Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Diggin’ Out, Diggin’ In

groundhoggA lot of Minnesotan’s want to give that ground hog a good burial right now. It weren’t too long ago, yonder in the town of  Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where the wily rodent emerged from his earthen hollow and declared for us all an early spring. And spirits leapt. Turns out tho one, Punxsutawney Phil, is full of crap. Yup. Ever since then it’s been one blizzard after another. Up here in Minnesota lately, driveways have been lost for weeks. Squirrels buried and orphaned. Icicles stalactites draw longer from the roof than the Trump administration.  And the sun seems like a distant relative of whom you can’t quite remember their face. Welcome to March in Minnesota.


Diggin’ Out

IMG_0907I woke up the other day with a sincere hankering for some good BBQ. Being the Keeper of the Coals that I am, I knew it was within my duty spectrum and skill set to do something about it. Now to get a good BBQ on in this inhospitable parallel, you must first dig out your pit, as shown in the accompanying photo. Some days this is as easy as taking to it with a little whisk broom. A few swipes of your fairy tale wand and you’re good to smoke. Other days not so much, and full-on, shovel action is required. Such was the case this Sunday last. I dug and I dug. And I dug and I dug some more. And eventually, whilst the crisp six below wind swept off the frozen pond, I had myself a pit proper again. I employed the propane assist on my vintage 1997 Weber Performer to get things cracking. I like that feature. Not as poetic, perhaps, as the political section stuff up the aluminum arse of a charcoal chimney, but nay, it is a manly way to light one’s charcoal for sure. And whilst the smoke curled in kind there, I gave a few final finishing touches with the snow shovel and headed inside to assess the pork shoulder. Come with me won’t you. Come check out this butt!


That’s one pork butt you see there. It was so big, I felt compelled to lop it in halves to spare a little time on the cook. But more, to increase surface area to garner more bark. An old pit keepers trick I’ve used many times. The rub today is probably our current favorite pork butt and rib rub, from the good folks at Miners Mix. If you’ve not tried their products yet, well you’re missing something out of your lives. That’s all I can say. They’re legit. As good as rubs come, we think. And no they don’t pay us anything other than send us a few bottles now and then. Good stuff. Anyhow, we liberally seasoned the bone-in butt with Maynard’s Memphis Rub and set her on the Weber kettle, indirect, for the next 7 hours. We dug out. Now we’re diggin’ in!

Diggin’ In


The technique we used here, as you can just make out in the photo, worked really well. We used the old stock grate that came with the pit, you know the stainless steel kind with the hinged trap door deals on either side. It was the perfect tool for this smoke. Under each hinged door, we set one charcoal basket with some hickory wood, some lit charcoals and some unlit coals, making two little minion baskets, you might say. As the cook progresses, all you need do is knock the ash off the coals now and then and add more unlit briquettes as necessary. Maybe some more wood too. It sort of just keeps rocking on like that until thy meat lands gently on the hallowed shores of succulence. 195 to 205 internal. Or until that bone comes out clean.

A Matter of Time

Pork shoulders take some considerable clock however. These kind of smokes are not for the easily bored or the impatient. They are for the loiterers among us. Those who can tarry in a view for hours on end and still think well of their lives. Butt smokes take time. Time to flip up your feet in your favorite chair, tip your hat over your eyes, and let yourself drift into the heavenly land of nod. Time to watch the game, or a movie, or even both. Time to chase the cat around, or the baby. Time to loiter with a lovely periodical in the little pit boys room until your legs go numb. Indeed, time to let up on the accelerator pedal of life for a while, and just be…

Time to do what ever you want really. And that’s what I love most about butt smoking. The time it takes. You see, when you take the time to smoke a butt, you’re really stealing some “me time” in a most hectic world. Even your people will tend to leave you alone if they know your cooking them supper. BBQ is hard work after all! Must leave the pit master to his calling, they think. And a wise pit jockey will do his kindest to water that weed!

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Behold, Mount Pork Hath Risen! Succulent, hickory smoked pulled pork courtesy of the Weber kettle and a goodly amount of time. Quality time, patron to the pit. Amen.

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March in Minnesota. Don’t believe a ground hog!

12 responses

  1. My friend, you have done it now. I am off to the local carniceria to get some pork. It has been too long since we have slow smoked cerdo y yo quiero, mucho!

    I won’t be needing to dig out any snow though as it is generally 85 degrees warm here every day and only dips to 65 or 70 at night. God bless you and the rest of the Nordic crowd up there in my old home state.

    March 6, 2019 at 11:58 am

    • Sounds like a good plan to me, John in Ecuador! You’ll have to inflate your pool noodle for me! And I’ll toss a snow ball for you!

      March 6, 2019 at 12:16 pm

  2. Amen! I use Miners Mix Maynards Rub on everything that goes on the Weber. The Ole Miner gave me a tip on making a sauce of it to up that deliciousness. YUM!!

    March 6, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    • Wow, that’s a cool idea. How come the Ole Miner never told me that. He must like you better! But yeah, I’ll have to try that some time. It’s cool to see you enjoying the Miners Mix line up so much. They got it going on they do.

      March 8, 2019 at 9:30 am

  3. Pingback: Diggin’ Out, Diggin’ In — Patrons of the Pit | My Meals are on Wheels

  4. I reminded my son yesterday to look up your blog (he’s a Minnesota boy and one heck of a griller), but he was too busy pulling snow off the roof before the next onslaught. (Why DO they call it a roof “rake” anyway?) Despite Phil’s prediction, sounds like there’s more snow is in the works there… smiling as I sat out on our deck today in the mid-60’s. Loved your tip to halve the pork butt to double the flavor, too. Thanks for a fun read!

    March 8, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    • You’re welcome Kim! Thanks for stopping by, it’s been quite a while. Hope all is well in your neck of the world. 60 something degrees you say? You just had to rub it in. Our southern readership likes to do that, I’ve noticed.

      Best guess I have is that one is to use a “raking” motion when one pulls the snow down off the roof. Thus the snow rake was conceived. And a lot of people are doing just that up here as we brace for another whopper tomorrow. Old Phil misfired this year, I’m afraid.

      Take care, Kim. And tell your boy, PotP says hey!

      March 8, 2019 at 8:46 pm

  5. More surface area = more smoke, more bark, more FLAVOR! Keep the coals hot my friend.

    March 9, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    • That the formula as I see it too!

      Will do Mr Dodd. Take care good sir.

      March 11, 2019 at 3:38 pm

  6. I just dug in the freezer and looked in the garage…2 pork butts and 3/4 bag of charcoal. It’s a sign. Thanks for the inspiration. Now for a metal detector to find the grill. It’s an adventure!

    March 9, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    • Howdy do, Gary! Good to hear from you, as always. Yeah it surely is a sortie of sorts even to find the grill lately, what with all this snow. Hopefully you remember the general area in the yard where you last saw it! Good times. But I think I’m ready for spring now.

      March 11, 2019 at 3:30 pm

  7. My family had decided that we should have pulled pork for dinner tonight, but they failed to inform me of the plan, so I was unprepared. There was much sadness in the land, but I will be ready the next time, as I spent today getting my grilling rig in working order for the new season of barbecue arts. As you know, I am a seasonal griller. We settled for InstaPot pulled pork, which was passable, but desperately lacking in wood smoke. Soon!

    March 24, 2019 at 10:48 pm

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