Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pork Butt and Beef Brisket

They both looked so good in the meat case at Sam's. :D
I got a 17 ¼ lb package consisting of two trimmed butts. Add to that a 6 1/3 lb brisket (flat cut) and a 5 lb package of raw Usinger brats to fill any empty space on the grate.
Brisket on the coffee rub at 4:30 PM the day before the smoke .I use the coffee rub described by Steven Raichlen.
The ingredients he lists include
  • 3 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 1 tablespoon coarse (kosher) salt
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
I did not lay any strips of bacon on the brisket since it has a pretty thick fat cap. For paprika, I used Hungarian Paprika.

I'm also using his mop recipe minus the beer. I haven't bought any beer since we got back from vacation. One of these days... It's certainly beer weather.

Seasonings for the pork are:
  • 1 Tbsp black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Rosemary
  • 1/2 Tbsp Coriander
  • 1 Tbsp Hungarian Paprika.
  • 1 Tbsp ground Sage
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cumin
  • Almost a full garlic bulb (crushed.)

Fire on the big smoker is mostly left over lump and briquettes from previous smokes. Included in them is some chunks of smoking wood. I added some briquettes and some Hickory, Cherry and Box Elder to round things out.
Weather conditions at 10:00 AM: 84° F, sunny and wind light at about 7 mph.
timetemp comment
10:00 AM
Lit coals on fire lay.
10:20220°/200° (grate/dome)Meat on! It all seems to fit on the big smoker, though the two pieces of pork barely made it. Corners are almost touching the middle section but they'll pull back as the cook proceeds. I added some brats around the brisket.

At this time I also closed two of three bottom vents.
10:35194°Noticed that I forgot the meat probe in the beef so I opened the smoker to insert it in the brisket. It looks to be getting off to a nice slow start.
10:55215°/180°/71° (grate/dome/meat)
Coming along nice and slow.
First mop of the brisket. Swapped in a bunch of raw brats. The brats that came off measured from 120°-145° internally so they will need more cooking (probably when they are reheated.) I suspected they were not done by the limited amount of shrinkage. I'll leave the next batch for 2 hours.
Fast recovery probably due to opening the smoker twice for mopping and brats. If it doesn't drop off, I may close the bottom vent a tiny bit. But let's not be hasty!
12:16243°/215°/137°Nice progress. No adjustment required. (and I just had a brat with onion and Dijon mustard on whole wheat - Yum!)
1:00250°/225°/152°Ambient temp is now 90°. Mopped brisket again, turned the brats - almost done, and closed the remaining open bottom vent to about 1/2 from full open. Will need to monitor in case that's too much.
1:16252°/?/155°Looks OK.
1:30248°/235°/158Going to pull the brats and put more on.
1:42240°/?/160°Temps came up a bit (255°+) and then began to settle once again. If I see it drop below 220° I'll intervene.
1:58233°/?/161°Temp bottomed at 229° and now begins a slow recovery. Looks like no adjustment needed.
2:29241°/?/165°Time to mop and turn the brats.
3:20241°/210°/167°Time to pull the remaining brats off the fire. Outside temp is 91° F, wind freshened a bit to 7 mph and still full sun.
3:57234°/?/168°That's 5 hours on the brisket. What temp should I shoot for?
4:19228°/215°/169°Time to open the bottom vent a wee bit.
4:49223°/?/170°I think I need to stir the coals a bit. maybe not - temp just popped up to 226°.
5:09222°/?/170°Heading out to stir the coals.
5:35274°/225°/172°Seems like stirring the coals had the desired effect and I just closed the bottom vent a little bit. I'd like to keep the grate below 250°.
6:09240°/?/176°And all seems well.
7:35207°/180°/167°Sheesh! Go for a little bicycle ride and temp drops off... Stirred coals and opened one bottom vent full. Looks like temp is recovering. I wonder if I should just take the brisket off and rest it.
7:58199°/170°/165°Doesn't look like recovery is going to happen w/out more coals so I'm bringing the brisket in to rest. I'll swap the meat probe to the pork to see where it is.
8:06172°/?/162°Probe in the bigger butt. I need to add some more lit charcoal.
Added about 1/2 chimney partially lit briquettes. Went back to one bottom vent about half open. Let's see where she goes. (I love using a charcoal chimney on my old Coleman propane side burner.)
9:07233°/225°/161°Recovery is slow but there is no hurry.
Check that. Thunder storms are on the horizon and I can see lightening. Heavy rain can have a big cooling effect on the smoker and if that happens, I may finish the butts foiled in the oven.
9:25235°/230°/163°First drops of rain starting. I opened all bottom vents full to try to offset the cooling effect from the rain. Ambient is reported as 86° right now.
9:32246°/?/164°Heavy wind driven rain just started.
9:47189°/?/165°Still raining, but radar shows a single line of storms that will hopefully pass so I can continue my smoke.
9:54204°/?/166°Rain letting up. Still smoking! Ambient now reported as 75°.
10:14228°/?/168°Looks like meat's back on the menu boys!

(Closing down one bottom vent, leaving 2 of three wide open.)
11:53228°/?/179°Perhaps I should stir the coals again...
12:08 AM245°/?/181°Looks like stirring helped.

Time to bring the meat in. I'll foil it and put it in a cooler to rest/cool overnight and then pull it in the AM. Some of the meat fell off on the bottom where it stuck to the grate. That may just be the best tasting part of the entire butt!

The brisket was still firm but juicy. Perhaps it would be more tender if brought to a higher temperature, but I'd risk drying. I'm pretty satisfied with it in it's present state. It tastes really good. I also made a batch of the Red Eye Sauce and it goes with this really well. (I substituted non-fat sour cream for the heavy cream. Last time I used skim milk + butter. That other batch came out more red color while this one is sort of tan color.)

The butt was on about 14 /2 hours which seems about right. It took a bit of fiddling to keep the fire going and I had to deal with a rain storm, but all's well that ends well and from the few little tastes I had of the but, it's going to end well.

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