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onsdag 22. august 2018

Pulled pork two ways in the offset smoker

Today we had a 1.5 kg picnic shoulder (picnicbog) and a 2 kg pork neck (svinenakke). Pretty much same thing but guess the picnic shoulder is slightly lower down from the neck part.

Anyway, when smoking these cuts of meat, some like to wrap them in foil after a few hours in the smoke to make them more tender and to control the amount of smoke flavour in the meat. Normally if using a smoker burning charcoal briquettes and just a bit of wood added for smoke, there is no need to wrap to avoid over smoked meat. You simply control the smokiness with the amount of wood chunks or chips you add to the coals. However, if using a smoker burning only wood, wrapping the meat is a good precaution to avoid over smoked meat. If using an offset smoker like this, you need to keep a clean combustion with good airflow. If not, you might get over smoked meat. Opposite to a drum type smoker fired with charcoal/briquettes, where you control the temperature with the air intake, you need to keep a clean burning flame going in the offset smoker. To keep a clean flame, I mean there really need to be a flame, not just smouldering wood. So how to control the temperature in an offset smoker? By the amount of fuel! So you have to actually babysit it and put on one small log on at the time, depending on what temperature you like to maintain.

There is also quite a difference in what type of wood you use for fuel. I am still a bit inexperienced using an offset smoker, so I have basically used only oak so far because I read that is the most popular. And I think I know why; Oak is quite mild and do not easily over smoke your meat if you keep a clean combustion. At least that's my short experience so far.

So this last Sunday, I had all day to babysit my offset smoker so I wanted to try the difference in wrapping in the most commonly used aluminium foil and the slightly less used butcher kraft paper. So I started with both pieces of meat just in the smoke and heat, no wrapping. After three hours, I thought they looked OK and I thought they'd had got enough smoke so I wrapped them.

Below are photos with more explanations.

And remember, in BBQ, not all always go as planned. At least not if you don't pay attention!

A bed of hot charcoal briquettes is good for starting the wood fire. 5:30 in the morning...

I drilled a hole for a thermometer with wireless transmission some time ago.

Here's the wireless receiver from the thermometer.

Fire getting started.

1,5 kg pork to the left and his big brother to the right.

Nice day for a barbecue! 
Meats been on for 3 hours and I think they had enough smoke. Colour is good. 
(Note the wireless temp probe)

The 2 kg piece looks nice.

The 1,5 kg piece looks a bit pale but I decide to wrap it as well.

So here we are with the minor test. After 3 hours in the smoke, one got wrapped in butcher paper and one in aluminium foil.

Smoking, stoking and drinking beer....

After totally 6,5 hours, this is the core temp in the big piece (82), so I thought I needed  to check on the smaller piece by now.

Ooops, too hot! 90-92 is the goal!

The bigger meat to the left had the meat thermometer but the smaller did not, as I thought I would check that one on the feeling according to the temp of the other. Well, I failed a bit...

So the aluminium wrapped, overcooked small piece was set to rest a bit in the smoke stack, where the temp is around 60°C.

Small pieces of oak burning. Temp control.

So this is the internal temp of the bigger piece that got attention. 

The 2 kg pork was done now after 8,5 hours and 92°C internal temp.

Biggest in paper and the smaller in foil

Sorry, but due to me not paying 100% attention, this smaller got too tender and almost mushy. And the smoke flavour was very mild.

This bigger piece was in the butcher paper. But it deserves to be in the newspaper as well! :-) Very nice bark. 

Totally more smokey and better BBQ taste of this one!

Bonus; Cornbread with cornmeal from Bob's Red Mill. Yum!
(Not cooked in the smoker, though).

onsdag 2. mai 2018

Pulled beef

First try to make pulled beef. Can be made the same way as pulled pork. However, as pulled pork is normally done when reaching 90-92°C internal temp, it seems beef might need to a higher temp to be "pullable". But need to check with a fork to see if it is tender and not rely only on the temp.

Got a quite small, 1kg chuck roast (Høyrygg), so used the Weber One Touch Pro Classic (57cm) and the snake method. Good for low and slow cooking. Hickory chips for smoke. The chips are soaked in water to smoulder and give nice smoke instead of just burning up too fast. Chips can be soaked over night or give it a boil and let it soak for 30 minutes. This will help absorbing more water in a shorter time. Boiling the chips will absorb approx 65% more water than just soak it in cold water for 30 minutes.

See my chips "soaking test" here:

Tried to maintain around 120°C. However after the coals got going, I had to throttle down and almost close the inlet went to get the temp down. Total time including one hour resting was 7 hours. Absolutely worth the wait!

1kg chuck roast (Høyrygg).

1kg chuck roast (Høyrygg)

The snake/fuse method. Just light one end using a gas torch. Soaked hickory chips for smoke.

Tied together to get even cooking. Seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Weber One Touch Pro Classic (57cm).

21 in the meat and 131 in the grill. And rising.

Throttling down the air intake to lower the temp.
Marked to know the position of the damper; 0% - 50% - 100%

Almost fully closed.

After 3,5 hours and an internal temp of approx 65°C, it's time to get it out of the smoke.

Adding some liquid to kinda braise it to get more tender.

It stayed like this for another 2,5 hours before it seemed tender enough.

After totally 6 hours, the internal temp was 98°C.

After checking with a fork it was wrapped in foil and rested for one hour in a 50°C oven. Make sure to keep the juices for mixing with the meat later.

Only half of the coals used.

Was rested wrapped like this.

After one hour rest.

Pulled apart easily.

Mixed with a bit of the cooking juices, this is an awesome treat! Coleslaw is optional :-) 

søndag 22. april 2018

Spring maintenance of the offset smoker

Offset smokers rust, that's the sad truth. You can sandblast and paint with high temp paint but usually at leats the hottest part, the fire box, will rust. That can be dealt with in different ways. After a tip, I last year used cooking oil and coated the firebox and main chamber. With good result. But after a Norwegian winter, even under canvas, it needed some attention again. I used cooking oil again but coated the whole thing this time. So this year I fired up in all three compartments to dry the oil.

This how I did last year: http://grillpjokken.blogspot.no/2017/07/oiling-offset-smoker.html





Prepared for three fires.

This got over 260 degC, so I took off the thermometer as it went to peak.

Not so hot in the tower, actually a bit too low to dry the oil as good as the other sections.




After. Nice and shiny!