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Competition Pork Practice

The Competition BBQ Season in the Northeast will be here before you know it, so practice starts now (as though it ever stopped!).  I’ve been working on a new flavor profile for pork, and I will keep some of the details secret this time because some of the information was given to me in confidence.

I’m starting here with a 10lb Boston Butt.

Because I will be turning in slices from the ‘money muscle’, I like to trim away any fat and clearly define the shape.

Then I trim away the fat cap.  I believe there is enough intramuscular fat in a pork butt to keep everything moist and tender, and I like the extra bark I get as a result.

All set for injecting.

I use about 8oz of injection/marinade per pork butt, paying special attention to the parts I’ll be turning in for judging.  Then it goes back into the refrigerator or cooler for at least 4 hours.

Next, it gets a good coating of rub.  I’m using a combination of two Simply Marvelous products, Season all and Sweet Seduction.   After rubbing, it goes right onto the cooker.

After the butt has been on for a couple of hours, and the bark is starting to form, I begin spritzing with diluted apple juice about once an hour.

When the internal temperature hits the stall at about 165 degrees, I add a cup of apple juice to the pan and cover with foil.

When the internal temperature reaches 195, it’s done.  Here’s what this one looked like.

And here are the pieces I would put in the turn-in box.   The pork was perfectly tender and the flavors were spot on, I was very happy with the results.   I do think the sauce was a little thick however, so I’ll adjust that in the next practice session.

19 Responses to “Competition Pork Practice”

  • cryptical:

    I’m a CBJ, just looking at that makes me hope that you’ll be cooking at a contest that I’m judging at this year.

  • Brian:

    If you ever want to practice call me!! I’ll be a guinea pig

  • Steve:

    Looks beautiful. What type of contraption are you using to spritz the meat? How long did these butts cook?

  • Mister Bob:

    Thanks, Steve. That’s a one liter pump sprayer made by Solo.
    The butts were on for about nine hours at 275. Rested for an hour.

  • Mister Bob:

    Thanks, Brian. If you’re ever in the Beautiful Hudson Valley of NY, let me know. I would be happy to test some competition recipes on you.

  • Mister Bob:

    Thanks, I’ll be competing in the northeast. DE, NJ, NY, NH, RI are planned so far, probably MA and PA too. Who knows, maybe the Jack and the Royal too (I hope).

  • Gary:

    Where do you find those mesh looking racks, I’ve noticed a few pit masters using them and was curious the benefit they add. Thanks for the write up.

  • Mister Bob:

    Gary, The racks are good for a couple of things. When cooking right on the grate, they make it easy to move meat around in the cooker. When you cook in a foil pan to keep the cooker clean or to collect the juices, they allow the smoke to get all around the meat so you’re BBQ’ing and not braising.

    I buy mine at Chef Central in Paramus, NJ, but you should be able to find them at most restaurant or kitchen supply stores. Ask for cooling racks. You can also get them on Try this link:

  • js-tx:

    Oh man that looks good! We don’t have to turn in pulled pork here in TX, so your secrets are safe w/me! :) I need to get another cooling rack. I did a brisket on Sunday and I got frustrated that I couldn’t find the one that fits in my keg. I found it yesterday on top of the fridge..

  • I’ve never bothered much with trimming butts but I am going to try it on the next one I smoke. The reasoning behind it totally make sense, thanks for the great tip.

  • Nick:

    Would love to see your cutting and presentation pictures.

  • Mister Bob:

    Nick, I have to save something for my BBQ classes, but if you have any specific questions, use the ‘contact’ form on this blog and I’ll try to help.

  • mr Pig:

    looks a bit dry…. j/k ummmm

  • Brad:

    Bob i am cooking my pork to 195 internal also and yet it doesnt just fall apart like i have seen at comps or on TV have used the pan that way too or just wrapped in foil any suggestions for a more tender and more juicier product

  • Mister Bob:


    What kind of thermometer are you using, and have you calibrated it recently to make sure it’s accurate? In most cases, 195 degrees IT will result in a tender butt, easy to pull but not mushy. Unlike brisket, pork is fairly consistent in the relationship between internal temperature and tenderness.

    That said, you can also tell when a pork butt is done without even using a thermometer by wiggling the bone. If it feels really loose and separates cleanly from the meat, you’re done. Another way is to stick a fork in it. If it slides in like a hot knife through butter and turns easily when it’s in, you’re all set.

    Mister Bob

  • That looks really amazing. Are you cooking the money muscle and horn meat to 195? Or, are you cooking the middle of the butt to 195? Thanks so much!

  • Mister Bob:

    Tom, I’m cooking the money muscle to 195. Depending on the size of the horn piece, it might be a little higher.

  • Joe:

    Hi, Ive been trying to figure out where exactly the money muscle is on the butt.. In the picture above, are you injecting directly into the money muscle??

  • Mister Bob:

    Yes Joe, that’s the money muscle. Here’s another post that shows how to find it: