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A Show-Stopping Boston Butt with the MeatStick

Photo by Paul Wickey @wicked.bbq

As the busy New Year season settles down, treat yourself, family, and friends to a show-stopping roasted Boston Butt made with your MeatStick! Pork butt (aka Boston Butt) and pork shoulder both come from the shoulder of the pig. The former comes from above the shoulder blades, while the latter meat extends down to the pig's front hoofs. But don't sweat it at the grocery store if you can only find one of the two – they're essentially the same thing, and we'll be using the terms interchangeably throughout this recipe.

If you're craving something meaty this winter, our roasted pork shoulder recipe will make you the perfect meal. We've read quite a few tasty recipes online, but realized they were missing the most important element on perfecting this roast – the internal temperature. We won't be making the same mistake in this recipe. Make sure your MeatStick is fully charged before roasting!

What You'll Need (for 8 servings)

1/4 cup of black peppercorns

3 tablespoons of juniper berries

1 tablespoon of coriander seeds

1/2 cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt 

3 tablespoons sugar 

1 8 to 10 pound skin-on, bone-in pork shoulder (aka Boston Butt)

10 garlic cloves (unpeeled, slightly crushed)

5 sprigs of rosemary

2 cups of dry white wine

Cranberry sauce, cornichons, and whole grain mustard to serve.

Equipment needed: spice mill or mortar and pestle, blade and box cutter, oven.


1. Grind the peppercorns, juniper berries, and coriander seeds finely in a spice mill or with your mortar and pestle. Transfer the spice mix into a small bowl to mix in with the salt and sugar.

2. Set the blade on a box cutter to about ⅓" (you can also use a very sharp paring knife or X-Acto knife to do this) and cut long parallel lines into the skin of your pork shoulder. Leave around ¾" of spacing between each line. Make sure to completely cut through the fat while getting as close to the meat as possible without slicing into it. Snip between the rows witha pair of kitchen shears to create a diamond-shape pattern, leaving about ¾" of space apart. Cutting this crosshatch pattern into the fat will allow the salt and spices to permeate the meat while it cooks.

3. Rub the spice mixture over the entire pork shoulder. Let the mixture cover any exposed meat and push it into the cuts you've made in the fat. Let the spices go into the fatty layer instead of the surface of the skin, so they don't burn while the meat roasts. For a flavorful roast, make sure to use all the spices you've prepped – even if it may seem like a lot! Your blend of spices and herbs are meant to complement the pork without overpowering it.

4. Wrap the pork shoulder tightly with plastic and let it chill for at least 3 hours, ideally overnight. While you're waiting, charge your MeatStick so it's ready to go when you roast.

This recipe is so easy and can be done by anyone. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting until the next day to roast the meat. This allows the pork to marinate overnight, which gives it time to soak up all the flavors from your blend. By setting up your roast and tracking its temperature with the MeatStick, roasting will be as simple as placing the meat into the oven and letting it do its thing!

5. Pair your MeatStick with the MeatStick App and set up your cook. The default target internal temperature for a delicious Boston Butt is 203°F and the target ambient temperature is 225°F. If you want to get more precise, you can adjust these settings to your liking in the App. To track the internal and ambient temperatures throughout the entire cook, insert the MeatStick into the center of the roast. The early warning alert is set by default 5 degrees below your target temperature. If you need to do some prep work before the main feast, we'd advise setting the early warning 10-15 degrees earlier to be notified in advance. Our patented estimate time algorithm will let you know approximately when your meat will be done, so you'll have time to get all your sides ready for the big feast.

6. Place a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat it to 225°F. Line 2 layers of heavy-duty foil on a rimmed baking sheet to avoid scrubbing off stains afterwards. Set the rosemary sprigs and garlic in the center of your baking sheet, then put a wire rack on top. Put the pork shoulder on a rack (MeatStick inserted), then place it into the oven. Pour 2 cups of wine with 2 cups of water into the baking sheet and roast your pork shoulder until the meat is pulling away from the bone and the skin is visibly very dark. We're expecting 9 to 10 hours of roasting, so set-it-and-forget-it overnight with the MeatStick! If it cooks quicker than expected or there's an issue with your cook, The MeatStick app will let you know! While the meat cooks, you'll notice the internal temperature rises first, then plateaus.

7. When the meat's almost ready you'll receive an early warning from The MeatStick App to remove your pork from the oven. When taken out, the meat will continue to cook as its temperature rises while it sits. Let your roast sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 5 hours, uncovered at room temperature until it's ready to serve.

8. Serve warm with cranberry sauce, cornichons, mustard, and all your delicious side dishes! If needed, reheat your roast at 350°F to 400° in your oven to soften the fat and warm up the surface of the roast for only 5 to 10 minutes, right before you serve.

Photo by Steven Odom @stevens_smokehouse

Get your MeatStick here.

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