Ruthie’s Pork Shoulder
Louis Charles Henley is the jocular pit boss at this ramshackle East Texas-style joint. (Ruthie is his mom.) Louis’ ribs are excellent, his Elgin sausage is smoked for several hours until it gets really dense, and his pork shoulder is sublime. The restaurant is an old house—you can pick a magazine from the rack to read while you wait for your meal. Mutton ribs are served on Saturday afternoon, but you’ll be lucky to get any—there’s a waiting list for them. Serves 4 to 6
1 (4-5 lbs.) pork shoulder roast (Boston butt)
3 T. Louis Charles Henley’s All-Purpose Rub - (mixture of 1/4 c. Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, 1 T. finely ground black pepper, 2 tsp. Garlic powder, and 1 tsp. chili powder)
Season the meat with the rub, rubbing it in well.Set up your smoker for indirect heat with a water pan. Use wood chips, chunks, or logs, and keep up a good level of smoke. Maintain a temperature between 225˚F and 250˚F.
Smoke the roast for 4-5 hours, turning it every half-hour or so to ensure even cooking. The meat is done when it pulls easily away from the bone, but don’t worry about overcooking it; it will just keep getting better. An internal temperature of around 170˚F is perfect. (This is also the USDA-recommended temperature.)
Slice with an electric knife, and serve on sandwiches with your favorite barbecue sauce, pickle slices, and sliced onions.
Ruthie’s Pit Bar-B-Q905 W. Washington (Texas 105 West), Navasota936/825-2700
From the July 2002 issue.