New smoker. Ribs, chicken, bacon, jerky, and Picnic hams.

Discussion in 'Pork' started by smokinpoboy, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. smokinpoboy

    smokinpoboy Fire Starter

    Hey all,

    Sorry for the long post. I haven't posted in just over a year. Work and life got in the way of most of my smoking and curing activities in 2015. I always read through the forum though. A lot more so lately.

    A good friend of mine and I have been talking cured and smoked meats for a while and we both decided to combine our talents to make a bunch of meaty treats this year. He is from Austria, with a long family history of meat curing, He had just built a drying room in his basement.

    We started with 50 pounds of smoked and dried brats and pancetta.

    I have been enjoying my Smokey Joe minis for dinners but haven't done too much else. Until recently when I picked up a new to me smoker from a restaurant auction. A 30" wide Town Service master range smoker.

    It was pretty grimy with old dried restaurant grease. My trusty steam cleaner and some hard work got it all ship shape.

    I had to remove the original burner setup in order to clean and rebuild it. So in the meantime I'm using a burner I picked up from Tejas smokers for a build I was planning. The first smoke came out great. A few slabs of baby backs, St. Louis's, and a couple of chickens.

    With the new smoker up and running we went looking for our next project. I wanted to do more bacon. Went to restaurant depot for some belly slabs. They had picnics on sale for $1.02 a pound. I had to try some picnic hams after reading all the great threads here. This site always makes me hungry. We got 8 picnics and a couple of bellies. It just happened to be my birthday that day. Happy birthday to me!

    We boned 4 picnics and left 4 whole. 2 of the boned got a dry rub cure in vac bags. The other 6 I injected around the bones and into tubs of pops brine for a long wait.

    During the ham brining wait. I did bacon and spicy beef and pork jerky.

    Now to the picnics hams

    They've been in the brine for 32 days. It's a bit longer than needed for picnics but I thought what the heck can't hurt. Now to pull them out of the brine. I found myself wondering the best smoking routine for all these little hams. I've gone through so many of the threads on hams, and I've over loaded my mind.

    Since I have so many, I thought I'd use them to experiment a bit with styles.

    I pulled them from the brines and vac bags, rinsed them all, and then gave them a day drying rest.

    I had bought some ham netting bags for all these and the day we were prepping, I couldn't find them. So a quick bit of trussing and we were ready. Still want to use the bags next time.

    We then cold smoked 7 hams off and on for three days. We used primarily apple and some pecan and beech we had left from a previous smoke. On the 4th day we brought them up to 145f to be hot smoked later for the holiday weekend. These will be wrapped and stored in the fridge for a week then cooked. Probably freeze one for later.

    We had to try some. It had great flavor, but was a bit chewer due to the low cook temp. Not enough to break down the tough shoulder meat. Damn tasty though. It'll be great when recooked.

    My wife had asked for pulled ham sammies. So I used one for that. I kept one straight out of the brine and let it sit in the fridge for a few days while we cold smoked the others. I've done lots of pulled pork picnics but not pulled cured ham. I guessed that skipping the cold smoking might make for a less dry pulled ham?

    For the pulled ham, I wanted to use charcoal, so I used my Mini and treated the ham as a plain 7 1/2lb pork picnic.

    Couple hours cold smoking with my new expanding tube. Then loaded up for some heat.

    Used peach wood, pecan wood, and for kicks used some actual pecans. The mini was more temperamental on this smoke than others. I only had lump charcoal to work with. I find lump less consistent with steady heat than briquettes on the mini. It still worked though.

    Kept my temps at 250f the best I could. At about 175 I started glazing it with apricot/cherry glaze and let it go to 180 and put it in a pan to finish the smoke.

    It was a long one. About 15 hours total to get to 200f before wrapping and resting. Let it rest for a few hours in a cooler.

    Fall of the bone, melt in the mouth yummy. The glazed skin is like pork gummy candy. I usually like sliced ham but I'm glad I tried the pulled. My Wife is thrilled. She loved it, and that of course is the most important thing.

    Well that almost wraps up my overly long post. I still have a few hams to reheat and plan to try a few finishing styles with them. My friend is going to simmer one up to heat then chill and slice for Easter. I look forward to trying that. I'm thinking of the usual twice smoked thing, but recommendations are very welcome. I'll post the results here.

    I've got to say thanks again to this site and its members.

    I wouldn't feel as comfortable trying this if it wasn't for all the great info and recipes I've learned from this site over the years.

    Your the best.

  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hey Bryan,

    Everything you did looks awesome!

    Points for a years worth of work in one thread!

  3. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Man, you sure did make up for your time away from the smoker!

    Points for an epic smoking session!!!
  4. smokinpoboy

    smokinpoboy Fire Starter

    Thanks Al and worktogthr,

    Yup, fully addicted again. It's a bit too long a post, I should have broken it down a bit. But it's been a fun last couple of months smoking all you see above. Still have to reheat the last few picnic hams and on to something else. It's been a while since I made pastrami. This new smoker just begs to put more meat in it.
  5. smokin218r

    smokin218r Smoking Fanatic

    Very cool Bryan!


    When using the mini, I noticed you had it in a stock tank......

    Was that for wind control or???
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great looking smokes! I have no problem looking at this long post! Plus when the wife starts going off about me smoking to much I can just show her this!

  7. smokinpoboy

    smokinpoboy Fire Starter


    Thanks for the points. The stock tub is for wind control. I have two minis that fit in it perfectly. I can also put smaller tubs on top to cover the minis during rain and snow. You live up here in the frozen north too. Gotta protect the smokers. Hope you didn't get hit with last nights storm. It just grazed us.


    There should be a sub forum for all the partners that think we're nuts. Maybe there is. I commonly use your posts to show my wife I'm not the only nut doing this. Thank the smoking gods that my wife loves all the food. She's partly to blame for my addiction. She just brought me another new smokey Joe she got at work. You know what that means. Im off to find another tamale pot. Gonna have to do the pizza mod this time.

    My poor offset smoker hasn't gotten any love for a while.
  8. smokin218r

    smokin218r Smoking Fanatic

    Fortunately I live near St Cloud. We didn't get a flake.

    I hear ya on protecting the smoker.

    Back in November I wanted to do some reverse sear ribeyes for some guests.

    Got home from work to blowing like crazy and snowing.

    It was blowing across my porch where the smoker is.

    There I stood with a tarp over myself and the smoker.... [​IMG]

    The things we do....
  9. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nothing wrong with thread! Good food and qview.


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