There’s no question about it—Pork Butt magically transformed into Pulled Pork is my favorite meat done on the smoker. Lately, however I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on smoking a chucky and then making pulled beef. I love beef, so I decided to give it a try.
I went to Costco to pick up a 5 pound chuck, but the best I could find were small ones. Bought 2, one at 2 lbs 8 oz and one at 2 lbs 11 oz. This “cheap” cut of meat was still $5.90 a pound. Being roughly the same size, I figured they “should” cook to temp in about the same amount of time. And lo and behold, they did—I have to admit, that really surprised me.
The morning of the smoke turned out beautiful--high was to be 6C (about 43F) with no wind—who could ask for a better March day in Alberta. Ha! Didn’t take long for that to change.
9:30 AM—applied the rub (SPOG) to both chuckys. I applied a thin coat of Worchester Sauce to one only before the SPOG, just to see which we preferred, and let them sit uncovered for 2 hours.
Two beautiful Chuckys
The support team
All rubbed up
10:00—fired up the MES 30, set it to 240*, and let it be for an hour to heat and get the temperature stabilized.
11:00—put the meat and the AMNPS (smoking nicely with Pitmaster pellets) in the Mes. This would be my first cook with these pellets—really looking forward to it.
12:00—put a foil pan full of the makings for JJ’s sauce under the meat. I had to make a couple of changes here. It turned out that I didn’t have any celery or carrots, but I did have a large onion, a large red bell pepper, and garlic.
12:01—the weather changed. A strong, COLD, gusty wind arrived (this one wasn’t melting any snow). Normally this isn’t a problem as our prevailing winds are from the NW and the house shelters the MES. Naturally, this wind was coming straight out of the West. Since I’ve never needed a wind break, I didn’t have one. I played with the temperature settings for a while, but the wind was so fickle that I finally gave up on that idea. So for the rest of the cook, it was impossible to keep a steady temp. When wind was blowing my temp dropped to about 225* and when it died down, the temp rose to 255*.
3:00—checked the IT of both roasts. Smaller one was at 158 and the larger at 153. Pretty close. The AMNPS had burned out (I only filled 2 rows), so I refilled and got it smoking nicely before returning it to the smoker.
4:30—IT of small at 171 and large at 169.
5:00—IT of small 172 and large 171. Looked like the stall had finally showed up. So I foiled the meat individually, and transferred it over to the oven to finish. Good looking bark on both roasts--real pleased with that.
5:45—both roasts were ready. IT sitting at 208 and 205. So I unfoiled both roasts left them to rest on the counter. Things are starting to get tight, time wise. Miss Linda was due home about 6 PM and would be pretty hungry. Now, knowing full well that the meat would be done when the meat was done, and being that my Momma didn't raise no fools, I did have a backup plan for supper. I brought in the pan of JJ’s sauce, simmered it until it had reduced to about 25% of the original (not much reducing required—all that time in the smoker took care of most of that job) and strained out the veggies. I’m here to tell you, skimming the fat off the sauce is a real tedious job!!
6:00—Miss Linda’s home--rest period just ended for the meat. Pulled the chucks into separate bowls. Had a real problem with the first roast—it just did not want to pull. How could it possibly be this tough? Of course, when it finally occurred to me to cut the 3 cords wrapped around the roast, it pulled easily. Duh!!!!
I never thought to weigh the finished meat, but I estimate about 25% was lost through shrinkage and waste. This is all the wastage from both roasts—although Roxy certainly didn’t let any of it go to waste!!
Supper that night was pulled beef on multigrain buns, with homemade aioli sauce, dill pickle slices, melted cheese (Swiss for me, old cheddar for Miss Linda), JJ's sauce for dipping, and homemade coleshaw. The taste was great!!! Pretty smart decision on my part to put Worchester on just one chucky—I liked that one best, but there was no doubt in Miss Linda’s mind that the chucky with ONLY SPOG was best.
But…..the meat was dry. How can a nice fat chucky turn out dry???? Well, I figured I could easily cure that problem the next day.
So first thing in the morning I mixed up another batch of JJ’s sauce (minus any veggies but garlic—had to replace the onion with a whole whack of onion powder), fired up the MES to 200* and the AMNPS and put the pan of Sauce in for 4 hours to cook and get nice and smoky. I reduced the Sauce down to about 1 ½ cups to concentrate the flavors and added it to both bowls of pulled beef, mixing well. I just kept adding sauce as long as the meat kept absorbing it.
Supper that night was FANTASTIC!! The meat was moist and juicy, and the concentrated sauce added great flavor.
Impressions? I will absolutely be doing chucks again, but I’m going to brine the meat overnight; hopefully that will make the pulled beef nice and moist. Great flavor. Great meals.
But………it still ain’t in the same league as pulled pork!!!
Thanks for looking.