There’s nothing like bacon to take a dish and push it over the top. That’s exactly what happens with this pork bomb. Pork can be easily dried out if not cooked right. The thin cut bacon in this recipe helps to insulate the pork and at the same time adds great flavor. This recipe is for individual pork butts. Another words, each guest will get their very own pork butt. You’ll buy a large pork butt and cut it down into individual servings. Figure 9 to 10 ozs of uncooked pork per person. This will yield about around 6-7 ozs of cooked pork.
7-8# Pork Butt (Boston Butt)
Thin cut bacon (about 6-8 slices per serving)
Cooking temperature 300 degrees.
Approximate cooking time: 1.5 minutes (though check at the 1 hr. mark)
Note: If you are on a gas or charcoal grill use the indirect cooking method.
Remove all fat and silver skin from the butt.
Cut the butt into serving sizes. Out of a 9# butt you will get any where from 7 to 10 pieces. 7 pieces will be large and for some way too much meat. Also with 7 pieces you will need about 8 pieces of bacon so you be the judge of how big the portions should be.
(These were very large and I didn’t cut up the entire butt)
Mix Butcher Pork Injection in accordance with label instructions and inject each piece with about 1 oz. of injection. Distribute it evenly in the meat.
Apply a light coat of Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper.
Apply a good coat of Eat’s Zero to Hero.
Place the bacon on a piece of wax paper.
Wrap the bacon in a weave pattern around each serving and add a light coat of Zero to Hero to the top of the bacon.
If possible, allow the sectioned pork butt sit in the fridge overnight.
Bring your smoker, charcoal, or gas grill up to 300 degrees.
If smoking add some wood chunks or on a gas grill some pellets wrapped in foil.
Remove the butts from the fridge and place on the smoker/grill.
Bring the internal temperature of 160 degrees or higher.
When the desired temp is reached, apply a medium coat of Blues Hog Original BBQ sauce and leave in the cooker 7 mins. to set the sauce.
Remove the individual butts from the cooker and again brush on a light coat of Blues Hog Original BBQ sauce for added appearance and serve.
Before doing any cooking you should season the smoker
Lightly spray the interior of the cooking box with vegetable oil.
Light a charcoal fire in the fire box. The best tool for this is a charcoal chimney starter. If you don’t have one, start the coals with paper and/or kindling. DO NOT USE ANY LIGHTER FLUID AND NEVER ADD ANY LIGHTER FLUID AT ANYTIME. This can foul the smoker and cause serious injury.
With the cooking box empty, allow the fire to burn at 225 degrees or higher for about two hours. You only have to do this once. Thereafter you can go right to cooking.
Before putting any meat in the smoker, light the fire in the fire box.
For smoking, bring the temperature up to between 225 and 250 degrees.
Do not put the meat in the smoker until your temperature stabilizes.
The cooking box will be hotter near the fire box than by the chimney. Bigger pieces of meat such as butts and brisket put at the cooler end.
Once you have constant temps, add your meat.
Typical meats for smoking are ribs (both spares and baby backs), pork butts (also known as Boston butts), brisket, sausage, keilbasa, whole chickens and turkeys, pigs, beef ribs, pork loins etc. You can cook multiple cuts and kinds of meats at the same.
Typical grilling meats are those that cook fast such as steaks, chicken parts, burgers dogs, fish, chops etc. (We recommend that you buy your meats at the supermarket to get the best price).
Depending on the meat, it can take for example: ribs-3 to 5 hours (baby backs cook faster), pork butts-7 to 10 hours, brisket-10 to 12 hours.
We suggest cooking with charcoal. Charcoal will add some smoke but for additional smoke you can add a chunk of hardwood such as hickory, oak, apple etc. or moist wood chips. NEVER add soft woods like pine.
The most accurate way to tell if your meat is ready is with a meat thermometer.
Brisket and pork butts-cook to about 200 degrees internal temperature.
Turkeys and chicken to about 180. Stick the probe between the body and the thigh without hitting a bone or if there’s a pop up in the breast use that as an indicator.
Ribs are done when you see “pull back from the tip of the bone and if you can easily tear the meat in between the bones.
We recommend you wrap pork butts, brisket and ribs in double tin foil part way through the cook and put back in the smoker to finish cooking. For the ribs and the butts we add about 4 tablespoons of honey and two tablespoons of brown sugar and then wrap them.
Wrap as follows:
Ribs at about the 1 ½ hours mark, pork butts and brisket when the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. This helps to keep the meat from drying out. The foil will not interfere with smoking since meat will stop accepting smoke after 140 degrees.
Make sure you season your meats with your favorite seasonings prior to cooking and if you have an injector, inject the briskets and butts. You can inject a mixture of pork bouillon and seasoning for the butts and beef bouillon and seasoning for the brisket.
The beauty of BBQ is each smoker will cook differently. The more you cook the better you will get to know your smoker (kinda like your car). As with any grill weather, temperature, humidity and wind will effect the cook. If you any questions, no matter how simple you may think they are, just call us and we will be glad to help out. We want your BBQ experience to be a successful one.
Lard Have Mercy
Break In or Seasoning
Adjust the unit so it is slightly nose down.
Place a container under the grease valve.
Open the valve.
Clean cooking racks with dish soap and hot water to remove any cutting oils and debris from manufacturing.
Check the inside of the cooking chamber for any debris and if necessary rinse.
Spray the interior of the cooking chamber and racks with a light coat of cooking oil.
Load the firebox with charcoal, light and allow temp. to come up to approximately 275 degrees and maintain this temp. for about 1 to1.5 hours.
Keep firebox side and chimney vents wide open.
Adjust firebox vents to regulate temp. (opening increases and closing decreases).
Keep the chimney vent wide open at all times. Never close during a cook.
Now you are ready to cook.
If starting from “scratch”, fill the firebox with 20 to 2 5 lbs. of charcoal.
Light the coals either with a torch or a couple of hot chimney coals.
Keep vents wide open and doors closed on the cooking chamber.
How fast the smoker will get to temp is dependent on ambient temperature, barometric pressure, wind etc.
Remember, you are heating up a tremendous amount of steel.
Once you reach your desired temperature (225 to 275) place your meat on the racks.
Place one or two logs on the fire.
Use only hard woods such as pecan, oak, hickory, cherry, peach and apple.
They must be dry and seasoned.
Once you achieve a light blue smoke put on the meat.
The section close to the firebox will be hotter than the sections to the front.
We usually tend to but the larger cuts of meats like brisket and butts towards the front and smaller cuts like ribs, chicken, sausage towards the back.
You will know if there’s a problem if you have black or dark smoke coming out of the chimney.
Ideal smoke color is light blue/white (at this point you can continue with all wood or a combo of wood and charcoal as we do).
Regulate your temperature with the side vents on the firebox.
If your heat gets too high and you are having trouble lowering it, simply prop open the cooking doors and if it’s way hot open the firebox door about an inch or two. This will allow things to cool down.
If you want guidelines on cooking various meats, check out our recipes.
Note: Do not get discourage if your first cook doesn’t turn out exactly as expected. After a few cooks you will understand the mechanics of your smoker and also you will develop your own techniques to turning out some of the best BBQ. Best to start with things like ribs and pork butts.
Remember, you can always call us with any questions.
Good luck and may the Lard be with you!
The science behind this will only bore you, so here is a simplistic discussion.
First of all, you do not need smoke to get a smoke ring.
You need the presence of nitric oxide (NO) and carbon monoxide (CO), which are byproducts of combustion.
Also, you need the presence of myoglobin also known as myowater, the liquid that is always in the meat package, which is often thought to be blood.
Myowater is in all meat and can make up 75% of its weight.
In the very early stages of the cook NO and CO will react with the myowater at the very surface of the meat and will enter the meat, changing the myowater to pink.
In its original state, myowater is purplish.
When the surface temperature of the meat reaches 170 degrees, NO and CO will stop reacting with the meat’s myowater, thus the end of the smoke ring.
For large cuts of meat like briskets and pork butts, it is important to remove the fat cap or otherwise the fat cap will quickly reach 170 degrees and NO and CO will not reach the meat.
Another idea is to start the cooking temperature lower, such as at 225 for about 1 ½ hours to allow NO and CO to enter the meat deeply before the surface reaches 170 degrees, then increase the temperature to 275 or so for the remainder of the cook.
Next to pork ribs, pulled pork is one of the most popular BBQ dishes in the country.
Indirect cooking or offset smoking such as on our Meadow Creek PR, TS, SQ units, Kamado Grills and Gas Grills (click here for smoking on a gas grill)
- 1 Pork butt (also known as Boston butt) 7 to 9 lbs. bone in or out is OK.
- ¼ cup of Apple Juice
- ¼ cup Honey or Agave
- ¼ cup Brown sugar
- Butcher Pork Injection
- Vegetable Oil
- Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper
- Smokin Guns Hot
- Meat Church Honey Hog
- Blues Hog original BBQ Sauce
Cooking temperature between 225 and 275.
Approximate cooking time 7 to 9 hrs.
If you can do the following the night before the better:
- Remove the “fat cap” leaving virtually no fat on the butt.
- Mix the Butcher Pork Injection according to the label and let it sit. Even overnight if possible.
- Inject through the fat cap side penetrating ¾ of the way into the butt and inject on the way out. Inject every inch to inch and a half in a grid pattern. Keep injection agitated.
- Rub vegetable oil on the entire butt. This helps to “glue” your rub to the meat.
- Layer the seasonings in the order above in a medium coat. Do not mix, layer one on top of the other.
- Wrap the butt in foil and place back in the fridge injected side up.
- Start a charcoal bed fire and stabilize temperature at 225 to 275.
- Add a few chunks of apple, pecan, peach or our favorite blend 60% pecan and 40% cherry to the charcoal. For a gas grill use pellets or chips of the same.
- Remove the butt from the fridge or cooler and place on the smoker or grill COLD (see our article on smoking).
- Place the butt in the cooker with the injected side up.
- Place a digital thermometer probe in the thickest part of the butt. It is always wise to also measure the grate temperature with a digital grate thermometer for better accuracy.
- Close the lid and leave it closed.
- Smoking of the butt will take place in the very early stages (first 1 ½ to 2 ours) of the cooking process.
- When the butt reaches 160 degrees take it off and place it on two layers of tin foil.
- Cup the foil around the butt and pour in the apple juice, sprinkle the brown sugar and the honey or agave on the top.
- Wrap the butts up in the two layers of tin foil and put back in the cooker.
- Place the probe back into the meat.
- Side Note-Don’t freak out if the cook time stalls at around 160. This is normal.
- When the butt reaches an internal temp of 190 you need to pay attention.
- Take the temp. probe and push it in sideways into the meat in a few places. If it’s done, the probe should feel like it’s being pushed through soft butter.
- If not, continue cooking for another 20 minutes and check again. Continue this probing until the meat is tender.
- Once done remove the butt from the cooker and wrap in a third layer of foil and put in a small cooler. Fill the open air space with crumbled up newspaper, beach towels etc.
- Let the butt sit in the cooler for a minimum of two hours, longer is better. This process allows the fluids that have gathered in the foil to return to the meat.
- Unfoil the meat being careful to retain the juices in the foil.
- Place the juices in a bowl.
- Now it’s your choice to pull the meat or chop it.
- If pulling, the best tool is a pair of bear claws used for lifting cooked turkeys. If chopping a mezzaluna works well.
- Shred or chop the meat, paying attention to remove any fat.
- After shredding, make a mixture of 1/3 pork juices (in the bowl), 2/3 Blues Hog BBQ Sauce.
- Lightly mix this in with your pulled pork to taste.
Serve on a potato roll along with our signature coleslaw recipe and you will be loved by all!!
Layering two or three seasonings that complement each other is a powerful, easy and inexpensive way to up the results of your barbecuing cooking. The process is to identify off the shelf seasoning that have some synergy when “layered” one on top of the other. By doing so you are sensitizing all areas of the tongue providing an outstanding and amazing flavor profile. One seasoning can only be one dimensional. Two can quadruple the flavor profile. Three matched perfectly can make for an outstanding flavor profile that will “up” your BBQ experience dramatically without changing anything else.
Take for example the “Holy Grail” combination listed in our seasoning combination page. Applying the Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper provides a nice base coat on the meat. Topped with Smokin Guns Hot we get a slight “kick”. When finished off with the sweetness of Meadow Creek’s Black Pepper Rub we offset the heat and provide a nice top surface for carmelization. Once you have achieved a few recipes it will become easier to distinguish which seasonings work and which don’t. For example, we have found that the “fruity” seasonings such as Peach or Pecan Rubs can be “in your face sweet”. To cut this sweetness but still achieve the pleasant taste of these rubs we just layer a half part of Chipotle Rub which takes the edge off the sweetness and calms things down.
Layering your seasonings is a great way of taking some of the seasonings that are sitting unused in your cabinet or those that you may not be “shot in the head” about and getting some utility out of them.
Those that have cooked a brisket or a pork butt are very familiar with the stall. The stall occurs when cooking thick cuts of meat at low temps over a long period of time such as cooking on a smoker. An example would be you are traveling in your at 70 mph on US 95 for a few hours with no problems until you reach the outskirts to Washington DC and you come to an abrupt stop due to traffic. You are stuck in this traffic for 1 to 3 hours until you get through DC where again you are on your merry way.
The stall can be alarming to the first time cook because he may not understand the reasoning behind it. The stall will commonly occur at around 160 degrees and not move from this temp for 1 to 3 hours. One belief is that the stall is due to the breakdown of collagen (connective tissue) in the muscle into a gelatin state. This doesn’t add up since collagen only accounts for 2% to 5% of the weight of the meat. There just isn’t enough mass to cause a stall. The most credible reason is evaporation. Butts and briskets are 60%-70% water. The moisture deep in the meet is coming to the surface to evaporate and in doing so it has a cooling effect on the surfaces of the meat similar to us when we sweat. Not until the heat rate exceeds the evaporation rate you will move passed the stall.
One way to get around or decrease the stall is to use the “Texas Crutch”. Here’s how it works. When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 150 to 160 degrees wrap the meat tightly in two layers of heavy duty tin foil. This method reduces the stall by controlling the evaporative effect and allowing the heat rate to increase and help reduce the stall.
So next time you should not panic when you encounter the stall. You have two choices, either deal with it or use the Texas Crutch.
Pitmasters better than most know how important it is to have that perfect smoke when barbecuing. It can make the difference between winning or losing in the contest circuit. It is as important for the novice and the backyard pro. It can mean a perfect cook and a disaster. The last thing you want to be known as is the GrillMaster whose meats taste like a pure hardwood baguette. So yes, there is good and bad smoke.
Let’s discuss what is happening with combustion and the production of smoke. All forms of combustion can produce some amount of smoke, just some are better than others. Wood, pellets, charcoal produce better combustible byproducts than gas and electric. So our discussion will concentrate on wood.
In the most technical sense wood goes through 4 stages of burning. To avoid a highly technical and boring conversation we will call it two stages. At GrillBillies we explain to customers that wood goes through two major phases. The primary and the secondary burn. The primary burn is the phase where the wood is heating up and in our case over a bed of hot charcoal. We like to start our offset reverse flow, direct flow and upright smokers with a good base layer of hot charcoal.
In the primary burn the wood is just heating up (smoldering). The same by-products nitrates, carbon monoxide, creosote that gives us that delicious smoky flavor are produced but just in a different state. When the wood is heating up it is producing the same combustible by products but in large particulates. In this state they are heavy and can “drop out” on the food resulting in a very smokey strong taste. The smoke you see in this stage is a billowing white or gray white smoke. This is the smoke to avoid when cooking low and slow.
When wood heats up to a temperature of about 575 to 600 degrees the gases in the wood are released and the wood bursts into flames. The particulates from the burning gases are smaller and that gives us the smoke which makes our barbecue so good. At this stage the smoke will be a visible blue/white.
There are 100 combustible by products from burning wood. The ones that contribute the most to the flavor of our barbecue are nitric oxide, creosote, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, guaiacol, syringol, phenols and water vapor. In a properly burning fire these by products will add just the right amount of flavor to your meat.
Now all being said there is a point during the cooking process where you may think you have returned to the primary burn. Well into the cook the meat is heating up and releasing juices that will vaporize and exit the pit giving the impression that we returned to that billowing white smoke associated with the primary burn. This water vapor and is normal. As long as your wood is lit there is no problem.
How do we achieve the perfect smoke? Start with a good bed of lit charcoal. Add properly seasoned wood. Have all vents wide open so the fire gets enough oxygen to achieve combustion and within several minutes you should see the smoke change from a billowing white to a nice blue white. Time to get the meat on!
Our Meadow creek PR 36 is more than a pig roaster. Even though it cooks delicious pigs up to 40 lbs, it is a very versatile backyard cooker. Cook any of the meats you would consider cooking on a conventional gas or charcoal grill and see the difference. This unit can roast, smoke, and grill. Its large 14″ x 35″ stainless steel grate will easily accommodate briskets, ribs, pork butts, chops, loins, turkeys, sausage, dogs, burgers etc.
This article will illustrate cooking whole chickens on this great cooker.
The PR 36 stands at a comfortable 46″. Even though it is designed for the backyard pro, it is no light weight. With a 13 gauge steel firebox, this unit weighs in at 175 lbs. It is easily moved around on its 13″ tires. It comes fully assembled.
We loaded this PR 36 with approximately 20 lbs of charcoal. It is best to start the fire with a torch or chimneys. Avoid lighter fluid.
We allowed the temperature to get up to 275 or 300 degrees before putting the chickens on. Since we had quite a bit of space after placing 4 chickens on the cooker, we added quarters and pieces. These hens were brined when we bought them and were approximately 3.5 lb each. A cajun spice is on the “red” ones and Hudson Bay Beef Spice from Savory Spice Shop in Westfield, NJ on the lighter ones. The Hudson Bay Spice was awesome, and preferred by our guests. If you look closely, you will see an aluminum tray under the grate. The PR 36 comes standard with a grilling pan for grilling things like dogs, burgers, and wings. We keep the pan in when doing an indirect cook and place an aluminum pan on the grilling pan with about 1″ of water. It helps to add some moisture to the cook.
The PR 36 comes with a commercial grade thermometer. One of the best features on the PR 36 is the ease of adjusting the temperature for the cut of meat. Vents on the firebox and the hood make this a simple process. Once set, it requires minimum fire maintenance. For this cook, we wanted to maintain about 250.
We are close to the 2 hour mark, and as can be seen, some of the chicken pieces have already come off the grill. We continued cooking about another 30 minutes until the internal temperature was 170 degrees in the thigh joint. Cooking will always vary depending on the size of the bird, atmospheric conditions, and the amount of fire.
And the finish product. Delicious, moist and tasty BBQ chicken complimented with a nice savignon blanc or chardonnay makes a meal that your guest will not forget. The GrillBillies’ way of cooking. LARD HAVE MERCY!!