Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cheap Pork-

My daughter got a package of pork at a good discount, under six bucks for eight good sized pieces an inch and a half thick. I looked at them and decided to do a short smoke followed by a sear and rest before serving.

I rubbed the meat with vegetable oil and seasoned it with a zesty barbecue blend from the Dollar Tree. This sat for about an hour in the refrigerator while I cleaned and prepared the grill. My grill is a Char-Broil Silver Smoker, and I have enjoyed it for about a year and a half. I have had no failures with this grill, and a lot of successes that exceeded any skill I may actually have in the art.

I loaded a starter chimney of charcoal and started it using rubbing alcohol in a clean tuna can. This is clean and gets a good start every time. I use the 91% alcohol, as it starts easily and burns pretty hot. The charcoal is the Kingsford Competition grade briquettes, purchased at a very good price at Costco. I soaked some Mesquite chips for the burn, as I like the rich flavor of the smoke.

Fire going, vents at about half both top and bottom, I loaded the meat in the center of the cooking chamber and inserted my thermometer probe into the piece farthest from the fire. I checked the fire after twenty minutes, noting that the meat internal temperature was going up faster than I had anticipated. I dropped the vents to a quarter top and bottom and threw on some chips to get the smoke going.

After another twenty minutes I added ten briquettes to the fire and dropped the vents to fully closed. The meat was already at 120 degrees internal, and cooking too fast for my taste. I was concerned that it would become dry. Cutting the air intake slowed the cooking considerably. After another twenty minutes I added the rest of my wood chips to the fire and opened the bottom vent a notch.

I had estimated a two hour burn for this meat, and at just about that time the thermometer alarm indicated that we had reached 165 degrees internal, which was my target. I set my cooking grate into the fire box and put the meat on to sear for a couple of minutes per side. Then a ten minute rest and then serve.

I found the meat to still have enough juice to avoid being called dry, and I thought the flavor was very good. The family had their fill and still I had two good pieces left over. These I planned to eat as sandwiches over the next two days, and so I did.

For the sandwiches I just chopped the meat fine and mixed it with barbecue sauce, sour cream, some coarse mustard and a bit of Sriracha. I have become very fond of the Thai sauce Sriracha, more so than any other hot sauce I have used. The heat is there but does not overwhelm the flavor of the peppers, which is distinct. This meat and sauce blend I spoon onto a slice of bread, fold it over and consume with great pleasure.

Dill pickle slices add a bit of interest to an already delicious sandwich. I did not have any cheese at the time or I surely would have added that, as well.

For the future I have in mind, should I again have such nice slabs of pork to cook, to sear first and then slow cook the meat. Also, since most of the pieces were relatively lean, I would add a bit of bacon or fatback to each piece to add more flavor and perhaps reduce the drying. As I said, the meat had remained reasonably moist but was just beginning to dry when I pulled it off of the fire and served it up.

Another option would be brining the pork before cooking. I have yet to try brining, but my research says it would be a very good idea.

The use of discount and cheap meat is something I like to do in barbecue. Getting good eating out of the smallest expenditure is part of the tradition of barbecue. This is not eating high off the hog, but it is eating well on what you can get.

Once again I failed to get photos. One of these days I will correct this chronic oversight. Until I do I rely on your imagination and personal experiences to fill in the gaps between my blog and the real life experiences I attempt to share.

Good eating!

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