In November, I bought a pre-seasoned pork butt from Costco. I had plans to cook it on my gas Bar B Que, for a Grey Cup Party I was invited to. Something came up, and I was busy that weekend. Into the freezer the Butt went. Was disappointed at the time, but turns out fate was in my favor.
Santa was very good to me, and I got a Traeger Pellet Grill with Cold Smoker attachment, for Christmas.
Been waiting for some warmer weather to grill something. So on Thursday, out of the Freezer came the Butt.
This was the first time I 'cooked' anything on my new grill. Just after New Years, I did 'cold smoke' some cheese.
I also bought a whole Strip Loin on Wednesday, and cut it up into 1-1/2" slabs. I planned to Cold Smoke a few, then vacuum pack and freeze them.
Outside temp was -1c, 31f.
I loaded the Steaks, on the Cold side, and the Butt on the Hot side.
I started the Traeger on Smoke, it's lowest setting. I wanted to keep the cold side below 40F.
I have Redi-Chek thermometer, with two probes. I set one probe on the grill on the cold side, and the second one inserted into the Butt on the Hot side.
Right off the bat, I realized that the temp on the cold side was going to be higher that I wanted. I grabbed a foil tray, filled it with ice, and put in the bottom of the cold side. That enabled me to keep the temp to 60*.
On the hot side, temp was all over the place, anywhere from 100* to 220*. Again that was with the electronic controller set just to smoke.
After an hour I pulled the steaks out. Moved the temp probe from the cold side to the hot side, so I could check accuracy of the Traeger probe.
Turned the heat up one notch to 180.
Temps were still all over the place. Anywhere from 100* to 280*. Was starting to wonder about this Traeger.
Brought the steaks into the house and vacuum packed them.
Came back outside and my smoker seemed to have settled down. Temp was around ranging between 160* and 200*. I turn the temp up one notch to 225*.
Once again temp was inconsistent. Ranging between 180* and 300*. After about an hour the fluctuations were not as pronounced. Between 190* and 250*.
I must say I was impressed with the Redi-Check Temp Monitor. The manual says range 'up to 200'. I had the smoker set up out in the front of our shop, which at least 300' from the house. It preformed flawlessly.
About 6 hrs into the smoke I noticed the IT stalled at 169* after an hour of not moving, I went out and turned the heat up one more notch to 280*. An hour later it was still stalled.
I pulled out the Butt, (it looked awesome, and yes, I forgot to take a pic!) I put in a foil tray, added some juice, and wrapped it in foil. Back into the smoker. An hour later, IT still stalled at 169*. I was starting to second guess the accuracy the inserted probe, but by the time I got out there to check, the temp moved to 170*. Finally five hours later the IT reached 210*
Brought it inside, pulled off the foil, removed the probe, and re-wrapped in foil, added a towel and left it for an hour.
Was easy to pull, and seperate the fat.
Took my first taste, and well.... Was not all that impressed. Had a very smokey flavor, but that was it. I drained the fat off the drippings, poured some of that on the meat, added a bit of BBQ sauce, and a bit of salt. It helped. Was good, but still underwhelming.
Threw it into the fridge for the night.
I actually commented to my wife, on whether the cost, and effort were worth it
Today I checked recipes and discussions on Pork Butt. Came across a discussion that mentioned 'Finishing Sauce'. I was intrigued.
So I made it. Poured it on my pulled pork, tossed it, covered in foil and re-heated in the oven. Tasted it. HOLY CRAP!! What a difference!! The acidity of the cider vinegar, and the sweetness of the brown sugar, really cut down some of that heavy smoke, and it was delicious!!!
So final thought. Yeah. Cost and effort, definitely worth it.