Smokers (BBQ - not grilling)

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Knifemaker

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EF47019D-5F12-4F18-AAFA-AAB51B6EE944.jpeg 6782D7F2-F8DF-4222-9D04-DE435D76ACFE.jpeg I’ll have to say it came out great. My attempt and making my own taco shells had a few issues, but were still quite edible. (I baked the tacos after filling and one side was crispy, the other side not.) I don’t own a taco shell rack, which likely would have been the way to go.
Or just buying pre-made taco shells.

The pulled pork of course lacked the smoky flavor one would be used to, but the onion and jalapeño flavored juice definitely made it tasty, as did pan frying it after it was pulled to create some crispy bits that just made the tacos a big step above regular ground beef tacos.
Have about 2-1/2 pounds left going into the freezer for future meals. 👍
 

Fred W

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Looks great. We do pulled pork tacos pretty regularly. we usually opt for the soft tortillas vs. hard shells.

In fact, I cooked up a whole bunch of smoked pork shoulder for the PP tacos for the rehearsal dinner for my son’s wedding several years back.

They live just down the hill from us here in VT. Since then they have given us a wonderful granddaughter, and just this past weekend announced their next (due at end of summer) will be a boy. He will be Fred W the 4th. Hard to say how great that makes me feel.
 
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Knifemaker

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Nice to hear Fred.

I usually opt for the soft (flour tortilla) taco. I hate the super crunchy corn tacos that shatter as soon as you bite into them. (I actually love the fried tacos from Jack in the Box)
The ones I made were not that crispy, thankfully. The leftovers will either end up in flour tortillas instead.

To be honest, the pulled pork out of the crock pot came out just as tender, juicy, and tasty as the butts I’ve smoked....just lacking of course the smoky flavor.
I’m actually thinking of combining both methods....smoking for a few hours and then finishing in the slow cooker (as opposed to the kitchen oven) 😉
 
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Fred W

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Haven’t seen anything here in a while. I still like my smoked meats, too much perhaps, but I do often wimp out and use the pellet smoker. It’s just so easy. Smoked roasts Or pork loins come out just as good, with far less work.

Today was not one of those days. I scored 4 huge racks of pork back ribs from a local market on sale. I resist calling these bad boys “baby backs” because they are bigger than any BB ribs I’ve ever experienced heretofore.

When I went to the market on Sunday, the section was bare, so I rang the bell at the butcher counter. They found a full case of them out back, but still frozen. No problem, I’ll take ‘em. Put them in the fridge to thaw until today.

These were the “swift” brand, which I have zero experience with, but these were very big, for back ribs,and very meaty, as back ribs can be.

Rubbed them up early this morning while I did some other things, and got them on the offset smoker at about 11AM.

F24AC4B9-02CE-4947-B0A3-0E3515111AAF.jpeg

Yeah those are full sized baking sheets. These things are big. Used the McCormack rub on them because I’m too lazy to mix my own. Slapped them on the pit, and it looks sort of full

5B3BDB8D-FA1C-4F56-B491-F6CA3638C1AC.jpeg

I usually only smoke babies for 5 hours unwrapped, but these girls required a full 6. Here’s the one rack we will chow on tonight, the other three in the future

3CAFAC4B-FC62-49B1-BBF3-C13C6D4BE99C.jpeg

They came out lookin good. To be eaten soon.

Hope you all are cooking some good stuff this summer too! Cheers!
 

Knifemaker

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You know what the weight was? A few years back we took a rack of baby backs with us when we went to Louisiana. I think the weight listed was 4.8 lbs. I had smoked it and froze it for the trip. (Packed in dry ice) after we heated it back up and sliced it up, the pieces looked like small pork chops. Our host could only eat one as they were so big.
I usually try to find the heaviest racks I can, but most slabs available here are in the 3 pound range. We had some locally sourced baby backs that tasted great, but were small compared to those I picked up at Walmart.
Obviously it’s all about the size of the hog when it’s butchered. There doesn’t seem to be a correlation between size and taste, but definitely freshness is a big factor. All the locally butchered ribs we had tasted better regardless of size compared to the plastic wrapped ones at the grocery store.

Those do look pretty good. I usually make up two large jars of rub at a time, enough for 4 or five 6 rack smokes. It keeps pretty much forever if sealed in an airtight container. We have a store that sells herbs and spices in bulk (paprika, onion and garlic powder, etc, etc) so I make a enough to fill two one quart mason jars at a time. I’ll use it on pork loins, bratwurst, and even chicken. 👍

Oh.. a recent asquission:
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Been looking for a coarse grind sea salt for awhile, finally found some in Montague MI.

I need to get out and smoke something this week....
 
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Fred W

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Yeah, these were about 4 lbs each, whereas the baby backs I usually get are closer to 3 lbs per rack. The three of us (wife, her mother and I) only ate a half of the rack. Wife’s brother and his family are coming to visit in a couple weeks, so those other three racks were earmarked for that occasion.

We have pretty few choices for pork rib sources. There are a few chain supermarkets, one of which (Hannaford) is where I got these ribs at on special ($3.99/ lb.). We can often find St. Louis or full spare ribs at that price, but baby backs are generally higher.

Another chain (Market Basket) sometimes has fresh pork ribs available, but the racks are always short and they get $5/ lb for them, and never go on sale. The ones that do go on sale are the vacuum packed ones.

Walmart has been hit or miss here. They sometimes have AVS brand vacuum packed, and I’ve found those to be pretty good. Other times all they have is Smithfield, which I shy away from. The ones I’ve had were flabby and mushy, even with proper cooking.

Anyone raising fresh pork in this area with direct sales, values their efforts too highly, and gouges buyers on price. They appeal to the “locally grown” / farmer market angle and some people think it’s worth the big added cost.
 

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