I had the chance to try some leftover blueberry rub on pork steaks tonight, so I jumped on it without hesitation...reference THIS THREAD for the rub's introduction.
I seasoned 3 pork steaks with Lemon-Pepper, something familiar, just for a reference in color and flavors. These pork shoulder steaks are thinner cut than the beef steaks I smoked with Blueberry rub, and will be finished to higher temps, so cooking time will be similar at around 2 hours, although I will keep the smoke chamber temp closer to 225* for the duration.
Lemon-Pepper on the left, Blueberry on the right:
Just into the Smoke Vault 24 again, with a little Mesquite chips, some Hickory chips and a bit more of Cherry chips and chunks...probably close to 20/30/50 ratio...cherry will carry out through the entire cooking, while the hickory and mesquite will fizzle out within about an hour or less. I'm running with a dry smoke chamber, but above normal humidity (over 75%) and much needed rainy weather this afternoon and evening, so smoke reaction should be more than enough without water in the pan:
I was itching to fire up my Gourmet charcoal bullet with a stacker mod (extra barrel and double the grate space along with an AMNPS in the "basement") for this smoke, but that rig isn't real appreciative of rainy weather, and I didn't feel like messin' around with damp pellets and fire control, so my go-to all-around get it done Vault will take the bulk of the challenge out of the equation.
2 hours in...checking for pooling of juices on the surface...one of my indicators of cooking progress, along with a bit of shrinkage...they have been left undisturbed up to this point:
Got a bit to ride to reach a medium-well state yet (we don't like pink pork here, and you CAN get juicy med-well pork with some care)...juices aren't prominent on these just yet, unless I missed it and they're drying off already on the surface, but I doubt it. Tenderness is another check, as well as bend-test similar to checking a slab of ribs. I'll grab my tongs and do just a lift/bend-test in a bit, to be sure. These are way too thin to measure internal temps with anything I have in my arsenal of gadgets, so visual checks are my best approach. I ended up with some looking medium to medium well. They were mostly firm to grab hold of with the tongs, so the dry smoke chamber made for a bit more challenge in determining cooking progress, but a 30 or so second ride in the nuke-box took care of any that may have been suspect. Still nice and juicy even after a quick zap in the nuker.
2.25 hours here when I decided to get 'em out for final checks in the house, out of the weather...yeah, still spittin' that rain off and on here, but we need it:
My first one (I ate two + sides) was a little on the rare side near the bone...this had a huge bone in the center...nuke-box to the rescue...this one also had a triple dose of blueberry rub, so I could get the full effect of it on these pork steaks:
I'm very pleased with this rub on pork as well as beef, without any alterations for this round, either. Nice flavors all around, and the blueberry still had that subtle fruity flavor with just a hint of sweetness, without added sugars......and the peppery hit up front with the garlic and onion coming in shortly after., followed by the thyme and rosemary...I'd do it again, oh yeah! For chops, I'm thinkin' just a change in smoke woods will do.
Oh, and the smoke? I just happened to grab these out of gut instinct and I'm glad my guts told me the right way....not heavy, as the mesquite was just a small amount...cherry was the dominant flavor, with the hickory adding a bit of bite, which came in long after the first chew...interesting smoke...liked it with the stronger flavor of these shoulder steaks...it might be a bit too much with center-cut chops, so apple/hickory may be a better choice there.
Monday evening (05-20-13) is a $0.99/lb pork chop cook for dinner...yeah, crazy prices for some reason, so the wife took advantage and grabbed about 30lbs of 'em!!! Heeeee-heeeee---ha-ha!!!!!
Thanks for peekin'!!!
Great smokes to all, and to all a good night!!!