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A Tribute for my friend Luis: all-night Shoulder Picnic

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
Two years ago to date on Saturday, we lost a dear friend and neighbor, Luis, to an ATV accident. Last year I did my famous spares that everyone here loves, and (I think) a couple chickens. I have Fri/Sat off work from now on, so, I thought this would be a great oppurtunity to spend this day with his/my family, and share the experiences we all had with Luis, and of course a great meal to top off the day. He was a great kid...well-liked in school by staff and students alike. The majority of the school attended his funeral, and, as I recall, classes were suspended for the remainder of the day...it was a full church.

In his memory, I'm doing my first all-nighter on Friday night (04-24-09), and my first smoked Pork Shoulder Picnic. Other sides including Dutch's Wicked Beans will also be attending the memorial celebration. Getting a bit soft and teary-eyed here, I still miss him, too...anyway, here's the beginning:

Dropped it into this bin of water and popped it into the Q-fridge yesterday, submerged and chilled well:

Checked out my tattle-tale digital fridge thermeter, and the min/max temps for the past 24 hours were 30/37, so the thaw should be right on time for a rub and smoke at about 8:00-9:00 pm Friday. The fridge is outdoors and isn't appreciating the day/night temp swings. The top side was softening nicely, bottom was pretty solid, so we did a flip-side.

Weather is supposed to turn against me tonight, and through most of the weekend. 80% chance T-storms tonight, 80% chance rain/snow Friday morning, 70% chance snow Friday night, and 60% chance rain/snow Saturday. I not giving up on this one...plans are plans, and they're not getting broken this time! I have a water resistant coat and a temporary roof to go over the smokers. Mother nature's gonna have trouble running me otta the smoke!

I'll be back to post progress beginning with the dry-rub and recipe on Friday night. I may be looking for some company after that, so, maybe I'll visit with a few of you in chat 'til after the plateau?


post #2 of 41
Good luck Eric.

That's a very nice thing you're doing. Hope all goes well for you.
post #3 of 41
Keep us informed that is a great thing you are doing.
If I am on chat look me up.
post #4 of 41
Thread Starter 

A new rub for a special occasion

I decided to try a new rub blend tonight, from scratch. I just finished the grinding, mixing and several pinch-tastes along the way. It's a good flavor which should mary well with pork. It has a little heat, which I'll smooth over with a secondary rub of dark brown sugar after I stop the smoke. This is planned for after getting over "the hump" (plateau). Then, it will be in just a nice humid cooker to let the sugar melt into the light bark.

Here's the new rub:

3 Tbls Kosher Salt

2 Tbls Dried Red Bell Pepper, pregrind measure, course grind

2 Tbls Dried Green Bell Pepper, pregrind measure, course grind

1 Tsp Ground White Pepper

1 Tsp Ground Cumin

2 Tbls Rosemary, pregrind measure, course grind

1 Tbls Mild Smoked Paprika

1 Tbls Black Peppercorn, course grind

2 Tsp Garlic Powder

Makes approx. 1/2 cup when ground/mixed.

Here's what it looks like:

That Rubbermaid container is a 1-1/4 cup capacity, and it is over 1/3 full...lotta rub for the picnic shoulder:

I will be back with the rub-down in about an hour, this should give it about a 2 hour rest before it lands in the warmed-up GOSM.

Snowed this morning for several hours, then stopped for most of the mid-day. Snow started again at about 5:40 pm. I'm ready for it.


post #5 of 41
Looking good, Eric. I'll be up with you tonight for quite a while. Took a nap today and had caffeine later in the day by accident, lol. Oh well!
post #6 of 41
Really interesting blend on that rub Eric, can't wait to see how well it works out. Just like Dawn I'll be up on here for a while, though I didn't take a nap or drink any caffeine, I'm just a night owl.
Hope it turns out great, keep us updated.
post #7 of 41
Thread Starter 

Shoulder skinned-out and dry-rubbed...purty!

Thanks Dawn & fire it up! I may need some company later, sounds great!

Here's the next stage:

I decided to skin-out the meat and refreeze the skin for fried pork rinds! Never did 'em homemade yet, so that will be a nice side treat sometime in the future.

I also wanted the skin off for better penetration of smoke and holding the rub, just makes sense. This is my first smoke with a picnic shoulder, so, I'm just going by gut-instinct.

Here's the skin off...did a pretty good job, if I don't mind saying so myself:

Skinned Shoulder ready for a nice slow massage:

Gave it good dose of lovin' with about half of the rub blend:

Well, there she is, in all her glory. What a beautiful thing! It's a shame to eat something like that! LOL!!!!!! Ah, but, I can create another, and will, 'cause I have another in my Q-freezer waiting for the same treatment, heh-heh-heh! That'll be for part of my big May burn...unless...this really works great...and...I wanna do it again...sooner...!!!!!!!!!

Back with more when she hits the thin blue in about 45 minutes...I almost can't wait, but, I'll be patient! GOSM is getting happily warmed-up for the past 45 minutes with 10 quarts of water and some left-over hickory in the box to prime 'er up.

Thanks for lookin'!

post #8 of 41
Looks good Smoke. Nice job and the thought of doing that for your friend means a lot to you and his family. Points for that.
post #9 of 41
Looking good man. I'm with you, for a couple of hours anyway. Got to hang out in the 30 mile an hour winds and 85" temps playing golf and drinking beer. Not that anybody wanted to know that, just thought it might make you a bit jealous.
post #10 of 41
Really nice job removing the skin. I would remove it as well for the same reasons you did, and you left enough fat to baste and keep the meat moist it looks like.
I'll be checking back in from time to time, pastrami is still only at 150.
Make sure to let us know how the pork rinds work out.
post #11 of 41
God bless you Eric! Very nice thing your doing for Luis' family. Good luck and thanks for all the q-view.
post #12 of 41
Hope the smoke goes well. Can't stay up all night but keep up the posts would like to read about the progress. Its a very nice thing your doing in the memory of your friend.

post #13 of 41
Thread Starter 

Smokin' in as of 8:50 pm MST

Temp was 250*, and the mesquite was kissing the air ever so slightly...I couldn't resist. Just got it back to 225* after 5 minutes or so, and watching minor temp swings since then. Winds are light, but, changing direction frequently. Ambient temp is now @ 31*, and the snowfall came and went again for the third time today.

Here's the GOSM warming up a few hours ago with an additional 8 quarts of water...I don't want to open the cabinet any more than I have to, and it will help with temp swings:

The burner flame and steam from the pot @ 65 minutes into the smoke, just letting the temp drop from a slight spike while I looked:

With this quick peek I snapped 2 pics of the pork...tough to focus through the rolling steam in the cabinet...this was the best of the 2 shots:

It's pretty much cadilacin' along right now, so I'll wait 'til about the 3-hr mark and stick a clean probe in through the top for internal meat temps.

It's going really well so far. The weather is a hundred times better than I was expecting, the smoker is happy and so am I.

Back later with more.

Thanks to everyone! Gotta love this forum.

post #14 of 41
Looking great Eric. Keep us updated. smile.gif
post #15 of 41
Thread Starter 

Digital thermo -probe is in @ 2hrs-50 min

Kinda spooked me when saw the 107* reading, 'til I realized I haven't even hit the 3-hr mark yet...wheew! I may bump the chamber temp up to about 240-245* if it isn't climbing at a reasonable rate in the next 15-20 minutes. It may be a bit too low-n-slow for a slab of bone-in pork this thick (about 6-1/2 inches), I'll see soon enough.

Some more real quick camera work revealed these 2 shots:

I'll be back again...I may wait to post more updates until it hits the plateau.

I'm likin' this smoke alot already. I'm not getting tired yet, though it just struck midnight here. I'll pick the right time for a couple hour nap in the wee hours of the morning when I'm real comfortable with the progress. No sense getting wiped out over this. Gonna be a big day on Saturday and I don't want to be a walking zombie, lol!!!

OOPS! Didn't get this posted before I ducked out to check the smoker.

Update is: I had to bump temps after a reload with mesquite. Internal only climbed from 107* to 116 after nearly 30 minutes eek.gif !!!!

It'll be a bit of stretch on temps. I took the chamber to 270*, which only took about 45 seconds after closing the door (gotta love a gasser for that). Bumped it back slowly to the 255* (+/- 5), and watched the chamber and probe temps for about 15 minutes. Internal was at 121* when I stepped back inside. Heading the right direction, it's just gonna seem to be a long trip. I was @ 3:30 into the smoke when it hit 121*. The temp climb rate should put me @ 4:30 to hit the 140* mark (if I'm still awake enough to think clearly!!!).

The meat was pretty cold while it was resting after the rub outside @ just above freezing temps, so, I need to take that into account with the 40-140* time frame. It probably took the first 30-45 minutes to even get above 40* internal. Just my rambling thoughts on this. Maybe it'll save someone else from getting uptight if they run into the same situation as I have here? No worries just yet.

Time to play the waiting game now, and keep up with more temp checks until "cadillac mode" returns. More later.

Uh-oh, yawn #1 has just emerged from the depths of my lungs PDT_Armataz_01_05.gif !!!!!!!!! LOL!!! It is now 12:55 pm MST, 4:05 into the smoke.

post #16 of 41
hang in there Eric. you'll be fine with the temps. You don't have to be concerned as much with the 40-140 rule with a whole cut of meat like that.
I cut and pasted this from a great thread by bbally;

The "intact muscle" rule for commercial USDA products allows an intact muscle to be cooked to rare using low temp. Provided it has not been punctured.
Unpunctured, intact muscle need only have the outside 0.5 inch pass through 140 degrees within 4 hours. Something easily done at temps of 200 F or more.

check it out while you're waiting on the temps :)

post #17 of 41
Great job keeping things going thru the night Eric. I just finished cooling and wrapping my pastramis and it's now 3:37 in the morning so I have to go to bed.
Sorry about the cold weather, almost makes me feel bad that tomorrow it is supposed to get up to 86. Gonna till the ground in the garden and smoke a bit more.
Glad things are going goo, had to laugh when you brought up the plateau, nobody looks forward to it but with some smokes you just know it's coming. Luckily I only hit the plateau for about half an hour or so.
post #18 of 41
Thread Starter 

142* after 5-1/4 hours

Well, were still in the game. Smoker kinda took a dive on me though when I checked temps...180* in the chamber. Only explanation I can come up with is that the burner control valve has been VERY difficult to fine-adjust, and I think the cause is scale build-up on the internal brass components.

I had trouble with my old (7 yrs+ out in the weather) rusty Brinkman gas grill when I got in the middle of it's refurbish project, and that was the problem with it. It took about 15 minutes to clean-up the internals, lube with grease and re-assemble. I can't remember if I posted the procedure and pics on that task or not.

I think that will be my next project for the GOSM before her next smoke. Then, I'll now for sure, once the valve is in pieces and I can inspect it. And, I will post this project so others can learn how it can be completed. It saves alot of head-ache, heart-ache and a possible smoke gone bad.

Still a good smoke going here, with some serious potential to be a great smoke. No complaints...heh, it wouldn't do any good, would it?!?!? I'd have to chew on my own hind-end, if I did! LOL!!!

So, the cadillac mode is back, and no major issues!

Thanks for the reminder, Dan! I was starting to sweat before I posted the last time about the slow climb with low internal temp. I did come to my senses before I finished the post though! I'm getting a bit wirey from alot of mugs of capaccino in the past 16-1/2 hrs (I had to think when I had my 1st one...10:00 am Friday)icon_eek.gificon_twisted.gif !!!!!!!!!!

Later, with more! Thanks again everyone!

post #19 of 41
I'm glad it's going well Eric, now if you can get thru the dreaded plateau
post #20 of 41
Thread Starter 

Over 140* internal pics, nice!!!

We got a dandy smoke goin' here!

These were taken @ 146* internal temp, and there are signs of some good shrinkage, judging by the dry-rub residue on the rack, so that alone says she's a happy 'lil piggy!

I think that rub is gonna have a little bark to go with that bite, maybe no dark brown sugar secondary rub is needed? Hmmm...:

And, the nice burn going on down below:

We're just cruizin' into the plateau stage at 210* right now. I'm gonna let that temp ride, due to two things: I want a slower plateau (you want WHAT?)...(#1): to really get the connective tissue to break-down to next-to-nothing; (#2): the burner control valve problems I ran into lastnight/this morning make for extremely difficult fine adjustments.

So, I'm just going to let it ride into/through the plateau at it's own pace. This should work out better for the meal Saturday, uh-er, today, in case I would have started it waaay too early lastnight. A steady slow smoke until 2 hours before dinner is my plan...hit 205* & maybe a touch over. Pull for a 2-hr rest, pulled pork in flour tortillas...I think that'll be a great way to enjoy this smoke. I'll post on the finale and plated results...you know I will!

The steam coming off the upper 8 quart pot is really going nicely, and I've topped off the lower (stock) water pan twice since the start-up.

I'm likin' what I see, so, I figure don't fix what ain't broke...

Come on PLATEAU---gimme yer best shot, ya got nothin' on me now, baby! heh-heh!

I did give it a third dose of mesquite as it was almost no smoke odor when the internal was passing the 141* mark, or was it 135*? I honestly can't remember now, that was hours ago. So much going on since I started this one, I couldn't keep up with the posts! It's been a great experience already though...one I won't soon forget, and the pics will deliver good memories.

Thanks all!

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