Snowbound! Apple Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches
It finally happened. The event we northerners have been waiting for all winter long. I tarried in my leather man chair with a hot cup of tea in hand and simply watched it for a while, swirl and dance outside the window pane. Snow. Lots of it. Riding a tempest. One might even go so far as to wager it was a blizzard, and by golly it hit the spot to see. It hit the spot because of all the many times the weather men cried wolf this winter, barking of the big one to come. And it never did. Believe it or not, there are some people who actually like snow, look forwards to it, and want to frolic accordingly amid it’s softened flakes. We be some of those people. So it was good to see a boisterous and proper, Minnesota snowstorm engulfing our fair hamlet again. This was how it should be. And after it settled a bit, I went outside to cook something there.
The Power of Halves
After examining my meat larder, something men of a certain age tend to do, I settled on one portly pork butt to do the job. I think it weighed in at 8 pounds, I don’t recall. But I knew if I wanted to have it done by supper time, (6 hours away) then I would have to deploy the old pit master trickery of slicing the butt in halves, thus to reduce the cooking time. It’s a technique I’ve used many times at the pit, and always with favorable results. Not only does it reduce cooking time by maybe a third, but it also increases the surface area. This is good because it basically unlocks new real-estate for more spice rub and smoke penetration. More bark people. Take that weather man!
The Science and Art of Bark
Here we are a few hours into the cook, and as you can see, we were already developing a flavorful and robust bark. The smoke, courtesy of two large hunks of apple wood, combined with the relatively low heat of the Weber performer, which ran at 275 degrees, and the spice rub, Kits KC BBQ Rub, courtesy of the good folk at Miners Mix, all came together in a magical union of yum! Bark is a scientific thing, but you don’t have to be an Einstein to eat it. The Flintstones will do! If you want to learn more about how it’s formed and what is going on, check out the master’s write up of it over at Amazing Ribs What is Bark.
So it was, as the Alberta clipper slid into town that we put the finishing touches on our pulled pork sandwich. A squirt or two of sweet baby rays, combined with some of the more succulent muscles of the pork shoulder, and as always, I like to mix lots of bark in there too, so you get some in every bite. Mercy! Can you smell that? That’s a proper pulled pork sammich people!
When The Bark is Worth the Bite
I plated it up with a side of beans and returned to my man chair. After settling in, feet propped up, and fueled by repetitive instinct, I reached for the TV remote like any red-blooded American man would, but then curiously caught myself looking out the window at the snow again. A soft smile formed from my lips, and I set the remote back down, and picked up my sandwich instead. I had been waiting a long time for this, and I didn’t want to dilute it with the flashing images of a TV. It would be just me, my pork, and the snow. And for a while at least, that was enough. Amen.
Nothing quite so fine as a plateful of bark and beans! Burp!
Well done little one. After the blizzard i could not even find my little grill. Buried out there somewhere by the camper…
January 24, 2018 at 10:14 am
Your grill is cute and tiny, like my baby.
January 24, 2018 at 11:34 am
AmazingRibs.com the blog that all other BBQ bloggers kneel at. We speak of them in hushed tones.
January 24, 2018 at 11:20 am
You got that right! They are to BBQ, what Mr Spock is to Star Trek. What they say goes. That’s just how it is.
Howdy Mr Dodd!
January 24, 2018 at 11:29 am
Amen indeed! I love a good snow storm myself and we’ve yet to have one. I can sit and watch it coming down until its done, and then go out and play in it. And yes, little girls from Hawaii enjoy snow too 😀
January 24, 2018 at 4:41 pm
That’s cool to hear! Your right, there is something mesmerizing about a snow storm. Lovely to watch. And then frolic in afterwards. It even during!
January 24, 2018 at 6:45 pm
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We got our only snow of the winter, so far, on Christmas Eve. It was quite perfect, especially since it was all gone within a week. I love snow for the aesthetics, but I don’t like it hanging around like an unwanted house guest. I had enough of that growing up in Juneau, Alaska. The pork sounds delightful. I am still a few months away from resuming my post pit side, but I did day dream this morning about rising before the sun to begin tending a fire while sipping coffee. Good days ahead. Cheers!
January 24, 2018 at 9:04 pm
Ah yes, no more poetic nor proper snow than that , on Christmas Eve. You Washingtonites sure know how to do it. I just don’t like driving at high speeds on the stuff. Other than that, it’s a house guest I don’t mind for a while.
Lovely lament on your early morning pork to come. Some year I might just take the winter off from grilling, just to experience the joy of returning to to it in the spring. There’s something to be said for that.
January 24, 2018 at 10:17 pm
Beautiful evocative writing, as ever. You got me with “real-estate for more spice rub”. So descriptive.
January 28, 2018 at 4:28 am
Thanks Conor. Good to see you again old boy! Hope all is well out way of the Emerald sea.
January 30, 2018 at 8:02 am
All great here. Though we get rain rather than that lovely snow.
January 30, 2018 at 10:07 am