Thursday, December 29, 2011
Say Hello to Mr. Brown...
With last Sunday's temperature near 40*, I decided to cook me up some pulled pork. Pulled pork freezes well and will last 3-5 months frozen. I often use leftovers for tacos, beans, chili, hot pockets, soups and nachos. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
Saturday I started the prep-work. I mixed some apricot nectar, salt, sugar and a few other ingredients to create an injectable brine.
I inject my shoulders using a one-inch grid patter and go heavy in the money muscle and around the horn. Here, I am pushing the brine in as I pull the syringe out.
I then wrapped it in plastic wrap and threw in the fridge overnight...
On Sunday morning, I made a very basic rub consisting of turbinado and brown sugars, Hungarian sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and freshly ground cracked pepper. I used yellow mustard as a base...
As far as I am concerned, there is no substitute for natural charcoal - whether briquettes or lump. The flavor charcoal produces on foods is far superior to propane. But given as cold as it has been, I thought I'd use my Smoky Mountain Smoker for this cook. It's much easier to regulate the temperature compared to my Chargriller and less demanding of my time - particularly on football Sunday.
Typically when I plan on using propane to grill or smoke in cold weather, I place the canister in my garage the night before where it's a bit warmer. It seems that below freezing temps affect the pressure in the tank creating less efficient flow.
Knowing that this shoulder would take every bit of 12 hours, I woke up at 5 AM to get the smoker warmed up and ready to go by 6 AM. The outdoor temperature was approximately 30* and for some reason I had a very hard time getting the smoker up to 225* let alone 250* (where I wanted to be). Although the metal on the Smoky Mountain Smokers are paper thin, I've held 250* when it's been colder. After two hours of messing around and a few choice words, I discovered that the propane nozzle had become slightly dislodged from the burner. After fixing it, she held steady at 250* all day.
Of course I can't waste space, so I threw in some some spares I had trimmed up St Louis style. This is after about four hours into the cook...
...and after about 8 hours...
Typically I foil my shoulders after they reach an internal temp of 160*, but because I had injected it, I thought I would not use foil thus allowing the bark to develop more prominently. At about 8 PM when the butt had reached an internal temp of 195*, I removed it from the smoker and let it rest. Not only did I get fabulous bark, but the pork was extremely juicy and tender without the foil as you can see from the photo (click on the photo for a close-up).
Pulled pork just ain't complete without slaw and my best friend's mother makes the best damn slaw I've ever tasted. I've known Tom since the sixth grade - over 3 decades. He was my best man, as I was his, and we are the godparents to each others children. Through good time and bad times, our bond is tight. Despite being the equivalent of his mother's 4th son, my version of her gifted recipe never quite tastes the same...hmmmm. Well, I made her recipe using green cabbage. I also made a homemade bbq sauce. I modified a recipe I have been working on using some rice wine vinegar, hot sauce and Blues Hog Tennessee Red and I'm extremely pleased with the end result. This will be my new go-to for pulled pork - no question about it.
Thanks for lookn'!
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