Nothing says Mother's Day like BBQ, right?
And in that spirit, why not smoke a butt for some pulled pork sammiches?
I have a Cheap Offset Smoker that I have modded, probably beyond necessary over the years, but it was fun. Anyway, I have never tried anything any more interesting than ribs because my smoker takes a lot of babysitting. But for Mother's Day, I figured that my wife and my mother deserved 12 hours of my time on a Saturday so I gave it a go.
I don't have pics of the butt prep, but all I did was trim the fat off the top (or bottom depending on how you sit it), and rub it with Kosher salt to dry brine it. I stuck it unwrapped in the fridge Friday afternoon (yesterday), and got up this morning (Saturday) to begin the marathon.
I started two chimneys of charcoal and the A-MAZE-N tube of apple pellets, and went inside to prep the butt for the smoker.
I rubbed some vegetable oil on the 8 lb. butt (the 14 year old by in me is laughing his head off right now...rubbing oil on an 8 pound butt...hehe), and used the Memphis Dust rub (which is really good BTW) to make a paste with the oil. That sat for about 20 minutes until the coals were ready.
One problem with my smoker is that it takes a lot of work to get the temperature to what it needs to be, but adding a fan helps. So I used my 11 year old son's desk fan to keep air moving through it.
Yeah, I melted it.
Just a bit.
It still works.
I really wish I had a probe that could graph the temps, but suffice it to say, they were all over the map. Usually, they were close to 200, but I wanted it at 220, and I had to keep piling on coals. I switched to actual apple wood after a while, and that got the temps up, but keeping them there was an issue.
That and my wife wanted to go get some things to spruce up the yard.
So we went, and when I got back, the smoker was at 170 and the coals were fading fast. A few apple logs got it going again, and another two chimneys of charcoal. I heard here that butts are forgiving. Whoever said that was right!
About now, I'm thinking "There's got to be an easier way to do this." Wait, there is, its called a pellet smoker. It's on my wishlist...
Anyway, after that, it was pretty smooth sailing. I got the temp up to around 220, and after 5 hours, it looked like this:
You can see two of the mods in the background - 1) extended the smokestack to the grate level and 2) the plates under the grates to block the big hole where all the heat comes straight up into the first grate on the right. The internal temp was 175 at this point, and it stayed at 175 for like 4 hours. Some call it a stall point, I call it "oh crap, the chamber is at 180 again!" but whatever...more charcoal...more apple wood...
Fortunately, it was a beautiful day here in Iowa so I was able to fix two bikes, help my youngest learn to ride a bike, mow the lawn, etc, all while being able to monitor the progress.
5 hours later (for a total of 10 hours), it looked like this:
The internal temp was at 188, and I planned on taking it off at 195, so I figured another hour or so and it would be ready. So, I kicked in some more apple wood and charcoal, and got the smoker up to about 250 to finish it off.
That did it, and after about 45 minutes it was at 195. I left it alone on the smoker for about 15 minutes that way, and then brought it in.
I shredded it with Bear Paws...
...that is the bone on the right - it came out clean. I didn't expect that, but it was pretty cool. When I tried to pull it out, the meat just separated right off. I had heard about it, but experiencing it was something altogether sweet. Honestly, with all the temperature issues I had, I was surprised it turned out so well. Butt sure is forgiving!
I shredded it a bit more, and we are going to put it in the crock pot to warm it up tomorrow.
I got a lot of tips from these forums so thanks to all who made it such a great first butt smoking!
Happy Mother's Day!