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Choosing Chunks

Ellen aka GormayEllen aka Gormay Posts: 63
edited 8:29PM in EggHead Forum
Hi Guys,[p]I am planning my first (finally!) pulled pork cook this week. I've always used chips for my relatively shorter cooks. I believe that chunks are in order for this one. Do I treat chunks like chips by soaking them and then adding them to the BGE after the temp has stabolized? How many chunks will I need? The butt weighs 3 1/2 lbs.My BBQ Galore's saleman suggested 2 chunks of apple to 1 of hickory as he said that using all hickory would be too strong. Does this mixture seem about right? Calling all Eggsperts for a consultation......[p]Ellen[p]Ellen

Comments

  • JethroJethro Posts: 495
    Ellen aka Gormay,[p]I really like hickory with my pulled pork and that would be my first recommendation. From my understanding hickory is probably the most traditional smoking wood for a butt.[p]To keep the discussion simple all of the chunks I discuss are nice even cubes, you can then adjust for reality. I don't think we need to be too precise on this.[p]I would use two chucnks between 3" and 4" each. No need to soak them if you are doing low & slow and keeping your dome closed for the most part.[p]Enjoy,
    Jethro

  • WooDoggiesWooDoggies Posts: 2,390
    Hi Ellen,[p]I agree with Jethro. Hickory smoked bbq'd pork is king.
    If using just Hickory the smoke flavor will be strong but mainly concentrated on the surface of the meat. Once the pork is pulled, chopped and mixed, the smoke/bark gets distributed... and thats where you get that beautiful play of intense-chewy-smokey with the tender inside meat.
    The last cook I did I made a mental note to add more hickory as it just wasn't smokey enough. So it comes down to personal taste.
    Add the wood just before you put on the butt and 1 to 2 fist sized chunks should be plenty for your 3 1/2 lb. tiny hiney..... the smaller the cut the more smoke flavor it will take on, ie. more surface area proportionately on your cut than, say a 9 lb. butt.
    Take notes and let us know how your first turns out... I'm sure it will be excellent.[p]WD

  • Wise OneWise One Posts: 2,645
    Ellen aka Gormay, keep two point in mind. 1. You would prefer the wood to smoke not burn. Anything you can do to slow the process down will give you more smoke. Soaking it in water is not necessary but does delay the burn somewhat. Also, placing the chunks on the outer edge of your coals will usually delay the combustion into flames as well. 2. Smoke only has effect in the early stages of the cook. Once the meat reaches about 120, it has absorbed all it will absorb. Once trick is to pop th emeat in the freezer for about 30 minutes prior to cooking. Another is to place the meat on the grill as the fire is building. Then it gets the benefit of that low cooking (with smoke) time and when it reaches the appropriate temp, you don't have to open the dome and spoil it.

  • JethroJethro Posts: 495
    Wise One,[p]Here is something I've been ponderin, I think Jim Minion mentioned it here or on the Primo board.[p]If the wood is wet wouldn't you just get steam or steam and smoke until a sufficient amount of the water is gone? Also, if this is correct then by the time you start to get smoke from the soaked wood, then wouldn't the item being cooked will be that much closer to the 120º temp where smoke absorption stops?[p]Bill the reason each of the above sentences have questions marks is that I am not sure if I am correct or not, but I would be interested in hearing what you and others have to say on the subject. I just started doing the non-soaked chunks method. I still soak chips and I would still like even more smoke flavor in my cooks.[p]Regards,
    Jethro

  • Wise OneWise One Posts: 2,645
    Jethro, I think you are right but what I have noticed is it seems to dry out the surface rather fast which then burns and then exposes more moisture to dry out and then allow the wood to burn. I start getting smoke (or is it steam?) almost immediately after putting wet chunks on. I think a more vivid test of what is happening is to take two sticks about 8 inches long and about 1/2 thick. Soak one in water for about 30 minutes. Put them both into hot coals about an inch in. Watch how they burn. It's not a lot of difference but the water soaked one burns slower. The dry one tends to burn by itself while the water soaked seems to requires the fire from the coals to keep it going. [p]That being said, I will tell you that most of the time I never bother to soak the wood because I forget. :-) I still get good smoke from the dry wood.

  • JethroJethro Posts: 495
    Wise One,[p]Hmmmm.... this may be like the old famous commercial, "how many licks does it take to get to the Totsie Roll center of a Tootsie PoP? The world may never know."[p]I guess we can always just keep tryin, different methods and of course sampling the food.[p]Keep em Smokin (Steamin),
    Jethro

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