So with the sun shining and those Summer feelings abounding I decided that last weekend was to be the official start of the 2015 Smoking season – and to kick things off I was going to take on a pork shoulder to (hopefully) end up with a mountain of pulled pork for me and my mates!
The last time I tried to smoke a full pork shoulder overnight towards the end of the summer last year, I had overslept to awaken to a half cooked pork shoulder and a smoker that was no longer running – nightmare! However this time I was feeling more confident, I had my new thermometer to keep me up to speed on temperatures wirelessly, I had 3 hours of cricket highlights on the Sky planner, and a new bottle of scotch fresh from Dubai duty free – the perfect storm if you will, to keep me awake and smoking throughout the night.
So with Saturday night planned I popped to my brilliant local butcher in Milford to purchase the meat. On asking for a should of pork I was presented with a 6 Kg piece of meat on the bone. Maybe a bit too much for this first smoke I opted for half this and ended up with a shoulder on the bone weighing in about 2.5Kg. I removed the skin (and saved to make amazing fennel pork scratchings)
Now came the prep, first I injected the shoulder with a mixture of cider, water and Worcestershire sauce and then it was on with the all important rub. I used Pitt Cue’s house rub, which made up of a number of spices such as cayenne, cumin, coriander, and paprika as well as fennel seeds, oregano and lots of salt, pepper. I rubbed this all over until I had something like this (looks awesome doesnt it!)
This went into the fridge for the day, and I took this out about 1 hour before cooking so it was at room temperature when I began!
As I have mentioned in previous posts I am the proud owner of the weber smokey mountain
Its a great smoker and simple to use, you add charcoal at the bottom with some wood of your choice (avoiding the cat!)
Add some water to the bowl in the middle and then your meat at the top, shut the lid and by adjusting the 3 vents you are aiming to keep the temperature between 225 – 275 Fahrenheit (I use US temps for this as all the blogs and forums are based there) for the length of the smoke.
Now apologies, but this is going to get very geeky for a minute! For this smoke I had researched charcoal and had ordered myself a 15kg bag of restaurant grade charcoal, which is premium and I hoped was going to help me keep the temperature up for a prolonged period of time (something I had problems with last year)
So I lit up the smoker at 6pm and it was ready for the meat at 6.30pm. The plan was to stay up until about 2am hit the hay until 6am get up add more coal if needed and hopefully be ready to ‘pull’ by 10ish – aiming for about a 14 hour smoke. Once the meat had hit the magic 190F internal temp it would be done. It was going to be a long, but very fun night!
All went well, the smoker got to about 225F and stayed there, I adjusted the vents about 1 so that the temp was at the max required by the time I went to bed at 2am and the alarm was set for 6am.
Dragging myself out of bed I went downstairs and on checking saw that not only had my smoked retained the heat and was still sitting at around 250 the pork itself was showing 200F internal – so was more than ready!
And it was this beauty that faced me when I lifted the lid:
With smoking you are looking to achieve a few things, a nice thick dark bark on the outside of the meat (as you can see this certainly had this) a smoke ring, a pink ring through the meat which is produced by smoke and also tender, tender meat that falls apart. This ticked all the boxes.
So after an agonising 30 minutes I got to work, the bone just pulled out of te meat with no pressure and I tore it apart with a couple of forks which sampling of course (pulled pork for breakfast is quality!). This joint gave me a mountain of pork
It tasted incredible, very meaty of course, but with a subtle spice from the rub and a mix of crunch from the bark and moist tender pork, some of the best pulled pork I have ever eaten even if I do say so myself.
Myself and mates ate most of this straight out of the bowl, no sauce was needed really, however I did take some and make this into pulled pork tortillas.
In order to do this I simply heated up some pulled pork with some lime juice and about a quarter of a bottle of Wahaca Chipotle sauce (cheating i know). Put in a tortilla topped with sour cream, guacamole, coriander and a squeeze of lime – just amazing!
I also used up the rest of it by piling this on top of some mature cheddar to create the ultimate cheese toasty, something else.
Next time I will definitely take on the whole shoulder, I know the smoker will be able to do the extra time needed and I cant wait to have even more pulled pork to test out more recipes for. Next stop pulled pork rolls at the coffee shop!!