I got the pleasure of "Q"-ing the main course for our cub scout Christmas party.
I tried to turn the day into an event with limited success.
To try and get the "Party Started" I sent out the following invitations;
No Kids, No Woman
9:00am - wife gets home!
Reserve your spot today.
I guess you can say it was also a surprise party for the wife unit.
It's been three days and I searched everywhere for some decent butts, I finally settled on a few picnics I found at a Sams Club, they had 3 picnics that were decent size between 8-9lbs. but no butts, when I grabbed the picnics there was a small double pack of Boston Butt under he picnics, they were a tad small totaling 12 pounds, so I grabbed everything!
Trimmed most of the heavy external fat, rubbed the Butts Down with my rub, extra brown sugar a good bit of garlic salt and finished with a bit of Worcestershire sauce. Sorry guys, I don't use mustard when applying my rub.
Lets have a closer look
A bit of Worcestershire
Wrapped and ready to rest in the refrigerator overnight.
The day started like this 7:00AM, I dropped my daughter off at school.
When I got home I pulled the butts from the fridge, unwrapped them and took them out to Frank.
Got out the Maverick, Taylor thermos, butane match and my smoking gloves and put the drip pans in place.
Fired up the log lighter and threw some hickory in the basket and placed the basket in the firebox.
Removed the plastic wrap from the Picnics and Butts.
This is why I don't think its necessary to use mustard when applying rub.
The rub will draw out moisture giving you a beautiful slather.
Look at all that sugary goodness in the pan.
Frank is happy.
Sliding the grates over to place the drip pan on the Reverse Flow plate.
Firing up the log lighter.
So easy, even a caveman can do it.
Basket of Hickory ready to go. This basket has been a god sent.
On the fire.
Looking good. It really don't get any easier than this.
I don't know what it is, but there is something to be said about, firing up Frank, throwing on huge slabs of meat and hanging out by a fire.
I am not sure if its the primitive side of me surfacing or the fact that it's so damn peaceful, no kids, no honey do lists, just me and Frank.
Its 7:45, I placed the meat on the grates, poured the gooey goodness from the pan over top of the pork and added a cup of water to each pan.
I should have added several cups of water, the drippings burnt up before I had a chance to add more water, oh well maybe next time.
This is approximately 30 pounds of pork, I figured about a 60 percent yield from the Butts and a 40 percent yield from the Picnics, leaving me with about 14.5 pounds of finished pork
OK, back to my Picnics and Butts, they've been on an hour or so.
Lets have a peek.
It's around 9:00am and I was wondering what I was going to have for lunch, I usual don't eat a lunch at work.
Anyhow I remembered the Kielbasa I had left over from the Pork Shots I made last weekend, that and the fact I've been jonesing to try out my homemade Killian's sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut fermented for 7 weeks
Man that looks good, tastes awesome raw as well!
Well, since I'm gonna have a few.... My first pour from the keg is always foamy, I usually freeze and save this for cooking
Now we'll let that slow cook for a while.
Kielbasa on the smoker and the picnic and butts are already looking fine.
Let the festivities begin, Woohoo!
10:45am about three hours into the cook, I decided to insert the thermos into the meat. The pork was at around 150°.
I figured at this rate this was gonna be done in no time.
Its around 11:00am and the kielbasa is ready for the crock, nice golden brown.
These were on about two hours.
Sliced the kielbasa and tossed in the sauerkraut with a tablespoon of Mrs. Dash's original Salt Free blend.
Oh my god, that looks so freaking good!
Adding some more Hickory to the fire.
A bit of TBS cruising through Frank.
It was a bit windy for a fire but started to die down around noon, so I threw on some pallets to get a good coal base.
Well it ended up being me and the dog. I can always count on her to hang out.
Update, Lucy, my Lab had to be put down Christmas Morning.
At first I thought, this is pretty sad, me out here by myself taking pictures of myself, then I had a revelation.
I figured I'm not at work, no kids, no wife, no worries, it was incredibly peaceful.
There was no one in sight, no neighbors, no barking dogs, hell for a while I thought I was DEAD!!.
Sometimes I forget where I am, think about it... I'm in one of the largest cities in the United States, burning pallets, drinking at 9:00 in the morning cooking huge amounts of meat on a compressor turned smoker, hell I think I'm a redneck, it can't get any better than that.
What can I say, My neighbors love me!
Well I had lunch and it was perfect, the kraut was incredible and considering the kielbasa was store bought, it was awesome as well.
I never had home made sauerkraut before and it's going to be hard to ever go back to store bought.
OK... It's 1:00PM lets have a look see, looking good.
Adding a bit of love.
Lets see that again.
The Pork is cruising now.
I had a buddy stop over around 4:30 to hang out and have a few beers.
The Picnics and Butts were done about 7pm, pulled them at internal temp of 205°, I was a bit surprised they took as long as they did, I usually average 80 minutes a pound and these took approximately 110 minutes a pound, about 11 hours.
One thing I noticed was that the Hickory was leaving a good coal base resulting in more even temps, I pretty much would throw on a split, it would get through the combustion stage in no time and was leaving pretty decent coals.
I did not have any problems the entire smoke with temperature spikes.
The temperature was at 225° all day with no adjustments at all, the outside temp was 55°. I had three valves open and one closed.
I was actually getting away with heavily loading up the basket with the hickory and getting longer intervals between fueling without much temperature fluctuations.
I am used to cooking with cherry and the difference between the two woods is night and day, using cherry I played around with the airflow a little more, with the hickory I never touched the intake valves.
The hickory also had very minimal ash buildup as compared to the cherry.
Believe it or not, the cherry runs the smoker hotter than the hickory even though hickory has a much higher BTU rating! I guess the rating applies to more BTU's due to the longevity of the burn and not the intensity of the burn, not sure but it sort of makes sense.
OK.., the pork was foiled, toweled and rested about two hours in a cooler, I pulled the pork real well and was starting to crash, I asked the wife unit to clean up she obliged so I went to bed.
Fast forward to Saturday Morning
I decided to add a finishing sauce to help keep the pork from drying out due to the fact that it would sit in a chaffing dish for several hours. I was however a bit disappointed that my drippings burnt up, I had a whole lot of love in those pans.
OK.. I know how this looks, but this Pulled Pork was for a cub scout Christmas party and most folks prefer that wet barbecue saucy type of PP and I was trying to satisfy the masses, and the fact that the Pork was going to be out over several hours, I did not want it to dry up and get that crusty dried out texture.
I worked the "finishing sauce", yeah lets call it that, into the meat real well trying to find the balance between the wet PP most folks are accustomed to and the PP I am accustomed to, remember, this isn't about me, it is however about my reputation.
The PP was served on soft slider type rolls. The Pulled Pork was a huge hit, I got many compliments, it held up good with the "Finishing sauce".
I went light with the JD and bacon, I only used 6 pieces of bacon for 15 pounds of pork.
I did not want the bacon to overpower the pork but rather add a little extra something.
Next time I will double up on the JD and the bacon.
I had put some aside without any finishing sauce for testing and I was impressed.
On this particular cook, the meat seemed a bit sweeter and had a great texture, not too wet where it seems mushy, this cook exceeded my expectations, It may be due to the fact that I used picnics and butts.
I am hoping for a similar result next time to prove this.