Now when I'm taking about BBQ, I'm taking about the real deal using charcoal and smoking it low and slow. It's a full day affair, but the results are certainly worth the efforts.
To start the day, I liberally applied a spice rub, namely Weber's Type-A, which I found in my copy of Weber's Big Book of Grilling. That book is a fantastic collection of rubs, sauces, meat, sides, techniques and bbq folklore and a great source of inspiration, particularly the forward written by Al Roker. That man knows his BBQ and has the physique to prove it.
|Applying the rub.|
The rub ingredients are
|The ying and yang of cooking.|
While I let the rub set (for about an hour), I went outside to shovel off the deck and get the BBQ started. Oh the joys of BBQing in Winter. Again, the results were worth the efforts.
|Making room for the BBQ.|
Now I normally have a lot of trouble getting the charcoal lit and up to a decent heat. Takes a lot of lighter fluid, newsprint, matches and cursing. So I decided to get a chimney starter. The idea is that you fill it with charcoal, crumple up newsprint to stuff the bottom, light the paper and sit back and watch, relax and have a homebrew. Then once the tops coals are red, spread them out. No problem.
|Using a chimney starter to get the charcoal going|
Unfortunately, I didn't save myself any lighter fluid or cursing because even with the chimney starter, it still took me a while to get the meat on (almost 2hrs), but that was my fault for buying charcoal in bulk and leaving it to freeze and crumble in the garage... there's always a donkey twist to my projects... But once I got the meat on, the rest of the day went pretty smooth.
|Ready to go! Low and slow!|
My BBQ manufacturer makes it easy to know if your heat is sufficient. Just make sure the needle is on IDEAL and everything will be A-OK.
|Ideal = ~275F|
Of course, I like to have a little more knowledge and control over what's going on with my BBQ so I added a couple of digital thermometers to the mix. One to monitor the internal temperature of the meat, and the other for the cooking temp. I tried to keep it around 275F for the 6-7hrs of cooking time.
|The smoker with dual-digital thermometers.|
Every hour, I added soaked wood chips (hickory and pecan) and 8-10 charcoal briquettes to keep the heat up. This handy hatch makes that job pretty simple.
|Adding wood chips.|
The sight and smell of a big old piece of meat smoking on the grill is a wonder to behold...
To top up the sandwiches, I made a coca-cola bbq sauce and a mop sauce made from cider vinegar, a beer and some of the spice rub. On a related note, the secret recipe for coke is out now so I will not be able to resist making that sometime soon!
|Coke BBQ sauce and beer vinegar mop sauce|
We had some buttermilk that my wife also needed to make whoopie, so I whipped up a buttermilk dill coleslaw dressing, also found in the Weber book.
|Buttermilk dill coleslaw dressing|
So it took about 7hrs for the meat to reach an internal temperature of 190F. Then I wrapped it in foil and let it rest while we got the rest of the meal ready. The meat pulled apart almost effortlessly into smokey, succulent morsels.
I decided to serve the meat on slider buns because then we could have more sandwiches!!
|Double pork sliders served with buttermilk slaw.|
Fortunately, there were lots of leftovers to enjoy while we watched the game the next night. Unfortunately, the Steelers lost. I actually still have a big tub of frozen meat left that I'm going to use to make chili soon.
You can see all the pics from the day here.