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How To Get a Perfect Butt: A Really Long Guest Post

I am Derek, the other half of The Primal Smoke, but unlike my wife, I prefer more traditional BBQ.  As great as her cooking is, she is actually such a control freak in the kitchen she gave me an outline for how she wanted this written up.  If you are a beginner there is no better cut of meat to get your confidence up and impress your neighbors than Boston butt, it is very forgiving and doesn’t take a lot of skill, although I totally have skills.

That pink hue is the delicious smoke ring from the hickory

The cut of pork I used for this post was a nine and a half pound, bone-in, Boston butt. Boston butt is a cut from the pig’s shoulder and has nothing to do with the pig’s actual butt.  Pork shoulder is best cooked slow over low heat.  On average plan about an hour to an hour and a half per pound of meat at 225-250 degrees.

My wife calls him R2D2

We use a Weber 18.5” Smoky Mountain Cooker for all our long, slow cooks (ribs, pulled pork, brisket…etc.).  Weber offers a great smoker for an affordable price(I sound like a commercial, huh?).  There are tons of different quality ceramic cookers and offset smokers, but for the price and convenience of storage nothing beats the Weber.  On a side note, the 18.5” cooker is easier to keep the temperature stable than the 22.5” cooker.

Preparing the pork shoulder is easy.  One side will have a layer of fat about 1/2” to 1 ½”.   Start by trimming this fat off.  Leave a little fat on the bottom, but not much.

Post-mortem liposuction!

Next, apply your rub.  Rub your meat real good, heh.   There are some people who like to apply their rub the night before.  I don’t think this is necessary, but it won’t hurt either.  Let the cut of meat sit out for about an hour.  It should be close to room temperature when you put it on, just do it, don’t ask me why.  That is a whole other post entirely.  My rub was:

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 2 TB ground ginger
  • 2 TB onion powder
  • 2TB cayenne
  • 2 TB black pepper

While you let you pork shoulder warm up, it is time to prep you smoker.  I like using hickory smoke for pulled pork.  Place a couple chunks of hickory (already soaked in water) in your cooker with some coals, light your charcoal chimney in a separate grill and dump it over top, and if you’re using a water smoker (like the Weber) fill up your water pan.  Make sure you line your water pan with aluminum foil or else you’ll have a pretty messy clean up.  Ready for a sh*t-ton of pictures?

Charcoal and wood goes in here, hot coals go over top.

This thing goes on top with some water to keep the heat low

Next comes your cooking grate and the meat

Once your cooker gets to 225 degrees put your pork shoulder on.  I highly suggest using a digital thermometer to monitor the temp of the meat.  A dual prong thermometer – measuring the smoker temp/meat temp are the best….btw don’t get a Big Green Egg thermometers, they make awesome ceramic cookers but horrible thermometers….mine lasted two uses.

R2D2 already has his own thermometer

Maintain the temp of the smoker between 225 and 250 degrees, adding a handful of hickory chunks every hour or two.  Smoking is half science, half art….bottom line you’ll be the judge of how much smoke you want.  Avoid using too much though or your meat will be bitter.

Also, get your ass up early, this could take a while

When the temp of the meat hits about 150 it will “stall” for an hour or two.  This is normal, don’t be a jackass and increase the temp or worry your thermometer is broken.  Just maintain your cookers temp and you’ll be fine.  Some folks wrap their pork shoulder in foil after it hits 170, but I don’t think this is necessary (we’ll talk foil when we cook ribs and brisket). This cut of meat has enough fat in it to keep it nice and moist.  Once your shoulder approaches 190 it is time to come off.  If it still seems tough at 190 leave it on for an extra half hour.

Also, when your meat turns black on the outside it is not burning.  This is called the “bark” and is the best d*mn part! It is a combination of caramelized meat rub and spices with the smoke.

This thing barks better than DMX

This nine and half pound Boston butt took about 11 hours, but that includes a brutal summer rain/wind storm which probably effected the cooking time. Once you remove the pork shoulder let it sit for about 45 minutes to an hour or until it cools…..or you’ll end up like me with blistered fingers. Pull the pork with forks or your hands, pour your favorite BBQ sauce over it and enjoy.

juiciest pork on the planet

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10 Comments

Posted by on September 10, 2012 in basics, Favorites, Pork

 

The BBQ Basics Part One: The Charcoal

Our ancestors had to go through the process of burning down hardwood into charcoal if they wanted to make a nice frenched rack of mastodon, fortunately for us, we can run to any grocery store and pick some up.  Also I am pretty sure my neighbors would be pissed if I started cutting down neighborhood trees to make my own.

There are two basic types of charcoal: Lump Charcoal and Briquettes each with different advantages, so we are going to talk about why you should have both in your backyard.

Pure hardwood charcoal, also called lump charcoal

Pure hardwood charcoal, or “lump charcoal” is just a big fancy name for burnt down pieces of wood. This stuff is great for your day to day grilling, burgers, steaks, chicken, or whatever you little heart desires.  The best part about lump charcoal is that it lights very quickly and gives your food a nice smoky flavor.

Briquettes are little uniform pillows of awesomeness that give you a longer more even burn and steadier temperatures than regular lump charcoal.  You can buy Hardwood briquettes, which give you a more consistent burn than pure hardwood, and they still impart a somewhat woodsy smoke, though not as intense.  If you are going for a really long cooking time or slow smoke, it is best to use the standard briquettes due to their superior ability to hold steady temperatures.  One warning though, getting the briquettes that have been infused with lighter fluid can give your food an oily, chemical-soot sort of taste. Do not buy the “EZ Light”  charcoal, just get the standard and light it with a charcoal chimney (more on that soon).

Of course there is always the gas cooking method, but in the real BBQ sphere this stuff is useless.  It does give you the most even temperatures, and you can actually choose to set your grill at 350 and it will stay there.  However doesn’t this sort of take takes the artistry out of it? Good BBQ is equal parts gastronomy and art.  Plus, you can never achieve the same sort of flavor as you will cooking over coals.  Nevertheless, if a gas grill is all you have, you can always add a small wood smoker box and still taste the heavenly clouds of deliciousness from wood smoke.

Whichever method you choose will of course get your food cooked (Duh!), but there is of course subtle differences in the end result.  It can mean the difference between the most incredible thing you have ever eaten, or just a cooked piece of meat.  This is pretty serious stuff people!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Barbeque, Technique

 

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Beyond Bacon Review and Giveaway!

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you must have heard the buzz about the new book from the Paleo Parents, Matt McCarry and Stacy Toth. I hesitate to call Beyond Bacon a cookbook because it is so much more than that, this is actually the paleo pork bible, it tells you everything you need to know about purchasing and cooking a whole hog.

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Now, I consider myself to be quite the pork connoisseur, and they still managed to surprise me with the range and variety of recipes included, there is even a BBQ section for those of you with a smoker addiction(although I might have to challenge them to a cook-off for best smoked pork shoulder). The only disappointment is that I didn’t have this in my kitchen sooner, I really could have used this after our last hog aporkalypse when I was stuck with what seemed like an endless supply of pork chops.

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This book on it’s own is truly a piece of art, with rustic photography on each page more beautiful than the last but once you start to indulge in these recipes you will have a new appreciation for all parts of the hog. A couple of my favorites so far are the smoked pork belly, Italian tomato pork chops, and the salted mocha biscotti and I even tried my hand at making my own lard, caramel fudge and pancetta.

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Pancetta in progress

Ok, so I know you are sick of listening to me rave about Beyond Bacon, so I will stop myself before I ramble on all day.  I love this book, and you clearly need it, luckily Matt and Stacy sent along an extra copy, so here is your chance to win one…

Beyond Bacon Cookbook Giveaway

Good luck!

 
16 Comments

Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Bacon, Pork, Random

 

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Grilled Tri-Tip

Sorry I havent written in a very long time…did you miss me? Of course you did! I have been suffering from a condition known as “baby brain,” where my pregnant body has decided to shuttle all of my body’s resources into the new little parasite leaving me semi-retarded.  What brain function I do have left is reserved for focusing on all the sh*t I need to do/research/buy over the next few months…and housework, I really need to do some housework, when I have the energy, turning food into a human being is exhausting enough.

Now, the tri-tip is a seriously under-rated piece of meat.  It is part of the sirloin, and is (hands down) the best roast on a cow.  It is very well marbled, which means its tenderness rivals our beloved filet(at 1/4 the cost).

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After trimming any rouge hunks of fat, we rubbed ours with a good strong beef rub that had a lot of coarse ground malabar black pepper, salt, and garlic with just a little bit of chili powder, paprika, and onion powder. Then start up a dual zone fire on your grill, one side for searing and the other for cooking.

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We cooked the tri-tip for 5-7 minutes each side over high heat, then moved it over to indirect heat and threw in some cherry wood.  Let the tri-tip cook for another 20 minutes or so, or until the internal temp gets close to 140 on the thick end.

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Top your meaty goodness with a few chunks of Kerrygold butter and wrap in tinfoil.  Let the meat rest for at least 20 minutes, I throw mine in the microwave or oven so it doesn’t cool to quickly.

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Slice, serve, and then come thank me for introducing you to this amazing cut of meat!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Beef

 

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Frog Leg and Filet Faileo

I love it when a recipe comes together…this however is not one of those times.  I grabbed some frog legs at the store and figured I could do what I always do, experiment in the kitchen and be lucky enough to have it turn out perfect.  What I should have done is look for a recipe ahead of time before I decided to throw those b*tches on the BBQ

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Here is what I started with,

  • 4 pairs of frog legs
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 t coriander and onion powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 TB white vinegar
  • 3 beef tenderloin steaks
  • salt and pepper

I mixed all of the ingredients except the meat together in a bag and threw in the frog legs, they marinated in there for about 3ish hours.  I then cooked the delicate meat on the grill for 60-90 seconds per side.  These are prone to getting tough and drying out so don’t leave them on too long.

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Whoever said these things taste like chicken is on drugs…they are not like any chicken I have ever tasted, and I have put some questionable food-like substances in my mouth in the past! If I were to cook frog legs on the grill again, I will marinate for at least 48 hours and glaze them with a vibrant sauce.  They just don’t have any flavor on their own and they really need some things that are not whole30 approved to make them edible(like sugar)! I know why most people batter and deep-fry these little guys.

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Now, here is a little tip for cooking beef tenderloin steaks.  When You pull them out of the package they just do not look pretty and perfectly round like what you get in a restaurant, so tie around the edges with some butcher twine and it will help mold your steak, like beautiful beefy play-doh.  The only thing you need to season these with is salt and coarse ground pepper, anything more would be a crime.  Cook them on the grill for 5-7 minutes a side, and don’t forget to let them rest before serving.

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So there you have it, the worlds best steak and the worlds worst amphibian.  Seriously, those frog legs were friggin gross! I would eat them in a survivalist situation if left with no other options, but I am pretty sure I would eat my cat before trying to catch those slippery little f*ckers….sorry Lyra

Noooooooo

Noooooooo

 
7 Comments

Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Beef, Random, Seafood

 

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Myron Mixon’s Cupcake Chicken

Now, we love the show BBQ pitmasters, but you cannot watch this show without being subjected to the loud mouthed jackass pitmaster known as Myron Mixon.  I personally find him a bit too abrasive, but the hubbs loves him.  Anyway, the show got me thinking, all the people on there have really badass BBQ names, and Derek and Michelle just doesn’t sound quite as cool as Hickory Rick and Shotgun Chelle.  Ok, that was the best I could come up with…maybe they’re not the best pitmaster names, but maybe theyre at least as cool as Paul Diablo, Johnny Trigger, and Tuffy Stone.  I am still working on the names…I need some help.  What do you think?

I know its gross that they cat is on the table, you try telling a cat what to do.

I know its gross that the cat is on the table, you try telling a cat what to do.

So, Myron Mixon does this competition chicken in a cupcake pan, so that the end result is perfectly round and uniform, making for a nice presentation.  So, we got Myron’s top-secret method…which you cannot get from watching the show, you have to shell out 30 bucks for his book of course.  Anyway, we adapted it for Primal Smoke, since we are not too keen on following any recipes that call for 5lbs of sugar and 1 cup of MSG “flavor enhancer.” Seriously, you cannot help but laugh when you read that!

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You will need:

  • A cupcake pan with holes drilled in the bottom, as a bonus, now you cant scarf paleo cupcakes because you don’t have a pan to cook them in.
  • a cookie sheet (we used disposable)
  • enough chicken thighs to put one in each hole…in this case 12
  • bbq rub
  • bbq sauce
  • chicken stock

Ok, so the holes help the meat drain, so that it does not get “water-logged,” A collection of liquids in the muffin pan will ruin your perfect, slightly crisp skin that is so sought after when cooking BBQ chicken.  You can start prepping your meat by cutting the knuckle end off of the bone and trimming the bone down until it fits in your pan.  Trim all the big chunks fat off the edges of the chicken, and especially off the edges of the skin.  I know fat is good for us, but too much fat =soggy, rubbery skin.  Sprinkle a little BBQ rub, or just some salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken thigh and place it skin side down in the pan.

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Be sure to trim off any excessively large chunks of meat that stick out of each little nest and then throw those babies on your smoker.  We used our stick-burner for this one, which is a large offset box that we burn whole logs of wood in, instead of the usual charcoal-wood chips combo that I use for the bullet.  Put the cupcake pan onto a cookie sheet and pour a layer of chicken stock into the cookie sheet, being very careful not to get it on the meat.

Don't use your good bone-broth for this, as you are just going to discard it later

Don’t use your good bone-broth for this, as you are just going to discard it later

Smoke the meat at 275 using a strong wood, we used mesquite which is traditionally not for chicken, but the meat is only in the smoker about as long as the media cared about John Travolta flashing his junk to a hotel masseuse…not very long, so it makes a stronger wood acceptable.  Smoke the chicken for about an hour, or until the internal temp gets to about 140-145, then pull it off, flip the chicken and put it back in the pan skin side up.  Before returning it to the smoker sprinkle the skin with more rub, or salt and pepper, then put it back on the cookie sheet and let it cook for another 30 minutes or so.  Once the internal temp hits 155-160, brush some sauce on top of the chicken and close the lid for another 20-30 minutes.

When they come off the smoker, cover them with some foil and let them rest for about 3 minutes, then glaze again with sauce one more time before serving. Here is a perfect recipe for BBQ sauce, this stuff with make your meat sweet and juicy, like JLo’s backside.

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That’s it for this week, we have been Qing up a storm of Whole30/Sugar Detox compatible foods, so check back next week for more smokey goodness.  Shotgun Chelle signing out!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Barbeque, Chicken

 

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2012 up in smoke….

I am totally on the New Years bandwagon here, just giving you lots of old posts because I am too lazy to write out a new one.  I am going to share the best of the best of 2012 just in case you missed it…I have only been up and running since September so you havent missed much though.

oh yeah baby!

oh yeah baby!

The greatest thing I did this year was BBQ brownies.  It is still my number one day of traffic ever….which proves to me that you people suck, seriously, pureeing some sweet potatoes and cooking them in chocolate is not anywhere near as impressive as the perfect brisket.  Still, they rock…we will definitely make them again once all the january sugar detoxing/whole30 hybrid is over. Anyway, there will be a few recipes that overlap here, because I know that nobody is going to sit here and read every link I posted…if you want to, by all means go ahead, and please leave your full name in the comments section so I can spell it properly on the restraining order.

Important lessons:
Planking (and bacon)
Using Skewers
Tempering and Resting your meat
Starting a good fire
Choosing your charcoal
Getting the right big-boy-toys
Basics on using a smoker, and the perfect hunk of meat for a newbie

There is more to be learned about smoking, in 2013 there will be a series called “Better know a smoker” and important information on rubs, BBQ competitions, and other random rants and tirades about why I am right and you are wrong. Now on to the meat…

Juciest pork on the planet

juiciest pork on the planet

In the pork category we have:

Pork Butt
Rib Basics
Bacon…thats right we make our own bacon!
Spare Ribs
Ham
Korean Style Ribs
Pork Stuffed Peppers
BLT Salad made with our own bacon of course
Pork Tenderloin

Smoke rings make me happy

Smoke rings make me happy

The nom-nom-nominees in the beef category are:

Sausagey Beef Burger
Braised Beef Chili
Flank Steak Skewers
Grilled Meatloaf
Ungrilled Meatloaf with bacon
Brisket though the title lies, we did make a better brisket last night burning straight hardwood with no coals.

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Chicken:

Basic BBQ Chicken
Chicken Caesar Salad
Recipe I stole from Michael Symon

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Seafood:

Haddock
Basic Grilled Salmon and grilled squash goodness
Oh look, this recipe again because there is shrimp on it
Dirty South Clam Chowder
Smoked Mackerel Salad

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Breakfast:
I grilled eggs in bell peppers then again in pork

I know that is a big plate, but I don't like my food touching

Game Meat:
Deer Jerky
Bison Burger with smoked applesauce…seriously go make that applesauce, it will change your life.

Liquid gold baby!

Sauces:
Basic Red Sauce aka Liquid Orgasm
Carolina Style Pork Sauce

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Chili and Clam Chowder are obviously also in the new soups category, while Jerky, Smoked Sausage, and Hickory Smoked Mixed Nuts are all under snacks

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Lastly there was a grilled watermelon salad that was amazing, but didn’t really fit in anywhere else

I already have dozens of ideas for 2013, so keep coming back for more smoked meat sexiness and white trash shenanagains

This was a redneck theme birthday party, he doesnt actually wear overalls or beat me.

This was D’s redneck theme birthday party, he doesn’t actually wear overalls or beat me.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Random, Uncategorized

 

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Smoked Sausage

I guess everyone knows what tomorrow is…if today was your last BBQ what would you make? Fear not though, with the help of this wonderful little chart you can still have all of your favorite barbeque cuts in a postapocalyptic world with no agriculture system.

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I know there will be no more internet so you cannot thank me for this valuable information, but I trust that all of you will print out several copies and thank me in your prayers as you cling to your automatic rifles and await the coming apocalypse.

Just in case we do make it through tomorrow, I figured I would show you how we smoked sausage.

Ingredients:

  • sausage
  • smoke

Sounds complicated huh?

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While we were smoking a pork butt, I figured we might as well make some smoked sausage since we have an abundance of the stuff right now.  We already had the smoker going as about 250 degrees and full of hickory wood.  We threw the sausage on there and let it smoke for one hour, and BAM you’re done.  Easiest recipe ever posted on a food blog.

If you want bonus pork points, you can throw it back on the smoker after you wrap it in bacon

If you want bonus pork points, you can throw it back on the smoker after you wrap it in bacon

Lastly, I would like to apologize to my family and friends if December 22nd rolls around, as you will not be receiving any holiday gifts from me this year because I spent all of the money on ammunition and canned bacon in preparation for doomsday.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Pork, Snacks

 

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Bacon Egg Nog

This week is porkapcolypse! We got our beautiful berkshire hog and are eating so much pork that I feel obliged to share several new pork recipes with you.  To kick of porkapalooza, I thought I would start with everyone’s 3 favorite things, bacon, booze, and dessert.

D has never looked sexier than he does holding a gigantic slab of pork belly.

D has never looked sexier than he does holding a gigantic slab of pork belly.

This is what happiness looks like

This is what happiness looks like

For the fabulous bacon egg nog protein shake you will need:

  • 6 slices of bacon
  • One can of coconut milk
  • 5 pastured egg yolks
  • A tablespoon of maple syrup (optional)
  • A scoop of vanilla protein powder (also optional, but it gives the drink very good texture)
  • A sprinkle of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  That’s right, a sprinkle, no need to dirty up any spoons

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Start by cooking up your bacon and set it aside to cool, while you separate your eggs.  Add your ingredients to a blender and let them mix for a minute before slowly pouring in some of your hot bacon grease.  Let the mixture emulsify while you clean up and you are done.  I served this in small whiskey glasses(add actual whiskey for happy-pork-fun-time) garnished with a sprig of bacon.  It was about 4 small servings, and yes I cooked extra bacon on purpose for snacking.

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Before battering your senses with an onslaught of epic life changing new pork recipes, lets take a look back at Primal Smoke’s porky past:
Home Smoked Bacon
Pork Tenderloin
Smoked Pork Butt
Spare Ribs
Baby Back Ribs
Jeez you think we would be sick of ribs by now

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Bacon, Dessert

 

Holiday Survival Kit

Are you sick of suffering through your family’s holiday parties with nothing to eat? Does your stomach turn at the thought of the impending carb-fest? Do you watch in disgust as your loved ones put out plates of bread-boat dip, chex mix, cookies, cakes, chips, and crackers with balls of some strange substance resembling cheese? Well fear not health conscious citizen! Now you can bring Primal Smokes new Holiday Survival Kit, available today for just three easy payments of $29.95.

Tell you in-laws to shove that stuffing where it really belongs!

Tell you in-laws to shove that stuffing where it really belongs!

 
5 Comments

Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Random

 

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