Potluck BBQ is the theme for our meals, and we have a reserved shelter with electric at our home-town's lake/recreation area, complete with campsites and provisions for tons of other daytime activities for this mid-July gathering.
I'm getting some of my smoked items started early and stocking up a freezer, as the menu entree items include some long smokes...this also allows me to stay caught up with posting, as it will take days if I wait until it's over and done with. With the regulations at the gathering site pertaining to no unattended cooking equipment, and me wanting a good night's rest for the 3 days and 3 nights we'll be there, this is my best option. Besides, I want to spend time with my family...that's the whole idea. We'll have fun cooking things up together during the day, I'm sure, but I don't want to be a walking/talking zombie all weekend from doing all-night smokes.
I volunteered to put together the entree menu, and coordinate most of the cooking, and bring several smokers and grills...everyone thought that would be a great way to start. We'll be sharing food purchases/furnishing cooking equipment, etc, so it won't be a heavy burden for anyone to carry. They've all had some samples of my smoking talents recently, and seemed eager to have more when the prospect of a family reunion was being discussed several months ago via email...so here we go!
For starters, I wanted to have a good mix of some of our favorite smoked goodies, and a mix of cold smoked/charcoal seared, cured/smoked, etc.
I started a Ancho Chili & Jalepeno based corned beef with a flat I separated last-night. The point got smoked with a pair of butts today, and will be diced, re-seasoned and smoked again in the morning for burnt ends treat here at home for the family. I'll be smoking a couple more briskets in another 1-1/2 weeks for pulled flat and burnt ends from the point. This will be part of the freezer stock-up to reheat and finish on site as well.
Enough rambling for now, eh? How about that Q-view?!?!?!
Corned Beef has been resting peacefully in my 4.2 cu ft q-fridge for 24 hours...I've massaged and turned it over several times already...smoke is planned in another 11 days...oh, I didn't strain this brine/cure...just remixed in the saucepan before filling the bag:
Oh, BTW, here's the recipe for the above:
Ancho/Jalapeño Corned Beef Brine/Cure
The following is for 5-6lbs of beef:
2 Tbls Ancho Chili, freshly ground
1 Tbls Jalapeño, freshly ground
½ Tbls Garlic granules
½ tsp Thyme, ground
1 tsp Rosemary, freshly ground
½ tsp Cinnamon, ground
½ Tbls Red Pepper, crushed
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper, ground
1 Tbls White Pepper, ground
6 Tbls Morton’s Tender Quick cure (EDITED)
2 Cups Water
Combined all ingredients, stirring well, and simmer in a covered saucepan over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Chill very well before adding to meat for curing.
I started 17.5lbs of butts last-night @ 10:00 pm, and as many of my longer smokes go, this one was no exception...challenging...propane tank ran empty before I remembered to swap it out for a full one...I/T's were in the upper 160's, then dropped to ~161* by the time I had things turned around and under control again. Then, severe thunderstorm with heavy rain, hail and high winds tried to put a damper on the finish, but I wouldn't let mother nature get in the way of the success of this smoke, oh no!!! I pulled the butts to foil/rest @ 167-168* I/T...this was @ 8:30 tonight (yea, 22.5 hours) and began the pulling ceremony after 3 more hours.
12 hours into the smoke in my Smoke Vault 24 vertical gasser, rubbed with my Red Bell Pepper Rub, and smoke (~6 hrs) provided by hickory @ ~215-225*. I started with the brisket point 2 rack spaces above the water pan, and the butts on the second from the top rack space. After about 4 hours, I noticed the meats starting to sweat, and decided that this was the time to add drip pans directly under and above the brisket point (for pork drippings). I knew that this process would slow the smoking stage down quite a bit, as the pans act like a baffle, deflecting more heat towards the sides of the smoke chamber. After closing the door and waiting for temps to stabilize and seeing the door temp gauge running @ ~270-280, I knew this smoke would be no different than any other time I've used drip pans. So, things got really slow at this point...the 4lb mostly lean trimmed brisket point took nearly 12 hours to reach 170* I/T. The butts were moved to the mid-section and their pan just above the water pan, and the point to the top a few hours before the point was pulled out to help things along a bit:
22.5 hours into the smoke...I/T's were 167-168* and I decided that was plenty long enough in the Vault...
But, you didn't go to 200-205*, you ask? Nope...panned/tented and into the dreaded "O" @ 170* to hold the temps for 90 minutes, then rested for 3 hours before pulling...worked out just fine...lots of shrinkage as indicated by the protruding bones here...just about to foil tent:
Ready for pulling...I kinda like this longer smoke, as it really developed the color and bark nicely:
This had a much firmer and more prominent bark then I get with shorter open grate times and longer panned/tented times...so much so, that I really had to work at breaking it apart in the bowl with large meat forks...it was actually crispy, and I've never had a shoulder come out like that before...this alone was worth the longer burn time in the Smoke Vault:
The drippings I scrapped off the pan, into a saucepan. I added a few dashes of lemon juice and about 1 cup of water and slowly simmered it uncovered for 10 minutes or so, then strained it directly into the 8 quart stainless bowl full of pulled pork...tossed it all up for a minute and bagged it for the freezer:
I couldn't find any of my gallon size vac bags or large continuous roll bags, so I did my best with plastic food storage bags...it'll be alright.
Well, that's a good start for my somewhat large smoking project, anyway.
More to follow in the coming 4 weeks, up to and including the on-site feast.
Thanks for peekin'!
Edited by forluvofsmoke - 6/23/10 at 1:56am