Instant Pot Tomatillo Pork Carnitas


This recipe, based on two of my other classics, is an experiment on reducing the time needed to braise a pork shoulder so that it is tender enough to pull apart for tacos. In my test I was able to reduce the cooking time from almost 4 hours to 1.5 hours in the Instant Pot. Tenderness will depend on the volume of meat; you may need to compensate if needed.

The tomatillos and spices add a complex, well-rounded flavor that is unbeatable in a charred tortilla topped with the seasoned pork. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

2.5 pounds bone-in pork shoulder with some fat
4 tbs. XV olive oil
2 tbs. butter
10 husked, washed and cored tomatillos, halved
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/2 shallot, sliced
1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
1 tbs. ground coriander
3 tbs. ground cumin, from toasted seed
1 tbs. ground Mexican oregano
2 dry bay leaves
1 tsp. ground dry chipotle, to taste
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt, to taste
1/2 cup chicken or pork broth

For the Tacos:
6-inch flour or corn tortillas
Chopped cilantro
Sliced scallion, with greens
Mike’s Famous Guacamole
Fresh diced jalapenos or serrano chilies
Diced red onion
Lime wedges
Sour cream
Grated Cotija cheese
Kosher salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Turn on the Instant Pot saute function and set it to HIGH. Add the olive oil and butter and wait until it comes up to temperature and starts to sizzle. Carefully add the pork shoulder to the pot and brown on all sides, about eight minutes total. Using a large tongs, remove the pork and set aside. Switch the saute function to LOW. Add the chopped garlic, shallot and onion. Saute for about four minutes until the onion has softened.

Cancel the saute function. Remove the vegetables and place in a food processor with the tomatillos. Pulse until smooth, about thirty seconds. Add the contents back into the Instant Pot. Add the dry spices and chicken or pork broth. Mix well. Place the browned pork shoulder in the pot and spoon over some of the sauce on the pork so it is evenly covered.

Place the cover on the pot and lock it. Seal the toggle vent. Set the function to pressure cook (HIGH) for 1.5 hours. After cooking, allow the pot to release pressure naturally, about 25-30 minutes. When the pin drops, open the pot lid. Remove the bone from the pork (it should easily pull out) and pull apart the pork into carnitas-sized bites, discarding any excess fat.

Set the Instant Pot saute function to NORMAL and reduce the liquid for about three minutes until thickened. Shut off the function and cover the pot until ready to serve. Discard the bay leaves. Keep the top pressure release vented or use the Instant Pot glass lid, available for purchase on Amazon.

OPTIONAL: For the full carnitas experience, fry the pressure-cooked pulled pork pieces in 1/4 cup canola oil until crispy. Promptly remove and drain on layered paper towel. Serve as shown.

Serve with fired tortillas and garnish with the toppings shown.
Serves 4.

Please Note: You will need at least 1/2 cup of liquid in order for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure and seal. This recipe was tested in an 8-quart Instant Pot Duo.

Vietnamese Charbroiled Pork


Vietnamese Charbroiled Pork | Culinary Compost RecipesThis sublime South Asian recipe can be made as an appetizer, standalone dinner with Jasmine sticky rice, or served in combination with Vietnamese Pho soup. Let the sliced pork rest for at least 3-4 hours in the fridge with the marinade ingredients so the flavors have time to set up.

Use an outdoor grilling basket to ensure an even charbroil sear over real wood charcoal. Serve with fresh lime wedges and hot chili garlic oil, Sriracha or Sambal paste and fish sauce. An amazing recipe — Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 pound pork loin, trimmed of excess fat, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into thin slices at a bias (1/4″ thick)
2 tbs. palm or light-brown sugar
1 tbs. minced garlic
2 tbs. minced shallot
1 stalk minced lemongrass (tender inner white and green parts only)
1/4 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1 tbs. Red Boat fish sauce
1 tbs. Pearl River black soy sauce
1 tbs. canola or peanut oil

Serve With~
Romaine lettuce or baby spinach
Lime wedges
Sriracha, Sambal paste or hot chili garlic oil
Fish sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the sliced pork and place in a wide mixing bowl. Prepare the other ingredients for the marinade and whisk together in a small prep bowl.

Using a flexible spatula, add the marinade to the pork and mix gently, ensuring all pieces are evenly coated. Transfer to a Ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.

One hour before grilling, remove the meat from the fridge and allow to warm up to room temperature in the bag. Prepare an outdoor charcoal grill with enough coal for a medium fire. Keep the coals centered in a mound so the heat is directed 2 inches under the grilling basket.

Lightly wipe down a grilling basket with peanut oil and place in the center of the grilling grate directly over the white-hot coals. Add the meat and spread evenly in a single layer. Grill for 2-3 minutes. Turn once and grill for an additional 2-3 minutes. A long-handled Chinese wok shovel works great for this step. Do NOT overcook the pork.

Using a clean utensil, remove the pork immediately and serve on small decorative plates over spinach or romaine lettuce with lime wedges and your choice of chili sauce. Drizzle lightly with a good quality fish sauce if desired.

PRODUCT NOTES: Red Boat fish sauce is the best I’ve found. It is expensive (a 17 oz. bottle runs about $12) but worth it. I have also had great luck with Pearl River brand black soy sauce. To ensure the best presentation, do not skimp on the quality of these ingredients. Palm sugar is traditionally used, but if your market doesn’t carry it, you can opt for light-brown sugar.

Serves 2-4.

Vietnamese Pho with Charbroiled Pork | Culinary Compost Recipes

Mike’s Pulled-Pork Quesadillas


This is a fantastic recipe for using up leftover smoked pulled pork. Top with BBQ sauce, some homemade salsa fresca, guacamole or chipotle-lime crema, and you have an easy-to-prepare and satisfying entree or side dish. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

XV olive oil or butter
12 eight-inch soft tortillas (makes 6 quesadillas)
6 cups smoked pulled pulled pork butt (use 1 cup per quesadilla)
1/2 cup shredded Montery Jack cheese per quesadilla
1/2 cup shredded cotija cheese per quesadilla
Minced red onion
Cilantro leaves
Diced sweet bell or jalapeno pepper
Your choice BBQ sauce
Mike’s Salsa Rojo Diablo
Mike’s Famous Guacamole
Mike’s Chipotle-Lime Crema

Directions:

Divide up the pork into portions for each set of tortillas. Prepare the minced onion, cilantro and diced pepper. You’ll be working in batches for this recipe.

Using a pair of 12″ cast-iron skillets, place them over medium heat on two burners. Add a small amount of olive oil or butter to each pan and then place a tortilla shell in the center.

Cover the base of each shell with some Montery Jack and cotija cheese, topped with the pulled pork, minced onion, cilantro and diced pepper. Add more of each cheese to the top and then add the second tortilla shell to each, pressing the stack down with a spatula so the cheese sets.

When the underside of the tortilla is slightly browned, place a dinner plate over the quesadilla (bottom side of the plate on top of the quesadilla shell) and carefully invert the skillet while holding the plate. Set the skillet back on the stove and use the spatula to remove the quesadilla from the bottom of the plate, and place it back in the skillet to cook the other side. (This is the easiest way I’ve found on flipping a quesadilla without the risk of it completely falling apart.)

Cook the alternate side until slightly browned and then transfer each quesadilla to individual serving plates. Top with BBQ sauce, salsa fresca, guacamole and chipotle-lime crema.

Repeat this process for the remaining four quesadillas. You may cut each quesadilla in half or quarters if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 quesadillas

Savory Bean and Ham Soup, with Spinach


Not sure what to do with that wonderful leftover holiday ham? Try this recipe. It’s been a family favorite for many years. Go easy on the salt and watch the beans very carefully so they don’t turn to mush. If you’re not sure how many guests you will be serving, or are planning leftovers, *reserve the spinach and add it to each bowl as needed. This will ensure freshness and a vibrant, colorful presentation. Enjoy!


INGREDIENTS:

2 14.5 oz. cans Great Northern beans, rinsed
1 49.5 oz. can chicken broth
3 or 4 cups diced ham (cut in 1/4″ cubes)
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery with greens, diced
4 generous handfuls Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
4 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. dry thyme, crushed in a mortar
1 tbs. dry parsley flakes
1 large dry bay leaf
3 tbs. XV olive oil
2 tbs. salted butter
2 tbs. flour
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

 

PREPARATION:

Preheat a 5-quart soup pot or cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the diced onion, celery, garlic, olive oil and butter. Sauté carefully for about ten minutes until the vegetables have softened. Do not allow them to scorch. Add the flour. Stir constantly for another five minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a low simmer, stirring occasionally.

Next, add the diced ham and dry spices. Stir and simmer partially covered over low heat for about 20-30 minutes. Add the pasta and beans and cook the pasta until just al dente, about 11-12 minutes. Shut off the heat and *add the spinach before serving.

Makes about 3 quarts
Serves 4-6

Culinary Compost Boycotts Penzeys Spices


Hello fellow foodies. After reading recent commentary from Bill Penzey, the author of Culinary Compost is officially withdrawing all references to Penzeys Spices on this food blog. While I’ve always known that Bill overtly inserts his political opinion in monthly mailings to his customer base, (which, in its own right is wrong on so many levels) I can no longer stand by and let this man spew his rhetoric of hate to conservatives, and to people who support and voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election, by labeling them “racist.”

I am not a racist. I never have been. And I resent being called one.

This is extreme-left socialism, and this kind of bigotry has no place in America.  Make no mistake — my observation is not one of Conservatives vs. Liberals. It is simply a stance of the author not supporting an individual who wants to further divide this country through hate by means of his product.

Shown below are a few articles and a link to Penzey’s official Facebook page:

http://truthfeed.com/owner-of-penzeys-spice-co-trashes-trump-supporters-calling-them-racist-and-saying-they-must-be-punished/39315/

http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2016/11/21/penzeys-ceo-comments-ignite-backlash-praise-and.html

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/23/bill-penzey-ceo-trump-voters-just-committed-the-bi/

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/bill-penzey-spices-trump/

http://modernfarmer.com/2016/11/penzeys-spices-condemns-trump-attracts-rage/

https://www.facebook.com/Penzeys/?fref=ts

2/1/18 Article in The New Yorker

 

You be the judge.  Last time I checked, America was still a free country. And my readers, of course, are still allowed to shop where they want and exercise their right to free speech, which I will always respect. However, pitting people against each other in the guise of “Love” is a ruse by Bill Penzey, who’s only concern is making as much money as he can over a very contentious election.  Funny thing is, he’s pissed off a lot of his customers, and I, for one, will not be coming back.

Invariably, comments by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke say it best:
https://twitter.com/SheriffClarke/status/800088603422380033
“This typical hate-filled white elitist lefty doesn’t live around black people or have stores in black neighborhoods.”

Bill Penzey can be reached at bill@penzeys.com

#boycottpenzeys

 

In the interest of an open discussion, leave your thoughts below – none will be censured.
—Mike from Culinary Compost

Bill Penzey's Socialist Sea Salt

Penzey’s Spices announces new product.

Taos Carnitas-Style Pork Tacos


Taos Carnitas-Style Grilled Pork Tacos | Culinary Compost

This is my signature southwest New Mexican-inspired dish with seasoned grilled pork that is slow-braised and then shredded, carnitas-style. Note that the seasoning is very similar to my other Southwest recipes; the key ingredients invariably being pure New Mexican chili powder, Mexican oregano, toasted and ground cumin and coriander. Serve with Rajas de Chile Poblano, a lime wedge, Mexican cheese and sour cream. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

For the Rub:
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground Mexican oregano leaf
1 tbs. smoked Spanish Paprika
3 tbs. whole cumin seed, toasted and ground by hand in a mortar
2 tbs. mild ground Ancho chili powder
1 tsp. hot NM Chimayo chili powder, to taste
2 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. ground whole black pepper
1 tbs. Mexican achiote paste

For the Marinade:
1/2 cup XV olive oil
Juice from 2 squeezed limes
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and mashed

— — —

2 pounds lean cubed pork stew meat
2 large poblano peppers, blistered and sliced
1 large red onion, sliced in 1/4″ strips
1 cored and seeded red bell pepper – cut into 1/4″ strips
1/2 cup pork or chicken stock
Kosher salt, to taste

8-10 tortilla shells for serving
Lime wedges
Mexican cotija cheese, grated (you can use Monterey Jack in a pinch)
Fresh cilantro leaves as garnish – 1 cup
Sour cream
Salsa fresca
Halved garden cherry tomatoes

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°-F. Cut and reserve the red onion and bell pepper. Measure the dry rub ingredients and mix well in a medium-sized shaker jar. Place the cubed pork in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle generously with the rub. Stir to coat and add more to ensure all the cubed pork is evenly covered.  Add the XV olive oil, lime juice and mashed garlic to a small mixing bowl. Whisk aggressively for two minutes.

Add the liquid marinade to the cubed pork and stir gently to incorporate. Cover and chill for at least three hours.

Prepare a lump charcoal fire in an outdoor kettle grill. When the coals are white-hot, level and place a baking cooling rack over the outdoor grilling grate to ensure the pork doesn’t fall through the slats.  Brush the rack with cooking spray prior, so the pork doesn’t stick.  Add the pork, (cooking in two batches) to the rack and spread out evenly. Cook uncovered 2-4 minutes per side and then transfer to a 5-quart heavy cast-iron dutch oven. Add 1/2 cup chicken or pork stock. Cover.

Place the dutch oven with the pork in the preheated oven and let sit. Next, place the two poblano peppers on the outdoor grill and char, about 4-6 minutes, until the tough outer skin blisters. Rotate occasionally. Remove, run under cold water to remove the skin. Core and slice into 1/4″ strips. Reserve, covered. Add the sliced red onion and bell pepper to the grilling basket. Place over direct heat on the grill and brush lightly with olive oil. Season with Kosher salt to taste. Stir occasionally and let char – about 6-10 minutes. Remove and set aside covered in the dish with the poblanos.

Cook the pork covered in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, until tender. Remove and shred with two forks. Add the reserved sliced grilled poblano, red onion and bell pepper and stir to incorporate. Set aside, covered in the hot dutch oven on the stove top until ready to serve.

Serve on tortilla shells with sour cream, grated cotija cheese, cilantro, salsa, cherry tomatoes and a lime wedge.

Serves 6-8

Taos Carnitas-Style Grilled Pork Tacos | Culinary Compost

Taos Carnitas-Style Grilled Pork Tacos | Culinary Compost

Texas-Style Pulled Pork Tacos


This is a great, carnitas-style Tex-Mex recipe for using leftover pulled pork. Braised slow and low, the meat is super-tender. Adjust the seasoning to your taste. If you still have leftovers, they freeze wonderfully… Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

5 to 8 cups pulled pork
1/2 cup Stubb’s Original BBQ sauce (or your favorite BBQ sauce)
1 cup chicken stock
1/8 lime, squeezed
1 tsp. ancho chili powder
1 tsp. chimayo chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. ground coriander

Serve With:

Tortilla shells, brushed with olive oil and toasted on the grill or on a heavy, cast-iron comal
Fresh guacamole
Thin-sliced red onion
Shredded Mexican cheese
Sliced serrano or jalapeno peppers
Cilantro leaves

 

Directions:

Place the leftover pulled pork and the ingredients indicated in a 5-quart Dutch oven heated at 250-degrees in your oven.
Mix well and heat covered for two hours. Stir once at one hour.

After the second hour, check for tenderness. Reduce heat to 170-degrees F., if needed until ready. Serve in toasted tortilla shells with your choice of fresh guacamole, red onion, cilantro, and shredded Mexican cheese.

 

Serves: 4-6

Leftover Tex-Mex BBQ Pork Tacos | Culinary Compost Recipes

Ensure that there is enough chicken stock and BBQ sauce to just cover the pork. Braise it slow and low until tender.

 

 

Texas-Style BBQ Ham Sandwiches


Texas-Style Sliced BBQ Ham Sandwiches | Culinary Compost RecipesThis is a simple and economical way to use up leftover ham, whether it be a bone-in or boneless. Minimal fuss elevates this utilitarian sandwich into a very satisfying family favorite. For this recipe, be sure to sear the ham in a heavy pot over medium heat to bring out the flavor. Don’t worry — It will be super-moist and tender.  Serve on classic thick-cut white bread with cheese, red onion, slaw or sliced pickles.  It’s even great leftover and cold. Hot-damn, this is good eats!!

 

Ingredients:

1/4 lb. thinly-sliced leftover ham, per person
1 small white onion, sliced roughly, lengthwise
1 tbs. butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup Stubb’s Original BBQ Sauce
Thick-cut sandwich bread, buttered
Sliced white American or Colby cheese
Thinly sliced red onion
Coleslaw (optional)
sliced dill pickle chips

 

Directions:

Thinly slice the ham and set aside. Using a large, heavy cast-iron pot or chicken fryer, heat the butter over medium until melted. Working in batches if needed, add the ham and spread evenly over the bottom of the cooking surface. Increase heat slightly, and brown the ham slices on both sides until there is a nice sear. Reduce heat to low and add the sliced white onion. Stir with a wooden spatula to incorporate. Heat for five minutes, then add the BBQ sauce and mix. Cover with a heavy lid and gently heat for 15-30 minutes, stirring once.

Remove from heat and serve on buttered white bread with sliced cheese, red onion or slaw, and sliced dill pickle chips.

Texas-Style Sliced BBQ Ham Sandwiches | Culinary Compost Recipes

Blackberry-Bourbon Smoked Pork Loin


Blackberry-Bourbon Smoked Pork Loin over Apple Wood

Apple-smoked blackberry-bourbon pork loin — sliced and super-juicy.

This is a recipe loosely based on a New York Times article given to me by a friend.  I have heavily modified it to complement ingredients readily available in most kitchens.

You can also smoke this on a standard charcoal grill – ensure that you control the heat so it maintains an even smoke — any higher than 225°F and you risk overcooking the loin. The glaze is stunning — a combination of sweetness, slight heat and acidity brought out by the blackberries, bourbon, chipotle, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.

Ingredients:

1 pork loin roast – about 2.5 – 3 pounds with fat cap
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbs. honey
6 level tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground hot Chipotle powder
2 tsp. roasted garlic granules
1 tbs. smoked paprika
1 tbs. fresh-ground black pepper
2 tsp. coarse Kosher salt
5 tbs. premium Bourbon (a splash more than 1/4 cup)
12 oz. frozen packaged blackberries (fresh market preferred)
1/3 cup chile sauce
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 cups Apple wood chips for smoking

Directions:

Place the pork loin in an oblong shallow baking tray and set aside in the fridge.  Place the glaze ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Remove and place in a heavy, non-reactive sauce pan over medium heat. Stir and simmer until sugars are dissolved and the liquid reduced – about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Pour the glaze over the pork loin and cover with plastic wrap. Place back in the fridge for at least three hours.

Preheat a smoker at 225° F. Line the drip pan with foil and oil the smoker grate with a bit of non-stick cooking spray. The loin will take roughly 1 hour per pound at the temperature shown. Place the loin on the smoking grate with the fat side up. Close and lock the door and add one cup of apple wood chips the first and second hour.
Place the probe in the thickest part of the loin after hour 1. When the internal temperature reads 140°F, remove the loin and let sit in a covered roaster pan for 1/2 hour.

Slice and serve.
Serves 4-6

Blackberry-Bourbon Smoked Pork Loin over Apple Wood

The pork loin after 2 hours. Internal temperature is 140°F. Remove and let stand for 1/2 hour, covered, before slicing.

Blackberry-Bourbon Smoked Pork Loin over Apple Wood

Of humble beginnings. The glaze ingredients in a blender.

Blackberry-Bourbon Smoked Pork Loin over Apple Wood

The loin glazed with a blackberry-bourbon brown sugar sauce.

BBQ Pulled Pork – using an electric smoker


You’ll need a lot of patience when preparing this recipe – smoking a pork butt is an all-day event. Before I got a dedicated outdoor electric smoker, I thought my “BBQ” was fairly good, when made in the oven or slow-cooker. This takes it to an entirely new level. It’s how true BBQ should be and you’ll immediately be impressed by the difference.

I’m quite pleased with the reliability of my smoker. It’s a Masterbuilt 30″ Sportsman Elite, purchased at Cabelas. It has an electric temperature control and internal meat probe which can be measured by simply pushing a button on a control panel at the top of the unit. If purchasing an electric smoker, ensure that you cross-check both the internal temperature and the probe reading for accuracy. Use an accurate thermometer for each so you won’t have any surprises. Both the internal thermostat and probe are within one degree on my unit.

So, with that out of the way, let’s get down to preparing this amazing recipe. I’ll also provide a few valuable tips I’ve learned so you can achieve success, the very first time.


INGREDIENTS:

1 bone-in pork shoulder (butt); about 1/4 – 1/2 pound per person – with leftovers.
Your choice of BBQ rub (you can try my version by clicking here.)


PREPARATION:

Determine a target time for when you want the pork to be finished. The night before, generously apply your choice of BBQ rub over the butt, ensuring that all sides are well coated. It’s easiest to do this in a wide, shallow glass baking dish.  Some people coat the pork butt with a thin layer of plain yellow French’s mustard prior to applying the rub. The theory is that it helps the rub to adhere to the meat better. The meat I got from my butcher was plenty moist on the outside so I felt it wasn’t necessary.

Once the rub is applied, wrap the butt and the glass baking tray with plastic wrap and let chill in your fridge overnight. This step is CRITICAL as it allows the salt and some of the spice to penetrate the meat.

The next morning, depending on the size of the pork butt, set up your smoker and preheat it to 225-degrees F.  Place the drip pan on the rack without water. You can line it with foil for easy clean-up.

Pork Shoulder Cooking Time (estimated):
• 2 hours per pound @ 225-degrees F.
• 1 hour rest
• 1/2 hour, pulling and serving prep

Let’s use this demonstration as an example:
Photos shown indicate a 4.25 pound bone-in pork butt with very little fat.
Using the numbers indicated above, the smoked pork should be ready to pull out of the smoker in roughly 8 to 8.5 hours if cooked at 225-degrees F. My target time was 6pm – so I knew I had to get the pork in the smoker by 8am – allowing eight solid hours to smoke; and an hour’s rest – plus some wiggle room just to be safe.

Time by temperature, not by time. What? You say you need your meal ready by 6:30pm because you have six inlaws ready to sit down then?  Your hard-won creation may not be ready at that time.  BBQ is all about patience — and lots of cold beer as a backup to pacify hungry guests.

With the smoker preheated, and your target serving time established, pull the pork butt out of the fridge and let stand at room temperature for an hour.

Place the pork in the smoker on an oiled rack about 5 inches above the drip pan. Ensure the coal tray is empty and that the floor overflow pan is properly aligned with the spout at the back of the unit. Close the smoker door and lock it.

The Smoke:
Add one cup of wood chips to the chip loader every hour for the first 5 hours. After that, the pork will not take on any more smoke so it’s not necessary. I suggest Hickory or Apple, or a combination of the two.

Safety First:
Ensure you don’t get food poisoning by following these directions.
• Do not insert the temperature probe into raw meat until the exterior is partially cooked. Probe the meat AFTER hour 4. You risk pushing bacteria from the exterior to the inside of the meat where it will be undercooked for several hours – thereby spreading contamination.
• Remember the 40-140-degrees in 4 hours rule. Meat left to sit in the 40-140-degree F. danger zone for MORE than four hours risks bacterial poisoning.
• Wash your hands and utensils after handling raw meat.

The Probe:
After hour four, carefully insert the temperature probe into the thickest part of the meat, taking care to keep it at least 2 inches away from the blade bone. The bone generates a lot of reflective heat and will throw the probe reading off. Check the probe reading once every half-hour to ensure you’re on track.
At hour four, the probe shown in the photo below read 162-degrees F, well out of the danger zone.  Remove the meat from the smoker when the internal probe temperature reads 190-degrees F.

The Stall, or Plateau:
At around 160-170-degrees, pork, as it’s cooking, will stall in temperature. The temperature will hang in this zone for up to a few hours, depending on the size of the meat. The phenomenon is due in part to the meat breaking down as it cooks, and evaporation of moisture, creating a cooling effect in the smoker box.  This is why the time-per-pound indicated allows you some wiggle room to compensate for this lost time. In the example shown, the pork butt stalled at 164-degrees for about 50 minutes before rising again. At that point it rose one degree every ten minutes. During hour eight, the temperature increased faster as the meat cooked through.

Resist the urge to jack up the heat during this stall. Slow and low is the way to go. Allow more time for larger butts!

Take notes and adjust accordingly.

Piggy in a Blanket:
At the last hour, watch the internal meat temperature VERY carefully as it can climb unexpectedly. As indicated, pull the meat out of the smoker when the internal temperature of the meat hits 190-degrees F. Then wrap the butt in two layers of aluminum foil and then a heavy clean towel or blanket. Place the bundle in a large empty beer cooler and let sit sealed for one hour.

Pull and Serve:
After the pork has rested one hour, remove and place in a serving pan and quickly shred with two forks – discarding the bone and fat. Keep covered and warm. You may choose to add back some of the pan juices that rendered out, but ensure the fat is skimmed off before adding it back.

Serve with buns, Mike’s Carolina Vinegar Sauce or BBQ sauce, coleslaw and thinly-sliced red onion.

Serves 6-10

 

Pork Butt with BBQ Rub

Applying the BBQ rub the night before.

The pork butt, shown in the smoker at hour 8. Look at that amazing crust, or bark!

The pork butt, shown in the smoker at hour 8. Look at that amazing crust, or bark!

Pulled BBQ Pork

Pulled pork kept warm in a cast-iron pan.

BBQ Pulled Pork served with Coleslaw and Carolina Sauce

BBQ pulled pork served with coleslaw and Carolina sauce.