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where there’s smoke…

… there’s hair and skin, and clothes that smell like smoke! I’ve had a charcoal smoker for years and use it every now and then. The reason I don’t use it more often (besides the need to immediately take a shower afterward to get rid of the “Smokey The Bear” smell) is that it seems like a lot of work to have to keep adding charcoal and keep the fire going all day long. But then, while in Payson at Barb’s earlier this week, I spotted an unassembled electric smoker in the garage and said, “Cool, and electric smoker!” To my delight, Barb said, “You can have it, it’s just been sitting there for four years.” I was so excited, I don’t think I said my usual, “Really, are you sure?”  So, Connor and I assembled it yesterday and I am putting it into service today to make smoked pulled pork. Thank you, Barb! ( I think that’s #5 – inside joke!)  xoxo

Smoked pulled pork barbeque may sound like strenuous work, but it’s not, it’s simply a gentle, slow cooking process that is ideal for outdoor smoking. It is time-consuming though, so be sure that you or another willing subject are around to tend to the smoking meat every hour for about 6 hours.

That may sound like a pain in the “you know what” but the actual hands-on time is minimal. It only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to set up the smoker, make the basting sauce and spice rub, prep the pork and get it on the grill rack. Then every hour you baste the meat and check the wood and add more if needed, which takes only a couple of minutes each time. And since the high-temperature today in Scottsdale is 113 degrees… that is a very good thing indeed. As can see from the picture below – I keep an eye on the “smoke” from the inside where it is a lovely 76 degrees! The real work comes after the meat is fully cooked. The “pulling” takes some time, so grab a husband, a kid, or a willing friend and pull away.

Not surprisingly, I purchased my pork shoulder at Costco, which meant that the smallest piece they had was 15 pounds. It was actually 2 shoulders and I trimmed off about 1  3/4 pounds of fat, so each shoulder was just about right, coming in just over 6 pounds. Feel free to use your favorite purchased BBQ sauce, but I’m including the recipe for my favorite homemade sauce, courtesy of Tyler Florence – it is amazing! So if you have the time… actually we both know you have the time because you’re hanging around the house basting the pork, so I’ll rephrase that – if you are so inclined, give it a try! These would be the perfect main course for next year’s July 4th BBQ!

Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Basting Sauce
1 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Spice Rub
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s “21 Seasoning Salute” or other multi-spice blend
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Pork and Smoker Setup
Smoking chips (I used hickory)
2 cups white wine (if desired, otherwise just use water)
6 pounds pork shoulder (butt)

Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Barbecue Sauce
1 slice bacon
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Freshly ground black pepper

10 buttered and toasted hamburger buns or other rolls of choice
Pickled red onions (from yesterday’s post)
Purchased coleslaw

Basting Sauce: Place all ingredients in a small pan and simmer until the sugar has melted. Pour into a glass measuring cup and set aside.

Spice Rub: Place all rub ingredients in a small bowl and blend

Pork and Smoker Setup: Prepare the smoker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Soak the smoking chips in hot water for at least thirty minutes and then drain. Add chips to the smoker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Fill the water pan with wine, water, 1 tablespoon spice rub, and 1/4 cup basting liquid to the level directed by the manufacturer’s directions and place the pan in the smoker.

Brush the pork once over with the basting sauce and then rub in all of the spice rubs. Place prepared pork on smoker grate and cover.

After one hour, use a long-handled grill brush to baste the pork with the basting sauce. Repeat this on the hour for the next 5 hours. While the pork is smoking, make the barbecue sauce.

Tyler’s Ultimate Barbecue Sauce: Wrap the bacon around the bunch of thyme and tie it with kitchen twine so you have a nice bundle. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thyme and cook slowly for 3 to 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the sauce a nice smoky taste. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, give the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors.

Finishing Pork: Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat, it should be 190 degrees. Continue smoking and basting, if needed to reach that temperature, then remove the pork and leave to sit for 45 minutes covered in foil.

The pork is now ready for shredding so go to it with a couple of forks or if preferred, just use your hands. Place the shredded meat in a large bowl and toss with half of the barbecue sauce.

Assembly: Spread the toasted buns lightly with barbecue sauce and pile the bottom sides high with the pulled pork. Spoon on a large spoonful of pickled onions and/or coleslaw and top with the top half of the toasted buns. Dig in! …I’m off to take a quick shower  🙂

Serves 10

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1 barbara fenzl { 07.18.10 at 7:35 PM }

Dear Linda,
I am so thrilled that you’ve used the smoker already! It looks so yummy and I just know it’s delicious. Thanks for joining me in Payson, bringing me such lovely wines, and helping me with my presentation. It was awesome having you in pine country and hanging out together.
Love you,

2 Linda Hopkins { 07.18.10 at 8:55 PM }

Barb, the thanks is all mine…if you’re in town, I’d love to drop by with some of the smoked pork for you to try… I made a ton of it! xoxoo

3 barbara fenzl { 07.19.10 at 11:29 AM }

I can’t think of anything I’d like more! We’re having Ashley, Justin, and the boys join us in Payson this weekend, and it would be a very welcome addition to our table. You’re the best!


4 Linda Hopkins { 07.19.10 at 3:15 PM }

Connor and I are on our way over with the BBQ pork Barb. xoxo

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