Pulled Pork Recipe
Pulled pork is one of the main reasons for buying a food smoker as it is one of the most enjoyable meats and lends itself to be cooked at a low temperature for a VERY long time.
Choose a 2 - 4 Kg pork shoulder ask for Boston Butt which is a whole piece with the bone removed. The alternative is to have the shoulder rolled and tied, but not a good as the Boston Butt. Any good butcher will know about a Boston Butt and should cost around £9.00 per kilo.
Mix a dry Marinade using the following:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons coarse sea salt
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
Then rub the dry marinade onto the pork shoulder - wrap in cling film and leave in fridge for up to 12 hours.
Wrap in aluminium foil and place in a BBQ smoker for up to 16 hours at around 110 degrees Centigrade. Depending on which food smoker you use your charcoal briquettes should burn for between 5 - 8 hours. If you need to slow cook overnight then keep your smoker covered with a garden umbrella. Check the fire every 4 hours and keep your water bowl full.
Depending on how you like your meat you can it inject with Apple juice, to moisten the meat plus adding depth of flavour.
The achieve that extra dimension of flavour make 4 pouches out of aluminium foil and add a generous handful of apple chips before sealing. Don't forget to poke a few holes to allow the smoke to escape. Place 2 pouches (30 minutes apart) directly in the BBQ smoker fire with the holes facing upwards and then the remaining 2 towards the end on of the cook. The amount of smoke you need is very much down to personal taste. Open the top part of the aluminium foil to allow the smoke to penetrate the meat.
After 14 - 16 hours remove meat from your smoker and allow to rest before pulling apart with a serving spoon and fork.
Serve in a soft white roll with coleslaw or preferred garnish for the perfect pulled pork experience.
NOTE: If you use a vertical BBQ smoker with 2 grills then why not do a 4 Kg shoulder on each as pulled pork freezes well and can also be used as the filling for an indulgent cottage pie.
Using the ProQ to Roast
To roast your food on a ProQ BBQ you will need the base one or both cooking chambers (dependent on how many people you want to feed), the water pan and the lid. Start the charcoal in the charcoal basket until the charcoal has no more "black bits" visible. Whilst you are waiting for the charcoal to burn down, you can prepare your cooking chamber. Fill the water pan with water. For extra flavour you can add beer, wine or some herbs of your choice. Some people think that the water pan has no effect on the end results, but I always use one - it will catch the dripping which can be use to make a tasty gravy. If you don't want to use water, fill the pan with clean sand, as you still need to have a buffer between the food and the fire. Place the food on the grill, just above the water pan and once the charcoal is ready, place the cooking chamber onto the base unit. Place the lid onto the cooking chamber, sit back and enjoy the party. A medium size chicken should take about 3 hours, but it's always best to use a probe thermometer to be sure it's done.
Using the ProQ as Smoker
To smoke your food on a ProQ smoker set up the unit as if you are going to roast, the only difference is that you will be adding some wood chips, chunks, pellets or dust to create smoke. The amount and type of wood added will determine the amount will determine the smokey flavour, as each variety of wood, imparts a different taste to the food. Experiment by mixing different wood types together. The smoking wood is usually added at the begining of the cooking process, and if a very slight smokey taste is what you're after, just a handful of chips, should do the trick. Add more chips if you want a stronger flavour. Smoking is easier than barbecueing as once setup you need only check the fire every 30 minutes or so. It is a good idea to have lit charcoal ready in case you need to add more.
Common problems with Food Smoking
Not enough heat in the food smoker?
Not enough heat can sometimes be good as food smoking is a long slow process which requires less heat. However if your food smoker is not performing please take to following tips into consideration:
- Use charcoal briquettes as they are more consistent in there make up and will burn hotter for longer periods of time. Even better try coconut shell briquettes, probably the best fuel to use on a smoker as it burns hotter than normal briquettes and is a totally natural product being made from a by product of the coconut industry.
- Make sure you adjust the air vents correctly. Knowing the best settings is a matter of trial and error and depends on a number of conditions:- outside temperature, how full your smoker is, outside air pressure, type of fuel etc. The basic rule is on a still day vents should be half open - on a breezy day should be around a quarter closed.
- In winter and on cooler days find a protected spot. Build your fire using as many briquettes as possible (at least to the top of the fire basket). Use a charcoal starter to replenish the charcoal.
- When water smoking it is a good idea to use hot water as the water temperature affects the overall internal temperature.
Dry rubs will add an extra dimension of flavours to your smoked food these can be bought or you can make your own. The advantage of making you own is that you can adjust to suit your taste and if you don't like it milder you can reduce the heat, as many of the bought rubs tend to be on the hot side.
You will need to apply the rub 24 hours before you smoke your food, just rub a generous amount of your dry rub across the outside surface, then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate until you are ready to hot smoke.
Dry rubs for hot smoking meat are generally spicy and dry rubs for hot smoked fish are herb based. Here are 2 rubs you can make yourself. There are no rules here so adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.
General purpose dry rub for hot smoking meat - brisket, pork, chicken and lamb
6 portions Paprika
1 portion of ground black pepper
2 portions Demerera Sugar or brown sugar
3 portions of Coriander (ground)
1 portion Garlic Powder
1 portion mustard powder
2 portions Coarse Salt
Note: A portion can be any equal measure cup, tablespoon etc. depending on the amount required. You may want to make extra for future use.
Herb Dry Rub fir Hot Smoked Fish & Chicken
2 portions of coarse sea salt
4 portions of dried Oregano
8 portions of dried Rosemary
1 portion of ground black pepper
1 portion of dry chilli flakes (optional)
2 portions of dried Basil
Tip: Slow cooking meat is done for very long periods of time at low temperatures and adding a dry rub or hot smoke are optional, but will enhance the taste experience. The slow cooking process makes the meat tender and at the same the meat does not dry out like it does when barbecuing.