Monday, October 11, 2010

Low and Slow

Blessings, Darlings!

Being foodies, we're celebrating the unusually warm October weather by continuing to heavily use the BBQ grill and smoker.  Tonight will be a beer-can chicken.  Last week it was a sirloin tip roast (I didn't name that, it was on the package).  Last night it was .... drumroll, please ..... a truly outstanding pork shoulder butt.

It has taken us a LONG LONG time to master cooking roasts on the grill/smoker.  We gave lip service to 'low and slow', but only really put it into action over the past few years.  Now we'll probably never go back (except when using a pressure cooker, which is a TOTALLY different animal).

Yes, it took a LOT of time to do the pork butt.  We - I sprinkled and Bob rotated the meat and rubbed it in -  ever so carefully anointed it with rub (Steve Raichlen's Memphis rub) the night before.  It sat on a platter in the dorm fridge overnight (some day I might post on where I keep raw meat, and why).  The next morning, early, I started soaking the wood chips.  The wood chips HAD to be hickory.  They had to be chips, not chunks, as even the best-soaked chunks tend to smoke just a short while and then burn.  The grates had to be washed, since there wasn't going to be direct heat to burn off the bits from the last thing we cooked on them.  Washing grates is pretty miserable work, especially since my husband has a 'use no soap on them' rule.  Thus, HE got to wash the grates.  Charcoal was started in the chimney.

By 11:00 am, charcoal was in the smoker, soaked chips were on the charcoal, the rubbed roast was on the grates, and smoking had begun!  For the next 2 hours I was outside every 15 minutes adding chips.  The temperature in the grill stayed about 150 degrees.

At 12:45 I prepared to change gears.  I started to pre-heat the oven to 325.  Yes, the in-the-house-oven.  Why, when the grill was already going? 

Because I have learned, the hard way, that I can't maintain a great even temperature in the grill.  I don't mind adding logs to the charcoal - the only way to get the temperature as high as I want it.  What I can't do is keep an eye on it ALL THE DAMN TIME to keep it at the temperature I want, increasing and decreasing air flow, adding wood, rotating the roast because the heat comes in from one side and it takes lot of rotating to cook it evenly.

At 1:00 I wrapped the roast in heavy duty aluminum foil, put it in a pan for easy handling and to catch drips, and lovingly put it in the oven.  Where it remained until 5:00.

The result? A hunk of pork with excellent flavor, a smoke ring to die for, and cooked to a turn.  The meat 'pulled' easily, the fat and collagen melted and buttery.  Meat was pulled, put on a crispy bun, the sacred Doctor Bob-B-Que sauce (my husband's creation) added.  Cole slaw, of course, completed the meal.  I wish good sweet corn was still available, but, alas, October is too late for that.

Don't you wish you were here?

Frondly, Fern

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