Barbecue by ted_major
Barbecue, a photo by ted_major on Flickr.

A few weeks ago, I fired up the smoker to cook a Boston butt, a few turkey breasts, and a slab of ribs. I usually use the Chez Panisse brine recipe to smoke turkey, but I did a search to see about brining a Boston butt. I found that butts are commonly brined, and even found brine recipe from Alton Brown. I decided to do one brine for everything, and gave Alton’s recipe a shot. It was great for the Boston butt, but the turkey was a bit too salty, and the ribs were WAY too salty. Live & learn.


  • 4 gallons water
  • 48 oz. salt
  • 1 pint molasses

I put all the meat and the brine into a cooler with some reusable ice packs, which kept it at aroung 40F overnight.

The next day, I rubbed the butt with a rub made of roughly equal parts dried parsley, black pepper, garlic, and paprika, and put it and the turkey breasts on to smoke early in the morning. I don’t usually use a rub for turkey. After about 8 hours, I took the turkey off. Then I rubbed the ribs with a mix of paprika, cumin, ancho chile powder, allspice, garlic, and enough olive oil to make a paste and put them on for a couple of hours.

I smoked the butt until it reached an internal temp of 190F, which took about 16 hours.

I seved the pork with some slaw and some Cholula chipotle hot sauce for a barbecue sauce. (N.B., I like a hot, vinegary sauce, and can’t stand thick, sweet, tomatoey sauce; YMMV.)