The Long Smoke: Pulled Pork Sandwiches
I shuffled through the darkened house, groggy-faced, with hair tossed like a bad salad. I merged barefoot into the cold boots which were docked by the back patio door, and dawned my old, woolen smoking jacket there, turned up the collar, and stepped outside. It was 5:30 in the blessed morning, a toe nail moon shimmered through cracks in a cloudy veil, and the cold December breeze rustled the cotton fibers of my pajama pants. The world was still, almost abandoned it seemed, in perfect hibernation, whilst pale-blue moonbeams fell silent on crusty snow, and frozen ponds. A lovely time of day, peaceful like early mornings are, and unto which I thus and heartily pandiculated on my patio. Yes, that’s a word. Means to yawn and stretch at the same time. Something, off-hand, it turns out I am very good at come 5:30 in the morning. After that, and in one, easy motion born of sheer muscle memory, I snatched the charcoal chimney off the patio, shook the snow clean, and crammed a few choice wads of the political section up it’s underside. In no time, I had a pile of charcoal on the blaze, and the big Weber Smokey Mountain prepped for a long day’s duty. On the pit this morning, a classic in the smokey arts. Slow-smoked, pulled pork sandwiches. BBQ doesn’t get any more authentic than this folks. Or any tastier. This is the real thing. So grab your pork butt, and let’s get after it.
Good BBQ takes time. Lots of time. And pulled pork is the epitome of the concept. In case and point, this butt began its journey to excellence the night before it even hit the pit. We slathered it down in a cheap mustard to start, working it everywhere, like an Ecuadorian with a bottle of sun tan lotion, neath what balmy rays bequeathed. Then, we dusted it liberally with McCormick Sweet & Smoky Rub, 4.76-Ounce Units (Pack of 6) for that first step in the flavor profile. After that, it was wrapped in foil, then swaddled in a plastic bag, and placed in the refrigerator to marry overnight. The reason we opted for the mustard rub here, is to make the surface of the butt good and sticky for to receive the rub. That is the reason for any mustard slather – to act as an adhesive agent. Or maybe a primer for your rub, if you want to think of it that way. Regardless, and far be it any tongue nor taste bud that I know, can ever taste the mustard anyways. Hence, you might as well make it the cheap stuff then. At any rate, the better your rub sticks, the more potential you have for a robust and flavorful, and suitably awesome, bark.
Bark. Bark is the hallmark of good butt smoking. To the uninitiated, they will take a gander at your beautifully-barked-butt, and fall into a state weeping, and/or finger pointing, croaking forth their condolences as if you have just lost a loved one or something. No, that is just bark, you have to tell them. The magical residue wrought from the wages of smoke, rub, and hour upon hour of low and steady heat, at roughly 225. If you want to read about the science of bark formation, and all that sort of thing, we would refer you to amazingribs .com, which if you haven’t yet had the pleasure, is a fabulous resource for your BBQ aspirations.
Anyways, for the long smokes, such as brisket, and in this case, pork shoulder, it is hard to argue against the minion method. It is without hesitation the technique we turn to most concerning the longer cooks. Invented by a feller named Jim Minion, it is really rather elegantly simple. We ring the fire bowl parameter with unlit charcoal, resembling a doughnut, and dump a chimney full of blazing hot ones, right smack dab in the middle of it. What goes on here is the lit charcoals slowly ignite the unlit ones sitting next to them. And those coals, in turn, light the unlit ones next to them. And so on. Like a fuse. And it works exceedingly well. Such a technique will give you long, sustained burns to span the hours long. Which is perfect for the world of the big butts and savory pulled pork sandwiches. Man! Lets get this thing going already.
Once the pit was up to 225, and stabilized with a thin smoke, and the butt was on, fat cap up, I am not ashamed to admit that I went back to bed. And the sun rose over the pit with out me, casting long, morning shadows up to and onto my patio. Tweety birds emerged from their nocturnal tidings, and fed on the pit-side feeder, like they always do when I’m not there. And the world in general, was alive again, reborn, sunbeams falling through the spruce. But I slept in and was privy to none of this, courtesy of the minion method. A little pit boy needs his beauty sleep. Eventually I rose like a black bear, rubbed my back on some pine molding skirting the bathroom door, and ambled out to the patio henceforth to check on my plunder. The pit puffed contentedly away still, apple wood smoke softly curling from its damper, catching the morning sun. Ah what a way to start the day. Again.
The Venerable Weber Smokey Mountain
Off hand, as some have inquired, our pit we’re using today is the 22.5 Weber Smokey Mountain. These cookers run about $400, and to put it bluntly, they just work. A true, set-it-and-forget-it, type of smoker. Easily the best smoker we know of in this price range. If you don’t have yourself a smoker yet, and you wish to get started, this is a fine direction to point your wallet. You can get them at most good hardware stores, or online.
Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 22-Inch Charcoal Smoker, Black
The hours passed, and the sun, how it swung across a beautiful, Minnesota sky, like a fiery pendulum to the gods. Chickadees flirted to and fro. Snow dripped fiercely off the roof. And I liked how my pajamas smelled like smoke. After breakfast, I went and did some errands for a while. After lunch, I settled into my man chair, which afforded a view out to the pit which sat stoically in the sun, still puffing away. Pork butts are safe to eat at 165 internal, but you’ll want to bring it up to 195 or so, whence the collagen has broken down, and the beast at last becomes pull-able. That is where the money is at. It is also done when the bone pulls out easily and clean. But again, it takes time. Be not in a hurry for this one. I thus kicked up my feet into a posture more suitable for the BBQ arts, and upon the cusp of instinctual reaction, I may have pandiculated again. In point of fact I did. And I won’t apologize for it. Then I fell asleep. This is the inherent rigors of making pulled pork sandwiches, people. It is not for the faint of ticker, nor those who fancy themselves impatient, or incapable of listing over on a couch if need be, for to fortify that bark a little more. And expect more than your fair share of lovely beverages to be drained whence commencing upon such mountains of pork. For there is a great spanning ocean of clock between you and your intended gastronomic rendezvous. And the only way to get there, the surest way, is to wait for it. To tarry in the wake of deeds well done, where the wood smoke also rises, and patron to the pit. Amen.
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Looks amazing, as always… 🙂
January 14, 2014 at 11:50 am
Oh it was!
January 14, 2014 at 12:24 pm
Yummy! How often do you tend to turn it – or do you just leave it be? My friends and I debate that back and forth… often…
January 14, 2014 at 12:58 pm
Well, I am from the just let it be camp. Fat cap up, of course, for to utilize the natural basting effects of gravity. I’ve never turned a butt, come to think of it. But I bet it works fine either way. If it tastes good, what else matters!
January 14, 2014 at 1:46 pm
Just have to give this a try.. bark. bark.. who let the dogs out?? It will be a challenge to keep mine away. had not heard of the term barked so just had to give you a jest to it.
January 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm
It was irresistible…I understand. Thanks!
January 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm
Pale blue moonbeams fell silent on the snow – fiery pendulums to the gods. Great stuff PotP. Sincerely, great stuff. Of course, the pulled pork looked phenomenal as well!
January 14, 2014 at 1:50 pm
Ah yes, I quite fancied those lines too! And thank you. Coming from you, I consider it not only an honor, but sincere as well. Thanks kindly, Duncan. You always make a bloke’s day!
January 14, 2014 at 1:58 pm
i now know you aer a true pit lover. Great story about the prep and cooking. Can’t beat a good Smoked Butt. Bet it tasted as good as it looked. Made me thirsty, now where did I……………………..
January 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm
Ah, thank you kindly, Red! Hope you get that thirst taken care of!
January 14, 2014 at 2:54 pm
That looks …. Never mind, do you deliver? I now need to leave my home in search of a pulled pork sandwich, yet I fear the likes of what I’ll find will be inferior to your creation.
January 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm
Thanks much. I do deliver for a mere nominal sum of one million dollars!
January 14, 2014 at 2:56 pm
My stomach is rumbling. MAN that looks divine. I can smell and taste it!
January 14, 2014 at 5:42 pm
January 14, 2014 at 7:37 pm
Excellent. But my dear spouse is curious as to why I occasionally feel the need to lick my computer screen. One only has to read the above tale. Mouth. Watering.
January 14, 2014 at 6:57 pm
Ah thank you sir. Love it when you chime in, tho you’re computer screen may think otherwise!
January 14, 2014 at 7:39 pm
We are indeed the princes of pulled pork, that sandwich looks great!
January 15, 2014 at 1:26 am
Haha, ah yes. It is as royal as we will ever get! Thanks Laurie!
January 15, 2014 at 11:24 am
Tracero de cerdo is definitely on my grocery list to try out on my new smoker grill. You inspire me from 3,500 miles away! Buen Dia mi amigo, buen dia!
January 15, 2014 at 7:28 am
II do not know a third of what you just said, but, you bethca John and Mary in Ecuador!
Yes, when you have a whole day in front of you, and lots of fuel, you’ll have to try this mountain of pork!
January 15, 2014 at 11:21 am
Muy Bueno, Gringo! Even with only understanding a two-thirds of what I said – you got the gist.
I am going to buy a rump or pork and slow cook it South American style! I will send pictures.
January 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm
Haha sounds good. Man I bet your lime wood will do wonders with pork. Looking forwards to your results!
January 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm
damn that looks good! i’m still trying to manage how to keep a steady temp without constant tending to the pit – got to work on that minion method!
January 15, 2014 at 8:52 am
Thanks! Yup, the MM has helped many a bloke out on these matters. Good luck!
January 15, 2014 at 11:18 am
January 15, 2014 at 11:03 am
Got that right!
January 15, 2014 at 11:15 am
this looks awesome. i will try this in the weekend.
Dad in Manila
January 15, 2014 at 1:02 pm
Sweet! Good luck!
January 15, 2014 at 1:19 pm
That looks effing delicious.
January 15, 2014 at 1:07 pm
In point of fact, it rather was! Thanks Man!
January 15, 2014 at 2:01 pm
January 15, 2014 at 3:59 pm
Nice! Had me some Eastern Carolina Q while in Wilmington, right tasty!
January 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm
Oh that sounds tasty indeed. They surely know how to do it down there.
Aloha auntidoni !
January 15, 2014 at 10:12 pm
sigh…such a lovely tale 🙂 Am glad to add “pandiculated” to my vocab–great word. Kudos to you for getting up at such an early hour! But looks like it was worth it.
January 15, 2014 at 9:34 pm
Thanks kindly, Liz. You will find that you pandiculate almost daily, once you are aware of the word. In point of fact, I now is the hour I do it most. Pandiculating almost always precedes turning into a pumpkin!
January 15, 2014 at 10:09 pm
That is an amazing blog! And your food! Its a bit like the experience of what here in England we call and ‘ear-worm’. An ‘ear-worm’ (sorry if you know already) is a tune which goes round and round in your mind and you cant make it go away. Your food is like that! Once I have seen it, the image sticks there and won’t go away. I seriously want to eat it.
January 16, 2014 at 10:56 am
Wow. Never heard of that term over here, that’s funny. I know what you’re saying tho. Who knew it applied also to food! Thanks for the thoughtful and articulate comment. You need to stop by more often!
January 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm
I keep telling myself: You have to eat before reading this guy’s post!
January 16, 2014 at 1:21 pm
Haha, it would help!
January 16, 2014 at 1:22 pm
Reblogged this on Tangent and commented:
January 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm
Damn! I had to Google “pandiculate”. Then I pandiculated. Good word. I’ll think of you every time I use it. Plan to use it 5 times tomorrow.
January 16, 2014 at 8:58 pm
Haha, good for you Mrs Deerslayer! I done did it three times today already.
January 16, 2014 at 9:01 pm
Couple of thoughts. First, NICE smoke ring! That sucker must be a solid 1/4+ inch (bottom pic. the piece of meat in the upper right corner of the sandwich). Second, instead of going back to bed that’s when I pour a cup of coffee end enjoy getting caught up on my blog reading, in my rarely quiet house.
January 18, 2014 at 6:30 am
Thanks Mr Dodd! Yup that ring was the end result of ten hours or more on the pit. Good call on harvesting the moments of a silent house. You are an opportunist! I on the other hand was just plain tired. And I liked going to bed smelling like a campfire.
January 18, 2014 at 10:48 am
Reblogged this on xhconcepts.
January 22, 2014 at 5:53 am
Reblogged this on Sarah's Attic Of Treasures and Our Neck Of The Woods and commented:
I really Like this blog. New to me but not to a number of other people.
May 19, 2015 at 12:46 am
Hello. I did nominate you for the Dragon`s Loyalty Award. You honestly have a great and inspiring blog. You can read about the nomination in my last post.
July 20, 2015 at 12:23 pm
Many thanks! Appreciate that. It’s an honor too!
July 20, 2015 at 4:51 pm
You are welcome…you have a very unique blog…great posts.
July 21, 2015 at 12:08 pm
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