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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Char-Griller Akorn Smoked Pork Butt

Pulled pork is a staple in a good BBQ Pit-masters recipe book. I have made pulled pork flavored in many ways but found that simple BBQ is the best. This is a very easy recipe and I found having the Char-Griller Akorn makes it even easier. I had used my Weber kettle when making my BBQ for the last few years but since getting the Akorn I found it a lot easier and more consistent. With the Akorn you can control the temperature much better and are not tethered to the grill all day adding charcoal and wood chips. I was very impressed with the performance the Char-Griller Akorn on long cooks. It uses substantially less fuel and you can control the temp much better. Below is how I make pulled pork on the Akorn.


(1) 5-7 lb Boston Butt
1/2 cup of mustard
1/2 cup of your favorite dry rub ( Crawdaddy's BBQ Butt Crust)
1/2 cup of a Carolina (vinegar based) BBQ sauce

I start with a Boston butt with good marbling of fat. I know some guys will tell you the more fat the better but I like the pork to be moist but greasy when eating it. I have found that if there is too much fat you will be eating greasy pork. I trim any loose pieces of fat off the edges and if the butt you selected has a large flap of fat trim it down so it is no thicker than 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Once I have trimmed the butt I take the vinegar based BBQ sauce and use it as an injectable marinade. I inject about every inch all around to ensure that all the meat has some of the marinade. 

After injecting the pork. I give the outside a good coating of mustard. This adds to the layers of flavor but also helps the dry rub stick to the pork. The injecting and coating with mustard and rub can be a messy job so I always wear blue nitrile gloves when prepping. I find it easier than getting mustard and rub all over the kitchen.

Once you have coated with mustard I use a liberal amount of your favorite dry rub. Putting a heavy coating of rub on the pork will help add to flavor but will also create a nice crust on the outside of the pork. I then take the pork and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight to allow the pork to soak in all the flavors. The next day take the pork out and allow it come to room temperature prior to smoking this will help it cook more evenly. 

Using lump charcoal prepare a fire by using the top down method. This is accomplished by filling your fire box with lump charcoal and add 4-5 chunks of pecan wood that you soaked in water for at east and hour. Take a Weber charcoal starter and light it and cover it with the lump charcoal. Open your top and bottom vent all the way and leave the dome open. Once you get a good burn going close your dome lid and use a digital thermometer to monitor the inside temp of the grill. When you begin to climb to around 200 degrees adjust your top and bottom vents to a setting of one. Allow your Akorn to climb slowly to 250 degrees. When you have reached 250 make sure your vents are barely open. I let the grill sit at 250 for about 30 minutes to ensure it is stable. I use a pizza stone as an indirect cooking plate and on top of the pizza stone I place an aluminum drip pan filled with water. The water will steam and help the smoke penetrate deep into the pork. Once you are happy the temperature is stable put your pork in the center of the cooking great and insert the digital thermometer. I set the alarm for 165 degrees. Then I let the Akorn do its thing. No peeking till you thermometer hits 165 degrees.

Once your pork reaches 165 degrees take it off the smoker and wrap it tightly with foil. Your pork will look a little crusty and dry on the outside that is ok. I place my pork in a small Igloo cooler and let it rest for  1 hour. This will allow the juices in the meat to redistribute and help to keep the pork moist and tender. Don't cheat this is an important step and have tried to rush it before and found that the pork that rests for an hour tastes much better. 

After resting it is time to pull the pork. You can see that the juices have redistributed and the pork is very tender and juicy. The best test for pulled pork is to be able to remove the bone with out any meat sticking to it. Then just pushing on the pork it should virtually shred itself. This is great on a bun with BBQ sauce or wrapped in a tortilla. This was one of the best Boston Butts I have made and was great as left overs also. Enjoy!


  1. Thanks for the write-up and pics. About how long did it take to cook to 165? Also, how much did your pork butt weigh? Just trying to get an idea so I know how long before meal time I need to get it all started.

  2. I found you while researching the akorn char griller. Like the other commentor I wonder about how long it took and how many fuel resupplies you had to do.

    I also think your resting theory deserves more explanation. Can you tell me why sitting in an insulated box for an hour is different than sitting in the akorn for an hour? I know about meat resting after grilling but I always believed it to be mostly necessary after exposure to direct heat, and then at uninsulated room temperature.

    Alerting you to an error:
    "I know some guys will tell you the more fat the better but I like the pork to be moist but greasy when eating it."
    Missing the word 'not' I think.

  3. Interested why you use 165 as final temp. Every other place I read shoots for at least 190. Some 200+, depending on certain factors.

  4. For pulled pork, you really need 165IT, you could slice the pork, but pulling would be tough.