I just bought an electric smoker, so I'm very new at this. I wanted to try smoking a pork picnic, which in spanish it's called a pernil....a very popular piece of meat in the hispanic community, usually eaten instead of turkey on Thanksgiving and for Christmas dinners. How would I go about smoking a pork picnic, since it's pretty fatty and I like to make the skin get crunchy?
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Hi Sandra! Welcome to the forum, and the world of smoking!
As for the picnic, if you want to slice it, an internal temp of no greater than 180* should suffice. If you wish to pull the meat off the roast (pulled pork), you will need to take it to 200-205* internal temp.
In either case, low and slow is the key to a good product. 225* cooking chamber temp is the norm, as this will create a very tender meat, from what is a lesser cut.
To get a crunchy skin or crust, you may opt to spray with a fruit juice such as apple, or mop with a baste/glaze containing some brown sugar. The sugars will caramelize and harden as the cooking progresses. The application of sugars should not be used until later in the cooking process with larger cuts requiring long cooking time, as they will eventually burn/scorch, so I do this after the internal temperature reaches at least 160*, if I slice, and 175* if I pull the meat.
Also, when the desire internal temp is reached, wrapping in foil or placing in a cover pan and resting a couple of hours while wrapped in towels will redistribute the meat's juices in the roast.
As for smoke, mesquite is good with the heavier flavors of the picnic. I've used hickory as well, but with a shorter smoke time, as it's a sharper flavor. Milder smoke woods like cherry and apple are very good also.
I generally remove the smoke wood when the internal temp reaches 160* with large cuts of meat as with the picnic.
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Well theres not much more that needs to be said just do what Eric told you and you'll be fine. So welcome to SMF. Now can you stop into Roll Call and introduce yourself and your equipment and we can give the big welcome we like to give to new members.
Here's the main forums page: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/
Go to Announcements, just a few lines down.
You're in for quite an experience and a treat with the picnic. BTW, plan on starting this in the evening and let your smoker run all night. You may need to add water to the water pan every 3-5 hours, depending on the smoker. The electric smoker will pretty much take care of itself other than that.
To get the smoke wood to smolder, you'll need to find that "sweet spot" where the wood is just close enough to the heat source to smoke slow, but not too close where it will flare up and burn. If you can smell smoke, you're smokin'. Some white smoke at first is normal, and then it should almost disappear as it settles down.
Be sure the top vent is open and the smoke isn't a constant heavy white and you'll be in smoked pork heaven! LOL!!!!!!
If you can place a drip pan on a grate under the meat, or just catch the drippings in the water pan will be fine.
To cook anything while it rests in it's own drippings will hinder the development of the crust...hence roasting racks for in the oven. It does make a huge difference in the amount of retained fats as well, if left in the drippings. If you want a really great treat, pour the liquids into a bowl or large measuring cup and defat the drippings, either by adding ice cubes and lifting off the cold solid fat, placing in the freezer, or just skimming off with a gravy ladle. These drippings are pre-seasoned from the seasonings you used on the meat. Add this to the meat just before serving...WOW!!!!!!! Tons of extra flavor and the added moisture...it acts like a finishing sauce. You can do this with any meat or poultry.
I'm getting excited just writing about this! LOL!!!!!
It IS!!!!!!!! I use the meat drippings for Au Jus with beef, finishing sauce for pork, and gravy for smoked birds, including turkey & chicken. Basically, it's an old home cooking method for oven roasting that is carried into the smoking world...great stuff!
You'll love it!!!