BBQ in January? Absolutely!

My family tends to get that I really do enjoy cooking, and that frequently means that I get some really cool gifts. This year, for example I got a stovetop smoker from my brother and his wife! Obviously it can go in the oven as well. It has a lid that slides on for smaller items, and works pretty well. I tried it a few days ago with some chicken breasts, and was pretty happy with the results.  Of course that made me think what else can I do with this? I have a feeling I am going to be smoking lots of things. It is actually very nice since you don’t want to rush it there is time to do other things while dinner is cooking!

The other day Amy told me that she was going to hang out with a friend on Friday night. That meant I was on my own for dinner! I also happened to go to the grocery store and find a deal on a very thick pork loin chop. You can see where this is going…

In the past when I make BBQ I make a dry rub, and leave that on the meat.  Typically I BBQ ribs. My method involves my dry rub, and then braising the ribs in beer in a foil pack for several hours. It is the old low and slow thing. 250F for 3 hours means that the bones actually pull out of the St Louis style ribs.  Then I sear the outside over the charcoal grill, and throw on sauce. (I know, but I’m from St Louis, and that is kind of how it goes.)

I don’t really have a recipe for my dry rub, I just kind of eyeball it.

Brown sugar, kosher salt, ground ancho chili, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander,  thyme, ground black pepper, sometimes ground mustard if I happen to think of it.  Everything gets combined, and then spread evenly on the meat.

As far as the smoker goes… I’m going to use the hickory chips. Piggie getting ready to meet the smoke!Obviously I have no idea if you have a smoker or not, but if you do you should follow the instructions as far as using yours. Mine I started on the burner which gets the wood chips started. For my smoker they are essentially sawdust.  You just have to spread a couple of tablespoons in the bottom. It has a large pan, with a smaller pan that fits inside with a removable rack. Then a lid for the whole thing.  I poured about half a Bard’s beer in the drip pan figuring a little flavorful liquid wouldn’t hurt anything, and then drank what was left! (What would you have done? Yep!)*

 So, everything looked like it does in the picture above, and I turned on the burner. After a minute or two I started seeing wisps of smoke coming around the drip pan, so I slid the lid over the whole thing, and slid it into the oven I had preheated to 250F. Obviously when you put a piece of meat in the oven at 250F from less than room temperature you are not in a hurry to eat, and I figured 2 solid hours would get me where I wanted to be.

Two hours later…I used my thermometer to make sure I had reached a safe temperature, and I was in good shape. Now, I closed the lid, and let it rest for about another 15 minutes. (This was hard. I pulled the bone out of it accidentally, and a chunk of meat came with it, so good!!)

I moved it to a plate, and pulled it apart with a couple of forks. This is really pretty easy to do. If you have cooked the pork enough it will pretty much shred into bite sized pieces just sticking the forks in and moving them a little.From this point if you don’t know what to do I don’t really know if I can help you!!! Serve with your favorite sides, and enjoy. I’m not going to even get into the entire BBQ sauce debate. Do what you like!

I have leftovers which are going to make an awesome lunch or two!

* What I ended up with was fantastically tasty, but not quite as smoky as I had hoped for.  I think I know why. This is only the second time I have used it, so I am still kind of getting used to how it works. I may have made a mistake or two with the whole thing. Not bad mistakes, but they may have prevented me from getting as much smoke as I would have liked. First, the ignition temperature of wood, is 275F. If nothing else the temperature in the oven wasn’t high enough to maintain the burning chips. The second mistake was probably the beer in the drip tray. The beer in the drip tray will never go above the boiling point of water (give or take), and since the beer is directly on top of the wood chips it kept the pan cooler than it needed to be for a consistent smoke to happen. Without the beer it may have been ok with the wood in the oven at the slightly lower temperature since it started burning on the stove top.  I really don’t mind making mistakes this tasty! Plus now I have an idea of what to do different for next time!


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