Yet another practice Boston butt
I used a Crooked Gap pork and it turned out very well. The rub was adapted from a book, and advice from my brother. Generally to be happy I tweak and prod and poke and experiment until it’s adapted to my flavor profile, with account taken for heat level for Shannon. The amount of time from start to end did not really allow for this, but I think the ratios:
1/4 c salt
1/4 c brown sugar packed
2 T black pepper
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper
Work as a good base point to move forward. Now the mix of wood, how often I top the smoker container off, when I put in. And I’m thinking a new step, over the last couple of hours, to retain more liquid. If that is done by spray or wrapping the pork. Currently I’m using 1/2 Jack Daniels Barrels oak and 1/2 apple wood (by volume, visually inspected), topping off the container every 3 hours with apple wood.
Anyways, more variables to adjust, more practice to do.
They were good, and after a busy(ish) day.
Getting these to come together pretty quickly, as it is. Just a good simple meal.
There is a whole stream of photos, that document the progress along the way. My primary take away is that this is a better way of doing things. By limiting the amount of work the day of, it is generally less stressful, especially when you don’t have to worry as much about the semi-exacting timing to get a gigantic bird to cook well. I did not plan that last hour well, I should’ve had a number of things ready to go before then, and I had time too.
The potatoes struggled in the smoker to get that last texture right and I had to finish them in the oven at a slightly higher temperature. This also led to a debate between a few friends as to the proper texture of potatoes in potato salad. I compared it as similar to al dente, but a bit firmer. I’m pretty sure the smoke flavor is associated with the olive oil that they’re in, rather then the potatoes themselves, but I don’t know enough to know for sure. But even so, the fingerlings (Grade A Gardens) were a bit softer and the other potatoes (another producer through the Iowa Food Coop) were firmer. Had I known, I may have cooked them separately.
For the Pork, they were of varied size, and bone size, So some were a bit over 200 degrees and some where a bit under and some were about on. It was a bit challenging and I didn’t have enough things to monitor them all, especially since the climb in temperature at the end was very slow (falling temp outside probably slowed it a bit). Mixed together, I think it was pretty good, not as good as I want it to be, but still pretty good. To serve, I mixed in a bit of apple cider vinegar, the spice mix, and warmed it up in a crock pot with apple cider in the bottom.
I literally misplaced half a pound of Parmigiano Reggiano. I good portion of that meant to go into the mashed potatoes. I still don’t know where it is. So I called an audible and we had garlic mashed potatoes.
Everything else went about as expected. The Cheese spread got some complements and asks for the recipe, I toned down the spice level a bit to adapt to my family. Overall I’m pretty happy, and I was able to be social with my family, as opposed to normally where I stare out the window, sip whiskey for half an hour and unwind the stress.
I want to thank my wife Shannon for helping me pull this off one more year (taking care of all the non-kitchen stuff and some of the kitchen stuff), The support of many local wonderful farmers, and high class shops like the Cheese Shop and Iowa Food Coop. And my family for helping expand the food selection and helping with the serving and etc.