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Joined by our passion for meat, beer, cards and meat, we created a compitition bbq team to partake in just that.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Easy Pulled Pork

Easy Pulled Pork.

I call this easy pulled pork because there isn't a lot of fancy stuff going on. No injection, no brining, no soaking - just mix a few common spices together, pop it in the smoker (or oven, or offset on the cool side of a Weber kettle). I've never cooked a piece of meat this large in a gas grill but I imagine if the gas grill was a monster you could cook it on the offset (no burner on) side!?!

Overall cook time is typically between 9 and 10 hours (at 225 - 250F grate temp)

There are a lot of spices listed so I'll list the necessary spices and then the optional spices. This recipe is for one butt - average weight is about 8lbs.

Brown Sugar - 2 cups packed
Season Salt - 1/4 cup
Garlic Powder - 1/4 cup
Black Pepper - 1/8 Cup
Chili Powder - 1/8 cup

Optional Spices (Add to the above)
Cumin - 2 tblspn
Ground Mustard - 2 tblspn
Granulated Onions - 2 tblspn
Paprika - 1 tblspn

Additional Option - I like to slather the butt with yellow mustard - it gets the spices to really stick to the butt. It isn't necessary but some people like it.

Mix up all the spices and get ready to dry rub your meat! Completely coat the meat - making sure you get into all the cracks and crevasses.

The butts are put on the smoker - grate temp is at 225 - 250F.

This is after about 6 hours and right before the butts are crutched. Once the internal temp of the butt reaches 165F, place the butt in a disposable half pan with about 1 cup of apple juice and then foil tightly and place back onto the smoker. Depending on when you want the meat to be finished, you can turn the smoker up or down 25 - 50 degrees.

Now the butts are crutched. This term is used loosely in the BBQ world and basically translates to the meat is wrapped in foil or placed in a pan and covered in foil. This traps any additional fat that is rendered out of the meat and also gives you the opportunity to add some juice to the pan / foil to increase the juiciness of the finished meat. Keep in mind that when you crutch meat, it increases the speed at which the meat cooks. Keep a close eye on the meat after it is crutched so you don't over cook. You can see I am using a Stoker to monitor the cook. At the end of this post you can see the graphical display from the Stoker. This allows me to closely monitor the meat during the cook and alarm me via my lap top or cell phone when any set alarm points are reached. I know - super geeky but the final product comes out great when it is properly cooked. It also provides some peace of mind when you don't have to check the meat every 5 minutes. There are some other simpler / less costly methods such as a temp monitor with alarms like this one - but you can't look at it on your lap top or get the super cool graphical display of the cook!

OK - now the meat has reached an internal temp of 202 - 205F. Make sure you are probing the meat in several places. If the butt is bone in - make sure the probe is NOT touching the bone. The probe should also slide in and out of the meat like a hot knife through butter. Temp is a great indicator but after you cook a few butts you will have a great idea if the meat is done by the resistance when you probe (let the jokes begin).

You can see there is a significant amount of juice in the bottom of the pan - pour out about half of the juice. The rest will be included when you pull the pork. I don't add any sauce to my pulled pork - usually people don't even notice because the juice keeps the meat super moist.

You can use forks or tongs or those weird really big combo spoon forks (sporks?) that your grandma has for family style meals. Me? I use wolverine claws. There are also some light weight but very useful things called bear paws. I recommend them. As you are pulling the pork, pull out any large pieces of fat. Shred the pork to the desired size. It should pull apart easily.

Now place onto a roll or bun, top with some cole slaw, sauce, or nothing! Let's eat!
Here is the view of my Stoker Log during this cook. You can see how the meat cooked (internal temp) in Black Graph lines v. time - Red Graph Lines. The Red Graph Lines or Grate Temp seem to fluctuate quite a bit until I changed the pit temp to "smoke" setting. I have to adjust the digital controller on my pit. This is not something you really want to see in a bbq / smoker. In this case I was using my newer Traeger 075 - a smoker I highly recommend.
You can also see that after I crutched the meat, it dropped in temp a few degrees but the internal temp ramped up quickly after it was crutched. Large pieces of meat like pork butt or brisket are also susceptible to a phenomenon called "getting stuck". It usually happens around 145F internal temp but it can happen all the way to 165F. I never get too nervous unless it stays "stuck" - no temp change more than 5 degrees in 2 hours. If the meat gets "stuck" you can temporarily increase the grate temp by 25 - 50F for a short time until the meat gets "unstuck" and then decrease the grate temp back to the cooking temp. It seems to happen to me about 15% of the time. As long as you are paying attention you can still get your meat done on time.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Atomic Shrimp Boats

Most people have now heard of Atomic Buffalo Turds - here's a link in case you forgot. Another twist is the Atomic Shrimp Boat or ABT! Just as easy and just as tasty!

Simple ingredients:
  • Quality Bacon
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Cream Cheese
  • Medium size uncooked, tail / head off, peeled shrimp. I used 71 - 90 size (whatever that is).

Cut the jalapeno peppers in half and scoop out the seeds.

Spoon cream cheese into the peppers.

Cut the bacon strips in half. Place a still frozen shrimp on top of the cream cheese. I used still frozen shrimp because the cooking time is about 1 - 1 1/2 hours. I figured that if the shrimp were thawed, they might get over cooked. The frozen shrimp cooked up great and didn't taste over cooked or chewy using this method.

Wrap the cream cheese and shrimp stuffed peppers in a half slice of bacon. If you use quality bacon and stretch the piece when wrapping the pepper, the bacon will stick to itself when it contracts after you let go and you won't have to use tooth picks to keep the bacon in place. If your bacon won't stick to itself, feel free to use tooth picks to hold it in place.

Place on the smoker or grill at 250F grate temp. If you are using a gas grill or charcoal grill, make sure the heat is on one side of the grill and place the peppers on the opposite side - on indirect heat.

I cooked these for 90 minutes or until the bacon was completely cooked.

Atomic Shrimp Boats ready to eat!