That’s right. The Hub.
He thinks I spend a lot of time on here…so, I thought it would be good for him to guest post. You know, to see what the draw is. Could be it will backfire – he may hate it. But hopefully, he’ll find the community, the support, and the friendship as positive a thing as I do. Hopefully.
Because I filed our taxes in record speed – mid January, people! – we took part of our return and bought Jon an electric smoker. We didn’t get the really expensive one, just a good sized, good quality smoker. He’s been using it nearly every weekend, as it is something he can do NOW versus waiting for warm enough grilling weather. Maybe you can get your husband to read this chickblog long enough to get some manly ideas – and thus free up some of your dinner making time so that you can spend it baking something gooey and chocolaty instead.
Hey – at least I’m trying.
So, without further ado – I give you The Man.
How to Smoke a Boston Butt
Spring isn’t quite here yet so, in its place is the smoker. As Susan mentioned, we recently picked up a Brinkmann electric smoker after a buddy of mine had talked it up for a while. We ended up with the one that looks like the red rocket and since we purchased it, it hasn’t left the back porch or hardly even had a chance to cool off. I’ve managed to cook two Boston butts, a full pork shoulder, and about 18 chicken legs. Ribs are next. Now, the benefits of a smoker are that you prep your meat, put it on, and you’re pretty much finished for 10-12 hours. The drawback is that you don’t have a grill to stand around for an hour and drink beer with your buddies.. There is something about all that nice smoke though..kinda like hanging out near a campfire. Mmmm.
Today I’m going to share the Boston Butt cooking adventure. Anyway, seeing as we live close to North Carolina and that is were the best pork bbq comes from, I naturally lean towards a Carolina style sauce…. vinegar based and hot. I always start out with a recipe and basic outline of the flavors I’m looking for and change it on the fly according to what I’m hungry for at the time. I also like to make up a dry rub to heavily coat the outside of the giant man size hunk of meat (8-12lbs). One other thing I tried with the first two experiments was injecting the meat with Italian dressing. It seems to help keep moisture on the inside of the meat and anything Italian is always good.
If you’re looking for a good place to start your rub and sauce recipes you can check out “Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned’ by Elizabeth Karmel. She has a lot of good suggestions and recipes in here for just about what ever you want to cook outside. I’ve used it a lot.
- 2 tsps kosher salt
- 2 tsps dry mustard
- 2 tsps sweet smoked spanish paprika
- 2 tsps granulated onion
- 1/2 tsps granulated garlic
- 1/2 tsps fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsps dried thyme
- 1/2 tsps cayenne pepper
Now, I love garlic so I up the amount of it as well as the onion and thyme, and I’ll throw in some rosemary, just because nothing is better on pork than rosemary in my opinion (careful with that though, its strong). Unless you really really like smoky flavor, don’t add any extra paprika, as you’re already smoking the meat, so it doesn’t need that much in the way of smoky seasoning. Clean the meat under cold tap water, pat dry , then coat it well with the dry rub. If you’re doing a piece on the larger size you may want to increase your measurements to make sure you have plenty.
This is also the point where I inject it. Find a bottle of your favorite Italian dressing, then pour it through a wire strainer and use the liquid as your injection. Keep all of the remnants that didn’t pass through the strainer… we will use it later. Cover the meat and place it in the refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours. Now, grab a beer and pat yourself on the back…the hard part is over.
About an hour before you’ve deemed it time to start the smoking you’re gonna want to get your wood chips soaking in water. You will only need about 4 or 5 pieces roughly the size of a small fist for the first round. Now is also time to think about the water bath you will have in the smoker (at least the type smoker I have). I’ve been filling mine about half way with warm water and adding garlic, onion, rosemary, old beer and wine to it; basically just whatever I think would be good. Now put your wood in the smoker, crank it up, set the water tub in and put the meat on the top rack. Get another beer, you’re finished again for a while. After about 3 or four hours you will need to check the water level in your bath. Do this really quickly, as you don’t want to let out any more heat or smoke than you have to. If the water level is getting low, just use a pitcher to refill it from the top. Repeat this process for the duration of the smoking process, roughly an hour of cooking per pound of meat. With the winter we have been having and the crazy winds we have at our house, my times have run longer, but I’ve just adjusted starting time to accommodate for it. I usually start at 1 or 2 in the morning for dinner the next day.
While all of this action is going on with the smoker you will have plenty of time to make up the Carolina style sauce, just don’t wait until the last minute because you want the flavors to merge.
The basic recipe for this sauce is also from Soaked, Slathered & Seasoned. Karmel calls it Lexington Style Vinegar Sauce.
- 2 Cups Cider vinegar
- 1/4 Cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 Cup- ketchup
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsps Sugar
- 1 tsp fine ground white pepper
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
Again, this is a good guideline. I add about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder and 1 teaspoon of additional red chili flake. Shake it all up and let it sit in the refrigerator until you need it.
If you seal it in a jar it will keep for a while.
Back to the meat- it should be starting to look done from the outside after 8 to 10hrs…done enough to start pulling little tastes off of anyway. You will want to start poking it with a meat thermometer now, you’re looking for it to be between 170 and 180 before you pull it off the heat. I usually let mine go a bit longer just to help with the tenderness. When you push the thermometer in you can tell if its getting tender or not, and as long as the outside isn’t getting too tough you should let it continue to cook. However, if the outside is getting tough you could cover it with foil to help protect it. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention with the Boston butt… the side with the layer of fat? For God’s sake leave it on there. And, when you cook it, that fat should be on the top side. That way as it cooks, that wonderful fat juice drips through the meat. No one ever said this was supposed to be healthy.
Once the meat is done, take it off the heat, cover it and let it rest for a while. You want it to cool and let the juices go back into place before you slice it, chop it whatever you intend to do with it. We are a pulled pork household as you can see. I shred it up as best I can before I serve it on a kaiser roll (or croissant if we’re feeling fancy). With a nice bath of the Carolina style sauce and a side of slaw? Dinner is served.
Thanks for dropping by today and hanging out with us! Hopefully you enjoyed Jon’s first foray into the world of blogging…if you did, leave him a comment? Tell your friends? I surely want him to feel loved.
See you tomorrow with the KitchenAid winners announcement! Good luck, and remember – you can enter until midnite!