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1.) DParker - 11/14/2016
My wife was at the local Kroger's and sent me a text that they were having a sale on vac-packed pork shoulder roasts (aka, "Boston Butt") for $0.88/lb, so I had her bring home two of the largest ones that had. She showed up with one that was ~10 lbs, and another that was a hair over 8 lbs. I've never smoked a shoulder before, so I chose the smaller one for my first effort and froze the 10 pounder. Friday evening I whipped up a brine using apple juice, a little water, Worcestershire sauce, salt and sugar and injected it into the meat using a marinade injector. Then I made up an external marinade using some chopped onion, water, more Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic and a little soy sauce. I put the injected roust into a big zip-lock bag and poured the marinade all over it and refrigerated it over night (about 12 hours). The next morning I fired up the smoker and put in one large chunk each of mesquite, pecan and apple wood. While it was coming up to temperature (225 F) I put together a dry rub using brown sugar, paprika, salt, chili powder, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder and just a little ground cumin. That got generously rubbed all over the outside of the roast:

The meat then went on the center rack of the smoker at 9:30 AM Saturday, where it would stay until it hit the target meat temperature of 200 F.

Unfortunately, the meat probe on my fancy-schmancy wireless thermometer decided to stop working (something I subsequent web search showed to be an all-to-common problem with many electronic thermometers of that type), so I had to use my instant-read thermometer to check the meat every 2 hours starting at the end of the 6th hour. Fortunately the smoker temperature probe was still working properly, so I was able to keep constant tabs on that. I also tossed in an extra piece of apple wood and spritzed the outside of the roast with a little apple juice during every temperature check. The roast finally hit its target temperature at........7:30 AM Sunday. Yes, that's right....it took 22 hours for an 8 lb pork shoulder to finish cooking at a relatively stable smoker temperature of 225-230 F. I think my mistake was not so much opening the door to do a temperature check and wood restocking every 2 hours (the smoker temperature recovered within a couple of minutes every time, but in spraying it with apple juice every time, which I suspect lead to too much evaporative cooling from the surface of the meat and slowing of the cooking. I ended up sleeping downstairs, with my Echo waking me up every two hours so I could babysit the smoker. I won't make that mistake with the 10 pounder, that's for sure. Here it is when it first came out (if you squint a little it kinda' looks like some sort of weird prehistoric fish):

After 2 hours of resting wrapped in foil and sitting in a cooler, I split it open to begin the pulling process:

It was properly tender, and pulled apart with ease just using two forks:

Pulled pork in its natural habitat:

Tasty stuff. Not quite as moist as I wanted, due to the prolonged cooking time, but not what you'd call dry either. I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.
2.) Swamp Fox - 11/14/2016
Looks good. Do you use a water pan?

I know when I use a water pan it considerably slows things down. I've been coached not to spritz unless I need to cool something down for some reason. The "middle ground" I've come up with for my little grill/smoker (so far) is a brick soaked in water. It works even when placed directly under the meat, although I'm still playing with placement. I don't have a lot of wiggle room, space-wise.

The point is that the smoke time is much reduced compared to if I had a plain pan of water under the meat. 'cause I've been there, done that. If I have room, it is even better for my water pan or brick to be above the heat and beside the meat.
3.) bluecat - 11/14/2016
I'm sure this will start a war, but where is the cole slaw? Now that is a southern thing so don't start in with "You northerners...".

Looks great by the way.
4.) DParker - 11/14/2016
[QUOTE=Swamp Fox;45410]Looks good. Do you use a water pan?[/quote]

Yes, but not for water. After my first couple of smokes I was getting frustrated by the need to constantly adjust the burner in a futile attempt to maintain a stable temperature inside the smoker. It being a non-insulated combined with variable breezes that come and go were just playing hell with that. Then I read about the trick of filling your water pan with play sand (the washed, chemical-free stuff they sell for use in kids' sand boxes) as a thermal buffer. The sand absorbs excess heat as the temperature rises, and then releases heat as the temperature falls, flattening out the temperature swings. I swung by Home Depot, picked up a 50 lb bag of the stuff, filled the water pan with it and covered it with heavy duty aluminum foil to keep drippings out of the sand and...it works like a charm. Once I get the temperature dialed in it stays within ~5 degrees of the desired temperature without any extra fiddling by me. The only time I get a spike in temperature is when I add some fresh wood chunks, which produce extra heat when they start smoldering. But that doesn't push things much past a degree or two extra, and even then only for a little while.

I might give the water-soaked brick idea a try, though I don't know that I've found a real need for any steam during the smoke. At least, not yet.
5.) DParker - 11/14/2016
[QUOTE=bluecat;45413]I'm sure this will start a war, but where is the cole slaw? Now that is a southern thing so don't start in with "You northerners...".[/QUOTE]

Although [I]de rigueur[/I] at BBQ joints everywhere (even here), the requirement of cole slaw with pulled pork sammiches is really more of a Carolinas and TN thing. That said, we normally do have some on hand (I like slaw, and the wife positively loves it) I discovered too late that we were out.

[QUOTE=bluecat;45413]Looks great by the way.[/QUOTE]

Thanks. It was good, and I'm not disappointed for a first effort. But I'm pretty sure I can do better given the lessons learned on this one. It's going to take us a while to get through this batch unless I start giving it away to neighbors, so it'll be a bit before I drag the 10 lb shoulder out of the freezer and try that one.
6.) bluecat - 11/14/2016

7.) Swamp Fox - 11/14/2016
Yeah, I just figure the moisture doesn't hurt as long as you get the temp right. I also thought maybe the brick acts a bit like your sand.

When I've smoked something (or even grilled something) with and without water enough to draw an educated conclusion, I've never noticed much of a difference unless I goofed up the temperature and/or cook time.
8.) bluecat - 11/14/2016
I don't know how you do your cole slaw but I put it in the sammich. It's got to drip out too...
9.) DParker - 11/14/2016


Tastes like 400 million year-old chicken.
10.) Swamp Fox - 11/14/2016
[QUOTE=DParker;45405] Here it is when it first came out (if you squint a little it kinda' looks like some sort of weird prehistoric fish):




[QUOTE=DParker;45420]Tastes like 400 million year-old chicken.[/QUOTE]

Looks more like one of the Piranha Brothers, I'd say. :-)
11.) Swamp Fox - 11/15/2016
[QUOTE=bluecat;45418]I don't know how you do your cole slaw but I put it in the sammich. It's got to drip out too...[/QUOTE]

I know this will come as a shock, but I don't make my own slaw. I have a feeling it's the rare BBQ joint that does anymore, either, but I will ask at a few good ones over the next few weeks/months if I think about it, and if I turn up anything useful I'll let you know. I have one of the best Eastern NC BBQ places in the state five minutes from me, so that's where I'll start. Then depending on my travels I'll hit a few other good ones over time and do a little survey for you ladies. :grin:
12.) DParker - 11/15/2016
[QUOTE=Swamp Fox;45429]I have one of the best Eastern NC BBQ places in the state five minutes from me...[/QUOTE]

That's like saying you live down the street from one of the best Cincinnati-style chili places....or know the toughest florist in Greenwich Village.

I kid! I kid! :p
13.) Swamp Fox - 11/15/2016

[I][B]Understanding BBQ: Chapter One[/B][/I]

14.) DParker - 11/15/2016
He looks pretty excited about being at the ass-end of that pig.
15.) Swamp Fox - 11/15/2016
If you're not having a good time when you're cooking, you're doing something wrong...:grin:
16.) bluecat - 11/15/2016
[QUOTE=Swamp Fox;45427]Looks more like one of the Piranha Brothers, I'd say. :-)[/QUOTE]

+2 for the obscure MP quote.

Is that Doug?
17.) Swamp Fox - 11/15/2016
It depends on whether you think he looks more inclined to violence, or sarcasm...



It's hard to tell them apart, otherwise.