Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our second foray into smoking meat.

This past weekend we smoked an 8 pound, bone-in pork shoulder.

This smoking adventure actually started Saturday night and went on until Sunday afternoon.  An 8 pound pork shoulder takes about 12 hours to cook and we didn't want to have to get up at 4 A.M. to start, so we had the brilliant idea to do it all night.

We started out by buying the shoulder Saturday morning and covering it in mustard and a BBQ rub (I don't remember which one exactly).  We wrapped it in Saran wrap and let if sit in the fridge until midnight.

At 11:30 P.M. (after watching a very exciting end to the NASCAR race at Bristol and not watching a horrible Chiefs game) we started getting things ready.  Brian got the smoker up to temp (225 degrees), the hickory wood chips soaked and in the pan, and the meat unwrapped.  I got the mop sauce ready.

This time we used a can of beef broth, garlic powder, mustard powder, olive oil, and little bit of Worcestershire sauce.  I mixed it together in a sauce pan and let it simmer for about 20 minutes to blend all the flavors.

At 12:30 A.M. we put the meat on.  From our experience with the chicken and brisket being a little dry, our goal was to make sure the water tray was full the entire time and to use the mop sauce once every hour.  Of course that meant Brian and I had to take turns getting up throughout the middle of the night to mop the pork and check the temperature, but the end result was totally worth it!.

After the pork was smoked for about 9 hours, we took it out of the smoker, wrapped it in foil and put it in the oven preheated to 225 degrees.  We chose to do this so that the outer "crust" of the meat would soften up while still staying very moist.

At 12:30 P.M. we were finally up to temperature- 180 degrees.  Things smelled wonderful, but we still had some work to do before we could eat.  We needed to "pull" or shred the pork.  The pork was so moist and juicy it just fell right off the bone.

Our first meal with the pork was a traditional pulled-pork sandwich topped with coleslaw.  It was amazing!

We have a couple of things we would change for next time- it probably isn't necessary to use the mop sauce every hour (if we decide to do it over night again), and we will wait until the pork reaches a higher temperature (190) and then let it sit for an hour so the fats continue to break down.  Oh, we will also soak the meat in a brine.  Don't get me wrong, it was still awesome, these are just some things we want to try for next time.

Since we had so much pork still left to eat, we made pork fajitas for dinner.  They were the best fajitas we've ever had.


Then on Monday we made pork gumbo.  Usually you think of shrimp, sausage or chicken gumbo, but with our pork it was sooooo goooood.  I'm so glad there is a ton of leftovers to eat all week.  You can find the gumbo recipe here.

We still have some pork left, but I have plans for that.  Is it bad that I already want to make more?

Besides cooking the pork we got started on a few other projects around the house such as the landscaping around the patio/deck and building the "mini-patio" (the pad for the stairs leading off the other side of the deck).

We also made a list of all the other things we want to accomplish before winter (and probably won't happen now that we have to watch NASCAR and Chiefs), but I don't want to distract you from thinking about pork.

So go eat some bacon already!

Which, by the way, we are going to try to smoke one of these days.....

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