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Traditional-ish pulled pork.

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    Traditional-ish pulled pork.

    First, some history (since I know y'all really want to know, lol):

    I've made heavy use of sous-vide through most of my foray into barbecue primarily due to convenience and ease and I was already onboard the sous-vide train before I started smoking anything. I also think I had it in my head that sous-vide was just "better" due to the precise control. Up until recently, the best steaks I made were always sous-vide. They wowed party guests. I loved them. I don't eat steak out anymore because it's not worth it.

    Last November, however, after a couple "meh" tries I nailed smoked steaks using the reverse sear technique coupled with the cold grate—and I did it in a Jumbo Joe while on vacation! I still use sous-vide now and then for convenience. I have a butchered cow that's frozen and bagged. It's not generally recommended, but I can go from freezer to water bath in the same bag (I've never had a bag break on smaller packages and shorter cooks). This is very convenient on weeknights. However, if I am hosting a party, smoke and reverse sear, period.

    The point of this is that despite the precise control, sous-vide has a lot of limitations. I use it a lot but far less than I did a couple years ago. The only "traditional" long cooks I have ever done to date are pork ribs and lemme just say, I love me some smoked pork ribs.

    I've just moved into a new house with a backyard that whispers, "Sit out back, soak up the sun, enjoy the shade, and smoke some meats." This is a huge contrast from where I just moved from. I did steaks on Saturday, smoked chickens on Sunday, and since I was still off yesterday I opted to do a pair of pork butts the "real" way for the first time—or close anyway. I say "close" because I did it a little on the hot and fast side, meaning I ran the cook at 275ºF. I did not have a strong desire to start the cook too early in the morning after moving all week.

    Long story short (yes, the intro is longer than the cook info):
    1. After trimming, I had a pair of boneless butts from Costco weighing in at about 6 lbs each.
    2. Dry-brined for about 24 hours.
    3. Rubbed with Meathead's Memphis Rub.
    4. Fired up the a 22" Weber Kettle with an SNS to 275ºF and held temperature with my Flame Boss 300.
    5. Meat went in around 8:45am.
    6. No crutch. No wrap. No nothing. Just let it cook for for about 10 and a half hours. Internal temperatures hit about 197ºF before I pulled them. (Plus, I was hungry.)
    7. Let them rest on the counter until they were cool enough to pull apart by hand.
    8. Put the shreds on top of slaw and topped that with Colombia Gold. (Might be my new favorite pork sauce.)
    A few notes to myself and to others:
    • I cut out a custom piece of expanded metal for my SNS to keep charcoal from falling through. This turns out to be a bad idea. I had to clean out ash way too much during the cook. I'm gonna get rid of that.
    • If I do boneless again, I'm going to tress. Some of the smaller chunks turned into hunks of bark and that's too much bark. I did like the results of salting the inside.
    • On the topic of bark, maybe I'm some kind of wuss, but I think I prefer my bark softened up a bit. I'm going to try something with a faux cambro next time to soften it up.
    I'm gonna roll with a more traditional 225ºF cook next time, tress if boneless (but probably see about getting bone-in instead), and cambro in a manner to soften the bark at the end. I'm also curious about the differences in bark with the longer/cooler cook.

    With all that said, the pork was delicious. I was able to pull it apart with my hands so that seems like I got it tender enough.

    The long and short is that I am looking forward to more traditional cooks. As neat as sous-vide is, I liked this pork better than any I have made prior.
    Attached Files

    #2
    That looks great! Thanks for the report.

    Comment


      #3
      Look pretty dang good to me !! Love the fact you can sit outside. It's going to be over 100* all weekend long. I'll be looking outside a lot

      Comment


      • binarypaladin
        binarypaladin commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm in Las Vegas. It was 107ºF yesterday. With that said, shade trees do a lot to mitigate that. Summer is probably the worst outdoor cooking season in this city. Spring and autumn are wonderful and even winter is great.

      #4
      Wow, looks awesome.

      I never tried the Colombia Gold, but if you like the mustardy sauces, try either of these:



      Comment


      • binarypaladin
        binarypaladin commented
        Editing a comment
        I'll check them out. I'm already a big fan.

      #5
      Thanx for this. This post is another nail in the coffin for sous vide for me. I won't say that I'll never try it, but I love smokin' hunks o' meat 'till done.

      Comment


      • binarypaladin
        binarypaladin commented
        Editing a comment
        I gotta say, medium rare brisket is worth it. I have never had brisket I like as much as the ones I do sous-vide. Also, roasts where you're not forming bark work well. There's a lot of convenience in it and it's not time picky. The best asparagus I've ever had was sous-vide as well.

        It's just another tool. I'm using it less these days, but it's versatile and if I have to do a party mid-week or something, I can pop steaks in and no worry about anything.

      #6
      Yep Columbia Gold is a great sauce based on the mustard sauces of SC. You might also want to try the Western Carolina ketchup and vinegar based sauce. Here is a good one. https://barbecuebible.com/recipe/lex...vinegar-sauce/ It is a thin sauce and I mix it with the pork after pulling add a little moisture. I then put several bottles of different sauces on tables for people to choose from regular sauce I put on the pp, hot, mustard, sweet KC.

      I always take my bone in butts to 195 and never wrap. They have so much moisture and flavor. I also always cook them at 275. If the bone comes out clean they are done. I always try to get 8lb butts. Cut off any excess fat and skin on the outside of the butt before you put the rub on. It should have very little fat showing. The internal fat will keep it moist and the outside rub will develop a bark.

      Comment


      • binarypaladin
        binarypaladin commented
        Editing a comment
        Some of your comments on my previous post on this gave me ideas on what to try. Thanks!

      • binarypaladin
        binarypaladin commented
        Editing a comment
        I should add, I have done pulled pork a bunch of times, but always sous-vide and I have primarily used Meathead's Lexington dip, which I love. It mixes really nicely with slaw which is my preferred method for eating pulled pork.

      #7
      See, that is why I am glad I bought my house. It isn't the house, but the deck that houses my cookers...

      Nice looking butts.

      Comment


      • binarypaladin
        binarypaladin commented
        Editing a comment
        A lawn plus kids running through the sprinklers while smoking pork is basically as good as it gets. Haha.

      #8
      Those look great! I always cook butts at 275, I always buy the bone-in ones that go on sale here, they run 8-11 lbs.

      Comment


        #9
        I had an SNS version with the grid in the bottom. I actually like the original better from an ash management standpoint.

        I usually wrap after bark formation. Saves a couple hours and softens the bark just right for my taste.

        Lots of ways to get there. All good.

        I’ve done QVQ pastrami and pulled chuck, but haven’t tried Pulled pork that way yet.

        Comment


        • binarypaladin
          binarypaladin commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah. I’m gonna do my next long cook with the normal grate. I was inspired to use expanded metal by some WSM mods, but it causes more problems than it solves.

          I might wrap next time, or maybe even wrap in the cambro.

        #10
        I’ve found the kettle with SnS creates a lot of bark. I prefer a butcher paper wrap around 180 IT. Different cookers will have different bark.

        Comment


          #11
          Looks delicious!

          Comment

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