Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

The Magic of Winter Grilling: Hickory Tinted Pork Shoulder Steaks

Whilst the thin tendrils of hickory smoke gently ascend into a darkened sky, I tug up the zipper of my old smoking jacket, and cast a glance out over the frozen pond. The world is so still now, as if time itself had faimages (1)llen from the star-scattered sky; with not a whisper of wind – and the earth pauses in orbit, holding its collective breath. It is cold tonight, but not desperately cold I guess, least wise not by Minnesota standards. It’s just cold. Single digits I would say, but maybe more than that. Regardless, it is easily enough, it appears, to drive the hearty grilling populace that once was back into their thermostatically controlled environs for to while away the winter months there. They will moan the weather man’s name in vain, and abhor the ice that dare forms upon their tightly manicured driveways. They will crank up the furnace and prance about the house in their finest tropical beach wear, little umbrella drinks in hand, whilst listening to Jamaica Farewell on the steel drums for to sooth the chronic frost that which builds on the seedy fabric of their soul.

There are a few of us, however, who haven’t cracked yet. Who haven’t conceded to winter’s impersonal knack of leverage. Hockey players for instance. Down hill skiers I suppose. Snow plow drivers, mail carriers, and of course, Patrons of the Pit.coals2 For the latter I speak now, and in good behalf I believe. We are but a hearty bunch indeed, who refuse to hang up our tongs when ice so rudely compiles upon them. Nay, we raise the goblet of BBQ instead, and bandy only tighter to our craft. Thus here we are tonight, pit-side, wood smoke curling, with the subtle blue hue of moonbeams peaking over the spruce tops. What a privilege to not have disregarded this most rewarding of seasons. The sky is so cold and so clear, with nary a ripple of heat, my but how it reaches for the heavens, tapering into the stars. I love it. Yes, it’s cold, and you will have moments of life considerations, but in truth, the hardships of grilling in the cold is nothing a good smoking jacket and a hot bed of coals can’t get you through. Besides, you need to eat.

On the pit tonight, a little honey garlic pork shoulder steak with a hickory tint. It’s real easy to do too. Let’s dash inside, shall we, and I’ll show you the marinade.

Honey 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

Mix up a batch of this goodness and marinate your meat as long as you see fit. And the longer the better. Works great with any pork dish.

When marinated to your satisfaction, go ahead and plop thy spoils over indirect heat, toss a small piece of hickory wood smokewoodsinto the coals, and plunk on the lid. The draft should engage, and you ought to see plumes of hickory smoke soon in curl. Remember the old BBQ adage here, smoke is not an ingredient, it is a seasoning. We’re looking just to tint the meat here, with the woodsy, slightly nutty aroma of hickory. Hickory has a fairly strong flavor, so don’t over do it here. If you want to learn more about smoke woods, a while back we assembled a list of the better woods to use, which you can find at the very top of the page, entitled, go figure, Smoke Woods. Or just click on the photo! We want you to take it easy around here.

Flip the pork at the prompting of your pit master instincts. The USDA recommended minimum for pork is 145 degrees internal. Bring it there at your leisure, whether it’s 9 degrees outside or 90 degrees, it is your privilege to tarry in the good ambiance of wood and coal and sizzling meat. What joy it is to chum up next to a radiant kettle grill on a cold winter’s eve, and relish the BTU’s bellowing forth from it’s steely bosom. To smell the succulence of roasting pork, and wafting wood smoke. To feel the heat against your face, whilst moonbeams swing on ethereal tethers over spruce trees, and puffing chimney stacks. To hear wood fires snap, whilst starlight sprinkles over fields of white. Glory! Our privilege indeed, and the magic of the winter time pit. Amen.

A tip of the tongs to our cold weather pit keepers out there. You are the faithful covenant, you know, and the Brethren of BBQ most hearty. Grill on!


Garlic & Honey, Hickory-Tinted Pork Shoulder Steaks hot off the pit. Sided with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed green beans.

29 responses

  1. A man after my own heart !! I DO love the pork shoulder … yum! Grill on my Smokie Brutha, grill on !!

    January 4, 2015 at 2:22 pm

  2. Damn! Always with the tasty treats!
    Happy new year my friends!!

    January 4, 2015 at 2:31 pm

  3. Pingback: The Magic of Winter Grilling: Hickory Tinted Pork Shoulder Steaks - Best 2 Buy Outdoor

  4. I think you guys are hardy and hearty! I love pork steaks and will try this. My favorite marinade for this cut is mustard, soy sauce, garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes.

    January 4, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    • That’s sounds very tasty. Might have to try that marinade too! Many thanks!

      January 4, 2015 at 4:05 pm

  5. Looks delicious. the marinade sounds perfect with the pork steak. Couldn’t ask for a better meal.

    January 4, 2015 at 5:29 pm

  6. Thanks PotP. The Mrs. will like this recipe. Might just try it on some wings as well. Happy New Year!

    January 4, 2015 at 7:59 pm

  7. What a great way to start the New Year! That combination of Garlic, Soya sauce, Honey and Pork with mash and greens, would be just heavenly.
    Thanks for some GREAT posts in 2014 and a Happy New Year to my friends, The Patrons of the Pit!

    January 5, 2015 at 2:07 am

  8. Reminds me of some days spent on my deck in Burnsville warming my hands around my little barbecue grill. Sometimes I had to walk around to the deck from the front door because the sliding glass door would be frozen shut. But, the grilled meat always made the effort worthwhile. God Bless you and yours with a happy New Year.

    January 5, 2015 at 7:22 am

    • Wow, impressive John from Ecuador! Once upon a time, you were a robust Minnesota native! What happened! Now the coldest thing you encounter is the lemon aid in your hand whilst wiggling your toes into the sand upon your Ecuadorian beach. You’ve gone soft, I’m afraid. Even so, sounds like a good trade I suppose. After all, life is good down there!

      Blessings John and Mary!

      January 5, 2015 at 9:31 am

  9. I’m discovering a love of soy sauce and have made several different marinades with it lately!

    January 5, 2015 at 8:23 am

    • No kidding? Yeah, turns out to be a useful thing to have sitting in the fridge. Not just for chow mien any more!

      How bout them cowboys!

      Take care,

      January 5, 2015 at 9:24 am

      • Go Cowboys!!!!

        I have to keep pinching myself that we actually made it past the WildCards! 🙂

        January 5, 2015 at 9:27 am

      • No kidding. Didn’t see that coming!

        January 5, 2015 at 10:23 am

  10. Pork is a great choice of a protein now. For some reason I find myself paying more attention to that. And you must get a bunch of steaks out of a shoulder, no? Quite economical. I never thought of slicing a steak out of one. Once again, you’ve given me some good ideas here. Do keep warm.

    January 5, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    • Yeah good point. Not sure how many steaks you can get from a typical shoulder, but I bet it’s a few. We bought a 1/4 hog last year, and I was delving through the deep freeze last week and found these. I wouldn’t had thought of pork shoulder steaks either, had not our butcher included some in our share. Economical indeed. And tastes great.

      Take care, Mr Quincho!

      January 5, 2015 at 6:37 pm

  11. This is mad

    January 6, 2015 at 6:26 am

  12. Liz

    me, I am listening to those steel drums and checking my stash of drink umbrellas. Grilling and smoking are high on my list, but not as high as winter is low. Going to wait for the mercury to rise and let you and your ilk carry on.

    Here’s something I found strange. Read a very good old-school foodie sort of book:

    Enjoyed very much, but yowza–the author (now deceased) was anti-grilling. All sorts of claims about carcinogens on grilled food and such. Sadly, the author died at 48, but we know it wasn’t grilled food that took her so early. Was the first time I had seen grilling so universally pillaged.

    January 6, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    • Hi Liz! Understandable your instincts towards winter grilling. At times, you even make sense! There are certainly warmer ways to cook supper.

      Thanks for the book recommendation. Too bad every thing is bad for you these days, especially cooking meat over fire. That stings. Especially when man kind has been doing it for 5000 years or what ever its been. Aw well.

      Happy New Year, Liz. Stay warm, and put on some steel drums!

      January 8, 2015 at 9:37 am

  13. This looks so yummy!! I don’t usually like pork, but will definitely try this. Thankyou 😄😍

    January 18, 2015 at 9:10 am

    • Yeah pork tends to need a little help at times. Hope it works good for you. And thanks for chiming in!


      January 18, 2015 at 1:14 pm

  14. Reblogged this on Dad Whats 4 Dinner.

    February 3, 2015 at 10:10 pm

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