a simple man's love for food, life & star wars

Monday, January 3, 2011

My first smoked pork butt & Hasselbeck potatoes

First Pork Butt Smoke:
For those of you who do not know, KC is the BBQ capital of the world. So when you say you smoke or make your own BBQ, those are very serious words. Luckily for me, I have had a lot of experience at work being around smokers and good BBQ. So without further ado....here is my first go at it!

The Brine:
·         1.5 Cups of Salt
·         1 gallon of water
·         1/5 gallon apple cider
·         ¼ cup of paprika
·         ¼ chili powder
·         4  whole cloves of garlic

        A brine works like a marinade, but seems to penetrate deeper into the meat. By preparing the brine the night before, the flavors of the spices have all night to stick to the salt, and the salt will carry these flavors deep into the meat. It’s important to have some sugar in your brine as this will caramelize. If you do not want to use apple cider, some sugar or brown sugar in it’s place would do well. 
        A pork butt will reach it's most tender stage as it's internal temperature reaches at or above 190, some say as high as 205. The risk with bringing the internal temperature to above 200 is drying out the pork. This is where the brine really comes into play. The brine, in theory, will allow the pork butt to retain more moisture, which then allows you to raise the internal temperature without drying out the meat.....leading to the most tender of pulled porks! boiled ½ gallon of water with the dry ingredients  and then added the rest of the liquids to the mix. After that, I take my pork butt and cover it in this brine and refrigerate for 12-14 hours.

The Rub:
        Since this is my first time, I thought I would stick with the basics. You r rub is your secret that you keep from everyone...every great BBQ'er has one...just like every Jedi has a light saber. I put together my normal  seasoning, which we call “ the love”(the love, is what we keep at work, on hand, to sprinkle on anything we cook if you need to add some zest) . This rub gets coated on the  pork butt VERY heavily, but sure to save some for your baste!

·         ¼ Peppercorn Pepper
·         ¼ Parpika
·         ¼ cup brown sugar
·         2 tblsp of salt
·         2 tblsp of garlic
The Wood:
        Wood is also another great influence on how your meat will taste. The wood is "the force" behind any great smoke. I plan on using wood charcoal (as opposed to regular charcoal which may have it's own distinct flavor) to start the fire, the I am using  Red Oak (75%) & Pecan (25%): I chose Red Oak because it tends to burn the longest and I wanted to do a long smoke…about 70 minutes per pound. Pecan sparked my curiosity because it adds a nice sweetness to the pork which should complement the spicier rub. I pre soaked all of the wood to prevent it from burning off too quick. Pre soak wood chunks for 30 minutes.
Edit: I ended up using 20% Cherry , 80% Mesquite because I was a slacker and that is  best mixture I could  find in such short notice.  Some believe that mesquite is too strong for pork, but I tend to disagree...the pork was amazing! I will use this combination again.
The Smoking:       
       The rule of thumb, is to smoke pork for 60-70 minutes per pound. My Pork Butt is about 9 lbs which means I would have to smoke it for WAY too long. So what I did was smoke it until it was 2/3 of the way to  the internal temp of 190, basically 130. Once the internal temp reached 130, I cut the butt in half. This allowed me to be done at 4:30pm for a total of 8 hours of smoking.  I could have also opted to smoke it until it reached an internal temp of 140 and then pulled it and finished it in the oven to reach 190. In theory, the bulk of the smoke flavor comes during the process before reaching the 140 internal temp. By finishing off any meat in the over, after reaching 140, you can still get a nice smoke flavor and save a lot of time.

The Baste
        A baste is also another secret weapon for grilling. A good baste is like having a cool Jedi outfit...sure you are a Jedi...but you are even cooler when you have a nifty outfit!
       You should not do your first baste until after the meat has cooked for half of it's total cooking time..at least 4 hours. This assures that the rub has had time to properly set up and get into the meat..Otherwise you risk washing the rub off with your baste.  After  the first baste, I will baste it about 2 hours later and then 30 minutes prior to it being done.

·         1 cup of apple cider
·         1 cup of water
·         1 btl of dark beer
·         2 tblsp of my rub
      Resting the Pork Butt
             There are 2 main reasons to let meat rest. First, it will help the meat retain its juices. During cooking, bundles of muscle cells in the meat contract, forcing out liquid from the spaces between them. As the meat cools, those cell bundles relax, reabsorbing the liquid. This prevents all the juices of the meat to run out when you cut into it..the juice is where all the flavor is!! Secondly, resting evens out the temperatures and doneness. The outside will be much hotter than the inside, this time allows this heat to distribute in a more evenly manner. 
              I rested mine for an hour, wrapped in foil, during this time, the internal temperature could raise as much as 10 degrees. Since the ideal internal temp is close to 190 - 200 degrees, I will pull the butt out at an internal temp of 190. Remember, the higher the internal temp of the pork butt, the more tender it will be. This also give me time to prep other foods and take a quick shower....because yes...you will stink like smoke after a day on the smoker.
Hasselback Potatoes

      Hasselback Potatoes Recipe:
      Hasselback Potatoes are the Swedish version of our baked potatoes. These are very simple to make, you simply cut each medium potato with a bunch of slices a little over half way through the potato. Then you drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil over each potato...be sure to drizzle the oil into each slit / slice. Then salt and pepper to taste and add whatever you generally like. I am gonna do some garlic and pepper..some people like butter and chives. Anything will taste pretty amazing this way. The uniqueness of this type of potato comes from the texture and taste. The top half of the potato will taste more like french fries, with a nice crispness to it, while the bottom half will be more like a seasoned baked potato. Bake at 425 for 75 minutes


1 comment:

  1. I am uncomfortably full, but it was worth it. We also had baked beans, fried cabbage (cooked in butter and seasoned with Lawry's Seasoned Salt), and bread and butter. So. Good.