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Me and my big mouth.......

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So far I've smoked a 6lb brisket, a 5lb pork loin, and 7 bacon wrapped chicken breasts.  All turned out very good but I am constantly trying to improve.  My wife, who is a chef, is catering a friends party this Saturday.  As in the day after tomorrow....yea.  The menu will consist of mexican style cusine, including pulled pork tacos.  So me and my big mouth suggested that it would be fun to smoke the pork shoulder.  I'm thinking, "how hard could it be? A little pork shoulder.."  That was until I found out there will be 40+ guests.  So now the pressure is on for me to succeed.  So my first pork shoulder will acutally be 2, 7.5lb pieces, being cooked for a party with 40+ guests.  No pressure right?

 

So, on to my questions.  Keep in mind these will be a pulled pork mexican style taco.

 

1) Would you recommend injections?  If so, what ingredients to go along with mexican style flavors?

 

2) Dinner will be served at roughly 7pm.  I would like to have the shoulders rested and ready to be pulled by 6.  Should I go with 1 hour per pound?  I planned on getting it on the grates at around 9am.

 

3) My wife suggested partially smoking and then finishing in the crock pot.  Pros, cons?

 

4) Any suggestions on a dry rub?

 

5) She does not want the smoke flavor to overpower the meat.  I thought sitcking with mainly charcoal would eliminate this.  Suggestions?

 

6) What can I use for a mop or spritz?  Apple juice still or maybe vinegar to stick with the flavors?

 

Just needing a lot of help.  You guys are the only place I trust!  Thanks in advance!

 

-Don and Shana

post #2 of 8
Bighoss to be safe I'd put those butts on the pit around 5-6am. I've had a 7.5 Ibs butt take about 11 hours. I smoked it at 230 degrees. Obviously if you smoke it higher it'll speed up.

Not sure about crock pot after smoke, but I've smoked butts for about 4 hours and finished using the steaming method (cover pan with foil and put water or apple juice in bottom of pan) in the oven.

Maybe inject with hot sauce, and rub with a homemade rub that has taco seasoning in it??? I don't know, I've never used a butt for tacos.

I spritz with apple juice.

The less wood you use the less wood smoked flavor your gonna get. If you don't want the smoke to overpower the meat maybe only smoke for a few hours and finish in oven.

Hope this helps.
post #3 of 8

Smoke the nite before............or a couple of days before.......pull it and heat it up the day of the event.......1 hour per LB  will not make PP Plan on 1.5-2 hours per LB

Happy smoken.

David

post #4 of 8

Traditionally the Latin or Mexican flavors used on pork butts or shoulders when smoking them is a marinade called Mojo Criollo, which is basically sour orange juice, lemon or lime juice, and spices like mexican oregano, garlic, salt etc. Also a rub that is used is called Achiote Rojo, which is a spiced seasoning paste made with the Achiote chile and is a very deep red color, that when used and rubbed onto the meat, really puts some flavor onto the meat. These both can be found in mexican food stores or in the latin/mexican food aisle in your grocery stores. The Mojo Criollo I have used as a marinade and as an injection for pork shoulders as well as chickens which imparts a really great flavor. I see that you are located in Illinois, so these maybe hard to find items at your local grocery store, but if you can find them, a good commercial brand is Goya for the bottled Mojo Criollo. There are also recipes for the Mojo that can be googled, using regular OJ and lime/lemon juices to help if sour OJ can't be found.

 

I would also suggest skinning off the tough outside skin on the shoulders, if they haven't already been removed, this will allow more of the seasoning rub to make better contact with the meat instead of just the outside fat layer, which will be washed away with the rendering of the outside fat and not get to the meat underneath the fat layer. They will still be moist and juicy since there is plenty of fat running through the shoulder to baste the meat while smoking. Cook the shoulders to an internal temp of 200 degrees and the meat will pull/shred easily and come off of the bones nicely. The meat can be reseasoned again at this point if needed to enhance flavor profile.

Start your fire early, I would run my pit at about 270-290 degrees, wrap at an IT of 165 170 so as not to be overly smokey, so your wife will be happy, shoulders and butts can take the heat, plus they can take awhile to get done, so that they will have some time to rest before pulling, and not be too hot to handle. 

You could spritz if you wanted to, with a mixture of red wine vinegar and mango or peach nectar, use the fruit "nectar" as oppsed to "juice", more flavor and less watery.

 

Good luck with your cook, hope that this has helped somewhat or at least given you a place to start and let us know how it goes, and take some pics to share...

post #5 of 8

A lot of the questions depend upon not only your own preferences but also the type smoker you plan to use.

 

Will you smoke it all the way thru (takes a while longer), or will you be foiling? This is the old low and slow way. But it is most definately how I'd be thinking if it was an important honey-do project.

 

I would not try to make the pulled pork taste like Mexico, let your wife do that. Too may variables spoil the pot. Simple rub of salt pepper onion garlic and some brown sugar for sealing the meat. Its about highlighting the meat, NOT changing it. She'll do that if she wants it changed. I just use the above mentioned rub, add a bit of paprika for color, wrap it in plastic wrap, and leave it in the reefer for one or two days. I do two days and then re-rub before it hits the smoker.

 

Spritzing moping marinating and injecting, again simple is best. when you get fancy is when you wish you had practiced more, and gone with tried and true. If you are using a super dry pit maybe some mope but I usually mope just to show off the meat while cooking. Most meat when properly sealed and cooked low and slow probably doesn't need it

 

I whole heatedly agree with David, if it must be on time, cook it a day or 2 in advance. It really better the day after cooking, its allowed plenty of time to reabsorb all those liquids AND it can marry the finish sauce with the meat. I wish you could see my mouth watering just talking about it. Like Mr. David I say 2 hours per pound at least, but if its done a couple a days before time, it doesn't matter then. You can finish the pork then allow it to sit hours, don't rush. I actually let mine now sit at least over night, 3 to 6 hours with just a dish towel over it, bark is good. Unless the crust/bark is broken and I am losing juices, then its pull and bag and tag time. Strip it add the finishing sauce and bag it for the bride. When she is ready, its all on her. Stand back smile and await your ovation after the catering is done.

 

If you must mop, something like apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, ginger ale, butter? 

 

Smoke if she doesn't want it heavy I'd stay away from hickory or mesquite this time and use a milder wood, Pecan? Apple? Whatever you have.

 

Basically: I like 225*-230*------- pull at 205* IT, but if you plan on foiling then foil at about 165* and return. But others here now use the new and improved higher temp cooking method, to reduce the cooking time. I have not tried the higher temp process yet.

 

Seriously, don't get carried away. Simple is always best. Be ready for 18 to 22 hours of patience. I figure 4 days on a butt. 2 in the rub, a full day cooking, and a day at rest. That way you are clean rested relaxed and in a good mood to tote all the dishes in for the bride.

 

Its fun when you have enough time not to stress out, so enjoy the smoke. Try to take a few pictures so we can all drool over your achievement.


Edited by Foamheart - 8/16/13 at 1:04am
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Holy cow! What a wealth of knowledge! Thank you very much guys! Unfortunately I don't have a couple days to do some of the suggestions. I am using a char-griller outlaw with the fire side box.

5-6 am start time would be fine except I have to transport the smoker and all the food 45 mins away. I was thinking maybe I could start it early and then wrap it, transport it, and refire the smoker and restart cooking. This is unorthodox I know, but I don't have a lot of options at this point.
post #7 of 8
I'd put 4 hours of smoke at about 225 on them and then finish in the oven at around 240-250 in a pan covered in foil. With liquid on the bottom of course. It'll finish fast under that foiled pan just steaming away. It's not what you want but in crunch time it's worked for me.
post #8 of 8

My first pork butt I did in an overnight smoke, also my first overnight smoke... Anyway I was setting my alarm for every hour or so to check on the smoker, well the regulator failed on the propane smoker about 4 hours in, so I brought it in and just foiled it with apple juice and put it in the oven at 225 and let it go the rest of the night.  Got up early in the morning and it was a perfect 190*... Pulled great and tasted awesome!  I wouldn't hesitate to use the oven again if I had to...

 

If it where me I'd smoke it before hand if I could then take it onsite and warm it up in a roaster with apple juice or a finishing sauce on the bottom... 

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