Archive for July 2, 2011

Southern Pulled Pork

Years ago, large cuts of pork like shoulders and loins were packed into barrels, known as “butts”, for storage and shipping. The way the shoulder was cut in the Boston area became known, as in many areas, as “Boston butt”. The “Boston Butt” is marbled with fat which makes it a tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor piece of meat.
Boston butt cut of pork comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg.  This cut of pork combined with the way it is prepared and served, makes it a distinctly American dish. Smoked or barbecued Boston butt is a southern tradition. As a cuisine of the Deep South, particularly in Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia, it is often smoked or barbecued and served as “pulled pork”. You can buy it bone-in or boneless.

Preparation

When I’m cooking one or several Butts I purchase the bone-in
“twin packs” (two butts in cryrovac) from Sam’s Club or local grocery, whom
ever has the best price.  Butts can also be found in single packages also.

For the purpose of cooking in the backyard I’ve found no big difference in which meat packer I use. Try to stay around 16 pound package range if possible.  That may give you two butts about the same size, 8 pounds each.  Staying consistent as possible with weight will help you determine product yield as well as cooking times from cook to cook.  You will need Yellow Mustard, Dry Rub, Latex Gloves, a pair of rubber bbq gloves, large foil pan/bus pan/large cookie sheet, and a sharp knife.

Cooking

I cook at 220-225* and allow myself 1.25 hours per pound.  8 pound butt(s) will take approximately 12 hours to cook.  I’ve had some butts get done sooner as well as some taking longer.  A combination of Hickory and Cherry wood works great as smoke flavor.

While my fire is getting started and pit is getting up to temp I’ll start preparing the butt(s) for the pit.  Start by cutting open the package, remove butt and place in/on pan/sheet to be rubbed. No need to do any trimming to meat.  There will be one side of the butt(s) that will have a layer of fat on it.  It’s called the “fat side”.

Apply a generous amount of mustard on butt and rub entire butt being sure to cover all areas. Mustard will hold more rub on meat making a thicker bark.  If you desire a thinner bark try using Worcestershire Sauce instead of mustard.  Whichever you use you will not taste it once cooking is completed. Once mustard is applied add several handfuls of your dry rub on butt and rub into butt coating all sides well.  Add more as you see needed. Usually 3-5 handfuls will be enough depending on how much bark you want.  When rubbing is completed and pit is up to cooking temp (220-225*) place butt(s), fat side down, on the pit, cooking with indirect heat.  Close lid and let cook.  You will notice that your pit temp will drop, and that’s normal.  Don’t add fuel as your pit temp will rise as the meat inside begins to warm up and cook.  The number of butts you have on your pit will determine how long before pit temp begins to rise.  Outside weather conditions may also affect pit temps rising.  Normally after 1-2 hours pit temps should begin to rise.

After cooking about 4 hours you need to check internal temp of meat.  At approximately 160* internal temp remove and foil butt.  Wrap butt
completely using two pieces of heavy duty foil.  For added moisture and flavor add about 1/2-3/4 cup of your favorite fruit juice to foil before wrapping.  I
like to add apple or pineapple.  Combination of both not bad either.
No need to add juices if you don’t want to as butt will have plenty of
moisture of its own.  Return wrapped butt to pit and continue to cook at 220-225* until internal meat temp reaches 200-205*.  This temp is best for
pulling/shredding pork butts (you can tell it’s done when you can pull the bone
out and it’s clean with no meat on it).  If you want to slice the butt you can remove at 185-190* internal temp.  If you want a drier or crusty bark simply open foil once desired temp is reached and leave open on pit for additional 20-30 minutes, this will dry the outside of the butt.  Be careful handling foiled butt at this time.  There will be HOT juices in foil.  If you have foil half pans butts can be
placed in them after foiling. This will help catch any escaping hot juices and
make handling butts easier.  For maximum, dark, but great tasting bark you can cook butt the entire time without foiling.  This will produce a great product also.  Butt will be slightly drier.  Your cook time will increase if you do not foil.

Serving

Now that butt is cooked it’s time to chop/pull/shred.  This is where a good pair of bbq rubber gloves comes in handy for handing and pulling.  Remove butt from foil and place on cutting board, fat side up.  With your hand, gently scrape away and discard fat layer.  With fat layer removed begin to separate butt by pulling apart different sections/muscles of the butt.  Be careful as butt will be very hot.  You may need to let butt rest 30 minutes or so in order to cool.  If pulling, just pull apart chunks of meat into the size you want, thumb size works well.  If
shredding, use large fork to shred butt apart, by using a racking motion.  If chopping, use a large knife or meat clever to chop into texture you want.

Once you have the butt prepared now you want it placed into large bowl or foil pan.  Sprinkle about ¾ cup dry rub over butt and lightly mix together.
The dry rub will melt into butt and “kick-up” the flavor (more or less according to your taste).  If you want bbq sauce in mixture now is the time to add about 1 cup (more if needed for your taste) of your favorite sauce, gently mixing.  If no sauce is needed just have it on the side in case someone wants it on their sandwich.

I’ve never been one to measure or serve by weighting portions.  A good rule of thumb I have used over the years is that an 8 pound butt after cooking will give you approximately 5-5.5 pounds of meat which will make at least 20 nice sandwiches, using a regular sized (4 inch) bun.

I like my pork drizzled with a nice Vinegar base sauce, a spoonful of Cole slaw on it, and on a toasted Kaiser roll.

Chicken on the Grill

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We are eating a lot of chicken these days cause our doctors and diets are telling
us that this is the right piece of meat to eat. Less fat, better for you, less cholesterol, and the good stuff associated with chicken. But in order to really enjoy eating chicken we all need to learn a few different ways to cook and even have fun cooking chicken or we are going to burn out on eating it.

 

No more dry breasts! Instead, how about some moist, tender, evenly cooked,
skinless, boneless chicken breasts, weather grilled or smoked? Fillet/butterfly
them!

As you know one end of the breast is much thicker than the other. By cutting each breast through the middle you will have two pieces that of even thickness that promote even cooking and shorter cooking times.

Once breasts are cut in half simply place them in a bowl and add about one cup of Zesty Italian Salad Dressing adding about 1/3 cup of Texas bbq Rub, Grand
Champion. Mix well and let soak in mixture for about one hour. Remove and place
on grill or smoker. If grilling, you will need to stay near your grill turning
breast every few minutes. If smoking, a tempeture of 225* will give you a great
meal in about 30-40 minutes. Using either method the internal tempeture of the
meat needs to be 162-165. Trust me, you will love this dish.

Need some Texas BBQ Rub?  Get you some at http://texasbbqrub.com

 

Beef Brisket

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There is nothing much better in bbq then a properly cooked beef brisket.  Hands down the most challenging piece of meat to cook of all. Even though each brisket may cook different, the key to cooking a great beef brisket is to start with the right ingredients. You will need to find a nice piece of meat to cook, then have the right BBQ rub or BBQ seasoning for the meat (and I suggest Texas BBQ Rub Brisket Rub, you can find them at (http://texasbbqrub.com), and then have your smoker or cooker ready to cook for the required time.

Easy to do

Cooking some great pork dinners in the crock pot (slow cooker) is a great way to do some cooking when the weather is just too bad to get outside and cook or if you need to do some cooking that takes some time and don’t want to be held down at the house. A pork butt or pork tenderloin could be cooked by a slow cooker and the results are great.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ciR_GCw6Ao

Stuffed Smoked Pork Loin – This is awesome

Stuffed Pork Loin

This is a great way to cook a pork loin. It takes some time and effort but you can be the BBQ King on your block with this dish for sure.  Plus, this will really “light up” your table as a centerpiece anytime.

Feel free to stuff this cut with anything you like from Spinanch, Shrimp, cheese(s), garlic, and more. Use one, two, or three items as stuffing, as many as you want until you find the perfect combination that you just got to have more of.  By the way, every one will be good but all the “practicing” is what makes bbq so much fun.