Mama’s got a new toy!
March 4, 2012, 2:35 pm
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I have this son. He’s a good son. He’s 20 years old and working full time as a mechanic at a local textile company. He works very hard, 12 hour shifts 5 days a week and makes excellent money that he enjoys spending on the people he loves. Like me. He inherited this very fine quality from his father, who also likes to spend money on me. Hard life, I know, but someone has to do it.

Anyway, recently he and I drove the 45 minutes to Savannah and found ourselves at the Sportsman’s Paradise Bass Pro Shop. Where we looked at all sorts of things, like guns and flannel shirts and party barges. Eventually I wandered over to the grills and smokers section, all full of meat grinders and outdoor cooking stuff and things that make men who want to cook (the animals they just killed) very happy. I looked at smokers. I don’t know why, because I already have a nice little charcoal smoker, but just like a charcoal grill versus a gas grill, a gas smoker seems somehow…more convenient. Light it an go. No babying along of a fire and hoping you have the temperature right.

CJ must have noticed the look on my face because he said “I’ll buy you that if you’ll make me some smoked pork chops.” And because I am a good Presbyterian Mom, I replied “oh that’s very sweet of you to offer but you don’t have to do that, I have a charcoal smoker.” and he said “I’m a grown man now Mom, you can’t tell me what to spend money on anymore. I’m buying you that.”

I shall name it...something. Constance.

Well ok then, far be it for me to deprive you the pleasure of spending your own money. Or having smoked pork chops.

Then we both forgot about it, in all the excitement of flannel shirts and revolvers.

4 days later he went hunting after work and killed a young wild hog. He extracted a promise from me to smoke the loin if he got that smoker for me.

The next week, he and Terry went back to Savannah for some lumber. He remembered the smoker concept and had it when they came back.

I don’t have the loin yet, but Harvey’s had a sale going on Boston Butts, so I bought a nice big one and gave it a spicy rub.

This morning before going to work, Terry assembled the smoker.

Now it’s happily smoking away on the patio, delightfully fragrant with the promise of huge amounts of delicious pulled pork. Fresh buns will be made (I have been on a bread kick lately, making it all from scratch), vinegary cole-slaw, and Ms Helen’s excellent home-canned bread-and-butter pickles. A feast is in the works, folks.

Boston Butt

Dry rub for a Boston Butt (8-10 pounds)
1/3 cup ground paprika
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons whole black pepper
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons whole dry mustard
1 teaspoon whole white pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne
grind the whole peppers and mustard in a coffee grinder (or mortar and pestle) until not-too-fine. I know that’s vague, you don’t want it as fine as the preground spices you can buy, and you don’t want it as coarse as cracked…use your judgement. Then mix everything in a bowl. Rub half of it on the boston butt, then cover it with plastic and put it in the fridge for 12-24 hours.

To smoke it- set your smoker up according to manufacturer’s directions. I like to use hickory or fruitwood chips with pork. Soak the chips in water for at least an hour. take the meat out of the fridge and let sit on the counter for at least an hour. Rub the remainder of the dry rub into the meat. Smoke at a low temperature (230-250F) for 10-12 hours. Be sure and keep and eye on the water bowl and keep it full- this keeps the meat from drying out, and also keep plenty of wood chips (soaked!) in the chip pan.
When you put the meat into the smoker, make sure the side with the layer of fat on it is UP. As the fat cooks, it will self baste the meat and help keep it juicy.

editorial comments about smoking meat.

What kind of wood you use is up to personal preference, but here’s my wisdom from 25 years of doing it.
Mesquite is excellent for beef. It’s kind of strongish flavored, so I don’t like to use it for poultry or pork.
Fruit and nut woods (peach, pear, cherry, plum, apple, hickory, pecan, oak) work great with any meat, but fruitwoods are especially nice with pork because they are a little bit sweet. If there is a fruit orchard anywhere near you, and they prune their trees, see if you can get some wood from them.
Chunk versus chips is a matter of opinion. Chunks last longer so you don’t have to check it as often, but you get more smoke from chips.

When you’re checking the meat, look for a “smoke ring”. Slice into it to check for doneness and that lovely, lovely smoke ring. In the case of this Boston Butt, give it at least 8 hours of smoking before checking it.

You can smoke several things at one time. I am going to smoke some lovely boneless chops as well as the butt, but they won’t take nearly as long, so they’ll go into the smoker later on today. I haven’t decided yet how to season them.


2 Comments so far
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I think if I left now, I would be there in plenty of time! 😉 Sweet boy. I know you must be proud.

Comment by Kathryn

Oh I am very proud of him! The meat won’t be done until about 9 tonight, so the feast will be next weekend. We will sample it tomorrow, tho.

Comment by rootietoot

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