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Pernil (Puerto Rican Style) in a Pit Barrel Cooker w/Pics.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I got a Pit Barel Cooker as an early Father's Day present.  I started off with a test run of spares using the packaged rub and store bought sauce(stubbs) and they turned out rather well. The next step was to cook a picnic roast that I got on sale.  It was 12 lbs and I was a bit worried about handing it on the hooks.  That fear seemed warranted as two of the four hooks came out.  The two hooks on the thick side held it and it was just about ready anyways.  It was delicious, but I probably should have invited some people over.  A 12 lb roast, for two people, was a bit much.  

 

 

Sprayed the skin, every hour, to prevent it from taking up too much smoke and getting rubbery.

Directly out of the pit barrel, a nice color.  The chicharon was crispy, but not quite crispy enough(I cooked with the lid offset at the end of the cook).

 

Threw it in a 500 Degree oven for a few minutes to really crisp the chicharon.

Sliced portions, very smokey and flavorful.

Served with cheesy grits and arugula salad with nectarines. Not exactly Puerto Rican, I know.  

 

Bonus Ribs - On one of the racks, i had to sauce and finish in the oven as the meat started becoming too loose.  It was still competition texture, not fall off the bone, so I am a bit worried about losing meat to the coals.  

 


Edited by kenafein - 6/14/15 at 1:33pm
post #2 of 12
Nice looking cooks! Left over prom freezes and reheats well. When I do pulled pork I always end up freezing a bunch. If Vac packed you put the bag in simmering water to reheat. Comes
Out just like you just cooked it.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  I cooked this to slicing temps, didn't pull it.  Do you think your technique would still work well?  I figure I'll be making some cuban sandwiches and, if I can find the flour, some arepas with the leftovers.  Some of it's going to have to be frozen though.  I can't seem to resist these picnics when they go on sale for less than a buck/lb.  Even if it's more than we can eat.  

post #4 of 12

K, Nice looking job on the meat !!!!!!:points:

post #5 of 12

All of that food looks great!   I too recently got a pit barrel cooker and I love it.  Never made a picnic with the skin on but I have had pernil and chicharrone many times so this is something i definitely have to try.  I share your fear of falling too, especially with ribs.  When making ribs I have started doing this:  

 

 

Just flipped the grate that comes with it upside down and pushed it down over the handle of the charcoal basket.  Gives me a little reassurance that if they do fall, they won't be covered in ash.  They might get pretty crispy but just check on them at about 3 hours and then every 15-20 minutes after that just to be safe.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyMoon View Post
 

K, Nice looking job on the meat !!!!!!:points:

 

Thanks!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by worktogthr View Post
 

All of that food looks great!   I too recently got a pit barrel cooker and I love it.  Never made a picnic with the skin on but I have had pernil and chicharrone many times so this is something i definitely have to try.  I share your fear of falling too, especially with ribs.  When making ribs I have started doing this:  

Just flipped the grate that comes with it upside down and pushed it down over the handle of the charcoal basket.  Gives me a little reassurance that if they do fall, they won't be covered in ash.  They might get pretty crispy but just check on them at about 3 hours and then every 15-20 minutes after that just to be safe.

I was just thinking, the other day, that it would have been great if they had put another set of pegs closer to the charcoal box so you could set the grate up as a net.  This is the next best thing, good idea.  

 

I'll keep my eyes peeled for some of your pit barrel threads.  I think I want to try brisket, next(or maybe chicken).  Though, before they cooked down a bit, my spares were too long for the pit barrel.  I had to hook them on the third rib.  After they cooked a bit it was no problem.  Have you tried brisket?  How big were you able to get?  I also read from Jerod B, over at Amazingribs, that adding wood provided no noticeable taste difference in the food.  That does disappoint me a bit.  I like the pit flavor, but I like other flavors, too.  I've also noticed that my pit cooks a little colder than I was told.  I haven't been using Kingsford, though.   Overall, I am quite happy with the unit.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenafein View Post
 

 

Thanks!

 

I was just thinking, the other day, that it would have been great if they had put another set of pegs closer to the charcoal box so you could set the grate up as a net.  This is the next best thing, good idea.  

 

I'll keep my eyes peeled for some of your pit barrel threads.  I think I want to try brisket, next(or maybe chicken).  Though, before they cooked down a bit, my spares were too long for the pit barrel.  I had to hook them on the third rib.  After they cooked a bit it was no problem.  Have you tried brisket?  How big were you able to get?  I also read from Jerod B, over at Amazingribs, that adding wood provided no noticeable taste difference in the food.  That does disappoint me a bit.  I like the pit flavor, but I like other flavors, too.  I've also noticed that my pit cooks a little colder than I was told.  I haven't been using Kingsford, though.   Overall, I am quite happy with the unit.

 

So far I have done chicken, pork butt for pulled pork, tri tip, spares, baby backs, beef ribs, a roast beef, and half of a packer brisket.   The brisket I had was a half...mostly the point and it was thick so I just used the grate.  I have also had to go three ribs down with some big racks of ribs. I have added wood chunks throughout the coals and I think it tastes great.  I haven't really done any cooks with just charcoal because I am so accustomed to using my favorite woods when grilling or smoking so I don't have the ability to compare.  I had the same issue with it not running as hot as advertised, so I use the chimney method, dump the coals and let them get going for ten minutes or so with the lid off as opposed to immediately adding the meat and covering it up.  Overall its a great cooker, but like anything, it takes a little time learn all the idiosyncrasies.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by worktogthr View Post
 

 

So far I have done chicken, pork butt for pulled pork, tri tip, spares, baby backs, beef ribs, a roast beef, and half of a packer brisket.   The brisket I had was a half...mostly the point and it was thick so I just used the grate.  I have also had to go three ribs down with some big racks of ribs. I have added wood chunks throughout the coals and I think it tastes great.  I haven't really done any cooks with just charcoal because I am so accustomed to using my favorite woods when grilling or smoking so I don't have the ability to compare.  I had the same issue with it not running as hot as advertised, so I use the chimney method, dump the coals and let them get going for ten minutes or so with the lid off as opposed to immediately adding the meat and covering it up.  Overall its a great cooker, but like anything, it takes a little time learn all the idiosyncrasies.

I let it preheat this last time, before adding the meat.  It still held a little lower than I wanted, but much closer to their advertised range.  I ended up cooking without one of the rebars to keep the heat higher(had to add charcoal around hour 5).  Good news on the wood chunks, I'll give it a try.  I wonder if rigging a drip pan would allow the wood flavor to shine through, without ruining the whole dynamic of the cooker.  I know some UDS guys add a pan when they don't want the pit flavor.  I am very happy with the unit so far, everything has been tasty.  I was actually a bit embarrassed after I pulled my spares off, using pre-made rub and pre-made sauce, they tasted better than most of the ribs that I've made with my own recipes, and they were super easy to cook. I know there are some good products out there, but it is a hit to the ego.

post #9 of 12

Don't mean to quibble, but technically pernil is made with the ham (rear leg) cut, even though many mainland Puerto Ricans use the shoulder as the ham is far less available than the shoulder. But I doubt anyone would notice either way, and  it looks good!

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grandmastershek View Post
 

Don't mean to quibble, but technically pernil is made with the ham (rear leg) cut, even though many mainland Puerto Ricans use the shoulder as the ham is far less available than the shoulder. But I doubt anyone would notice either way, and  it looks good!

That's interesting.  I've never seen a recipe that didn't call for the picnic roast.  It's nice and cheap, and it was tasty.  Maybe I'll try it with a ham, someday.  The cubans that we've been eating for dinner the last few nights have been awesome.  The pit flavor really adds to them.  

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenafein View Post
 

That's interesting.  I've never seen a recipe that didn't call for the picnic roast.  It's nice and cheap, and it was tasty.  Maybe I'll try it with a ham, someday.  The cubans that we've been eating for dinner the last few nights have been awesome.  The pit flavor really adds to them.  

Yeah, that's what you will find in most recipes in English as they are written for people in the States where the ham is not as readily available. Pernil actually comes from the Castilian Spanish word for "leg" (pierna), and in Catalan (another language in Spain) it means "ham".  

post #12 of 12

food looks great

 

I'm really enjoying by pit barrel cooker

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