Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Monday, August 16, 2010

Smoking Party

I have a large extended family and all of my siblings have moved back into the state.  Once a month we get together for dinner.  It was our month to host and my niece requested that we do it at the homestead. 
We got up early, as the sun was coming up, to put the meat on to smoke.
The best pulled pork (and any smoked meat for that matter) begins with a good rub. 
 I rub it on the meat the night before so it has time to develop the flavor. 

Start your coals in a chimney.  Prepare the grill by putting the drip pan on one side of the lower grate and the hot coals on the other.  Arrange your meat away from the coals and above the pan on the higher rack.  Put a small pile of wood chips for cooking that have been soaked for a least 1 hour onto the charcoal.   We have used hickory and apple chunks in the past. We liked the apple with the pork and turkey breast better than the hickory. Hickory is stronger; apple more sweet. I had read that you could put the chips in a foil packet and poke holes in it for the smoke; yeah, didn't work so well.  The photo above shows the foil packet which we shortly pulled off.  We just added the soaked chips directly in a pile on top of the charcoal.  They will eventually burn and you may want to add some more chips when you replenish the coals.  Put the cover on the kettle with the half-opened holes over the meat side.  This will pull the smoke across the meat.

Then, go for a walk; read a book; do some gardening but come back every hour to check your coals.

   Cook your meat to the desired temperature (for turkey breast it was 165 degrees F. and at least 15 minutes rest time before you slice it).  Pork shoulder will need to be cooked to about 195 degrees F. if you want it to be tender.  The internal temperature of your grill should be at least 200-250 degrees F.  You will need to add more hot coals about every hour to keep the temperature in that range.  In our experience, it takes about 4-6 hours to make a good pulled pork.

After resting the meat, slice the turkey breast or pull the pork. We kept it chunky this time, but I like it better shredded.   I served my homemade barbecue sauce along side.  This tomato based sauce has just the right amount of kick.  My exteneded family supplied the pot-luck salads, fruit, and brownies.  Add a selection of drinks and you're set to go.  By the time I had a minute to take a photo there was just enough meat left for one serving ont the plate.  It went that fast!
The sun came out.  It was overcast and perfect weather; not too hot.  Smoking meat is easy to do on your grill.  You don't need a smoker unless you are cooking great quantities of meat.  A barbecue kettle or gas grill will work fine.  Now get smokin' and have a party!

Pulled Pork
1 pork shoulder, or Boston butt/picnic roast
Rub (recipe below)
12 buns
Barbecue sauce (recipe below)

The night before smoking, score the fat cap lightly and shake the rub onto the roast. Refrigerate overnight.
Prepare the grill with a drip pan on one side and white coals on the other.  Put the meat over the pan (across from the coals) and open the lid vents halfway.  Place the grill lid on the kettle with the holes above the meat side.  This will pull the smoke across the meat.
  Grill for about 4 hours, replenishing coals and adding soaked chips over them as desired about every hour.
Continue smoking the meat for several more hours until it pulls away from the roast with a fork.  Remove and let it rest for 15 minutes, covered lightly with foil.

Slice, pull, or chunk the meat, removing the fat.  Serve with barbecue sauce.
*Note:  The turkey cooked a bit faster than the pork.  I sliced it up and covered it with some broth so it would stay moist and sealed it in a foil packet.  It stayed hot until service.

(This is an adaptation of Emeril Lagasse's Essence)

2 1/2 Tablespoons of paprika
2 Tablespoons of kosher salt
2 Tablespoons of garlic powder
1 Tablespoon of ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon of dried oregano
1 Tablespoon of dried thyme

Mix all of these ingredients together.  Measure out 4 teaspoons of the spice mixture and set the remaining aside for a later use (if you are making my homemade barbecue sauce you will need 2 teaspoons).

To 4 teaspoons of the above mixture add 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  Mix well.

This is enough to season 2 pork roasts.

Barbecue Sauce
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onions
7 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons of Emeril's essence (see recipe above)
2 1/2 teaspoons of paprika
2 teaspoons of dry mustard
1 1/4 teaspoons of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
1 1/2 cups of water
3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
5 Tablespoons of light brown sugar
*1 Tablespoon or dark molasses

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and cook until translucent and softened; about 4 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook another minute until you smell the garlic. 
Add the dry spices and cook for another 2 minutes.  Put the tomato paste in and cook for 4 minutes until the sauce is thick and combined.  Slowly stir in the water and vinegar, stirring occasionally, cook until the sauce thickens.

Refrigerate.  This will store well.

*If you don't have molasses or don't like the flavor, just add 1 Tablespoon more of sugar and use dark brown sugar instead of light for a more robust flavor.

I've linked this to Two for Tuesdays.  Check out the other offerings there.


  1. It all sounds so delicious, and that BBQ sauce recipe is making my mouth water! How nice that you all live near each other!
    On the central coast we BBQ tri-tip over oak in a style referred to as "Santa Maria style" BBQ:)

  2. Bonnie, this looks like a cookbook! What a perfect evening for your family. The rub and sauce sound like a match made in heaven -- It all makes me want to try it- like right now! Your pictures were all beautiful. What a wonderful tradition to get together like that every month- enjoy the next few when you aren't incharge.

  3. Looks like a perfect way to spend a day eating great food with family. I'll have to give smoking a try.

  4. Oh, that is some PRETTY pork! I loved pulled pork...and everything about this recipe. Thanks for sharing it with Two for Tuesdays this week.

  5. Bonnie! I am SO sharing this on my thoughts on friday link love post! I THOUGHT i had to have a smoker to make smoked meats! Thank you so much for giving me the secret for a barbeque grill! Very cool! thanks for sharing on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! :) Alex@amoderatelife

  6. Now that looks like a wonderful day. It makes me wish I had more family nearby to have just such a party. Oh well, I make do pretty well with neighbors. Your meat looks great. Thanks for linking up with Two for Tuesday.

  7. How wonderful that you all get together monthly - oh and the pork looks/sounds amazing! Thanks for linking this to Two for Tuesdays!