Sorry it's been so long everyone! It's great to be back, sorta... I kinda been on hiatus for the last six or seven months as I've been relocating from the Midwest to the Northwest. Alas I've come from the land of beef to conquer the land of lumberjacks with my tasty pork! Really though my Uncle has acquired my talents of cooking and restaurants to help him run his bar up here in North Idaho. It's a big change for me as the last seven years I've spent behind a desk working on computers for a living while only working part time here and there in some pizza joints.But having had a bunch of previous experience in the food service industry as a line cook, bartender, waiter and generally everything else a twenty-something decides can pay the bills for a while. All that expertise must have sounded like music to my Uncle's ears when he asked me to join his ramshackle crew and knock some heads early this past Fall.
Since I've never actually managed my own kitchen before I have seriously been busy making things work and getting food and beer costs to a respectable level. The previous crew was a joke and seemed to have had most of the profit of this two years young grill and bar lining their pockets so they had to go first. Since axing nearly the entire staff I've had to spend hours upon hours getting a new crew trained and spending countless hours ensuring they are trustworthy. Even so there is a point where you just have to let the cards fall and hope that you've made a good judgment. So far so good, I've already seen some new heads come and go through our doors but that's just how the restaurant biz is.
Now that I'm working with some decent folks I've finally persuaded my Uncle to let me do some real cooking instead of shoveling "Hormel Smoked Pork" onto buns. Cooking is what I do, and what I love so it's only right that I make sure that we're serving good product. When I came up here back in September I was a little shocked that we were literally serving Hormel's sad excuse for pulled pork. Unfortunately I have had my plate full and had bigger fish to fry at the moment than to beg my way into cooking the good stuff from scratch. My key was to start dropping food and beer costs as much as possible and then mentioning it every now and then that "We're really paying $40 bucks for fourteen pounds of weak pulled pork! I can drop that price in half if we did it ourselves!" finally the other day it stuck and here I am in the middle of winter trying to work my magic. Of coarse my giant double drum charcoal smoker is stashed away in my folk's backyard back in Omaha. And my Uncle's Char-Broil SFB unit is in my other Uncle's back yard so I am cheating!
This is the first time I've ever smoked in a propane BBQ but at least it's a decent model to try it in. I'm working on a Great Outdoors Grill with 5 burners in it, after a little playing I found that with just the center element on low it holds a steady 275. I let it burn for about thirty minutes and decided "That'll do pig" and proceeded to launch mission: "Smoke two butts". I was able to throw my tasty spicy pork butt rub together that I perfected this summer and coated up the two chunks of a eight pound pork butt that I had the butcher slice in half for me. I was going to do just a single eight pounder but when I decided to use the grill I figured it would be best to do two smaller butts.
I know I'm not going to get that Bark that is so great with a charcoal setup but so far it's going well. I have my Hickory chips wrapped in little foil pouches and my foil pans setup to catch the drippings with a couple quartered yellow onions for extra flavor. I'm also spritzing with a mix of Apple Cider Vinegar, Apple Cider Juice and Magner's Irish Draft Cider. I haven't checked temps yet but it's about that time where I should be around 145 degrees internal so I'll get to checking that right now. Just hit the five hour mark as I threw them on at 3pm and it's a quarter after 9pm now, I usually cover in foil at 165 on my charcoal smoker but since I'm working with a different kind of heat I think I'll just let them go as they are until they hit that magic 195-200 degree mark.
Sorry for the incredibly long post, but I figured I'd let you guys know how I'm doing after such a long absence.
Here are some tasty pics to make up for y'all having to read so much! Enjoy! More to come!