Hey-hey, smoke lovers!
I had a slight delema with my "steak ready" pork butts which I started thawing on 04-14-11. I popped them into the fridge in hopes that they would be thawed enough to smoke on my last days-off work, however, they weren't quite ready until late in the afternoon on Tuesday (04-19-11), and I had work the next day. So, I worked for 2 days while the butts were nearly completely thawed, and by this time, I'm thinking I need to do something with the pork or loose it (non-enhanced pork). On the evening of 04-21-11, I whipped up a brine for them to soak in for the remaining ~48 hours until I would be able to smoke 'em up. Last night I conjured up a new dry rub, which is based on my three favorite flavor sensations: apple, cherry and red bell pepper...they're all great in duo combinations, I figured I'd make a full-blown trio and see where it takes my brined butts.
All that, and after my last q-view, I thought I was gonna slow down......go figure...must have something to do with giving back to the roots of my smoking success here on SMF. With that, here goes another journey!
The butts hit the brine @ 11:00 pm on the 21st, and are hitting the smoke for Easter Sunday for sliced with one and pulled pork for the freezer with the second butt.
HERE PIGGY-PIGGY BRINE
***for 2 pork butts, approx 16lbs in a 5 gallon covered bucket***
2 qts water in saucepan
1/4 cup celery salt
1 cup sea salt
4 Tbls diced dried red bell pepper
2 Tbls rosemary
6 Tbls light brown sugar
1/2 Tbls cumin
2 Tbls chili powder
2 Tbls cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp sage
4 qts ice water (mix into brine solution after removed from heat and partially cooled)
The brine is chilling with ice:
Two butts in a 5-gallon food-grade pail with the fat caps against each other...not sure about this, but my theory is that if the fat is
touching instead of the meat, the brine may penetrate more. It seems that fat slows everything down (smoke, cure, brine, marinates), so I figured by keeping the meat surfaces away from each other, there would be more meat surface exposed to the brine solution, thereby providing the most penetration. My reason for using 1 large bucket for both butts is that my smaller containers suitable for brining are only 6qt...just big enough for an average yard bird, but not big enough for a single butt:
6qts of brine was perfect for this bucket with the size of the butts...they're submerged about 1 to 1-1/4" below the surface:
HAWG HEAVEN DRY RUB
***for approx 15-16lbs of brined pork butts***
4 Tbls ground apple
4 Tbls ground red bell pepper
3 Tbls ground tart cherry
1 Tbls ground rosemary
2 tsp ground oregano
2 tsp thyme
1 Tbls onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbls spanish paprika
1.5 Tbls gound black peppercorn
1.5 Tbls garlic
***makes approx 1 cup after a triple-grind***
note: if using for non-brined pork, add salt as desired
I forgot to grab the camera when I did it, but I poured the brine back into my 6qt food container before dumping it. It appeared to be just short of a 1/2 quart of water missing from the total volume of liquids, so those little piggies were pretty thirsty.
Rinsed and ready for the rub...you can see a couple small spots which have a slight pink colo to them...this is where the meat was touching the bucket, so there's definitely a big difference:
Into the Smoke Vault 24 @ 225* for a long night's ride through the thin blue smoke:
Since I have apple and cherry based flavor profiles, I opted for those smoke woods as well. If there were red bell pepper wood, I'd probably be using it, too...LOL!!! TBS just getting started...apple on the left, cherry taking center, with pecan on the right, just because I love the pungent aroma of this wood so much. I've used these three woods in duo and trio combos alot lately, and can't seem to find anything I don't like them with (within reason):
Smoke is on @ 11:15 pm mountain time...just wanted to get this up and started for now, so my friends don't miss out on recipes or any of the action later.
I didn't get to weigh these (broke my high-capacity scale on the last smoke) and they're from a twin-pack case-purchase (un-labeled), but the biggest looks and feels like almost 9lb and smallest about 7lb. I'll probably be slicing the bigger one for Easther dinner and poulling the smallest, but we'll see how they come out. Hmm, I just realized it...I've never sliced a butt, after all these years, I've been pulling my butts and picnics.
Temp probing in the morning when I crawl out of bed...yep, I learned how to sleep during all-nighters, just like the UDS boys do it.
See ya Sunday with the finished pics and brine/rub reviews! Thanks for checking out my latest creation!
Edited by forluvofsmoke - 4/24/11 at 12:13am