Brined-up a mess of fresh/frozen pork...Sunday's smoke, w/qview

Discussion in 'Pork' started by forluvofsmoke, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    2 butts (approx 6-6.5lbr’s), 2 boneless picnics weighing 3.0 & 3.5lb, 1 boneless fresh ham weighing 4lb) and some country style ribs (approx 7lbs) will be Sunday’s victims.

    We had a processed 1/2 hog delivery a week ago and weren't ready for it in the freezer department. Without enough freezer space, and the weather topping in the mid 40*'s during the day, I was worried about losing some of my meat. So, it's either time for a brine, a cure or both...not really interested in buckboard bacon just yet, so brine it is.

    I did a weak salt-only brine (1 cup/gal) for the fresh/frozen pork which I ran out of freezer space to store. So, the pork was brining while finishing it’s thaw. That was 2-1/2 days ago.

    This also gives me the opportunity to test out a brine versus un-brined fresh pork butt. I smoked up 2 cryo-vac packed butts with one fresh butt and a boneless picnic back in January for a birthday party, and the results of the fresh butt were anything but desirable…it wouldn’t pull, and was slightly dryer than the cryo butts. I would have had an easier time slicing it.

    Now, I’ll be able to find out if there really is a difference between the two. And, as I’ve never brined pork before, this gives me an opportunity to see what it can do for a variety of cuts.

    Here’s my rubbed and sleeping victims…the butts...not the best, as they are cut horizontally and trimmed, so the fat cap is on the narrow side of the roast and they'll be smoking with the fat cap out, not up...wish me luck on these:

    The 2 picnics and 1 fresh ham...I'm thinking of foiling these @ 165 and resting to slice...these were lean trimmed also:

    And, the CSR’s for lunch:

    I don't know who's gonna eat all this pork come Sunday night, but it's gotta get smoked...I may need some help, folks!

    Smoke is on for the AM, with a mix of hickory, cherry and a bit of mesquite in the Smoke Vault 24.

    The CSR's should come out about the right time for lunch. The other ~23lbs is not going to be easy to consume for dinner by 7 people though...either I find some help with eating this stuff or I'll really have to do some cramming in the freezers in a couple days...anyone got a bib? HEH-HEH-HEH!!!

    See ya Sunday morning…thanks!

  2. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Talk about having your hands full!!
  3. walle

    walle Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    All of that looks GREAT, FLoS!
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks, sircave & WALLE.

    Got the vault fired up...31* ambient temps, no wind, foggy with a slight chance for snow today and high temps in the upper 30's to lower 40's.

    I started with the smoker cold after loading the racks. Cold water in the pan, so I don't get condensation dripping everywhere, and cranked the burner on high for about 3 or 4 minutes with the door open after loading wood chunks, then closed it up and turned the burner down to med/low to start building heat just as I could smell the smoke woods starting to get happy.

    Cherry, hickory and mesquite for smoke as planned...

    Back with progress later...thanks all!

  5. fourthwind

    fourthwind Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks great! We got enough smoke going between Colorado and Wyoming to been seen on Satalite today!
  6. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks like you have your hands full today, but what a why to be busy lol
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL!!!!! As long as it's thin & blue!

    Yeah, it's another fun day today!

    I'm shooting for a 2.75-1.25-0.50 on the CSR's...panned with some Sunny D and foiled:

    At 2.75 hrs, after doing some rack rotations for fitting probes into the picnics...138* and 143*, the fresh ham was 132*:

    All is well so far!

    The probes went into the smaller cuts with little resistance...seems pretty tender for this low of temp, but then, being boneless/trimmed, there may not be a lot of the tougher tissues remaining. It should be good sliced pork anyway, and I'm dying to find out what this weak/long brine did. It did show discoloration of the meat from the salt, so I know it was working it's magic.

    BTW, I used no-salt dry rubs, in case I forgot to mention this earlier. And I did soak in cold fresh water prior to rubbing, for some salt removal.

    Thanks all!

  8. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It looks and sounds like you will be fat and happy for this coming week with all that grub you have there. [​IMG]
  9. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah Mark, we'll be eatin' good for the better part of this week...heh-heh-heh...gotta love it!

    Isn't he purty? Pulled to foil @ 163*, and rested for 3/4 hour wrapped in towels:

    I'm more than happy with the results of this picnic...flavor is close to a low salt sugar-cured ham, probably due in part to a high brown sugar content in my dry rub. Moisture is excellent...pulled it at just about the right temp for this lean trimmed cut, I think.

    The CSR' just a tad dried out...went about 15-20 minutes too long on the final stage...overall, not bad though...painted lightly with Sweet Baby Ray's (per wife's request) after pulling from the braze for firming up...they were falling apart when I placed them onto the grate...I think a 3-1.5-0.33 would have done just fine:

    The fresh ham hit a plateau @ 148* and is hanging out at 150* now. The one butt I stabbed with my free probe looked to be stalled at 150* for the past 30 minutes.

    Oh, I pulled the 2nd picnic @ 163* as was about 30 minutes behind the 1st one...he's been resting for 30 minutes now.

    Just playing the waiting game now...tic-toc, tic-toc...

    Thanks all!

  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Aw, this looks so nice...:

    The butts are 155* and 159*, respectively:

    Just had to look at the time...6:45 into the smoke thus far (short one for me...LOL!!!)...waiting to foil @ ~170* (would do 180*, but these are lean trimmed) & braze to 200-205* for pulling, and the rest will be history!

    Temps have been running 230*-250*...weird weather today...the chance of snow has not transpired and it's 3:00 PM now, and temps are well above the forecast...calm, sunny and 53*...I won't complain though!

  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I foiled this @ 170*, and pulled to rest @ 204*.

    This was a weird deal here...this one got foiled about 2 hours ahead of the other. Being about 1/2lb lighter was not the reason why...look on the second pic, left side, next to the fork tine...that's the only bone I could find.

    I guess the light bone mass had a lot to do with the huge difference in cooking times. The other butt is still in foil @ 198* I/T, and 12 hrs total cooking time. I have this sneaking suspicion that I'll have a rather large bone in the next one...time will tell.

    The flavor of this butt is very different than what I'm accustomed to smoking...hard to pin-point, but it must be due to a few rub, 2.5 day brine with low-salt content instead of the chemicals used in cryovac packaging...I don't know, but I like what I've seen, smelled and tasted. And, I didn't use any brazing liquids for foiling these butts, either.

    It really does have me itching to find out what the second one will be like. The pulling of this was soooo easy. This is the way they're supposed to be...fall apart tender and moist. I definitely will have to do more brined fresh far, this stuff ranks pretty high with any of my pulled or sliced pork for overall quality (compared to fresh or cryovac packed.

    I didn't get pics of the finished fresh ham or the second picnic, as they are still wrapped and cooling off. I'll probably send them to the fridge in a bit, whole. I'm sure they are every bit as good eating as the 1st picnic was...that was some fine sliced pork, like a really good ham...very mild flavor, too.

    I'll let you know how the second butt finishes my curiosity goin' now. I foiled the slower butt @ 166* hit a second stall and just hung there for a couple impatient with it I guess, and being it is a lean trimmed cut, I started wondering about dryness when finished.

    So, almost got this test of sorts completed. The second butt will confirm it for me, I think.

    More to follow as this unfolds.

    Thanks everyone!

  12. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is like having a stunt double here:

    Except for this monster bone I thought I was dealing with earlier:

    So, I have a repeat of the 1st butt, with very similar results. Just that massive bone on this one to slow me down a bit. From here on out, if I have any fresh pork to smoke, I'll be doing a brine prior to letting it hit the grates, if time permits...if not, I'll be expecting a product of lesser quality. There is just no comparison to the results I had with a fresh butt back in January. That one was edible, but required a bit of doctoring, while the brined butts today are good without even using the brazing liquid treatment that I faithfully do, except for today.

    Great smokes, everyone!

  13. peixegato

    peixegato Smoke Blower

    Good work. I'm a big fan of putting the butt in a brine first and then I use a low-salt rub. Of course, I'm not using fresh pork. Glad to hear you were happy with the results.

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