A long time ago, when I was a small girl, there were a few truths about summer. Swimming was an everyday activity. Staying up late (until it was dark!) was not a problem. Each morning began with a promise of fun. And fathers grilled burgers over hot and shooting flames until the outsides were crisp and smokey and the insides were dry. That’s what catsup’s for, isn’t it?
A few years ago my husband decided, in summer, that he wanted to grill better. Swimming still happens. Staying up late is still available. But my husband wanted to combine grilling with fun (and deliciousness)!
He says the key to good grilling is paying attention. That’s how this started. He paid attention and burgers were juicy and chicken was moist. Why even pork chops were completely delicious! So when he wanted to get a new grill (full disclosure…we do charcoal.) I said sure! So he studied and researched and decided on a fancy name brand kettle grill. And the grilling improved exponentially. I don’t think it was the grill, I think the griller was paying even more attention than before.
After a while of regular grilling and learning about the cool side and hot side of a grill. That’s where only half the grill has a coals. Husband decided he to purchase a modification for the grill that would allow the kettle to be a smoker.
Recently I purchased a four pound Boston butt pork roast from Hillacres Pride Farm stand at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market. Their meats and poultry (lamb, pork, beef, chicken) are pasture raised and grass fed. Their pork is consistently delicious.
First, the dry brine. The meat was sprinkled with Kosher coarse salt on all sides and placed in a container overnight. I made a snake of aluminum foil to place under the meat so it could stay out of the juice and dry properly.
Early the next morning the grill was lit and the smoking apparatus was in place. Next I dried the meat with a paper towel and sprinkled on the rub. We chose one that was already mixed. We chose it by smell. The rub should be something you would like to eat as its flavors permeate the meat and make the crust around the roast (called the “bark”).
Two other pieces of equipment that are essential to the smoking process are thermometers. One thermometer monitors the temperature inside the kettle with the lid on. This is your oven. The other measures the internal temperature of the meat as it cooks.
The fire itself is made from charcoal briquettes and two or three pieces of wood are added. We added hickory chunks.
The meat was placed on the grill. The thermometers were set up. The lid was put on. And then we waited.
Four hours after the meat was put in the grill the “bark” started to form. The “oven” temperature was stable at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. The internal temperature of the meat was 160 degrees Fahrenheit. We want the “oven” temperature to be stable and we, ultimately want the meat to register around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Boston butt is not an expensive cut of meat. It has marbled fat. And, as I said earlier, Hillacres Pride pork is consistently delicious and tender.
All day the aroma from the grill filled our yard and porch. The sides were easy. Cole slaw and baked beans. And some brioche rolls from Wild Flour Bakery, also at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.
Nine and one half hours later the butt reached the goal internal temperature of 203 degrees Fahrenheit. Husband took the pork off the grill. I pulled it apart. And we ate the most delicious, moist, flavorful pulled pork we’d ever tasted. The bark was magnificent!
The meat and bark were delicious on their own. We added some Apple Butter Barbecue sauce from Schoeber’s Farm. The next level!
There was enough to share so both daughters and their families enjoyed as well (even the three year old like it!) ….and I even had enough for sandwiches!
If you are a fan of smoked meats or if you want to try this yourself, I encourage you to use good quality meat…like that from Hillacres Pride.
A pulled pork from Hillacres Boston butt can also be made in the oven or your slow cooker. It will still be delicious.
Slow Cooker : Put the thawed Boston butt into your slow cooker on top of some cut onions. Season with some salt. Almost cover the meat with root beer (one of my daughter’s uses Dr. Pepper). Organic sodas can be used here. Put the lid on and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Conventional Oven : Put cut onions in the bottom of a lidded casserole dish. Set the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle roast with salt and any additional seasoning, to taste. Put a piece of foil over the pot and the place the lid on top to seal in the juice. Bake for 3 hours.
Boston but pork roast (boneless or bone in) – Hillacres Pride
Brioche rolls – Wild Flour Bakery
Barbecue sauce – Wm. Schober & Sons