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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.

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Old 12-18-2011, 04:12 AM   #1
Got Wood.
Join Date: 06-29-11
Location: St Paul, MN
Default Christmas Cake Walk (gonna be pic heavy)

So, my wife's family is doing a Christmas "cake walk" this year along with some other fun stuff (really big family. she's second youngest of 10; probably going to be about 50 people there on Christmas eve including children).
Each family is to bring some kind of food. I usually end up making some kind of BBQ at family cabin weekends, so I decided to do the same for this.

I have learned a lot here, and always mean to take some pics to post here when I smoke stuff, but usually forget or am just rushing around trying to get things done in time for whatever and don't get around to it.
I guess it's time to contribute something (although I'm not really that good at this yet).

The plan is to smoke 2 pork butts (one for me and one for the game).
I'll smoke 'em, shred 'em, vac pack 'em, then freeze 'em.
It's supposed to be warm tomorrow (40+ deg), so this should be fun.
***as an aside: it's Dec 18, there's no snow on the ground, and it's going to to be over 40 tomorrow - wtf? - I guess I'll take it though ***

Opened up the pig parts, rinsed 'em off real good and pat them dry.
Slathered with mustard.
Rubbed them down (just threw a bunch of **** in a shaker; lots of paprikas, kosher salt, turbinado sugar, minced onion, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon pepper, rubbed sage, a little cumin, lots of cayenne..... some other stuff too I think, but can't remember what. )

looks good so far

My "helper" seems pretty interested. I think he's hoping I drop one on the floor.

Don't know what that third eye lookin thing on his forehead is. Must have been some dust on the lens.

Got them rubbed. I think I was a little paprika heavy, so I hit them with the salt, sugar and onion flakes again.

By the way, you southern boys don't know what you're missing!
Summit ales are top notch! Cheers!
(I don't think you can really get it outside MN)

Looks good, smells good.
Ready for bed. In the fridge at 0200.
Sleep good boys, you've got a big day tomorrow :

I guess I'll throw them on the grill as soon as I roll out of bed tomorrow - well, I guess actually later today - and see how it goes.

Good night all.
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:52 AM   #2
Got Wood.
Join Date: 06-29-11
Location: St Paul, MN
Default Christmas Cake Walk; Conclusion (of food prep)

I did this all a couple days ago, just didn't have the chance to post it.
I know y'all have seen pulled pork pron about a million times, but I'm going to put up some pics anyway (well, actually a bunch).

Fire up the smoker. Used Kingsford Hickory briquettes (didn't have any lump, but have had good luck with this stuff and like how it smells).
Had to use cherry wood chunks only; I thought I had some Hickory, but was wrong.

Smoker at 175; butts go on the grill.
I like to throw stuff on at a lower temp while it's climbing - I feel like I get a little more smoke in the meat and don't get any big temp spikes or drops when it counts.

I Jerry-rigged a little double boiler/drip pan kind of thing underneath to keep humidity high enough, and hopefully recover some of the juices without burning them up. ran out of water though by the end; I'll have to try this again next time, as I think it was a good idea.
(2 foil pans, the bottom one with a couple cups of water, the top one, floating on the water in the bottom one, to catch juices. As long as I don't run out of water, the drippings will not be allowed to go over 212)

Smoker holding in the 230-240 range; not really sure, thermometer in grill sucks and I'd get different numbers depending on where I had the thermocouple (stuck in the top vent)
Top butt at 120, bottom at 105. Starting to look like smoked pork should.

top butt at 160 - time to foil (just wrapped, no juice added or anything like that)
Don't remember what the bottom one was at.
I've never tried putting them in foil before, but thought I'd try something new. Also, we had to go Christmas shopping, and I was kinda worried if we were gone too long I'd end up with a lump of coal (in the grill) instead of a nice juicy lump of meat.

Eating dinnner at Lee Ann Chin with the wife and kids. Starting to worry about the meat left unattended on the grill.
Driving home at a high rate of speed to check on said meat.

Home at last.
Top butt is at 205 - utter some profanities and remove butt #1 from grill (I wanted to pull it at about 190-195).
Bottom butt is at 178 - utter some more profanities, place butt #2 in foil (wanted to foil around 160).
Decide I don't want to be up all night again, so I open the top vent a lot to raise the temp inside)
Butt #1 is left on counter in its foil tent.

Begin disassembly of butt #1.

Bone slides right out. This is my favorite part of this whole process. It's like right at that single moment you finally see if this turned out or not.

Butt disassembled. Un-rendered fat (I usually don't trim, so there's plenty of it) is either pulled off for big pieces, or just wiped off the meat with a paper towel.
I love pulling these things apart by hand (using my fingers, not forks or other utensils), you can then make the chunks just the right size, don't tear the grains, or muscle fibers or whatever the right term is, and can see the individual muscles. It's amazing the different colors, textures and even tastes in one pork shoulder.

Disassembled butt #1. This one turned out real good
I was worried about the temp being too high, but things are looking good.
There was however a lot of juice in the foil (saved it), which I would have rather have been in the meat, but the meat seemed plenty juicy.

About half a cup of liquid pork, for use later (you can tell it sat in the fridge for a bit - not as pretty as when I first recovered it)
Meat also looks a little dry here because I let it cool in the fridge like this for a bit while waiting for #2:

Top butt is at 190, remove from grill, Let rest in foil about 45 min.

Bone does not come out as easily on #2. not much juice in foil.
This butt was at least 50% bigger than the other, but had less than half the juice in the bottom of the foil when "done".
Starting to think I should not have cranked the heat.:

Disassemble #2
Meat in the middle is a little harder to pull apart. I think this one should have gone to a little higher temp, and done so more slowly (shouldn't have been so impatient). It's not terribly under-done, just doesn't fall apart like I like.
I guess I'll be mixing the meat from the two, so it'll even out in the end.

Butt #2, disassembled:

Both butts (disassembled):

I saved the nicest looking pieces to pack whole; the rest was pulled into smaller shreds, suitable for sammiches, tacos, nachos or whatever.

Final product:

It's crazy how small the end result is from those two giant pieces of meat!

Lessons Learned:
Don't wing it while making rub after drinking a lot of beer - you might put waaaay too much paprika in there.

I think I'm going to wipe off the rub before or during smoking next time. A lot of the "bark" was mostly just burnt paprika (which I removed and discarded).

Don't get impatient; keep that temp low.

I'm going to let [pork butts] get closer to 200 deg next time, and let rest longer, in a cooler (just left them on the counter in a pan today). The second butt just wasn't done as well as it should have been.

I like the foil technique - I think that's how I'll be doing them from now on.
Maybe open the foil near the end though to get a little more smokey goodness in there. ?

Thanks for lookin (at the umpteenth pulled pork thread)

BTW: Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Oh, and it was like 50 degrees here today!!
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:05 PM   #3
Midnight Smoke
somebody shut me the fark up.
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Excellent looking Cook! That Pork is right on.

*** Terry ~ aka Pork Smoker ***

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Old 12-20-2011, 12:13 PM   #4
somebody shut me the fark up.

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Lessons Learned:
Don't wing it while making rub after drinking a lot of beer
- you might put waaaay too much paprika in there.


Nice reportage,hope you'll do one again soon!
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:27 PM   #5
On the road to being a farker

Join Date: 08-31-09
Location: Columbus, OH

Originally Posted by EastSideRich View Post
(shouldn't have been so impatient)
I've done that more than once too. Now, I don't even crack the lid until I reach 200 degrees.

Looks great though, and nice packaging. Your work will pay off when you pull one of those out of the freezer and you're ready to eat in like 10 minutes.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:40 PM   #6
Got Wood.
Join Date: 06-29-11
Location: St Paul, MN

Originally Posted by Phubar View Post
Nice reportage,hope you'll do one again soon!
Tremendously flattering, coming from you!
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