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In a day filled with minor disasters, the Duroc pork butt was a winner

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  • IowaGirl
    Club Member
    • Dec 2018
    • 532
    • Northeast Iowa, USA

    In a day filled with minor disasters, the Duroc pork butt was a winner

    It's been a day.

    The synopsis -- Hubby and I had to deal with a torrential rainstorm (1.46 inches in under an hour), a torrent of said rainwater coming in through a workshop window, and a chipmunk hiding out in a bedroom. Not to mention struggling with a horridly humid (95% +), hot day in which we needed to be outdoors harvesting elderflower in my husband's elderberry orchard. All while I was trying my best to smoke a yummy Duroc pork butt from Compart Farms. It all turned out okay in the end.

    And now for the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey once put it) --

    My local Fareway grocery store has started to stock Duroc pork butts (shoulders) and bellies from Compart Farms. This outfit is based in southern Minnesota (https://www.compartduroc.com/) not all that far away from my neighborhood. Fareway ran a special this week on these butts, pricing them at $1.99 per pound. I bought an 8 pounder, dry brined it for a few days, and put it in the smoker (18" Smoke Vault) about 9:30 this morning at 275-300F / 135-150C.

    The day was unbearably muggy and hot with very little breeze, but we got a fair bit of the field work done. In the late afternoon, we were outdoors harvesting more elderflower, when the sky rapidly darkened with rolling dark gray clouds, distant thunder rolled, and a mad wind came up -- all signals to high-tail it to the house.

    We got back in about 5 minutes before the downpour started. About 10 minutes later, we heard water trickling and realized rainwater was pouring into the workshop through a window. That window has leaked a little bit in past heavy rainstorms, but today there were spouts of water jetting out from the window, rapidly covering the floor with water. We made a mad rush to move things off the floor, contain most of the water, and direct the rest to a floor drain.

    After that problem had settled down a bit, I was feeling a bit paranoid and decided to check the rest of the downstairs rooms to see if there were any other trouble spots. I didn't find other water problems, thankfully ... but as I walked through a bedroom, a dark shadow streaked by me as I went around the corner of a bed. I couldn't tell what it was, but it was considerably larger than a mouse.

    I screamed and my spouse stomped into the bedroom with that patented "What 'n the h*ll NOW!" look on his face -- the look that husbands get during a difficult day with more difficult things piling up. So we had a small rodeo trying to catch a chipmunk that very much did not want to be caught. As I write this, the score is currently Chippy - 1, Humanz - 0. He's still at large in the lower floor of our house. At this point I'm too tired to care, to be honest.

    Back to the butt. During the flood and chipmunk rodeos, the smoker had been gamely struggling on without my help. The smoker temperature had plunged below 200F, rain had poured through the top vent and soaked the butcher paper I'd used to wrap the pork, and as a result, the meat cooled down a bit. To make matters worse, I had to wait until the heaviest rain slacked off to try to salvage the cook. After struggling for awhile with ongoing showers and a cranky smoker, I gave up about 6:30 pm, after about 9 hours of cook time. I brought the pork into the house and put it in the oven at 145F / 63C. The internal temp of the butt had originally been around 180F, but by this time it had dropped to 165F.

    I didn't have the energy to make the sides I had in mind -- I had planned to make my version of Troutman's Elote corn salad and my smoky bacon baked beans. But my mister came to the rescue with a quick tossed veggie salad, and I made a simple fresh melon, strawberry, and blackberry mixture drizzled with a sauce of sour cream thinned and sweetened with honey from my beehives. Combined with a big glass of milk and thick slices of pork, the meal was waaayyy plenty good.

    The Duroc pork is delicious. I did not cook it long enough to be tender enough for pulling, but it was still easy to slice and tender, flavorful, and extremely juicy in the mouth. This is how I remember pork was like when I was a kid. My grandfather raised purebred Yorkshire hogs as breeding stock and I grew up eating that pork. I realize now it was quite different than most pork sold today.

    The Duroc meat is darker overall than commodity pork. There is more variation in color between the various muscle groups. I also think it has a more distinct pork flavor -- still sweet and mild, but not as bland as commodity pork. If you live in the upper Midwest, more local grocery stores are carrying Compart pork products, and I recommend you give this meat a try.

    At this moment of this eventful day, the chipmunk is still at large. Parts of my workshop are still wet, but the puddles are gone. We still have more elderflower to pick and dry once the rain and dew on the elder bushes has dried. But my belly is full of good food, and I finally got that hot shower I'd been craving. And my mister and I are still speaking to each other, which is always a good thing.

    I know -- no pics or it didn't happen, but there was too much going on earlier and now I'm tired. I have just enough energy to set this crazy story down on paper, so to speak, before I crash for the night, so I hope y'all can pretend a bit and cut me a wee bit of slack for no photos.
  • Ahumadora
    Club Member
    • Oct 2015
    • 1878
    • Pilar Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Tomorrows menu: Roast chipmunk with elder berries. Days like this you remember. Normal days you don't.


    • IowaGirl
      IowaGirl commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree -- this one is definitely being added to the family history book.

      Roast chippy -- Wonder what rub I should use? Low 'n slow ... or hot 'n fast?

    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      Well said! I gotta remember that one when the bad days with the little ray o' sunshine hit.
  • RonB
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 11839
    • Near Richmond VA
    • Weber Performer Deluxe
      Pizza insert
      Smokenator 1000
      Cookshack Smokette Elite
      2 Thermapens
      lots of probes.

    Well, you survived and ate well, so the day turned out at least OK.


    • smokin fool
      Club Member
      • Apr 2019
      • 1214
      • Mississauga, Ont

      Ya gotta watch those little bush tigers, they can be as mean as the day is long.
      I'm 0 and 2 against them.
      The rest of the day, as much as we think we're in charge reality is quite the opposite.
      At least the meal worked out.
      Wait n see what tomorrow brings....


      • mountainsmoker
        Club Member
        • Jun 2019
        • 1694
        • Bryson City, NC

        Yep Duroc is a great heritage pork. Slicing it at 160 was probably your best choice. I love it that way as well as pulled.

        Glad you survived the storm, and all is well. We have property in Iowa also and went for our vacation in May and June and it rained every day the first week and 1/2 out there in Burlington. The cabin built in the 40's by my wife's dad and granddad sits between the river and the levy. We raised it when we acquired it so that no water would get in until about 26' We watched the Mississippi rise to 24.6 feet. Our farm is south in Lee county and it barely got planted in planted in time.

        I'll tell you driving from NC to Iowa a lot of the farm land looked more like lakes than fields of corn or soy beans.


        • NapMaster
          Club Member
          • Jan 2019
          • 587
          • Denham Springs, LA
          • WebberSummitGold6burnerLP, ShotGunSmoker

            Avid Armor Vacuum Sealer

          Wow! What day! Glad ya'll are OK.

          Curiously, what are you doing with the elderberry flowers?


          • Razor
            Razor commented
            Editing a comment
            Was going to ask the same thing.
        • Skip
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 2867
          • Blue Earth, Minnesota
          • Memphis Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates

          IowaGirl , Sounds like you had quite an eventful day that turned out ok in the end. Good job on the Duroc Pork. Now go get that chipmunk.


          • HouseHomey
            Club Member
            • May 2016
            • 4795
            • Huntington Beach, Ca. Surf City USA.
            • Equipment
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              1 extra fridge and a deep chest freezer in the garage
              A 7 year old princess foster child
              Patience and old patio furniture
              "Baby Girl" The cat

              Erik S.

            Wow. Suddenly I feel ok with my life.

            So, I read and comprehend every part of your story above. The amazing thing about this place is.

            I have absolutely no index for anything you said above other than “at least my spouse and I are still talking.”

            farms,’passing clouds, floor drains in the house, chipmunks,good pork, raising hogs, beehives, elder bushes and berries and the like. Zero index.

            I am happy you survived and I hope this day is better.

            i vote for hot n fast on that chipmunk.

            only in the pit.


            • IowaGirl
              IowaGirl commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you for reading all the way through! I thought not everyone would know about all the things I mentioned, especially if a person wasn't raised in a farming community, but I'm glad you got the general gist.
          • Troutman
            Club Member
            • Aug 2017
            • 6897
            • Republic of Texallence

            • OUTDOOR COOKERS
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            Just one of those days. We had squirrels in our attic over the winter, one died and got caught in the rafters and stunk our kitchen up for about a month. But that's a whole other story.

            I've only had the Compart Duroc once and thought it was amazing. We're getting a lot of Berkshire down here but I'm dying to order again from Compart. Thanks for the reminder. Sound like yours turned out good !!!


            • IowaGirl
              IowaGirl commented
              Editing a comment
              I heard a presentation this spring by the Compart folks. If I hadn't heard their talk, I might not have paid any attention when their products showed up in my local grocery store. Good thing I listened up and remembered!

            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              My only issue with them is their shipping cost. I just check on buying some butts and they wanted $107 for shipping on an order that costs about $150. What up with that? I get Porter Road Berkshire/Duroc shipped for like $20. Something ain't right.

            • IowaGirl
              IowaGirl commented
              Editing a comment
              I can't speak for the Compart folks and their shipping. But I ship a lot of packages for the small biz I own and operate and know all too well about shipping costs for my products. The big guys get some crazy good deals on shipping and us little folk don't. That is true for standard (ground) shipping and extra true for expedited. Some of my customers complain about my shipping costs too. I do my best to politely explain I ain't Amazon (in more diplomatic language, of course.)
          • IowaGirl
            Club Member
            • Dec 2018
            • 532
            • Northeast Iowa, USA

            Originally posted by NapMaster View Post
            Curiously, what are you doing with the elderberry flowers?
            Currently we are drying most of the elderflowers for sale, but hubby is looking into selling frozen fresh flowers. Fresh or dried flowers are used to make wine, mead, beer, and vinegar. Dried elderflowers can be added to tea blends, where it adds a delicate floral flavor. There's a big thing lately where bartenders make simple syrup infused with elderflower and use the syrup in drinks. I make elderflower cordial (elderflower steeped in sugar syrup with citric acid and/or lemon juice), a traditional use for the flowers. We're also experimenting with infusing honey with elderflower.


            • NapMaster
              NapMaster commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks and that is very interesting. I new the berries were used in wine. Have you ever noticed your bees using them as a nectar source?
          • IowaGirl
            Club Member
            • Dec 2018
            • 532
            • Northeast Iowa, USA

            Bees do not use elder flower and pollen as food sources. Chuck (my hubby) has almost an acre of elder bushes in his orchard, and I only see the occasional bee even when the orchard is in massive full bloom, like right now.

            My small cherry tree almost vibrates with the bees when it's in bloom with far fewer flowers. There's a huge difference in the desirability of the two plants as bee food.

            Here are some of Chuck's elderberry plants in bloom from a few days ago --

            Click image for larger version

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            • klflowers
              Club Member
              • Sep 2015
              • 2767
              • Tennessee

              Late to the party but floor drains bring me back to the house i grew up in in Detroit. We had floor drains in the basement. Did you guys get the critter? And did you do him hot and fast?


              • FireMan
                Charter Member
                • Jul 2015
                • 7158
                • Bottom of Winnebago

                I grew up in Detroit also and I to want to know if ya got the chipster. Not that Detroit even matters but the chipmunk has us hangin in suspense.


                • JimLinebarger
                  Club Member
                  • Jun 2017
                  • 719
                  • Spokane Valley, Wa.
                  • Grills/Smokers
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                    About me
                    Name: Jim
                    Nick name: Bear
                    Location: Spokane Valley, Wa.
                    Born at a very young age at Egland AFB, Ft. Walton Beach, FL.

                    USAF vet, ECM (F4 & B52)/B52 Crew Chief, Computer Systems NCO, disabled
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                    Short Term Missionary to the Marshall Islands with MAPS of DFM of AOG

                  I have heard of multi-tasking, but you seem to elevate the meaning to (what's past the a whole 'nother level?) ....!


                  • IowaGirl
                    Club Member
                    • Dec 2018
                    • 532
                    • Northeast Iowa, USA

                    There was too much going on that crazy day. It was kind of mind numbing after awhile.

                    Update on the chippy -- He hid out in the bedroom for a few days, then snuck out of the house proper into what used to be our attached garage (now converted into a heated shop for the small business I run). He scared the dickens out of me by dashing across the floor right in front of me when I inadvertently startled him into leaving his hiding place on a shelf. When the workday was over, I left the shop door open to the outdoors for the night. He must have found his way back to nature, because we haven't seen him since. (edit: And the air in the house is still breathable without a respirator.)

                    I never got to find out whether hot 'n fast or low 'n slow is the recommended way to cook chipmunk, so I can't report back to y'all on that point. That's okay ... I think I can live without that tidbit of information.
                    Last edited by IowaGirl; July 18th, 2019, 03:18 PM.


                    • Craigar
                      Craigar commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I can't believe I am just reading this story for the first time. Fantastic! Thank you for your entertaining prose! As I am sitting here giggling to myself, the first recipe that came to mind was Treetop Stroganoff. I have a wild game recipe book at home, published by the Nebraska Game & Parks, that has a stroganoff recipe that uses squirrels. I'm sure a few chipmunks could be substituted.



                  Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

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