Cook 8: Superbowl

by zydecopaws on February 1, 2009


img_0162On the menu:

Did I mention I was going to cook all night?  Pulled pork (aka pork butt, pork shoulder, tasty stuff) takes a bit longer to cook properly than your average cut of, well, just about anything.  Overnight cooks always seem to bring challenges; this one was no different.

The first challenge was the combination of cold and damp.  Temperatures were 35°F when I started cooking and 27°F when I got up in the morning.  It was foggy when I started, and everything was pretty wet in the morning.  Freezing fog is an interesting thing.  The good news?  No real rain, so I didn’t have to get out the cover for the BBQ.  However, not only did I have to add charcoal (not that unusual for this length of cook) but I also had to add some that was fired up in a chimney.  The temperature on the WSM had dropped to about 160°F and wasn’t rising in spite of knocking the ashes around and having the vents all the way open.  Once I added the hot coals, the temperature at the lid rose back up to an acceptable 210°F.  It’s hard to get the internal temperature of the butts to the 170°F – 180°F range if your smoker isn’t that hot.  I want juicy sandwiches, not jerky treats…

img_0158The next challenge was being able to sleep soundly.  I went to bed around 00:45 (that’s 12:45 A.M. to those of you not familiar with 24-hour clock notation) and woke up more than once during the night wondering if I should go out and check the smoker.  Two things were bothering me; one was the weather, the other was that I didn’t go to the normal extremes I’ve used in the past to protect the cooker from potential wildlife hazards.  Those hazards include coyotes, foxes, raccoons, opossums (rare, but they are around), and any other large carnivorous creatures (like neighbors) that might be out scavenging during the night.  I normally put a chain link dog run (inherited when one of our neighbors moved; we miss you Dave) around the smoker, but last night decided to be daring and leave the WSM unenclosed.  Actually, I was being lazy; it’s a PITA to move that thing around, and I did mention it was cold and wet last night).  I finally got up around 07:30, threw on some clothes, and went out to attend to the butts.  All was well, so I guess I can ratchet down the paranoia and sleep a little sounder in the future.

img_0166When all was said and done we had a nice sized pan of shredded pork goodness that fed about 20 people and left enough for a couple of sandwiches during the week.  It was a lot of work, but everyone seemed to enjoy the fruits (meats?) of our labor.

Vital Statistics:

  • BBQ Start time: 20:30 1/31/09
  • Meal time: 15:00 2/1/09
  • Temperature:     35°F – 27°F
  • Dew Point:     28°F
  • Humidity:    98%
  • Wind:    Calm
  • Precipitation:    0.01in
  • Daily Precip.:    0.02in

Looking back, I’m really grateful I started this earlier in the evening than I usually do.  Cooking time was extended by at least 2 hours over what I normally expect, largely as a result of the cold and wet.  I usually do pork butt in the warmer months, but remember, no excuses.  Now if only the Cards had won…

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