Wednesday, March 5, 2008

BBQ King????

It depends on the kingdom!! If the kingdom stops with my back yard, then, yes!! I'm the BBQ King!!!! However, if the kingdom reaches down the block, the city, or beyond, that's another story!

Yes, folks, I finally broke out the smoker! The forecast was calling for the first day above 50 degrees, so I planned to get in a practice run with the smoker. I Did a little research and got my game plan together. Went and picked up a 4lb pork roast and the spices I didn't already have and some hickory chunks. Alright! Ready!

The process started on Saturday when I made the spice mix and got the roast rubbed down soaking up all those flavors. So far, so good!

Sunday around noon I got out and fired up the charcoal and got the wood soaking. By about 12:30 or so, the roast was ceremoniously placed on one of the racks and smoke was rolling!!

Being my first time using a smoker, I wanted to keep a close eye on things so I spent some time cleaning up the garage and watching the temperature gauge on the front of the smoker. A few adjustments here and there trying to keep just the right temp but, nothing too crazy. Then, by about 1:45 the temperature had dropped...the charcoal was running low! Damn!! So, I added a bunch more, but, it took about 20-30 minutes to get back up to temp (actually, too far). Ok, adjusting the vents a bit and things were back on track. Another hour or so goes by and I decide it's time to turn the roast over, and while I'm in there, I add more charcoal. It took a hit with the temp again, but nothing too bad. Within about 10 minutes, I was back on track. A couple of hours later the temperature is dropping again, but, I figure it is getting close to time for it to be done. So, I check the temp of the roast....140 (it should be 170 - 180). Damn! Add more charcoal (and water to the water pan) and wait a bit longer. Another love! A few more pieces of charcoal get thrown in, and I move the roast to the lowest rack. Yet another hour goes by, still, the temp inside the roast isn't where it should be. Leave it go a while change!!!!

If you're keeping track, it's about 8:00pm by now!! I was figuring on 4-5 hours, and there hasn't been any progress in the last 2-3. It was at this point I started considering giving up. A half hour later, I caved....I got out the roasting pan and moved the operation to the oven.

An hour in the oven....almost up to temp. 30 more minutes go by, and we're golden!! I get the roast out and let it rest for 20 minutes. But, when checking it, I decided it needed to cook longer. So, back in the oven for another hour. This time, I'm calling it! I shred the meat, discarding the fat and finally have a pulled pork sandwich at midnight!!


It smelled wonderful, and it actually tasted pretty good!

So, for all the trouble, at least I knew the flavor was good, it's just the cooking technique/process that needs work.

Some people may consider it a failure, but, I really feel like I learned a lot. That is exactly why I wanted to do a trial run with no pressure to actually feed anyone. :-)

First: Start with a lot more charcoal!

Second: I think the temperature gauge on the front is not even close to the temperature where the meat sits. There is a water pan that blocks some of the heat and when I reached in, I could feel the difference between the edges (where the temperature probe is) and the middle. I plan to get an oven thermometer and set it right in the middle to see what the front gauge reads when the middle is the correct temperature.

So, now, I just have to wait for another warm day for trial run #2! Maybe by the time it really gets nice out, I'll have this all figured out!

Wish me luck!!


gordo said...

So do you try a different type of meat next time or try to perfect the pork first?

spot prawn said...

You're brave... I'm impressed! I gave my husband a smoker for his b-day (so I could reap the benefits) and for his first round he smoked a turkey, but invited two seasoned smokers over to baby-sit. So between three guys and lots of cheap beer, we had a fabulous turkey. We'll see how it turns out when he gives it a go solo. Not sure how adventurous you are with what food you grill, but I just started working for a specialty food company,, and we have all kinds of unique meat – wild boar, ostrich, alligator, elk, Kobe beef, etc. I’ll keep reading to see what you make next!

tsheets said...

I''ll probably go back to the pork. But, once I figure out my process, the possibilities are endless! What I really want to try is a smoked wings recipe. hmmmm.....I wonder how smoked chipmunks would turn out??? ;-)

@spot - Thanks! I have never cooked/grilled any of those exotic meats...not that I'm against it. :-) When I take another go at it, you'll likely see it posted here! But, I can guarantee, it will not be while the temps are in the 20's!!! Next weekend may be a possibility..looks like long term forecast is calling for 50's

My Flock Rocks! said...

We have had a smoker for about 6 years and have never used it. This might be the encouragement we need! Keep us posted!

tsheets said...

That sounds impossible!! How could you have it for that long and not used it???!!! If I wasn't such a wimp, I'd have been out using it by New Years!!

rlojr said...

It takes a while to get to know your smoker or whatever your cooking device is. Don't give up. Many of us will help out with beer.

This story kind of reminded me of the time we tried to cook a hog in the ground at Dennis' house.