And so, my obsession with smoking things begins.
As I believe I mentioned, the ongoing attempts to clean out the chest freezer pre-porksplosion led to me to discover a few pounds of pork shoulder and a chuck roast in the freezer. Last Friday, these became the test cases for the first use of the side fire box for barbecue.
I started with a rub. I was in a hurry, so I wasn't precise, but this is the planned recipe to recreate it for when I make another batch next week:
- Six tablespoons dark brown sugar
- Three tablespoons kosher salt
- One tablespoon smoked paprika
- One tablespoon granulated garlic
- One teaspoon Penzey's BBQ 3000
- One teaspoon ancho chile powder
- One teaspoon dried thyme
This rub only got about an hour on the meat (I was rushing things due to inadequate prep time) while I followed my neighbor's advice and went to Menards for smoking wood. I got a bag of applewood and a bag of hickory. Then I followed my neighbor's other advice: "I don't soak it or anything, they're big chunks, I just toss them on."
Which makes perfect sense... if you have a gas grill. But I interpreted it to mean actually just cook the pork using the wood. Two and a half hours later, I had a wildly fluctuating internal temperature and was completely out of applewood.
Now, admittedly, halfway through this process, I saw how things were going and added briquettes to get the heat back up, but for future reference, coals for heat, wood for smoke.
Still, I got a lot of smoke into the meat, and a really nice, thick bark. So I moved things into the oven, gave it another two and a half hours at around 250, and things came out just fine.
Oh, right. I did actually do a mop. Basically, a couple of spoonfulls of the rub, dissolved in apple cider vinegar. Because of all the fussing with the smoke, I only mopped two or three times, though. I decided to use the rest of the mop to make a barbecue sauce.
So into a pot on the stove went the remaining mop, the pan juices from finishing in the oven, and one can of diced tomatoes. I cooked this down at a good simmer for 15-20 minutes, then buzzed it with the immersion blender. The diced tomatoes helped thicken things to a consistency looser than most bottled barbecue sauces, but thicker than a straight vinegar dip.
This proved to be really strongly vinegary, too much even for me, so I balanced it out with a couple of tablespoons of honey.
And now we get to the thing that sort of started all this. See, the last time we were at Costco, we saw pretzel-bread slider rolls. I approve wholeheartedly of this concept. The rolls led to the idea of pulled pork sandwiches which basically started this whole ball rolling.
So. We have sliced pretzel bun, a very healthy dose of the sauce, a small pile of smoked meat, and a bit of shredded red cabbage. End result? Awesome and a half.
Areas for improvement for attempt two, next Saturday. First, get the rub on the pork overnight. Two, do the smoking properly. I don't think I'll need to soak the wood, since it is such hefty chunkage, but I'll definitely be getting my heat from charcoal. Third, mop more often.
But even with all that, you can't beat smoke and pork. Or even smoke and beef.