Saturday, July 17, 2010

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Summer BBQ and Grilling 2010: Part 5 — Firing “Smokey” for Some Succulent Asian Pulled Pork Sandwich!

I finally did it. On Sunday July 4th, after a few weekends of barbecuing on my Weber Performer (the last time, smoking a chicken), I got up the courage to use their massive 22-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker. I must admit to have been a little overwhelmed by its appearance. Intimidating, it looks like no other BBQ equipment I’ve ever used before. The encouraging thing is that I’m in good hands when it comes to barbecuing, my pitmaster friends never being too far behind and always ready to offer some good tips at a moment’s notice.

Taking the bull by the horns, I decide to tackle the task at hand on my own at first. Following the instructions in the manual, I study Smokey from the bottom up, building the fire in the pit, filling the water pan with equal parts water and 100% fruit juice, and placing the spice-rubbed pork butts (top part of the shoulder), fat side down on the grates directly above. There is nothing more simple, quite frankly. It’s maintaining the temperature at 250°F for 12 hours for each of the 9-pound butts that can be tricky.

An attractive, well-constructed cooker, the Smokey looks like something between a barrel and a bullet, standing vertically with 3 vents equidistant from each other at the bottom, and one on the lid at the top directly opposite the thermometer. Aside from refueling halfway through the low-and-slow cooking process, the vents are key in controlling the temperature at a steady 250°F. The more open the vents are, the more air feeds the fire. The more closed they are, the less air gets in, choking the fire and lowering the temperature. I’m amazed at how this relatively inexpensive cooker performs. The heat is steady, and I barely have to adjust the temperature using the vents; may be a half a dozen times throughout the duration of this 12 or so hour exercise.

For someone like me who is extremely tactile and curious, keeping the lid closed throughout the cooking is definitely challenging. I want to see what’s happening, but any pitmaster will tell you “if you’re looking, you’re not cooking!” That makes sense, because if I wanted to check out the butts, as often as I do, the meat would be raw after 12 hours of cooking, from opening the lid too often. I’m not used to not looking, but this time, I decide to be patient, which definitely pays off in absolutely delicious pork butts, buttery in consistency with meat falling off the bones effortlessly. Registering at 195°F internally, I pull the meat, chop it, and stack it on a bun, topped with my hoisin-based BBQ sauce and Asian coleslaw, for my version of the classic American pulled pork sandwich.

(enough for two 9 to 10 pound pork butts)

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
CT’s secret spice(s); every pitmaster has at least one!

Mix together well and sprinkle generously all over the pork butt or shoulder.

(makes 2 cups; enough to moisten 24 pulled pork sandwiches)

1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet sake)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons sriracha (smooth chili sauce)
1 ounce ginger, freshly grated
1 large garlic clove, freshly grated
1 scallion, minced
CT’s secret ingredient!

Whisk together well and drizzle over pulled pork sandwich

(makes a lot, enough for a small crowd!)

1/4 cup shiro-miso (white miso)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
2 pounds shredded green cabbage
One 12-ounce bag shredded broccoli and carrot mix
1 small to medium onion, minced
1/2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
CT’s secret ingredient

In a large bowl, stir together the miso, vinegar, mirin, chili-garlic sauce, oil, and honey. Add the cabbage, broccoli and carrots, onion, bell pepper, and toss well. Let macerate for 2 hours, tossing occasionally to redistribute the ingredients and dressing.

I can tell you that the recipes above are delicious even with a few ingredients missing. This wasn’t my idea, but I was told it is necessary and just the way it is in the BBQ world. You just never know when I might compete, and I wouldn’t want to come up against you with my recipes.

Beverage of choice…a cold beer!

Enjoy, as always!

and she's HOT! sr

1 comment:

  1. Wow. makes me wish i had a smoker. hopefully Ill be getting one before the summer season ends!!!

    Thanks for sharing :)