Sunday, October 21, 2012

BBQ Made Simple

O.k. I'll admit it. 

This weekend I was in the mood for some complicated bbq.

I pulled out my favorite copy of Peace, Love and Barbecue last night and prepared to cook one of the numerous World Championship bbq recipes that are featured.  Unfortunately, after a quick trip to the pantry for supplies to mix up a pork rub, I soon realized that I was missing a primary ingredient - sugar. (We've been trying to eat a little healthier and I've been using stevia in my iced tea.)

Since it was almost 9 p.m., heading out to the store did not sound too appealing. Sometimes you just have to drop back and punt, so I headed back to the pantry and returned with some leftover Billy Bones spice rub that we purchased at Cabela's.

After a couple of apple juice-mixed-with-honey injections and a quick-but-liberal sprinkling of spice rub, the pork butts were marinating in the refrigerator. There was minimal mess and less fuss compared to mixing up a recipe from scratch.

Keeping with the less-is-more philosophy of the day, I pulled out the Weber Smokey Mountain water smoker this morning instead of rearranging the garage to pull out the custom built insulated upright that works pretty well with temperatures nearing refrigerator levels here in Southeast Michigan. The WSM is nearing it's 11th year birthday, but still works like new. It's a true set it and forget it cooker. Who needs a fancy smancy computer controller? And what good really comes from those my-smoker-is-bigger-and-more-expensive-than-yours models?  Truth be told, I have always gravitated toward using the $189.99 basic black cooker versus the $1,500 custom painted red version of the same basic design for informal personal cooking sessions.

I often think about putting my retirement savings on the back burner for a while and putting my name on the waiting list for a premium offset smoker that's all the rage on the competition circuit these days.

But on days like this while watching the Sunday morning talking heads, reading the newspaper, surfing my favorite bbq websites, catching up on Facebook, and writing a couple of bbq blog posts I remember why I started cooking bbq in the first place. I really enjoy good food cooked the way I like to eat it without having to spend a lot of money.

Pulled pork seasoned with Billy Bones spice rub from Cabela's
In competition I cooked pork butts to 196 degrees and let it rest in a cooler for 4 or 5 hours before turn in time.

I cooked this pork at 225 degrees for roughly 8 hours to an internal temperature of 200 degrees. I have found that when cooking the meat a little longer, it doesn't need to rest quite as long before pulling. These butts rested for 90 minutes and separated easily.

While I had the cooker fired up I decided to cook some pork ribs too. I purchased these ribs locally from Back Forty Acres in Chelsea, MI. They are untrimmed, but for eating ribs at home it's not always necessary to trim them. Trimming is time consuming and there's also a certain amount of waste that occurs.


Untrimmed pasture raised Tamworth ribs from Back Forty Acres
Update:  I took some leftover ribs for lunch and they were delicious.


Chris said...

Sometimes easiest is best, don't you think?

The BBQ Guy said...

I totally agree Chris.

I took 5 lbs of pulled pork to an employee lunch today and there were no leftovers.

It's hard to get much simpler than a WSM.

Jackson Clarke said...

What a fantastic post! I have to admit that I am fairly boring with my BBQ cooking (probably because the British weather does not allow us to be so adventurous!) but I have finally purchased a napoloen bbq; the only worry is however that I wont get the smokey flavour so familiar with the charcoal bbq's

Rick said...

Thanks for the great post. I truly believe that simple is best. I was actually reading a post on another blog about pulled pork on a gas grill. WHAT? I guess if it's done right, it will be good. What's your thought on ceramic grills, like The Big Green Egg?

Thanks again and keep up the great work.

The BBQ Guy said...


I don't own a gas grill, but I would definitely like to own a Big Green Egg. It's a little more expensive than I'd prefer, but the BGE does offer a lot of flexibility. Low and slow or hot and fast are both possible on the BEG.