Seizing the Day: Pulled Pork on the Kettle Grill
As I tarry now in my writing room, with stereophonic music in play, the wind driven sleet of an April blizzard raps against the window pane like a house guest no longer welcome. It was 60 degrees the other day here in Minnesota. 60 degrees. That’s like Miami beach around here. People were gleefully expelling their breath into pool noodles and slapping on last year’s sun tan lotion. My but it was lovely then. All the snow save for the deepest recesses of shade had melted into the grass. The nice cars of the world were back on the roads. And joy had returned to the eyes again of the mass captive audience that is the north-land. Indeed, our spirits lept in proportion with the mercury. But today all of that is gone now- humbled under a half-foot of wet snow. Like a sucker punch to the gut. Like the candy bar of summer dangled in front of thee, and then yanked from your outreached and trembling hands.
We stand strong in our mukluks tho, waiting and tingling, ready to pounce on the exploding sun.
Taking the Summit
I think back to just two days ago, standing in shirt sleeves at the pit, nurturing this beautiful pork shoulder. Oh how the tweety birds rejoiced in the trees, and the migrant Buffleheads frolicked in the pond. I reveled in how the sun felt warm against my shoulders, and how the air tasted so sweet, mixed with the soft, rising tendrils of hickory smoke. This was the measure of weather we northern pit keepers have waited so long for. That which we pined for amid the enduring winter tempests of yore. I thought maybe we were done with winter. Yes, there was a glimmer of hope naively affixed to my soul, even tho the weather man said the snows were coming back again. That schools would close. And roadways would go asunder as they do. He said it was coming. And sure enough it did. But for this brief window of time, this lull between the storms, like a mountaineer who claims his pocket of good weather for the summit, we parlayed our moments pit-side, under pastel blue skies, and we gloried there. Seizing the day, as they say. And procuring some really good pork along the way. Here’s the skinny on that.
How To Make Pulled Pork in the Weber Kettle
- The Seasoning
Pork butts are the easiest thing in the BBQ arts, provided you’ve got the time. Firstly, the night before we hit the shoulder with liberal quantities of our favorite butt rub, Miners Mix Memphis Rub, and let it soak into the meat all night long on the fridge, wrapped in plastic of course. Then we hit it again as it went onto the pit.
- Kettle Set up & Operating Procedure
This is easy too. For this cook we used the two baskets that came with the kettle, along with the stock grate with the two hinged trap doors deals on either side. Very handy for this style of cooking. Filled each basket half way with lit coals, and half way with unlit briquettes and a couple chunks of hickey wood. Basically creating two little minion fires. We put an aluminum pan with about an inch of water in between said baskets, and plopped the shoulder on the grate rightly in the middle. Fat cap up to self baste later on. That’s it. You don’t touch the meat until it’s done, or about 195 internal. The pit dampers were set to about 50% top and bottom, or until your kettle settles in to around 225 to 250 degrees. We did have to occasionally add some unlit briquettes to baskets too, and more wood chunks, but that is standard O.P. for this sort of smoking. All part of the BBQ arts, and kettle cuisine at its best.
Another fine smoke suckled from the scant offerings of pleasant weather dropped from above. If only for a day, weren’t we the kings. Or at least well fed, patron to the pit. Amen.
Ah, the rewards of a beautiful Spring day. Nicely done PotP.
April 11, 2019 at 5:29 pm
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Yup, there’s something about a lovely day, especially so when you haven’t had one in a while. Your capacity to appreciate it is clearly heightened!
April 12, 2019 at 8:19 am
Well, I see the robins came out of the woods even though the snow is still falling…It’s a good afternoon to make the screen porch alive with some sizzling meat and aroma fit to wake the hibernating bear out back (so far no broken screens this spring). Thanks for the encouragement to dig in the freezer!
April 12, 2019 at 2:24 pm
Howdy Gary! Good to see you. You must live somewhere’s up north then to be having black bear troubles. You lucky schmuck! Yeah, we’ve got the robins down here now too. When ever I see those, I know spring is at hand, despite what it may look like out of doors. It’s been a long winter for us Minnesotans! Here’s to a tasty 2019, with many BBQ’s and trips afield into the prettier places.
April 15, 2019 at 1:53 pm
Happy So far PotP. Found me a monster Beef Brisket in the bottom of dads freezer (He lives further north). 10 hours of hickory smoking brought a nice bear (nice to the tune of 400 lbs plus or minus) and 20 relatives out of the woods. Lots of telling stories, basting and keeping out of the first nice rain with no snow added. looking forward to more of your great posts!
April 22, 2019 at 4:30 pm
That’s my boy! I haven’t done a brisket in a couple of years. It’s been way too long. A most satisfying cut of meat to get right.
April 24, 2019 at 11:41 am
As ever, lovely penmanship. Keep up the great work.
April 13, 2019 at 2:25 am
Appreciate the nod. Thank you kindly, Mr Conor. And likewise to you. You put out one heck of a blog over there. Good stuff indeed.
Always a treat when you swing by. Cheers mate!
April 15, 2019 at 1:56 pm
The treat is all mine.
April 15, 2019 at 3:24 pm
I feel for you, my friend. Those April snow storms were always the most demoralizing at the end of a Minnesota winter. But, you know the wet snow of April melts quickly and the trees will be budding out for the miracle of annual new growth in mere days. Good meat – like that prepared by the PotP master can’t help but speed the process along. God bless you and your family as you greet Spring in the frozen Northland.
April 13, 2019 at 6:59 am
Its John in Ecuador! Very nice to see your comment upon these digital archives. Hope all is well with you and Mary and your people down way of paradise. You got it made there, but I am glad you used to live up here. I think it gives you a keener appreciation for an endless summer or what ever it is it does there in Ecuador. Yes indeed, a well placed April snow storm is a cruel slap in the face. Just when you think winter is over, and you cast a glance at your gardening gloves – whomp! You get a big dumper! But like you said, at least it’s gone within a week or so. That helps.
Happy Easter to you and Mary, if we don’t chat till then. Ham is going on the pit this Sunday for sure.
April 15, 2019 at 2:01 pm