Apple Smoked Pork Butt Roast vs Pulled Pork
I started years ago using the "Texas Crutch" when smoking Pork Butts. The Texas Crutch is a technique that helps you to overcome the dreaded nasty old Stall. It involves double wrapping the butts with foil and returning them to the pit. The stall, for those of you not familiar with it, is when a large piece of meat or poultry stalls around an internal temperature of 150ºF to 160ºF. The stall reflects the slow rending of fat and the meat meat proteins are denaturing which begins the tenderizing and breaking down of the protein.
I smoke pork loins for 2 distinct recipes - A Pork Butt Roast and Pulled Pork. For the most part both recipes are identical up to the point of the Texas Crutch. However, the pork butt roast is removed when it reaches an internal temperature of 187ºF and the pulled pork is removed when it reaches an internal temperature of 205ºF.
The other major difference is that the pork butt roast is rested for 15 minutes whereas the pulled pork is rested (FTC) for 3 to 4 hours. FTC (Foil, Towel, Cooler) involves taking the foil wrapped 205ºF pork butt and wrapping it up in a large towel before placing it in a cooler for 3 to 4 hours. The pork butt roast is sliced against the grain versus being pulled.
Which is better? Depends on your preference but I'm going to wuss out and say that I enjoy both of them equally. The texture and their uses are different and so are the sides but lordly lordly do they ever taste scrumptious. CookinPellets Apple Mash pellets and Pork are a great combination.
Started with two 7lb Costco Boneless Pork Butts. Trimmed the small fat cap and any silver skin from both butts. Unlike some, who believe that the melting fat cap bastes the pork as it's being smoked/cooked, I am in the camp that prefers to have clean pork butts because any portion of the butts that are covered with fat will not form any bark. Let's face it, the bark is one of the tastiest part of any pork roast or pulled pork.
Rubbed the pork butts liberally with roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil and Jan's Dry Rub. Wrapped the seasoned butts with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.
Preheated my MAK 2 Star wood pellet smoker-grill to 225ºF with CookinPellets Apple Mash pellets. Smoked the pork butts for 2 hours before bumping the MAK 2 Star pit temperature to 350ºF. Removed the pork butts when their internal temperature reached 160ºF. Double wrapped the pork butts in heavy duty foil and returned them to the pit.
The Apple smoked pork butt roast was taken to an internal temperature of 187ºF before being removed an rested for 15 minutes. Why 187ºF you ask? Many moons ago I attended a smoking/cooking class and a stick burner served us a pork butt roast which he cooked to 187ºF. I figured that with his experience he knew better than I did so since then I have always taken them to that temp. Yes, there is something magical about that temp ...
The only thing left was to take the other pork butt to 205ºF before pulling it and starting the FTC process. The left image below is the pork butt roast and the one on the right is the pork butt after the FTC. Note that the one being pulled is flaking some by itself.
Both pork butts turned out exquisite ... next time you smoke/cook multiple pork butts take one out at 187ºF and check it out!!
CookinPellets Premium 100% Sweet Maple Review
Over a dozen years ago the "Pellet Guy" (owner of CookinPellets.com) bought his first wood pellet smoker-grill. He soon discovered that when using the manufacturer's pellets, the overall experience didn't meet his expectations. The smoke flavor was just ok ... just ok was not going to work so he built a small mill to experiment with different wood combinations.
The rest is history - CookinPellets.com has vowed to make the best premium pellets for a fair price! My experience has shown that they more than achieved their vow.
For over 4 years, CookinPellets has been a top selling brand, Highest Rated and #1 Best Seller on Amazon.com. You can also find their pellets at local dealers across the US, Canada, and making a foothold in Europe.
Over the last 12 plus years I have used a vast amount of different wood pellet flavors from a large number of manufacturers. All of those pellets contained between 70 to 75% base wood (Oak or Alder) and only 25 - 30% flavor hard wood. Some of the results I achieved over the years were ok to good but nothing compared to the results I have achieved with Premium Perfect Mix and Premium 100% Hickory. The Perfect Mix consists of nothing but 100% hard flavor woods (Hickory, Apple, Cherry, and Maple) and is presently my go to wood pellets. However, I must admit to often using the Hickory also.
I just got my hands on a 40 lb bag each of CookinPellet Apple Mash, Black Cherry, and Sweet Maple. For my first use of the Premium 100% Sweet Maple pellets I chose to smoke some Brats. These are Costco's Kirkland brand brats but my guess is that Johnsonville provides these brats for them. To me they look and taste identical and I have found that they are very easy and forgiving to cook.
I started with a clean Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett wood pellet smoker-grill so I could get a clear measure of ash that is produced from a 1¼ hour smoking of the brats at 225ºF. As you can see from the photo above the Premium 100% Sweet Maple pellets produced an ample amount of beautiful blue smoke to kiss every recess of the brats. The cook used very little pellets as the Davy Crockett is very efficient at low temperatures. The smoke ring on the brats were to die for!! Nothing wrong with a beautiful smoke ring ... but the best part was how juicy the brats turned out. Yes, they tasted as good as they look. The Maple pellets produced a mild smoke flavor with a hint of sweetness. I look forward to using the pellets for cooks of turkey, pork, Cornish Hens, beef, and fish.
Upon inspection, after the cook, I found that the amount of ash produced from the cook was negligible. These pellets burn very efficiently. To date I have used CookinPellet's Hickory, Maple, and Premium Perfect Mix and they all produce a very clean blue smoke and very little ash.
Smoked the brats until they reached an internal temperature of 160ºF. Most people don't normally smoke brats but I highly recommend you give it a try. You'll find that this may turn out to be your favorite way of cooking brats. I often put on some brats when smoking other foods since at 225ºF it only takes about an hour to smoke them and they are great for appetizers!
Hickory Smoked Cornish Hens
What a scrumptious delight these Hickory smoked Cornish Hens turned out to be. It's been well over a year since we have enjoyed these little beauties. Time flies when you're having fun ... so many items to smoke/cook and so little time! Did you know that Cornish Hens, sometimes called Cornish Game Hens, are not actually baby chickens. They are actually a hybridized breed of bird developed especially for commercial production. Compared to the price of chicken they can cost up to a couple of dollars more per pound but trust me when I say the price is well deserved.
You'll find that most recipes call for the Cornish Hens to be baked and/or roasted. You can never go wrong baking or roasting your Cornish Hens but I strongly advocate you try smoking them - you'll really enjoy the difference. For the most part there are two techniques that provide excellent results:
- Smoke the Cornish Hens for an hour or so at 225ºF before bumping the pit temperature to 350ºF - 400ºF until the internal temperature reaches 180ºF.
- Smoke the Cornish Hens for approximately 4 - 4½ hours until you reach internal temperature.This method takes at least twice as long but your family and friends will notice the results which makes the extra cooking time worth it.
*Note* - According to USDA you're not supposed to wash your poultry. Rinsing raw poultry doesn't kill off any bacteria but instead spreads it all over your sink, hands, and kitchen. Rinsing raw chicken before cooking can increase your risk of food poisoning from campylobacter bacteria.
Smoked Cornish Hens Prep: Remove the hens from the package and pat dry (inside the cavity and out) with paper towels. Trim excess fat and skin off the hens. Rub roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil inside the cavity and over the skin of the hens. Season the hens with your favorite poultry seasoning. I'm partial to using a combination of McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning and Fagundes Seasoning. Used Silicone Cooking Bands to secure the hens.
I suggest covering an appropriate sized section of your counter with a double layer of over lapping plastic wrap. Then place a large portion of foil over the plastic wrap which is used to prep the Cornish hens. Once you're done seasoning the Cornish Hens place them directly on the plastic wrap and discard the foil. Use the plastic wrap to wrap the Cornish Hens and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Instructions: Configure your Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett wood pellet smoker-grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 235ºF using CookinPellets Premium 100% Hickory pellets. Smoke the Cornish Hens for approximately 4½ hours until the internal temperature reaches 180ºF. Rest the Cornish Hens loosely under a foil tent for 10 minutes before serving.
A Cornish Hen has a surprising amount of meat on it. We find that half a Cornish Hen is plenty. Served with a side of green salad. If you're following a low-carb lifestyle then this meal is ideal since there's no carbs in Poultry ... Bon Appétit
Smoked Blade End Pork Loin for Two
Smoked Blade End Pork Loin for Two - Are you and yours enjoying an empty nest? Are you tired of paying those higher prices for cuts of meat? Then you need to look into buying meat in bulk and cutting/trimming the meat yourself. You will save $$ per pound and you'll have the size cuts that best suits your needs. Costco had a whole boneless pork loin on sale and it provided us with 10 custom cut meals. Each meal, for two, was half the price of one entree at a restaurant and for sure turned out better! Not only did I vacuum seal the Sirloin End Roast for future meals, but I also used the Center Rib and Center Loin for 1½ inch thick Boneless Pork Chops.
- Pork Loin images below courtesy of meatmadesimple.com
The smoked Blade End Pork Loin turned out perfect as you can see from the photos below (click on the images for a larger view). Fired up my Green Mountain Grill Davey Crockett wood pellet smoker-grill to 200ºF using CookinPellets Premium Perfect Mix. Check out the copious amount of smoke that the mix of 100% Hickory, Cherry, Maple, and Apple hardwood pellets provide! I was going to smoke the pork loin for an hour at 200ºF and then bump the pit temperature to 350ºF until the internal temperature of the roast reached 145ºF but instead chose to keep the temp at 200ºF ... The results, as you can see, was simply scrumptious melt in your mouth.
Blade End Pork Loin Prep: Trim excess fat and silver skin from roast. Rub roast with extra virgin roasted garlic olive oil. Season the pork loin roast with my Pork Dry Rub - (page 169) of my cookbook - The Wood Pellet Smoker & Grill Cookbook. Wrap roast in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
Instructions: Preheat your wood pellet smoker-grill to 200ºF using CookinPellets Premium Perfect Mix. For this cook I used my GMG Davy Crockett pellet smoker-grill. Smoke the pork loin for approximately 2½ hours (depending on the size of the roast) until the internal temperature reaches 145ºF. Rest the roast for 10 minutes loosely under a foil tent before slicing against the grain.
Served the smoked Blade End Pork Loin roast with a low-carb cabbage casserole and half an avocado ... Bon Appétit
Smoked Top Sirloin Beef Jerky
Smoked Top Sirloin Beef Jerky - The perfect combination for Hickory Smoked Top Sirloin Beef Jerky is a MAK 2 Star with the Super Smoker Box accessory and a Cabela's 80-Liter Commercial Food Dehydrator. My local butcher, Fagundes Meats, sliced up 10 lbs of 1/4 inch thick Top Sirloin Beef against the grain and marinated it with Teriyaki. I allowed the beef to marinate inside the refrigerator for 2 days to ensure that the Teriyaki had plenty of time to penetrate the meat and work it's magic.
Preheated the MAK 2 Star to Smoke (180ºF) and placed the racks of marinated Top Sirloin Beef in the Super Smoker Box. Used a pair of scissors to cut the sliced beef to manageable sizes and fully loaded the trays. Hickory smoked the jerky for 2 hours before removing the meat and transferring it to the dehydrator trays.
Preheated the Cabela's 80-Liter Commercial Food Dehydrator to 140ºF. Dehydrated the jerky for an hour before increasing the temperature to 150ºF. Pull the Hickory Smoked Top sirloin Beef Jerky from the dehydrator when the jerky is dry. If the jerky breaks or cracks when it's bent then it overdone. Rest the jerky in a brown paper bag in the fridge overnight before vacuum sealing.