Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Birthday Weekend Food Adventure, Part Three - The Best Barbecue Evar!

With the kids finally in bed Saturday night, it was time to start prepping to make pulled pork on Sunday. I had been dying to make the stuff for like, a whole week. Srsly.

I'd spent some time online at home and at work looking for recipes, and finally settled on this one. Actually, there was no settling. I read the post, read the recipe, looked at the results and said "Yeah, I'm doing that".

I pretty much followed the recipe as written, except I used pork loin instead of bone-in butt. We had it in the freezer and I couldn't justify buying another big hunk of meat above thawing this one out and using it. Saturday night I made (and applied) the rub, and then made and stored the mop sauce. The pork looked pretty good the next morning.

I found out that my gas grill holds temperature pretty darned well, but I also found out that it's really difficult to get wood chips to smoke on it, even beyond the trouble the author mentioned using hardwood sawdust. The chips mostly just dried out and took forever to start generating smoke, which led me to continually screw with the process. Screwing with the process led to two fires in my wood chip pan. In retrospect, it makes sense - it takes a lot more heat to get smoke out of a relatively thick piece of wood than a flake of sawdust. So much so, that you risk open flame. In the 6.5 hours I probably got 30 minutes to an hour of good "smoke".

Other than that, the whole thing ran rather smoothly, if busy. When I wasn't mopping the pork, putting out fires or checking the temperature, I was making the barbecue sauce, and making homemade coleslaw. As a variation on finishing the recipe, when the loin was done, I cut the twine holding the two halves together, opened it up, and mopped it with barbecue sauce. I let it smoke for another few minutes, then set about cutting and shredding it.

I cut both halves into thick slices before shredding. As I was cutting it up, I tried a bite. WOW. This was going to be amazing. Shredding the pork was hard work. I believe this was because I was using boneless loin with little intramuscular fat, instead of a bone-in piece of meat with a fair amount. So I shredded enough to make everyone a couple of sandwiches and mixed in some barbecue sauce, and left the rest sliced. I had two sandwiches. One shredded, with barbecue and coleslaw, and one sliced, drizzled with extra mop sauce and barbecue, and then topped with coleslaw.

Best. Pork. Evar.

I have another piece of meat, some brisket, in the freezer. I plan to take it out and smoke it this weekend for my son's first birthday party. To solve the wood issue, I had thought about either dropping the $50 on a smoker, or ordering some hardwood sawdust. The smoker would be the easiest way; wood chips are easily bought, and the thing is made for cooking this way. However, though the pork was awesome, I am not satisfied with how I tackled this attempt at smoking on a gas grill. So I went ahead and bought the sawdust. It shipped today. Can't wait.


Dr. Momentum said...

I shredded a pork loin once. Never again! Took me an hour.

Butt went much easier.

This looks awesome. I used to use smoke in my charcoal grill often. You're really making me want to try this myself. I've imagined using a garbage can as some people do. It's awkward, because the meat is over the heat... much easier to do with a separate smokebox.

Maybe I should just get a smoker. I am sorely tempted.

Stickthulhu said...

Dude, try it. It was so fehking awesome. I was too tired to write more about how awesome it tasted, but put it this way - Sar was trying to speak to me when I took the first bite of my sandwich. Her voice immediately took on a Charlie Brown "Wa-wa-waaaa" character, and eventually faded into a haze of warm sensations and visions of dancing pulled-pork unicorns. A small, salty tear welled up in my right eye.

I got in trouble for not listening.

I think I will get a smoker. But I wanted to defeat this challenge (smoking with a gas grill) before I did. Hell, you can pick one up at "Home Despot" for $50 on clearance with the end of the season coming up.

I only shredded a as much loin as I did because of the same reason. I was starting to break a sweat, and I was damned hungry and impatient.

I believe working in butt will be better. It's all about butt.

We should arrange a "smoked butt-fest" game day this fall.

P.S. Ugh! I need to get higher quality pics on here!

Stickthulhu said...

k...fixed the images in the post.