Carla headed out to Ashland with her two sisters to see a couple of plays. One of them is Pride and Prejudice. Funny thing about entertainment: Carla’s thought was “I can’t wait” while mine was more of “Oh, I dodged the bullet”.
Regardless, she was going to be gone and I needed a project to fill Saturday. I was disappointed with my first attempt at smoking a Boston Butt on the Smokenator. I think it cooked too cool and I needed to turn the meat. So, I thought I’d give it another chance. Pulled pork was my first recipe when I started cooking a few years ago. I had been watching Alton Brown making stuff and I had said to Carla a couple of times “why don’t you make this?”. She said “why don’t you” When I saw him turn a couple of garden pots and a hot plate into a smoker I knew I had to try it. You can find Alton’s recipe here.
Jeff is back in Chicago and Boston visiting Andrew and some old law school buddies, so it would just be Carla and me eating. So, I got a pretty small pieced of pork: about 4.5 lbs. I had called and asked if they had one about that size with bone in and a good fat cap. The butcher said he’d have one ready for me. Well, it had the bone removed; and the small size meant it would be cooking on its side.
Friday night I set up my brine.
Um, I should have taken a closer look at how much molasses I had. I needed 8 oz and only had 5; I had already made a 2nd trip to the store so figured I could substitute a little dark Caro corn syrup.
Into the brine
I love these containers I bought at Cash and Carry a few months ago. I used to put the butt in a small cooler and fight for refrigerator space. These fit right it. That’s a bag of ice on top used as a weight because the pork shoulder floats.
Next up the rub. You are supposed to grind the spices right before using, I did it the night before and sealed my mix under plastic wrap.
The next morning kissed Carla goodbye then loaded the Smokenator with unlit briquettes and 8 oz of hickory wood chunks. Twenty briquettes went into chimney starter. Once they were going pretty well I added them on top of the unlit briquettes; this is called the minion method. A little boiling water in the pan then add the pork shoulder. Things kicked off at 9:15 AM
You can see the smoke probe wedged in a piece of potatoe on the side. Check out an earlier post of mine on how I pimped my grill to get the smoker probe set up without getting the cable crimped under the lid.
Sit back, read some Jeeves and Wooster; tend the smoker every hour or so: adjust vents, sweep ashes, add water, stir coals, and flip the meat. Around 1:15 is started to look a little more like pulled pork.
At 3:45 I added 4 brats and let them go until about 5:45. I had one of them for dinner: yum!
In early evening I put in the meat temperature probe. It was right at 165*; I wanted 195* and knew it would take a bit to get there. When I pulled it at 175* last time it wasn’t pullable. It took a long time to get up to temp. At 7:25 it was about 182*
Finally it was getting dark, so I wrapped it in aluminum foil and slapped in a 350* oven for a while. Let it rest for 1/2 an hour and it pulled beautifully.
Pretty good smoke ring there and the bits I tasted were pretty dang good. But I could tell cutting down on the molasses resulted in a little less depth than I like.
But I’m still not delighted with the Smokenator. I think most of the heat escapes from the top and it isn’t well insulated enough to really keep the heat in. As they say “if you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin'” and I need to open it up at least every 60 to 90 minutes to tend things. It goes through water and briquettes pretty dang quick. I may invest in a small pellet smoker next summer for smoking duties. They just won’t do for grilling so I won’t replace my Weber gas grill.
Guess what I’ll be having for lunch and dinner this week!
Rating: ★★★★ 4 Stars