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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 07-22-2013, 02:57 AM   #1
stepandfetch
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Default Success with pork shoulder

I finally found a winning combination for pork shoulder barbecue. From another thread, I was recommended to abandon the rub, and sprinkle a liberal amount of salt on the outside of the butt. I did so, and also turned the butt with fat cap down.

After smoking for nine hours over hickory coals, the result was fantastic. No, it was sublime. With no rub to burn and turn black, the entire shoulder was red-brown. We call that "outside brown" in North Carolina. With all the rubs I have used, both with and without sugar, the outside always turned black, which was far too bitter to eat. Without the rub and the addition of so much outside brown, the barbecue needed no sauce or rub or anything at all. It was perfect. I also noticed that this was the smokiest cue I had ever smoked. I would highly recommend ditching the rub.

If you are curious about my setup, see here:

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=137372

This was the original thread that inspired me:

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=151525
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Unread 07-22-2013, 08:35 AM   #2
Kurt5
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Nice. My old man uses only garlic salt and pepper with great results. Love your rig, too.
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Unread 07-22-2013, 09:14 AM   #3
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Thats great - let the flavor of the smoke and meat shine!

I once did a test of several different rubs on 4 bone mini-racks of back loin ribs. (Truth be told, I had to do something with a bunch of 4 bone tips I trimmed from some racks so they would fit in my 19.5 WSM.) In addition to various rubs, I left one with no seasoning at all. I was surprised that the unseasoned rack was really good!

I highly recommend that all aspiring pitmasters try smoking without seasoning the meat. It informs you about the starting point as you strive to develop the flavor that you desire. And it is a real eye opener.
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Unread 07-22-2013, 10:07 AM   #4
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I love smoking neked. It's hard to beat plain smoked meat.
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Unread 07-22-2013, 10:53 AM   #5
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Yep, the only smoke in traditional bbq is the fat dripping on the coals!
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Unread 07-22-2013, 10:59 AM   #6
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Pig + smoke + salt & pepper = good eats! I started playing around with minimal rubs last summer and now have friends that request "those salt & pepper ribs" whenever we have a 'dig at Chez Woody. Simple and delicious!
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Unread 07-22-2013, 11:16 AM   #7
creekwalker
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stepandfetch, you said in the thread on your pit:

"That reminds me- with this traditional technique, you must add a shovelful of coals every half hour or so. The beauty of having coals right under the meat is that when the fat, collagen, connective tissues, etc burns off, it drips down into the coals, and then steam/ smoke drifts back up to the meat- this adds great flavor which you would miss with drip pans."

That's music to my ears. About how far up from the coals is your food grate? The success you've had with your rig would seem to make hash of the UDS rule that meat should be at least 24 inches above a direct fire. (Although it was already just about hash in my mind.)
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Unread 07-22-2013, 11:53 AM   #8
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Sounds great. I just checked out your other thread, makes me wanna build one of those cool old brick pits like you used to see in everyone's backyard back in the day. Remember those? With the open pit in the front and a chimney in back?
Too cool. I like that the block pit is semi portable though, don't know how long I'll be at this current residence so building anything permanent wouldn't make sense. Thanks for sharing. Grub looks great!
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Unread 07-22-2013, 09:25 PM   #9
stepandfetch
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creekwalker- Originally the coals were 3 cinder blocks (24 inches) from the grate. I discovered very quickly that it took far too many shoveled coals to bring the temps at the grate level to 200 F. My stack of split hickory wood dwindled far too quickly. I removed one level of blocks, so now there is only a distance of 16 inches from the bed of coals to the grate. This has worked perfectly for me- I only have to shovel coals every 45 minutes or so to keep temps up. I keep my temps at around 200 F. At this level, it takes about 9 hours to finish a 7 lbs butt... more time over the coals, more smoke in the meat.

Jrod- yea I like that the entire pit can be deconstructed and moved to the back of a truck. BTW, I have yet to see any cinder blocks crack or explode from the heat. It is a neat set up... also quite affordable.
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Unread 07-22-2013, 09:30 PM   #10
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Yes sir! I'm a newly turned s&p only also! Never looking back on all that money on rubs again
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Unread 07-22-2013, 09:38 PM   #11
stepandfetch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeleonard81 View Post
Yes sir! I'm a newly turned s&p only also! Never looking back on all that money on rubs again

amen- rubs are a very expensive way to ruin outside brown!

and NOTHING beats outside brown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by creekwalker View Post
stepandfetch, you said in the thread on your pit:

"That reminds me- with this traditional technique, you must add a shovelful of coals every half hour or so. The beauty of having coals right under the meat is that when the fat, collagen, connective tissues, etc burns off, it drips down into the coals, and then steam/ smoke drifts back up to the meat- this adds great flavor which you would miss with drip pans."

That's music to my ears. About how far up from the coals is your food grate? The success you've had with your rig would seem to make hash of the UDS rule that meat should be at least 24 inches above a direct fire. (Although it was already just about hash in my mind.)

Ah you are from Durham. Do you ever make it out to Allen and Son on Millhouse Rd? in my opinion, no other joint in the state can match the smokiness of A&S bbq,
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Unread 07-23-2013, 12:55 AM   #12
creekwalker
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Yes, I've been to Allen and Son a number of times over the years. Like a lot of online reviewers, I find them extremely inconsistent--but most of the time, they make one of the three truly great examples of pork bbq I've ever had. One of the others was O.T.'s in Apex, and the third place is on the Durham end of hwy 55 and still open: Backyard BBQ Pit. Like Allen and Son, their stuff has an even stronger smoke taste than what I've made--yet mine tastes over-smoked, apparently because some of the smoke elements in it are the wrong kind.
'
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Unread 07-23-2013, 01:08 AM   #13
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thanks for the tip, will this this over the weekend.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 01:46 AM   #14
stepandfetch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creekwalker View Post
Yes, I've been to Allen and Son a number of times over the years. Like a lot of online reviewers, I find them extremely inconsistent--but most of the time, they make one of the three truly great examples of pork bbq I've ever had. One of the others was O.T.'s in Apex, and the third place is on the Durham end of hwy 55 and still open: Backyard BBQ Pit. Like Allen and Son, their stuff has an even stronger smoke taste than what I've made--yet mine tastes over-smoked, apparently because some of the smoke elements in it are the wrong kind.
'
I agree, A&S can be terribly inconsistent. When it's good though, it is really good. They also have drop dead gorgeous good hushpuppies. As much as I love the place, I will be the first to say that their prices are truly ludicrous. Southern food is humble and cheap to prepare- that is, until the owners oblige the naivety of Chapel Hill yuppies who are more than willing to pay an arm and a leg for what essentially just arrived from the Sysco foods truck (I'm looking at you, Mama Dip.)

It is refreshing to go somewhere like Lexington #1 or Hursey's, where the menu prices are much more reasonable.
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Unread 07-23-2013, 05:30 AM   #15
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I've seen pics where, due to ash buildup, it looks like Keith Allen's shoulders are 12 inches or less from the coals. Also, my fav bbq joint in Texas, Cooper's in Llano cooks directly over coals. Google some pics of their pits. I have a smaller version (less length). I believe they cook at 20 inches. You can do an awesome pork shoulder on a Weber kettle just by putting just a few coals under at a time. I've done it, and you will definitely get that authentic fat dripping on the coals old time bbq flavor.
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