I decided to BBQ some pork butt on Saturday for that night’s boxing match, Manny Pacquiao, from the Philipines, Vs Erik Morales, from Mexico. What a great fight it was. Morales was putting a whoopin’ on Pacquiao in the early rounds but Pacquiao eventually took out Morales in the 10th round.
I am trying to make good on my resolutions by cooking more BBQ and eventually competing in a local cook-off. I have been reading two books on the subject, Mike Mills’ Peace Love, and Barbecue and Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue. They both offer tremendous insight into the world of competition BBQ. Eventually, I would like to take a Paul Kirk BBQ class, there is one happening in Northern California next month, but I will probably end up waiting for something local. The sooner the better, I hear that one of his classes can significantly shorten the time it would take someone to learn how to do competition BBQâ€¦by time, Iâ€™ve heard years!
There is a consensus on how to make your BBQ better and gain more consistency. First off, start keeping a journal. This seems to be easy enough since a blog is basically an online journal. I will do additional research as to what others put into their journals, but for now, I will just be jotting down the basic info. Secondly, as with anything else, practice makes perfect. How do you practice BBQ? Well, I think that Nike said it best in their tagline.
“Just do it”
I purchased two pork butt from the local market on Friday, one was 6 lbs and the other about 5.5 lbs. I started by tenderizing the butts by poking them all over with a fork. I then applied the rub and re-poked them. These were suggestions found in Peace, Love and Barbecue. I don’t have all of my ingredients handy yet (kitchen remodel is almost done) so I had to improvise a rub. It actually came out pretty good without using any paprika. One thing that I actually didn’t do with the rub was, ahem, rub it. I have been watching a lot of BBQ programming and reading BBQ book, so I am not sure where I heard this, but it is something that I wanted to try. What I heard was that by sprinkling your rub you allow the smoke to penetrate the meat better. Sure, why not?
- 1 part kosher salt
- 3 parts brown sugar
- 1 part garlic powder
- 1 part onion powder
- 1 part chipotle powder
- 2 parts chile powder
I two types of wood on hand, some oak chunks, and some apple chips. Put them in some water and get the charcoals started. I used Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes because most of all I wanted to pay attention to temperature control and I figured that they would behave well in that situation.
The following chart outlines the cooking process with my timer set to zero. The air temperature was in the mid-sixties with gusts of wind that didn’t seem to affect the smoker too much. The smoker temp was taken from a thermometer at the top vent which reads anywhere from 4-9 degrees higher than the grill temperature. The meat temperature was taken with a digital thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the largest piece of meat that I had in the smoker. Oh, and the smoker is a WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker).
BBQ pork but smoking chart.
- Time — Smk Tmp — Meat tmp. — notes
0:06 — 250
0:19 — 249
0:40 — 230
1:00 — 230
1:14 — 218
1:33 — 230 — — — added more wood
2:13 — 220
3:17 — 270
3:37 — 230 — — — no more wind
4:17 — 210 — — — mop and flip
4:51 — 252
5:00 — 250 — — — mop and add wood
5:17 — 230
5:43 — 230 — 154 — mop
6:25 — 230 — 158 — readjusted meat therm.
7:00 — 230 — 156
7:25 — 260 — 158
8:00 — 270 — 160
8:34 — 253 — 165 — mop
9:15 — 245 — 165 — removed the meat.
I started the meat at around 10:00 am and took it out right before 7:30 pm. The temperature reached was at the bottom end of what Mike Mills has listed for sliced pork, which is 165-170 degrees. For pulling the pork he suggests going to 180-185 degrees. I took the meat off early because I wanted to feed everyone before the main event started and Cutty was getting hungry. And, the internal meat temperature hadn’t gotten any higher in the last 45 minutes.
The meat did come out tougher than I would have liked so much so that I ended up chopping it up with a cleaver. The flavor was pretty good; a little (lot) more tender would have made it perfect. Next time I will take the internal temperature to 185 degrees. I mixed some of the rub in with the chopped up meat for additional flavor. The mop and BBQ sauce recipes were from the aforementioned books.
Pork butts a few hours in
Chopped up meat, tasty
BBQ pulled pork sandwich-bun, meat, sauce and slaw.