Pork Butt for Friends

We’ve got some of Sarah’s best friends in town, and some of their family is coming over Sunday, so I’m busting out the smoker to feed everybody. Time for some pulled pork!

2030, Friday: salted the 15 lbs butt with 2.5 Tbsp salt. It’s in the fridge now until Saturday night, when I’ll put 1 cup rub on and start it smoking at 225℉.

2215, Saturday: put the butt on the smoker at 225℉, after putting the rub on.

0820, Sunday: temperatures are 166℉ (top) and 162℉.

1015: temperatures are 167℉ and 163℉. We’re deep in the stall now…

1100: turned up the smoker to 275℉.

1330: meat is at 190℉ and 181℉.

1500: meat is at 197℉ and 188℉. Pork butt really takes a long time.

1510: took the top one off at 198℉.

1700 or so: took the second off at 203℉.

It came out awesome! Note that 20 hours would not have been enough time without cranking the temperature. Next time, just plan on cranking the temperature.

Smoked Steaks

One of my best buddies got us some steaks for our wedding, and now it’s time to smoke a couple of them! Four of the steaks are half pound fillet mignons, so I’m smoking two. I’m wrapping two slices of applewood bacon around each steak, putting 1/4 tsp salt on each, and smoking them at 225℉. I’ll use the thermometers, smoking them to 130℉, then searing top and bottom on cast iron.

1645: Steaks on! Initial internal temperature, 60℉.

1710: Steak at 90℉.

1725: Steak at 114℉.

1745: Steak at 133℉, taking it off to get a sear.

The result is fantastic, buttery, delicious, medium rare, smoky. Next time I would leave Sarah’s on until medium well, this time I just microwaved it gently for her. Ideally, next time I would put it on the grill towards the end, to crisp the bacon like she likes it. Also, each fillet only needed one strip of bacon.

More Jerky!

Alright, time for more beef jerky. This time I found top round roast for $3.99 per pound. I’m using the same recipe as last time, but it’s 3.5 lbs so I multiplied the marinade by about 1.5. I sliced the meat more along the grain than last time, and also slightly thicker.

1530: Meat is in the marinade.

1020 Sunday: Meat is on the smoker, 175℉, vents half open this time cause why not, that’s what I normally do.

1430: I took all but the fatty pieces of jerky off, leaving those on with temperature increased to 225℉. They were glistening still, and I’d like them to dry out more before taking them off. I’m skeptical about the slightly thicker cuts. They’re definitely done, but will they stay good to eat as long as the thinner stuff did… Did they get dessicated enough to last? Some of the chunks are very much like smoked beef… We’ll see as time passes and I start to eat it… I’m thinking I’ll leave the fatty stuff for another hour.

1540: looks done enough… Taking off the last of it.

Fatty parts got much drier, but still not like the other pieces. I think next time I should start by cutting off all fat. This time I would’ve had to start by slicing the meat along the thin internal fat layer it had, then peeling of that fat. It would’ve left one thin layer of meat and one thick, but that would’ve been ok.

Grilling a Whole Chicken

We have a leftover chicken in the freezer, so it’s time to grill up a whole chicken again! We thawed it in the fridge over a couple days, then I marinated it in a bottle of Jerk sauce. I still haven’t found a great bottle of Jerk sauce – none are even approaching the right spiciness. Oh well. The chicken is medium sized, not as large as a roaster.

1910: Started butterflied chicken on the grill, cold side, skin up, legs towards the fire. I drizzled the bag of marinade over the raw chicken. When the breasts hit 130℉ and the legs 145℉ or so, I’ll flip it over and hit the skin for 5 minutes until breasts are 145℉ or so.

1940: Breasts are at 110℉.

2000: Breasts are between 131℉ and 145℉ – time to flip it and crisp the skin.

2005: Taking chicken off to rest 10 minutes.

Delicious. After it rested, I sliced it up and put on more Jerk sauce. I heated up the sauce before basting it on. Definitely do that again.

Smoking Salmon

Smoked salmon is one of my favorite foods. A luxury, truly. But, it’s much more reasonable when you can smoke it yourself. Salmon prices are at $8.99 a pound at Costco right now, which is a couple bucks more than I’m used to. Still worth it.

I’m using the same recipe I always use, with a bit over 5 lbs of salmon. This salmon was packed a couple days ago, unusually. Normally the Costco salmon on display is all packed the same day. It must sell out quickly, it is always beautiful. This fish still had a sell by day 4 days in the future, though. And it still looked beautiful. There was little liquid in the tray, the fillets were spotless… And they were $1 less per pound than the same day-packed stuff. Unpackaging the salmon, I sniffed for any unexpected scents, and looked for any defects with the fish. I found none.

2000: Fish went into brine.

0840: Fish began drying.

1120: Fish is on the smoker at 120℉.

1530: Took fish off the smoker. It was actually at between 150℉ and 165℉, so definitely hotter than I intended… I should check at less than an hour next time.

The fish tastes great, right now, despite the temperature going too high. Time will tell if it lasts in the freezer and fridge as well as cooler fish. Visually, it looks more cooked, with some of the edges being quite dark, compared to usual. Still, tastes great, and is as most as I’m used to. My guess is, this extra temperature didn’t harm the fish at all.