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View Full Version : MAK 2-star Pulled Pork experiments


keodark
04-08-2019, 02:28 AM
Hey folks! Thanks for all the great inspiration and knowledge contained in this forum, it's been exceptionally helpful to my efforts to learn how to properly cook meat on a smoker.

I've been putting my new MAK 2-Star General through the paces, and below is my first real "experiment". I wanted to try out two pork butt recipes and see which one performed better on my MAK. Alas, I did not think to carve the two butts to be the same size (duh), so take the "experimental" part with a grain of salt. ;) Note that these were from a Costco two-pack and had relatively little fat cap, so I left on the 1/4" or so that was there.

TEST 1: BabyBackManiac's "easy" pulled pork recipe from his MAK video, sortof.

Pellets: BBQrs Delight Hickory
Meat: Costco Pork Butt, boneless, 9lb 1oz, tied with butcher twine
Prep: Minimal trim (just fat flaps), dry brine with 4.5 tsp sea salt 12 hours prior to cook. Rubbed with PPOG (Pepper, paprika, onion, garlic) liberally right before cook.
Cook: Onto cold MAK, then set to SMOKE for 7 hours (overnight), then automatically change to 275 degrees until probe tender (ended up 6 hours).

I tested it like a maniac every 10 minutes or so with the probe of an instant-read thermometer. Pulled only when I got "peanut butter" texture everywhere, maximum read was around 204.

I didn't rest it at all, and just tore into it because it was lunch time. Mixed some of the dripping pan into the pulled meat, although I overfilled the drip tray so it was mostly water. Results: Tasty, but a very little bit dry in places. Bark was crispy and awesome, although a bit "jerky like" in places. Beautiful flavor on the bark, but the inner meat was a little underseasoned. Smoke flavor: MEDIUM. I've had "smokier" meat from the MAK.

Experiment #2 in the comments. PHOTOS:

keodark
04-08-2019, 02:29 AM
TEST 2: Meathead's pulled pork recipe from his book.

Pellets: BBQrs Delight Hickory
Meat: Costco Pork Butt, boneless, 7lb 5oz, tied with butcher twine
Prep: Minimal trim (just fat flaps), dry brine with 3.75 tsp sea salt 12 hours prior to cook. Rubbed with PPOG (Pepper, paprika, onion, garlic) liberally right before cook.
Cook: Onto cold MAK, then set to 225 (overnight) until probe tender (ended up 13.5 hours).

I was less fanatical about probe-testing it this time. I waited until I felt it was "peanut butter" texture everywhere, this time the max temp was around 203.

I tasted a bit right off the grill, and then (due to meal timing issues), plopped it into the drip tray (which had a proper level of liquid/fat this time), covered it with foil, and then into my oven at 180 degrees for 2.25 hours, then into a cooler with a bunch of beach towels for another 2 hours. I probably could have skipped the oven, but I didn't want to risk cold pork for dinner. When I pulled it out of the cooler, it was still hot enough to steam. Shredded like a dream.

Results: Tasty, still pretty crispy bark considering the rest time, and none of it was "jerky" like. Noticeably moister meat, although it was still insufficiently salted in the interior. Bark equivalent in flavor to previous butt. Smoke flavor: MEDIUM, just like previous one.

Conclusions: I should increase the prescribed 0.5 tsp per pound for butts, OR start learning how to inject a wet brine. I'm also going to try increasing dry brine time from 12 to 24 hours. The second experiment was clearly the winner, with much better texture and everything else the same. Not sure if this was due to the rest, the smaller size, or random chance. When I tasted it straight off the grill, I had the same conclusion, so I don't think it was the rest.

PHOTOS:

keodark
04-08-2019, 02:42 AM
Thanks to BabyBackManic for the "final straw" in buying my MAK. I literally repeated that scene where you dig into the meat with your (gloved) hands. Minus the music. You're an inspiration dude. :)

jstrand
04-08-2019, 11:00 AM
Throw some salt or seasoning on after you pull it. I shake a little Happy Ending on mine after pulling.

keodark
04-08-2019, 10:39 PM
Throw some salt or seasoning on after you pull it. I shake a little Happy Ending on mine after pulling.

Thanks, I'll add that to my recipe notes. :)

keodark
04-08-2019, 10:41 PM
Quick followup - soaking the leftovers of experiment #2 (#1 went straight into the freezer) in the drip juices was successful. I heated them up in a covered pot with a little extra water and they make perfectly tender, smoky, flavorful sandwiches. A victory, I think.

dan_wrider
04-08-2019, 10:42 PM
Damn straight. Nice!

gtsum
04-08-2019, 11:08 PM
Nice looking butts. The hold helps butts and briskets retain those juices imo


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LordRiffenstein
04-09-2019, 07:48 AM
I would have gladly eaten a few sandwiches of either one!