Sunday, September 21, 2008

My First Pulled Pork

And the first time using the "new" smoker. Actually lugged it up to my friend Mike's place. Turn's out they had a family wedding the day before we planned to smoke, so we were going to be feeding about 17 family members.


I pulled two pork butts out of the freezer. They were just over 13 pounds together. Didn't get them out quite as soon as I had hoped, so turned to the CBBQA Forum to get some tips on faster defrost. In the end they were thawed late Saturday evening for a Sunday cook, so I rubbed them up with Bad Byron's Butt Rub and tossed them back in the refrigerator for morning.

We got a late start. Neither of us had done butt before. Mike had the coals going in the firebox before I got there, and we put the butts on just about 11:15 AM.

We added a small Tri-Tip and a sausage too. Also put a chicken on the rotisserie later too (used Butt Rub on it too, and it was tasty). The Tri-Tip and sausage went on about 2:15 PM. Pork butt was 131* internal temps at this time.

We added more soaked oak chips as we went along. We had the smoke box running with about a 10 degree difference from side to side. She was running about 210 at the hot side and 200 on the other.

We added a towel pretty quick - lots of air leaks. Going to have to work on that.  In the afternoon the winds picked up a little so we added the fancy brick mod to keep the towel on. It seemed to do pretty well keeping the drafts down. We took it off once to see what would happen - the temps shot up really fast. Was also glad to see it drop back down fast when the towel went back on. 

By 6 PM the natives were getting restless. So we decided to pop up the heat and get things moving along. We had already lost one family that didn't want to wait any longer and had a long drive home. So we tossed on a oak branch piece. That caught and the temps went right up - so turned down the air flow - kept her at about 250/260. At this point the pork was at 166 internal - as you can see in the photo to the left.

We wrapped in foil a little after 6. We pulled the meat before we really wanted to, but we were going to loose everyone, and the other meats were all done. We ended up pulling it at about 7 PM and the internal temp was at 174*.

Below you can see what I chopped for Mike's family to gobble up - yes chopped, I wanted to get it done fast at this point. On the cutting board are also the Tri-Tip and the sausage. That Tri-Tip was tasty. But so was the pork! Next to that is what I pulled after getting home that evening.


I pulled 1 1/2 butts and vacuum packed them up in 2 serving sizes. There was probably about 16 servings at least left there.

I'll be enjoying this meat for some time, and I learned a lot on the cook too. Not bad for my first run at pulled pork! I think we are going to try brisket. None of us have done a brisket before either. This is my kind of learnin'!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Review: BJ's Barbecue (Sparks, Nevada)

I happened to be in Reno at the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) annual conference a few weeks ago. Myself and two coworkers piled into a rental car with the Neverlost GPS system and took off for old Reno in search for food. We cruised the main drag a few times looking at the odd sights. I tossed out the idea of BBQ and Brent thought that was a great idea.

We tried a few variations on "BBQ" in the Neverlost and in the end it served us well by taking us to BJ's Barbeque in Sparks.

Sitting in the booth with a Newcastle on tap was a good start. I happened to mention that I am a member of the California BBQ Association and Brent was very interested to learn more - turns out he is a BBQ fan too. Kevin was quite interested to sit back and ask questions about this form of cooking that we seemed to be so excited about.

Looking over the menu Brent and I both settled on the 1/2 pound of pulled pork and we talked Kevin into the 7 ribs. I went with the coleslaw and dirty rice for sides. I had never actually had dirty rice before, so thought this would be a good time to go for it.

I wasn't thrilled by the coleslaw. It was OK, but not great. I didn't eat it all. The rice was dirty - a little spicy. I'm not that great with spicy, so that wasn't a plus for me. But it was pretty good. Better than the slaw.

Brent thought the corn bread was too sweet. I really liked it.

Brent and I both enjoyed the pulled pork. It wasn't fantastic, but it was quite good. I would get it again for sure. My plate didn't have any pork left on it, that's for sure.

The service was quick and friendly. Our waitress sat down in the booth and joked with us a bit and made suggestions when we asked. Friendly but not pushy.

We were there on a week night - I think it was a Monday evening. Two other booths had folks in them when we got there, so it was quiet.

Did I mention Newcastle on tap?  =)    
Sorry I didn't get any photos.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Enter the Team Pork Fiesta Bowl Sweepstakes!

[ Here's a contest that folks will like to enter for a variety of reasons. ]


Fire up the grill and bring along the mega phones, foam fingers and team jerseys. The Other White Meat® and Ray Lampe (a.k.a. Dr. BBQ), tailgating expert and author of newly-released The NFL Gameday Cookbook (Chronicle Books) will be partying in the parking lot with lucky "Team Pork" fans as part of this year's "Team Pork Fiesta Bowl Sweepstakes!"

Be sure to enter yourself in this "draft!"  One national winner will win:

  • All-expense paid trip for two to the 2009 Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
  • Two tickets to the Fiesta Bowl game
  • VIP pass to a private tailgating party with Dr. BBQ himself, Ray Lampe

To enter the online sweepstakes, simply fill out the information below and click submit!  You can also check-out the official rules for details on the mail-in sweepstakes.

Contest begins on September 10th, 2008 and will run through December 1st, 2008.

One lucky winner and a guest will be selected on Dec. 8, 2008!


Follow link to enter:

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