Smoking meats can be both a daunting and time consuming task the first time you try it. But don’t worry! My Source Magazine will break it down for you in easy, simple to follow steps. And the best part is that you don’t need to spend $500 or more on a professional style smoker. You can use the propane or charcoal grill you already have.
Most of the time needed to properly smoke meats is the preparation time. Here’s what you’ll need to start:
We’d prefer you get up and get this thing on the grill at about 5 am. Don’t worry; you can always get back to bed for a nap sometime during this 8 hour or so process.
Turn on your electric burner with oven safe metal pan on top to a full heat and place 3 – 4 wood chunks in the pan. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes with the lid closed so you can see what the temperature is inside the grill. If after 10 minutes, your grill is not hot enough with the plate at full heat, grab your charcoal and light a couple of pieces. When they are burned off, add them to the oven safe pan with the wood and let sit for about 5 more minutes. Adjust the number of charcoal briquettes up or down to get the grill to 225 degrees.
When your grill is at the proper temperature and the smoke is pouring, you’re ready to start smoking. Make sure your water pan is under the cooking grates away from the heat source, and place your pork butt on the grill directly above it. Close the lid and go grab a cup of coffee or something. It’s still way early in the day, right?
About every 30 - 45 minutes, you’ll want to do two things: Check your temperature (explained below in “Maintenance”) and flip the pork butt. Every time you flip your pork butt, spray the outside of it with your Apple mop spray.
Make sure your average temperature stays around 225 degrees the entire day. You will need to add a new chunk of wood or two or three or four about every hour or so, depending on how fast the wood is burning. The electric hot plate will help your temperature stay more consistent throughout the day, but you want some smoke pouring over the meat also. This adds the robust flavor that all good barbeque possesses.
After about 4 hours, you’ll want to start checking the internal temperature of your pork butt. Your target temperature is 190 degrees and that’s when you’ll want to pull it. But eventually, it will get to a point where it just seems like it’s never going to get above 150-160 degrees. This is good! When your temperature hits 150-160 degrees, pay more attention and check more regularly. Don’t get anxious though. During this time, you’re allowing the backwards Jell-O example that we mentioned earlier to work its magic and if you pull it too soon, you’ll have a cooked, edible, and extremely salty meat. But it will be very tough and you won’t be able to “pull” the pork apart! Just keep maintaining the 225 degree temperature and the nice, even smoke flow.
After you’ve fought off the anxiety of “The Plateau” your pork butt will reach an internal temperature of 190-200 degrees. This is the perfect time to shut down shop on the grill and pull the pork off. Wrap your hot pork butt in tin foil again and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Now that your timer has gone off and your pork has had a bit of time to cool, pull it out of the oven and place in a large casserole pan or dish. Be careful, though. It will still be very hot and can burn your hands! Find the bone on the side of the pork butt and firmly grasp it. Place your other hand on the pork butt to keep it pressed against the dish and begin yanking that bad boy out of there, twisting back and forth as you go. If you’ve allowed it enough time to cook and you removed it from the grill at about 190 degrees, you should have no problems yanking the bone out of there. Now, grab two forks and place one in the middle of the large chunk of meat. Take the second fork, flip it over so it’s backwards, and begin scraping the meat with it. This should help pull it apart easily and should take about 5 – 10 minutes to shred the whole pork butt.
You’ve worked hard all day and now it’s time to enjoy. Have fun and let us know how yours turned out.