Daily Archives: September 4, 2012

More Smoker

We roasted a pork butt in the oven last week and have been nibbling away at it since then.  With some experience with the new smoker, minimal as it is, Mrs J wondered whether it would enhance the pork if it spent a little time in there.  Good question!  I placed about half of the pork we had left into a small foil pan and fired the smoker up with some apple wood chips we acquired this morning.  I turned the temp dial to the highest setting and left to fiddle around in the house.  When I returned to the garage, where we have decided to do all the smoking, the temps were way higher than I expected, the probe in the top vent was reading well over 250, and the remote probe I left on the rack beside the tray of pork was showing 289!  Smoke was rolling out of the vent when I backed the dial to 210.  I was fearful that the pork would be dried and tough and was happy that I hadn’t put all we had in there.  Not to worry!The pork was just starting to brown and the smoke had infused the meat with a delicious aroma.  Just in time for lunch!I chopped the meat a little and served myself a very nice sandwich on a hoagie roll, dousing it with BBQ sauce I made over the weekend, and topping it with hot Chicago style giardiniera.  The rest of that pork is in the smoker right now.  I had best go out and check it!

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Nice Buck

We get few mature bucks at the feeder so this one is a treat.  Does and fawns are an every night sight, and during the day isn’t rare, for that matter.  There is one doe we’ve named “Hoover” – not after J Edgar, but for the vacuum of that same name.

Smoked Chicken

We went with a whole chicken for the second smoker project.  I used a commercial chicken rub on this bird and let it sit for about an hour before I put it into the smoker.  I stoked the smoke box with some cherry wood that was handy from a limb fallen off of a wild cherry tree on the edge of the yard.

Still learning the ins and outs of the new smoker.  I set the dial on the recommended temp (225) and didn’t open it for 4 hours when I stuck it with a thermometer.  Alas, it was only reading 145 degrees.  Hmm, this was going to take longer.  I cranked the temp dial to it’s max setting of 250, inserted a remote thermoprobe into the breast, and poked the spike end of another meat thermometer into the vent on the top to get an idea of the actual temperature inside the box.

The repurposed meat thermometer showed a max temp of 235 inside the box which I think is ballpark for what I had hoped to see.  The temps varied as the electric element cycled on its own remote bulb sensor.  The reading from the middle of the chicken breast steadily rose, albeit slowly.  By the time it read 160, after a total of 6 hours, we were tired of waiting and took it out.  It appeared to be fully cooked, all of the juices ran clear and there wasn’t any of the raw tinge at the thigh joints.  Another hour (or two!) would not have been too much, we will adjust our methods accordingly, starting with the dial maxed out from the beginning of the run.

Next project will be a beef brisket we have brining in the fridge.  We are hoping for pastrami.  I’m still researching rubs for it, tentatively it will be black pepper, coriander seeds, and juniper berries.  I think it will be an all day affair – ten hours per the conventional wisdom.

Magic Hour

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