I think I should start charging our neighbors a “smelling fee” with the lovely aroma that came from our backyard today. No, it wasn’t dog poop, most of that had been picked up already. It was the tender fall apart pork shoulder I smoked on our grill. I have a fairly cheap electric Brinkman smoker, but the last time I used it, it did not seem to get hot enough so I thought I would try to smoke some meat with our gas Weber grill. I am definitely a cook and pretty good on the grill, but I’m still learning this low and slow BBQ stuff. Earlier in the week I was writing my grocery list, looking at coupons and deals on my phone when I saw Aldi advertising pork shoulder for $1.89 per pound. That’s insane!! Who doesn’t love a good pig every once in a while? It had been a while since I smoked a pork shoulder or butt as we call it. Now I’ve learned that a pork butt and pork shoulder are both from the shoulder area of the pig, just different regions of the shoulder. The Butt, also known as the Picnic Butt or Boston Butt is from the very top part of the shoulder and the shoulder cut goes from around the knee area of the pig up the shoulder. At $1.89 per pound, I decided I was going to smoke it no matter what part of the pig it was! When I got to Aldi, there were three or four shoulder cuts there. All were boneless and HUGE. I picked up the smallest one I could find weighing in at 11.07 lbs. Yikes!!
I researched different ideas on smoking meat with a Weber grill and started making my plan. Our grill is the Genesis model with three burners. No fancy side burners, no fancy smoker box add ons, so that’s where handy dandy Youtube came into play. You can just put your wood chips into foil pouches or a foil tray below the grill grates, sitting directly on the flavorizer bars. I bought some Hickory wood chunks, which is what I normally use, and a small bag of mesquite chips. I thought the combo of the larger and smaller sizes and different flavors would work well. I soaked my chips and chunks in water in a small disposable metal loaf size type pan.
While they soaked, I got started on my rub. I kinda just looked up some rub ideas and added in some of my own ingredients. I did write it down as I threw stuff in, so I would be able to recreate if this turned out to be a success. Here’s my rub recipe I used:
3/4 C light brown sugar
4 TBS Kosher Salt
2 TBS Chili powder
1 TBS Garlic powder
2 TBS Steak Seasoning (I used Aldi Stonemill Essentials Steak Seasoning)
1 TBS Ground Cumin
2 Teas black pepper
2 Teas Onion powder
Mix all ingredients and rub generously all over meat. I used every bit of this rub for the 11 lb pork shoulder, getting in all those lovely crevices.
I drained the water out of the wood chips/chunks and covered the little loaf pan they were in with foil and poked some holes in it. Now that the rub was on, it was time to get the grill going. You are always supposed to add the wood chips or chunks to a cold grill. Also, it’s a lot easier to mess around with lifting grates when the grill is not on fire. So I placed the covered wood container in the back right corner of the grill directly on the flavorer bar and underneath the grate. It just barely fit under the grate.
I then lit all the burners like usual on high heat. I closed the lid and did a quick recap of the youtube video on smoking on gas grill to make sure I wasn’t screwing this up. Now it was just a waiting game for that smoke to start. After about 10 min, I could smell the smokey wood and saw some smoke coming out the hole on the side of the grill. I turned off the middle and left burner and lowered the right burner to medium low under where the wood chips were. I brought out my pork shoulder on a little rack since I thought it would be easier to balance while sitting on the top rack of the grill. I chose to smoke the pork with the fat side down. I read a couple different forums and websites that discussed this. Some think with fat side up, it drains down through the meat as it cooks and flavors it. Others think this interferes with the smokey flavor too much and prefer fat side down. I decided fat side down would be the way to go this time. Can’t go wrong either way really- it’s yummy pork!! I placed a large disposable metal pan directly on the grates under the pork to catch the drippings. I added a metal bowl filled with water, but you could have apple juice or some other liquid instead of water. After smoking, I just dump this water out. and inserted my thermometer and closed that lid as quickly as I could.
Let me talk about my thermometer a little here. It’s the iGrill Mini thermometer. It has Bluetooth and connects to your phone so it can alert you when your food reaches the desired temperature. So with my handy little thermometer set to the desired temp of 200 degrees, I was ready to go. My only concern was the size of the meat and how long it would take. My plan was to finish it off in the oven if it just was not cooking fast enough on the grill to make it by supper time. Then I worried it would dry out that precious pork and all those juicy flavors I worked so hard to achieve. But, it worked out and it stayed cozy on the grill the entire time. By the time I had the pork all tucked in on the grill and cooking, it was around 10 AM.
I checked on my little pig a few times, made excuses to go outside just to smell the aroma. I left for a hair appointment and as I got back and walked up to the house, the warm yummy smell was even stronger. I wanted to yell “You’re welcome my neighbors. The lovely aroma in our air making our mouths drool and dogs slobber uncontrollably is MY pork shoulder smoking away! You are welcome!” I even mowed and weed wacked the yard in the dripping humidity just so I could smell that goodness for a couple hours. As the day wore on, I knew it was getting close!! I showered and went right back out to check on my little guy. By checking, I mean just smelling the holes of the grill and peeking inside the back and checking the temp on the grill. I only actually opened the grill 3 or 4 times during the whole smoking process. I wanted to try to preserve that flavor and smoke as much as possible.
It reached the optimal temp of 200 Degrees around 8 PM. So that gives you a time frame of how long it takes. 11 lbs in 10 hours that is nice and low and s-l-o-w! I was kinda worried we may run out of gas, but with having only the one burner on and on its lowest setting, it all worked out and there’s was plenty. The grill stayed around a toasty 250 degrees for the most part. Towards the end, we were all getting a little antsy and I raised the burner a little to a medium low to push it to that 200 degree point a little quicker. It was going on 8 pm, our youngest had fallen asleep in the chair already so I wanted to get the show on the road.
The side closest to the wood and heat is definitely more chard. I’m not sure if I should have rotated the meat during the process, but I may do that next time. I skimmed off some of the drippings and stuck in the fridge. I may make some sort of meal this week and need a little pork gravy.Once the meat was at 200 degrees, I removed it from the grill and brought it inside, covered it with foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Then it was pork shredding time! Oh, and taste testing time. We all had a nibble. The girls gave me high fives. I was sending Ta Dah pics to my dad and brother. Proud moment for this little cook!! I’d give myself a nice pat on the back if I wasn’t so sore from my Bootcamp class. We all agreed that this was a success and we couldn’t wait to scarf it down!
The meat turned out very tender and really tasted great. I’m happy with the rub. I love the cumin in it and you can taste hints of it throughout the meat. My husband couldn’t decide if he wanted to even put sauce on his piled high pork perfection sandwich. I think everything is a little better with some sauce on it so we all had it with sauce. We have quite an assortment of sauces in our house. You never ever want to run out of BBQ sauce, folks. My personal favorite on anything is Famous Dave’s Texas Pit. The rest of my crew enjoy different varieties of Sweet Baby Ray’s.
I fixed corn and green beans in garlic butter and a salad to go with our pork perfection. It turned out to be a great smoke experience!! Now this week, what in the heck am I going to do with all this pork?? I could feed those neighbors a nibble since they all were teased with the streams of pork goodness coming from our backyard. I have BBQ pork wraps planned for tomorrow for supper. Maybe this week I’ll make some sort of pork stew. My neighbor brought me some last year that was so delicious. Pork, tomatoes with green chiles, potatoes all in a light spicy broth. I’m kind of obsessed with soups lately. You’ll have to stay tuned for a post or two about my latest favorite soup of all time!
Now get out there and smoke some pork!