Potluck Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork
Potluck Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork - For those of us who are involved with clubs, schools, family events, etc. there is always the burning question as to what to bring for a potluck. Obviously, the choices are endless but let's face it - we're always looking for that one dish that will please and feed the maximum number of people. Next potluck why not bring a big ole crock pot or two of delicious hickory smoked pulled pork to share. Everyone will thank you for it.
One of the easiest and most cost effective pieces of meat to smoke and cook is a pork butt (usually well under $2 a pound and sometimes even under $1 a pound when on sale). These chunks of meat are perfectly suited for low-and-slow cooking or what technically is "barbecuing". No, the definition of "barbecuing" is NOT what many people think it is ... When many people refer to barbecuing they're actually really grilling using a direct cooking method over a flame. Barbecuing is smoking/cooking low-and-slow using an indirect cooking method. The best part of pork butts is that they're very forgiving which means it's almost impossible to ruin one.
No matter what method you use or have developed the bottom line is the ultimate goal should be to take the pork butts to an internal temperature of 205ºF. Personally I no longer have the patience of a Saint to cook a butt for 12 to 18 hours at 225ºF. So I have chosen to use what is commonly known as the "Texas Crutch" which calls for double foiling a pork butt in order to help bypass the infamous "stall".
I'm in the camp that trims off the fat cap. Some will swear that if you leave the fat cap on it will somehow baste the pork butt with succulent flavor as the fat cap melts. I on the other hand just believe that all that melting fat makes one heck of a mess in your pellet smoker-grill. What really adds succulent flavors to your pulled pork is a well developed bark (the outside dark layer of a well smoked/cooked pork butt). Look at the top two photos to see an excellent example of a well developed bark and what it looks like when mixed with the rest of the pork butt when pulled.
Trim the fat cap off from each pork butt. Rub with extra virgin olive oil and apply an ample amount of your favorite pork butt seasoning/rub. There are a multitude of excellent rubs on the market today. I have picked out some of those which can be found in my online Amazon Store via the menu above. Carefully double or triple wrap the seasoned pork butt with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat your wood pellet smoker-grill to 180ºF or Smoke setting with Hickory wood pellets. Smoke the pork butts at 180ºF for 3 hours before increasing your pit temperature to 350ºF until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 160ºF. Remove the pork butts and double wrap them in heavy duty aluminum foil making sure that you keep any meat probes that you're using in the meat. Return to your 350ºF wood pellet smoker-grill and continue cooking until the pork internal temperature reaches 205ºF.
Remove the pork butts and keeping them in the foil wrap each butt in a towel and place them in a cooler. This method is better known as FTC (Foil, Towel, Cooler). FTC the pork butts for 3 to 4 hours before pulling and enjoying. For best results, return the juices in the foil from the cooking process and mix it with the pulled pork ... Enjoy!!
Smoked Kirkland Master Carve Ham
Smoked Kirkland Master Carve Ham - While at Costco the other day my wife noticed that their Kirkland Master Carve Ham was due to be discontinued and was marked down from $2.29/lb to $0.97/lb. Needless to say we picked up 4 of these 10 pounders and slapped them in the freezer. You should see my freezer - stuffed with 3 10 pound hams, 3 14 lb turkeys, tri-tips, chicken, pork, etc. Not to mention all the vacuum sealed leftovers from a multitude of cooks. Since there is only the two of us at home now each cook provides lots of wonderful leftovers to enjoy at home and on the road in the RV. Last night, for example, we enjoyed ample portions of ham, vacuum sealed 6 meal portions of ham, and refrigerated a large pile of ham to graze on and use for omelets, salads, and sammies.
FYI ... If you see a * on a price tag when visiting Costco it means that that product is being discontinued. For example during the holiday season I stock up on parchment paper cause it gets discontinued till the following year. I'm thinking that the Kirkland Master Carve Ham will only be available for the holidays rather than year round - just a guess on my part cause those hams are really, really delicious.
Preheat your wood pellet smoker grill to 180ºF with Apple or Hickory wood pellets. Smoke the Master Carve Ham for one hour before bumping up the pit temperature to 350ºF. Finish the cook at 350ºF until the internal temperature reaches 130ºF. Rest the ham under a loose foil tent for 15 minutes before carving against the grain. During those 15 minutes the ham internal temperature should rise to 140ºF.
For those of us who have enjoyed these Master Carve Hams we know that it's hard to beat these babies. Since I'm working hard to watch my daily carbohydrate numbers I'm always looking for side options. I've decided to add fresh broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Steamed some broccoli and served with a small green salad.
Why not Stuffed Mushrooms as an Entrée
Why not Stuffed Mushrooms as an Entrée - The other day I asked myself ... "Why not Stuffed Mushrooms as an Entrée"? I couldn't come up with a reason why not so I decided to go with it. Found some really nice large sized baby bella mushrooms at my local grocery store which worked out perfect.
Used a typical pork sausage stuffed mushroom recipe with cream cheese, onions, chopped mushroom stems, spices to taste, and Parmesan. Served with a variety of stir fried vegetables. All in all, it turned out to be a very healthy filling low carb meal ... Stuffed mushrooms will no longer be just an appetizer for me.
Smoked Chicken Quarters on the Pellet Grill
Smoked Chicken Quarters on the Pellet Grill - Felt good to get back to smokin some yardbird parts!! After hitting my MAK 2 Star hard for a year and a half the igniter decided to bite the dust (GFI kept popping when I turned the MAK on). As always, Katrina at MAK took great care of me and immediately sent out a new igniter. The best part, it was free cause my MAK was still covered by the 2 year warranty. Love MAK's customer service ... doesn't get any better than that!!!!
Nothing fancy but the results were outstanding. Rubbed under/on the skin with roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with a light sprinkling of Fagundes Seasoning and McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning. Wrapped in plastic and fridged for 4 hours.
Hickory smoked the chicken quarters for 1 hour at 180ºF before bumping the pit temp to 375ºF. Finished the cook at 375ºF until the internal temperature reached 180ºF. Rested the quarters under a foil tent for 10 minutes before serving.
Served with some fried cabbage, mushrooms, and red onions, a side of green salad, and half an avocado.
Corned Beef and Cabbage Boiled
Corned Beef and Cabbage Boiled - I'm one of those that doesn't think you should only cook a turkey during the holidays. So why would I only have Corned Beef on St. Patrick's Day? This time of year you can pick up reasonably priced Corned Beef. I take this opportunity to freeze a few for great munching during the rest of the year. Last night was no exception, the Corned Beef and cabbage was delectable!!!
Started with a Premium SHENSON Corned Beef Round that I picked up at Costco. It was 3.6 lbs and was $3.49/lb. Not a bad deal these days. I've been seeing Snake River Farms American Kobe Corned Beef at around $7 to $8 a pound but when you're on a limited budget I'm here to say that the SHENSON Corned Beef is perfectly fine. I prefer the Round cause it slices so nicely without crumbling.
The nice thing about Corned Beef is that it's almost impossible to ruin one. You get your largest pot, fill it with a ton of water and simmer the Corned Beef for about 3+ hours. Roughly an hour per pound. I normally briefly rinse the Corned Beef and throw away the seasoning pack. The reason for tossing the seasoning pack is that the seeds always get stuck inside the cabbage wedges and I have to pick them out.
Bring the Corned Beef to a boil and turn it down to a medium-hard simmer. I like to take my Corned Beef to an internal temperature of at least 205ºF. Just like a Brisket. Since it's made from the Brisket then I figure that makes sense. Take the boiled Corned Beef out and cover it with foil. Cut the cabbage(s) into quarters and boil for about 30 minutes in the same water that you used for the Corned Beef. I often also toss in carrots, celery, and small white onions. The red potatoes I like to steam. I can't remember the last time I boiled potatoes.