Saturday, July 27, 2013


Back in May we had friends over for the NNL Dinner Club. We host this group once a year and for the main course, my husband likes to grill or barbecue some meat. This year he decided he wanted to smoke some ribs and a pork shoulder to "pull apart" for pulled pork. 

Our son Patrick has two good friends who often enter BBQ contests preparing brisket, pork, and chicken. Whenever B. K. is busy, Sterling will ask Patrick to help him out. So we went to experts to get our directions.  

Well, everything turned out great. I was so busy that I never "blogged" about it.  But one of the couples who came, has kept asking us for the recipe. They are hosting the Dinner Club in August so I thought I should get my act together and get the instructions written down. (I had to call Patrick because we couldn't remember precisely all the instructions.)  But anyway here they are.  Remember we are preparing meat for 10 - 15 people.  

We smoked one pork butt, a.k.a Boston butt roast or pork shoulder--bone in and 3 racks of baby back ribs. (This picture was taken when we first put the meat on to smoke.)

For the roast Patrick prefers to go directly to the butcher in the grocery store and ask for a whole roast. He says the vacuum sealed one are picnic roasts - half size. You want to get a 6 - 7 lb roast. He smokes 2 at a time and then just freezes the meat after he pulls it. He says, "Since you have gone to all the work getting everything in the smoker (charcoal and wood chunks), you want to make the most of it."

He prefers Baby Back Ribs for the ribs.

The night before:

If smoking ribs, pull the membrane from the back side of the ribs. It is hard to eat and it prevents the rub from soaking into the meat on that side. 

If smoking a roast, inject a 6 - 7 lb pork shoulder roast with about 1-1/2 cups of an injection marinade. He said to just keep injecting it until the roast was full. He couldn't share their recipe, but gave me this one...

Injection Marinade

3/4   cup apple juice
1/2   cup water
1/2   cup sugar
1/4   cup salt
2   tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Sprinkle with your favorite rub (Patrick gave us some of the rub they use in the competitions but would not share the recipe---understandable) on both sides of the ribs and roasts using a fair amount.

Important thing to know:  It is called a "Rub" but you do NOT rub it into the sprinkle it on and just lightly pat it down.  (These are country ribs in this picture)

He places the meat in UNSCENTED garbage bags, ties them with a knot, and places in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day:

Place charcoal briquettes in the firebox, cover with lighter fluid or paper to ignite the charcoal.  Burn until the lighter fluid has burned off and the coals are hot. Add the wood chunks (Patrick prefers apple wood chunks) to the coals and then place the meat on the grill. Roasts -- fatty side down; Ribs -- bone down. You don't have to turn the meat as it smokes.

(If you are smoking quite a bit of meat, you will probably want to use rib racks that will hold the ribs up and free the grill surface for your other meat.)

You will need to use plenty of wood chunks in the early hours. The wood burns faster than the charcoal, but still add some charcoal too when needed.  

You want to keep the temperature between 225 degrees F and 275 degrees F. Check at least every hour. When the temperature drops to 225 degrees or the wood is dying down, add 2 - 3 chunks of woods and at least 5 - 10 briquettes of charcoal to the firebox.

Continue to smoke until roast temperature reaches 160 degrees F or the bone will start protruding in the ribs. When you lift the ribs with tongs, you will see the bones turning black. Baby back ribs will usually take 3 - 4 hours to reach this point.

You are now ready to continue smoking the meat using foil. You will no longer be adding any wood chunks to the firebox, just charcoal.

Roast:  Spread about 1/2 - 1 cup of brown sugar on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Place the roast on top of the brown sugar. Then add another handful of brown sugar on top of the roast. (Butter is optional)  Close up the foil ends and return to grill until the meat reaches a temperature of 190 degrees F. It will take about 1 to 1-1/2 hrs / lb for the pork shoulder to smoke. Patrick says a good size roast will take up to 10 total hrs. to smoke.

Another good bit of information: The temperature is what is important when cooking roasts. The meat will look pink in the middle because it was smoked.  

It is then ready to pull. If you aren't ready to eat, wrap the foiled-wrapped meat in a towel and you can place it in a cooler and keep it warm for 1 - 2 hrs. 

Ribs:  After about 3 - 4 hours (read above), remove the ribs. Using a big sheet of foil, first sprinkle the ribs with brown sugar. Cover the brown sugar with margarine. Use either 1 stick of margarine / rack (cut into small tabs) or Patrick says he uses one squeeze bottle of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter / 2 racks of ribs. The latter certainly is easier to do. 

Close up the ends of the foil and return to smoker for 2 - 3 more hours. As with the roasts, if the ribs are ready before you are ready to eat, you can wrap the "foil-wrapped" ribs in a towel, and place in a cooler for 1 - 2 hrs. If the time is longer, place the foil-wrapped meat in the oven set at a real low temperature until ready to eat. (I'm talking the lowest your oven will don't want to dry the meat out.)

FYI -- when ribs are being judged, you don't want the meat to be "falling off the bones". It should come off easily but when you bite it off with your teeth.

Our finished ribs.

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