modified-Minion Method) for 2 x 8 lb pork butts as well as 3 x sparerib racks to superb perfection in my Weber kettle.


41 Bill { 06.11.11 at 9:57 am }

This method was excellent, can’t figure out why I didn’t come up with it, spool goood

42 Bill { 06.11.11 at 9:58 am }


43 Bill { 07.17.11 at 1:49 pm }

Tis works so good, I have told several other smoker friends about it and it works very well for all. For ribs I just use an L instead of a ring

44 Hoppah { 09.10.11 at 7:28 pm }

I mirrored this recipe (including the kick ass charcoal setup). 7 pound butt took about 12 hours. FLAWLESS. Just the chunks stuck to the grill were making everyone “ooh” and “aah” with piggy juice dripping down their chins. Thanks for the recipe – and thanks especially for the technique. I’m going to be using this on some tri-tip and a standing rib at some point very soon.

45 Shelli { 11.10.11 at 9:10 am }


We have had some success with smoking Boston Butt and love to smoke with pecan tree limbs have you ever tried this? Also, would you recommend using a brine? We have always wanted to try a brine on our boston butt but wasn’t sure if it was a good choice for the smoker.


46 bill { 05.06.12 at 7:30 am }

I use a brine all the time now, set one out on the grill this morning at 6 am, my kids cant wait, well not really kids 19 and 20

47 Joonas { 05.30.12 at 4:37 am }

Hi Chase,

And greetings all the way from not-so-warm Finland!

I’ve been interested on this way of smoking/barbeque and after I found you blog I gave it a try. And the result was brilliant! It is hard to find meat cut exactly the same way as Boston Butt here but I used something similar and it was delicious so thanks for that.

Now my question is that what is the approximately the time needed to make ribs? I do understand that it is not exact science but it would be good to hear some experiences.

Best Regards,


48 bill { 05.30.12 at 5:35 am }

5-8 hours, I do them all the time instaed of a ring I make an L, perfect everytime

49 Joonas { 05.31.12 at 12:30 am }

Thanks Bill for the answer, can’t wait to try ribs:).

What is the difference on making the L shape compared to a ring?

Best Regards,


50 bill { 05.31.12 at 5:01 am }

Well I have a square grill and when doing a boston butt I use only 3 sides of the grill instead of a ring. giving it basically 3 sides, so for ribs I use 2 sides. Still building it the same as the ring

51 Patrick Gonzales { 05.31.12 at 11:07 am }

If you have a Weber kettle, you can lay the charcoal in a horseshoe or “U” pattern. The ribs are falling apart phenomenal using this method.

52 Joonas { 06.01.12 at 3:27 am }

Thanks guys again, have to try the ribs during the weekend!

Best Regards,


53 Brett { 06.08.12 at 3:30 pm }

How long (hrs) do the ribs go for in the “U”? Also, I’m doing baby backs; should I put them on for a little less?

54 Patrick Gonzales { 06.09.12 at 11:32 am }

Hi, Brett:

Let those ribs go for 5 to 6 hrs at 225-250 F. I smoke spareribs, but I would think that babyback ribs would require the same amount of time.

If you can get it, USE CHERRY WOOD! It is the wood that I swear by for my meat smokin’. Let us know how they turn out.


55 Brett { 06.10.12 at 2:00 pm }

Thanks Patrick. I cooked the baby backs for about 5 hours in the “U” with Apple Wood, which I really like with Pork and can find easily here in Florida. I’ll give the cherry wood a try sometime, but it’s probably something I would have to order.
I cooked them at 210-230 for the most part with a drip pan full of OJ, Apple Cider Vinegar, and slices of red grapefruit, lemon, and clementines, as I was making Chase’s sorbet as well.
I wrapped the ribs in foil and left in the oven for about 2 hrs at 200, while I cooked up another rack with a traditional method, which is a bit more like competition ribs that don’t fall off the bone, but have some bite, but do pull away easily. For those I just kept the drip pan, split the coals on either side and opened up the vents to cook between 350-400. It was a great feast and I appreciate the tips.

56 Patrick Gonzales { 06.16.12 at 9:40 am }

Hi, Brett:

So, the babybacks were fallin’ off the bone? Yum. But, true that competition ribs will still retain some of that chew you mentioned. You can easily back off on the time a bit to not have them so tender. Anyways, I get my cherry wood by the boxful up in MN. Hard to find it here in MO. I’m glad it worked out!

57 Chase { 06.25.12 at 7:18 am }

Shelli, pecan tree limbs sounds delicious, and is surely the way to an incredible and natural boston butt. For the brine, in my imagination it makes the texture unappealing and unnatural. From Holland, Chase

58 Chase { 06.25.12 at 7:22 am }

Ribs are similar. The way to cook ribs is to stack them for a time, rotating in intervals of thirty minutes to an hour or more, basting the whole time. Towards the end of cooking, cover with foil until tender. Chase

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60 Macattack { 11.30.12 at 9:31 am }

Chase: followed this recipe last week, even bought the thermometer you recommended. Textbook!!! That modified minion method ROCKS!!! It was perfect, meat just fell apart. I am thinking of getting a standing rib roast (beef) and trying cooking it the same way. Would be grateful for any thoughts or experience of doing beef this method?

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65 Bob Smith { 02.28.14 at 2:33 am }

Hi Chase,

This looks great and I have added it to my recipe book! One question, have you ever smoked nuts of any kind? I have always wanted to try it but I really want to. Any good recipes for me?

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67 megan { 05.26.14 at 9:05 pm }

This sounds delish! Thanks for the rub recipe…
You should check out Masterbuilt’s Electric Smoker (Lowe’s or QVC…just about anywhere). Takes all the guess work out and the results are ridiculous (in the best way). Set the time, set the temp, come back when it’s ready to eat…

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71 Pam Blackwell { 09.14.14 at 4:22 pm }

To all who have asked questions or made statements and got no response from Chase.
Chase passed away at the age of 23 January of 2013.
Thanks for all the love you have shared on here. I come here often to feel close to him.
He loved all things food. And was in my opinion quite brillant at it.

Much love and many blessings to all!

72 Pam Blackwell { 09.14.14 at 4:24 pm }

One other thing…. Please no spam or advertising

73 bill { 09.14.14 at 7:27 pm }

wow I am sorry, so young. I had no Idea. been using his Boston butt recipe for a few years and it is awesome. I have lots of friends using the same method. and tweaking it as well.works just as well for ribs, just cut your time

74 Rob Lawrence { 10.03.14 at 10:35 am }

Pam – Very sorry for your loss… I have used Chase’s recipe from here for many years and just came back today to refresh my memory. His writing style and photos are fantastic.

RIP Chase

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