Pulled pork in < 1 hour

My experience making and freezing pulled pork for future use.

My wife’s family has a great tradition at the annual beach week. Each couple in the family cooks one night of the week. This has several advantages over everyone making their own stuff or going out for dinner.

First – and most obviously – we get home cooked meals every night of the week. Second, we all eat together. It’s a great time to have everyone around the table and chatting at the same time. Third, I get to stay on the beach longer and come back to the house just before dinner. Finally, while it’s definitely not a competition to see who makes the best meal 😉, everyone goes all out for their night of the week. We have some great dinners during the week, my favorite being Trey’s homemade lasagna.

This year, I wanted to make my favorite, some carolina pulled pork. The problem is that I want to smoke it on the Big Green Egg and eat it an unknown number of days later. That turned out to not be a problem due to my Christmas experiment where I froze the pulled pork and reheated it before everyone arrived! My wife still insists that’s the best pork I’ve made…

I just finished smoking this one the Big Green Egg and I think it turned out great. I’ve been watching a lot of BBQ with Franklin on YouTube lately so I followed his advice on the rub. I added a bit of cayenne pepper and brown sugar to this:

  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Powder

I didn’t measure the ingredients but it was close to equal parts salt, pepper, and sugar, paprika, with a pinch of the other ingredients.

Since I was making this for a lot of people, I had 3 pork butts on at once. That definitely maxed out the capacity for the large Big Green Egg!

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I smoked this one at 250 for 5 hours over hickory chunks, wrapped it up, and waited until the internal temperature hit 195. It’s important to let the pork rest for a while after cooking to allow the muscle fibers to soak up the juices so I let them sit on the counter in foil for another 30 minutes. After that I pulled them apart, let them cool to room temperature, and put them in the freezer. There is no sauce in the freezer bags, I’ll put it on the pork when I warm it up. It should only take around an hour to warm them up and have them ready to eat.

It will be exciting to see how they turn out! Based on my previous experience with pulled pork, I think everyone will love them. 👍🏼

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-Aaron

The Past Year with BGE

It’s been a while since I posted a blog about my grilling and smoking experiences with the Big Green Egg. For some reason, I find it far easier to eat whatever I cooked than take pictures and write about it. Nonetheless, I’ve been using the Big Green Egg a lot over the past year and have cooked a number of different things. Scrolling back in my FlameBoss log, I’m going to pull out some of the interesting cooks and point out some things that I’ve learned. I don’t know why but the graphs from the FlameBoss get screwed up a lot of the time so I won’t be able to show some of them.

 

Pulled Pork for Christmas

Every year, my extended family comes over to my house on December 23rd. We always have a great time catching up, of course with excellent food. Last year, I made pulled pork; it was a hit and I wanted to do it again. This year I had a predicament though. I was going to be out of town until about 3PM on the day that everyone was going to arrive. I decided I wanted to freeze the pulled pork and reheat it on the 23rd. It turns out this was something a lot of people have done and pulled pork reheats very well. The only big concern is ensuring that you safely freeze the meat so it doesn’t harbor bacteria. I cooked the pork about 10 days early with a typical rub on it:

  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

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After letting it cool, I vacuum sealed 2 bags and cooled them in a cooler prior to freezing them. To reheat, I let the pork thaw for a while on the counter, put it in a pan with some vinegary sauce, cover it, and cook it at 300 degrees until it’s heated. The whole process was pretty simple; I highly recommend trying it out! Right now, I’m cooking another 24 pounds of pork shoulder to bring to our family’s beach week and eat there!

 

Ribs

I’ve made ribs about 20 times this year. They are typically my go to meat to smoke if someone is coming over to the house for dinner. While they always come out cooked extremely well, I still don’t feel like I’ve got the method perfect. I’ve tried different ways to cook them, 3-2-1, 2-2-1, no aluminum foil, membrane off or on and it often feels like there are too many variables to say exactly what makes them great or just good.

There was one time I put some sauce on them that had too much sugar and it burned all over them. That was a super disappointing and I definitely learned to check the sauce out before using it.

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Other Tasty Things…

Here are a few other things that I made in the past year. I didn’t branch out a ton but I did get several good cooks in.

  • Wings
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Carnitas
  • Bacon-wrapped turkey tenderloin
  • Pizza
  • Cookies

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-Aaron

 

Brisket!

While I’m a typical North Carolina guy in that pulled pork with a vinegar-based BBQ sauce is the ideal BBQ, my dad prefers something closer to Texas BBQ. Because of this, he’s been asking me to make brisket for him since I got the Big Green Egg. This year for Father’s Day, I decided I’d go ahead and give it a try. Based on what I had read while poking around on the Big Green Egg forums, brisket was one of the more challenging things you can cook. If you don’t cook it long enough, it’s too tough and if you cook it too long, it can dry out. It’s tough to time because there could be a stall in the cook that prevents it from getting to the appropriate temperature in time. Some of these things are the main reasons I haven’t tried it yet. I’m happy to say that after some research and advice from folks at work, this turned out to be far easier than I thought.

After buying the 11 pound brisket from a local butcher (the smallest one they had?!), the first thing I needed to do was season it. Based on advice from a friend at work, I started with an all purpose seasoning that was mostly salt, layered on a standard BBQ seasoning, and finished it off with a course ground steak seasoning for texture. I put all these seasonings on 2 days before I wanted to smoke the meat. Next time, I’d like to get more creative with the seasonings. While all of these were good, I’d be interested to see what some spicier seasonings would do to the meat.

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The night before the smoke, I injected the brisket with 2 cups of beef broth. Once again, I’d like to get more creative with the ingredients for the injection next time. This was good but I’d like to see what other flavors I can bring to the meat.

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Finally, I started smoking the brisket at 6:00 AM, with some hickory chunks providing the smoke at a temperature of 230. I was hoping this would allow the brisket to be ready between 3:00 and 4:00 PM, with some time to rest before I slice it. As you can see in the graph from the FlameBoss, the brisket quickly came up to 165 degrees. I pulled the meat, wrapped it in aluminum foil, added some beef broth, and placed it back on the Big Green Egg. The temperature stayed steady for a while before quickly coming up to 200 degrees. I pulled the brisket around 1:45 and placed it in a cooler to rest until time to eat. This ended up being a bit early to come off the smoker. In the future, I’ll probably start a couple hours later in the day.

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The final product was delicious and amazingly tender. while I sliced it, the whole family stood around grabbing pieces like they were candy. Everyone agreed it was tasty and that I would need to make it again for future events!

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Mother’s Day Scallops

This isn’t the most typical thing to cook on the Big Green Egg. Especially with my first post. However, tonight I whipped an early Mother’s Day dinner for my wife. This one was mostly an excuse to use a new Himalayan Salt Block that was given to me as a gift.

After a little research, I determined that scallops were one of the best things to cook on a himalayan salt block which is perfect because my wife loves scallops! The trick with the salt block is to heat it up slowly to prepare for the cook. I let the grill come up to 400 degrees in around an hour as you can see on my graph from the Flame Boss.

During this time, I had some help from the little man salting the asparagus…

Now, on to the scallops. Grilling scallops is a great way to bring out their natural sweetness. That will be a great combination to go with the salt flavor that they’ll pick up from the salt block. Before placing them on the grill, I brushed on a sauce of butter, lemon juice, and honey to help brown them up a little. They cook quickly; I left them on for around 3 minutes per side. I thought the flavor and texture of the finished scallops was excellent although I wish they had browned up a little more. I probably tried to put too many on the salt block at once. The liquid from all the scallops at the same time probably prevented the browning some.