Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

The Joy of Waiting: Apple Smoked Pork Roast

A formal apology must be made to my fellow Minnesotan’s, for I guess I uttered a tad too loudly in a recent blog, that winter, by and far, was afterfocus_1366310800546done now. Oh what foolery hath slipped from my lips. For it looks like the old man winter caught wind of that, and naturally dumped a foot of snow on our BBQ grills, just for spite. Just because he can. A little slap in the face perhaps, to an over-eager gesture, here in the mid-folds of April.  The snow now is shin-deep again. And tight still are the icy bonds from whence we have so endured. Tho there is hope I see, residing yonder.

The american Robin has moved back in to town now. An usher of hope. I guess he hadn’t got the word on his original twitter account, that it was still winter up here. Like many of us, he too had gotten his little hopes elevated. He’s sitting up in a tree right now, over fields of snow,  chirping in a disgruntled manner, whilst no doubt reconsidering his life as a bird. Come to think of it, many people I know are doing the same thing, more or less, in the homely posture of snow-bound tweety birds. All they want for is a little green grass, and a splash of golden sun. A convenience simply not meant to be, this day, as one and all, we parlay for warmer times, and softer skies.  One and all, we must surely wait.

I kind of think the wait is good for us BBQ people at least. The wait, after all, is analogous to the low & slow mantra much revered in the smoking sciences.  The wait is what makes it all worth it. The longer we extend the smoke, the slower we go, the more time the meat has to absorb the smoke, and for the collagen to break down. The longer we wait, the more savory it gets, sometimes hunger alone even,  need be our only spice. In this day and age of the drive through mentality, people just don’t like to wait. But I think by getting what ever we want in expedient fashion all the time, has taken something away from us as a people. It has taken our patience.  Smoking meats low and slow at once returns us to that realm of waiting. Teaches us that it is OK, nay, it is beautiful, to let up on the accelerator pedal of life, and do something slowly for once. To nurture that reserve of patience we have lost touch with, and that when it comes down to it, that it is our privilege to wait for something, less we betray the beauty of the moment, and fall victim to the tragedy of haste. Patience is indeed a virtue most lovely. And, as my elder brother is fond of saying, “Patience comes to those who wait”.

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A day passeth, and a brilliant sun the likes of which we have not seen in many months, rises high into a blue, Minnesota sky. Snow dripped from the roof of the house with the fierceness of a brooding rainstorm. Oh a fair shade different than yesterday. But that is the nature of spring in Minnesota, fickle and shifting, like the mood of a woman. Neither can help it, and we understand that.  For it lends a greater joy towards the good days, and that which we have waited for. Anyways, it was my hallowed day off, and I knew, like any man would, that I would be grilling this day, for the day itself  begged of it, and I felt more than a wee bit abiding. On the grill today, slow smoked sirloin pork roast and tin foil potatoes. Oh buddy! Let me tell you about it now, and just how it was done.

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Long before any coals were lit, the pork roast was lovingly scored with a knife about a quarter-inch deep, in an artistic checker board pattern. Mostly a maneuver aimed at opening it up a little, so more spice and smoke penetration could be had. I then let it marinate for a few hours, in our standard patron marinade we use here. A sweet and garlicky affair that really helps out unruly pork cuts.

Sweet Garlic Marinade

3 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons garlic salt

1 teaspoon cracked pepper

After a few hours, and after the sun had risen higher yet into that gorgeous blue sky, I sought the next installment of today’s flavor profile, with this delicious paste rub. In a food processor, toss in the following ingredients, and thus process them accordingly.

Sweet Apple Paste Rub

1 Chopped Sweet Onion

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons black pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoon mustard

3 tablespoons apple juice.

Next, dutifully work the paste rub into all the many surfaces of the roast. Be gentle and take your time. Remember we’re in no hurry today. Today is the day we choose to wait. To cultivate the patience patron to low and slow victory.  Whence all the paste is rubbed in, let the roast sit there with its new flavors. Let it them mingle and get to know one another. This while you are outside lighting the coals.

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Bank the coals to the side, and add a chunk or two of your favorite smoke wood. We used apple wood in this cook, as most find it favorable with pork. Maple is good too. Set the roast on the grate indirect of course, with a temperature probe if you got it. If not, no worries, just keep checking back in on it. We are looking for the minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.  Rotate your prized meat once or twice during the smoke for even cooking. At around 150 degrees internal, is a good and worthy time to apply the glaze. Here is the wonderful glaze we used on this savory pork roast.

Caramel Apple Glaze

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

3 Tablespoons salted butter

3 Tablespoons apple juice

2 Tablespoons mustard

Boiled this all down in your favorite little sauce pan for ten minutes or so, and baste it on to the pork roast with a brush every ten minutes or so, until you reach 165 internal.  Keep the lid on, and the smoke going.  Turn down the dampers on the grill. Take your time people. This is your magic hour of grilling. That precious span of minutes where your vittles sizzling give off their most excellent aromas, of spice and sugars, of wood smoke and dripping fats. It is your privilege now, to slow it all down. To extend the moment for the moment’s sake. To take up residence in your BBQ chair, and tarry in the sun there. Good advice I know, and I might have taken it even, had not I spied something green yonder, by the old spruce tree. I got up and wobbled over there, and lo, a patch of grass, spread out before me, between receding patches of snow. I knelt down to investigate it. It has been some time indeed, since I’ve felt a patch of grass with my hands, and smelled its earthy bouquet. Even better, it was dry. Dry enough in point of fact, that I could sit down on it with out that awkward event of having to get up again and looking for all the world like you should be wearing a diaper. In no time, I found myself belly up in the sun there, staring up through the fragrant spruce bows, to a deep blue sky beyond. The song birds rejoiced around me,  and my soul did sing. And for a moment, and maybe even longer than that, I felt a kinship with the robin I saw yesterday, and the other souls mired in winter’s clutch, once chirping in disdain over fields of snow. Turns out all I needed indeed, was but a little green grass, and a splash of golden sun.

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After a fashion under the old spruce tree, I foiled the roast and brought it inside to let it rest a spell. Ah yes, even when the food is done, a good pit junkie will let his meat rest. To wait even more, in a pleasurable torment, amid aromas of perfectly smoked pork. As it rests, and you pace the floors like a predatory cat, the juices will return to where they most ought to be, and then in turn, to the infinite pleasure of thy palate awoken. Slice the roast into serviceable pieces and dribble some more of that glaze over it, and hail the dinner bell for those so lucky, and patron to your spoils. This a meal by and far, succulent, and most worthy of the wait. Amen.

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Slow smoked sirloin pork roast with a caramel apple glaze, sided with tin foiled potatoes. Man! Feel free to drool. We’ll clean it up.

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30 responses

  1. Definitely a drool worthy piece of pork. Looks delicious.

    April 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm

  2. Might I add to your cyber plate, a large scoop of old fashion, homemade apple sauce, like Grandma’s. I was just thinkin’ of that yesterday…

    April 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    • Oh yum, good call!

      April 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      • … I forgot to elaborate, the really chuncky style with, freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon… oh my …

        April 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm

  3. oh yeah, I’m drooling 🙂

    April 22, 2013 at 5:31 pm

  4. Can’t go wrong with pork and apples. Well executed, gentlemen. And as usual a well crafted piece. Bully for you.

    April 22, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    • Thank you sir. Pineapple would have gone well with it too I bet.

      April 22, 2013 at 9:33 pm

  5. Damn. My mouth is actually watering. I need some lunch!

    April 22, 2013 at 8:50 pm

  6. Well done Sir. Here, north of our friendly border, we also got a post Winter blast of snow and ice. *sigh* There’s a Groundhog (Woodchuck, whatever) somewhere I’d like to choke. Stay hungry Patrons 🙂

    April 23, 2013 at 7:26 am

  7. Nicely done and, yes, I’m drooling. The weather this year definitely has been weird, to say the least. 😮

    April 23, 2013 at 8:13 am

    • Thank you, Richard. Yup, it snowed again last night, and it’ll probably all be gone again by tomorrow. The nature of nature, lately so it seems.

      April 23, 2013 at 9:42 am

  8. Drool worthy for sure, I love your marinades and glaze. That pork looks so good. It’s still a bit cold here in NYC to grill, luckily no snow though.

    April 23, 2013 at 10:00 am

    • Thanks. Well, May is the official month of grilling they say. You better be out there by then!

      April 23, 2013 at 10:07 am

      • Well one way to look at it is I won’t be swatting mosquitoes while standing at the grill. Sunday is the day I christen it, the start of grilling season, I am doing a slow smoked pork shoulder.

        April 23, 2013 at 10:09 am

      • Oh man, that’s the stuff. No finer way to usher in the grilling season than a good pork butt! Good luck!

        April 23, 2013 at 10:10 am

      • Totally agree, having the ladies over for pork butt, nothing dainty about our appetites.

        April 23, 2013 at 10:12 am

  9. Those of us in Northern Wi also accept your apology…I will also need to develop the patience to cook like you. That looks amazing!

    April 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    • Well if you want to develop patience to BBQ, then smoke a big brisket. You will have no choice but to be patient!

      Thanks for checking in!

      April 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm

  10. debbeedoodles

    Oh now that looks and sounds awesome! Sorry about Old Man Winter…

    April 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm

  11. That looks bloody marvellous. Its now on my list for next bank holiday weekend. Good work fella!

    April 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    • Thanks Adam! Sorry it took so long to reply to your comment here. Totally lost track of it. But thanks for chiming in!

      July 21, 2013 at 8:58 pm

  12. Just moved back to the middle east, so this will be pretty much impossible to recreate for us, but everything about this post puts me in a good mood.

    April 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm

  13. ok fellas, i’ve been loving your blog for quite a while now, and i can no longer hold my tongue.

    recently, i got too inspired for my own good and started dabbling in a little bit of smoking of my own. we stripped down a broken refrigerator, plated the inside, built a custom door, attached a wood burning stove, and added a thermometer. she ain’t beautiful, but the beast works like a charm.

    but here’s where i need your help. i have a friend who killed a wild boar, and i now have a nice big loin in my freezer waiting for a brine and a smoke. your piggie preparation skills seem unmatched.

    advise me, oh smoking wizards. what do you suggest i do with it?

    July 19, 2013 at 1:11 am

    • Whoa, you lucky smoker you! We have seen those refrigerator conversion doodleboppers online. They seem to really work slick, and make a good conversations piece to boot. That’s cool. Do you have a picture of it some where? We’re always up for checking out other bloke’s pits.

      Anyways, for wild boar, I guess we would soak it over night on your brine or marinade. Apple wood would be our choice smoke wood, but pecan would probably taste fantastic too. Hickory always works. Put it on the pit low and slow, at about 225 – 250 F. Think an hour and half per pound, we’d wager. Last hour perhaps paint it with a liberal brown sugar pineapple glaze. Man, I’m liking where this is going! Try to get the internal temperature up to 180, so to start busting down the collagen some for a more tender affair. Its edible at 165, but if your patient and take it higher, it should get way more tender. You could wrap it in foil the last hour or so too, to get it tender, but that will compromise your bark probably. If you don’t care about bark, foil it the last hour or so with a splash of apple juice, or what ever flavor sounds good to you. Use your pit master instincts!

      You also might want to inject with something tasty, if you’re worried about it drying out on you.

      Man, you got me hungry now! Thanks a lot!

      Also, you might wanna check out one of our readers, who specialize in wild pork. Might find some good ideas over there. Check them out if you get a chance. They don’t bite.

      http://thedeerslayerswife.com/2013/03/22/wild-pork-done-right-wild-pork-done-easy/

      July 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      • thanks a ton, guys.

        love the way that sounds. i was originally planning to bust out the foil wrap near the end, but i think bark might be a great goal to aspire to.

        the plan right now is to use a beer high in malt, a few cloves of crushed garlic, rosemary, thyme, brown sugar, and (of course) salt for the brine.

        i’ll let you know how everything turns out. expect some photos if it ends up a work of art.

        July 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm

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