The setting: a hellacious week. Have not had more than 3-4hrs of sleep all week, working the weekend, and had to make some pulled pork for a work gathering Sun afternoon. No time for an overnight cook (my preferred method), since I'm working this weekend (@Springram
: see? I work too
The plan: Cook a 10 lb pork butt hot n fast Fri evening/night, FTC, pull, and refrigerate until Sun. Warm it in the oven and take it over to the party.
First the happy part. Picked up a 10lb butt, which is the biggest single but I've cooked before. This is the second butt I've done on the egg. There will be about 20-25 mouths to feed. Slathered it up with mustard, and threw some Smokin Guns Hot + Simply Marvellous Peppered Cow on it. This thing was huge - almost filled the 11"x17" rack I had it on.
All ready to go, raised indirect. Some pecan wood for smoke.
Ramped it up to 400°F dome and let it rip.
Then things starting going awry. I noticed that after a while, a lot of thick white smoke was billowing out. Didn't smell all that great. Definitely not the aroma of rubbed porky goodness I'm used to. Similar thing happened a few weeks ago when I made some pork at my sister's house, but at that time i though the acrid taste on the meat and all the smoke was coming from orange wood chunks which i had never tried before. I though the meat had taste bitter and lousy at that time, but everyone else though it was good. maybe they were too polite to say otherwise.
Then it hit me. I heard sizzling. There was no drip pan.
Pulled the butt off. IT was 125°F. Wrapped in foil and put it back on. It didn't look too bad at this point.
I knew i could kiss any bark goodbye, but the folks i am serving would not notice. They would notice if the meat tasted like sh!t though.
I've made many butts on my UDS in the past. Only used a heat deflector or water pan for later cooks, after having done a few. But the coals are almost 2' from the meat in that setup. The first time I did a pork but in the egg, I had used a drip pan with water in it, but forgot to the last cook and with this one. What a dumb@ss.
Anyways, the cook powered through and was done about 11:30pm when the IT hit 203°F. Total time was about 4-5hrs. The bark was not to my standards but the meat tasted fine. FTC for 2 hours, then pulled it all apart at 1:30am. In the fridge about 2:30am. I had a big pan of puled pork, so I was happy.
The meat was tender and juicy, but little to no bark, and the smoke flavor was on the low side. This is what I expected from a foiled, hot n fast cook. The eggware cap for my large was all gunked up and nasty, so i gave it a good scrubbing. Opened up the top and bottom vents on the egg and let it go for a (monitored) clean burn. Thick white smoke billowed out for a while and then it burned clean. Near-disaster averted.
I'll be taking it over to the party in a little bit. Will be served Carolina-style - Blues Hog Red sauce for NC style and Blues Hog Honey Mustard for SC style, on Hawaiian King rolls to make pulled pork sliders. Didn't have time for slaw, otherwise I would have liked to have made jalapeno buttermilk coleslaw as the side.
Some questions for the pros:
- is a drip pan an absolute must when doing a pork butt?
- can I go hot n fast raised direct?
- would lo n slo yield good results raised indirect? how about raised direct?
Thanks for looking. I'll post an update after the party.