What’s the Difference? Pulled Pork for Competition or Consumption

I recently enjoyed the series of BBQ Round Tables conducted via the BBQ Central Radio Show (I subscribe to the podcast via iTunes).  Over the course of 4 weeks, Greg Rempeinterviewed some of the top BBQ teams on their techniques for preparing each of the four KCBS meats.

I listened intently as the BBQ pros talked about trimming, rubbing, injecting, smoking, wrapping, presenting, and in same cases even tasting their product before turning it in for judging.  I say in some cases, cause not all of them even bother to taste the product before turn in.  I guess you gotta “run what ya brung” some times.  So it may not matter what it tastes like.

For the most part, the pros agreed on the majority of the steps and there were only slight variations in their process.  However, I was surprised to hear that 2 out of 3 of the pros only cooked pork butt for ~ 6 hrs. or so.  They are starting the process around 3:00am, wrapping the butts after 3-4 hrs, and calling them done at 198* or so.  They seem to focus their turn in on the “money muscle” ( I still haven’t figured out exactly what that is and I’m not brave enough to Google it ).

So I thought, if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me.  I did a couple of butts recently and I used this hotter, faster method of cooking.  What I discovered is that the outside of the butts were really good and pulled easily.  However, at the core I thought they were still a little stringy and tough.

So I wonder, is there a difference between competition pork butt vs. pork butt prepared for consumption?  It sure seems like it to me based on this one attempt.  I have a coupe of big parties to cook for in the next month and I’m gonna stick with a 12 hr low ‘n’ slow for now.

What do you think?  Is there a difference?  Drop me a comment and let me know.


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