From: John De Armond
Subject: Cookin' Pig
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 22:36:09 EST
Erich Coiner wrote:
> Neon John wrote:
> > distastefulness of that experience was one of the key motivators for
> > me to sell the company, retire and start cooking pig and bending
> > glass for spending money.
> Would you care to comment on some of your BBQing techniques and recipes?
> To keep this on topic, I took my Weber on an RV trip and slow cooked a
> pork shoulder. 12 hours at 225F, man was that good eatin'
Sure. I cook Alabama style which is, I'm told, similar to one of
the North Carolina styles. Boston Butt pork shoulder cooked on an
open pit over a hickory fire. No rubs, no sauces, no glop. Just
the magic of hickory smoke. Properly cooked pork will have a dark
outer layer followed by a bright red smoke-impregnated layer and
white on the inside. The meat will be sweat and smoky without any
sauce. I like a little bit of thin vinegar based sauce applied at
serving time. This area won't eat that kind of sauce so I make a
tomato-based sauce that we serve in the restaurant. Never
pre-applied to the meat. Whatever sauce that is desired is properly
applied at eatin' time!
Burning conditions are critical. For the proper flavor, the hickory
must burn with an open flame and the meat must be over the fire so
the fat can drip and burn. The popular smoker pits that burn the
fire in a separate chamber don't do it right. The fire is too
smothered, making the smoke bitter and the fat can't burn. The
Brinkman-style smokers don't work very well either. They are so
short that by the time the fire catches enough to burn with a flame,
the meat gets burnt. The smoke issuing from the pit should have a
blue tint to it. If the smoke is white, the fire is smothered and
is making bitter meat.
My pit is homemade and is about the size of a large dumpster. It
holds about 800 lbs of butts. The meat sits about 4 feet above the
fire. Draft is controllable to regulate the heat without smothering
the fire. I shoot for a chamber temperature of 300-350 degrees
which cooks butts from frozen in about 10-12 hours. I find that
cooking from frozen gives much better results than cooking fresh.
There is less weight loss and the meat is juicier. I postulate that
the outside gets seared and sealed before the inside is thawed so it
can lose its moisture.
For small batch cooking, such as for a family get-together, I use a
small homemade pit made from an open-top 55 gallon drum. The drum
sits upright. A thin layer of castable refractory in the bottom
holds the heat and lets the fire burn at the right temperature. Two
Weber grill grates are suspended so that two layers of meat can be
cooked. The top layer has the meat almost in contact with the lid,
with the lower layer almost touching the top layer. A 2" hole in
the top serves as a flue and an approx 4" X 12 inch door with a lid
is cut in the bottom for fueling and draft control. Again, this pit
should be run in the 300-350 deg range. properly made, it is
self-regulating. Just put the hickory in and cook. this size pit
will cook from 1 to about 10 butts. I'm not sure how to get
something like this on an RV (though I do trailer it to special
events) and I can't imagine any way to make the pit smaller and
still get the right taste. Hmmm.
Well, Now that I have everyone nice and hungry, I suggest that John
G's would make a wonderful destination for an RV caravan :-) Just a
couple of miles off I-75 at exit 20 north of Chattanooga with plenty
of parking for big rigs. We're just a few miles from the Smoky
Mountains and Ocoee where they had the 96 Olympic whitewater
competition. Y'all come!
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Cookin' Pig
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 16:55:06 EST
> In article <382CDD43.67A28685@bellsouth.net>, Neon John <email@example.com>
> > I cook Alabama style which is, I'm told, similar to one of
> >the North Carolina styles. Boston Butt pork shoulder cooked on an
> >open pit over a hickory fire. No rubs, no sauces, no glop. Just
> >the magic of hickory smoke.
> A question...when I was first married(the first time) we lived for a time in a
> smalll west Tennessee town...McKenzie.
> There was a BBQ place there...sold pork sandwiches. Yummy....... white
> "pulled" meat with no BBQ sauce...but optional to put a few drops of something
> hot... I mean <<<HOT>>> It looked almost clear, reddish color with some specks
> in it. Three drops on a white pork sandwich and you were on fire.....
> What was that stuff?
That sounds like Alabama-style thin sauce. The most basic vinegar
sauce is vinegar and chili powder and a little salad oil. Most of
us embellish a bit. That probably had some Cayenne pepper in it.
I'm well known in this area for my hot sauces. they come in three
levels. Hot, REALLY hot and DEATH. My hot sauce is my regular BBQ
sauce with pureed Habinero peppers (world's hottest) added. My next
level, called Nuclear Nightmare, is pureed habinero peppers with a
little garlic and some added oleo-capsasin resin. My death sauce is
nothing more than an oil solution of oleo-capsasin resin. No taste,
just pure heat. This has about the same concentration of capsasin
as police pepper spray but I use edible oil as the solvent.
I sell an amazing amount of Death Sauce. I *think* people buy it
for practical joke purposes but I also see people actually put it on
the food. Amazing! I just wish I had been videoing all the
responses :-) You should have seen the guy whose "friends" put some
in his chewing tobacco!
From what I can tell, Memphis-style BBQ is quite similar to
Alabama-style. Memphis is so far away that it is more like another
state to us east tennesseeans. Only been there a couple of times.
Loved the 'Que.
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Cookin' Pig
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 17:01:32 EST
> Vinegar based sauce? Hmmm! Tell me more.
> Ahh, I mean.... I carry malt vinegar in the MH. Would that be
> OK?. What other supplies would I need? Are they available at
> Camping World or Walmart?
Never tried malt vinegar but what the hey? I use plain old white
vinegar and chili powder and a bit of oil. A touch of Cayenne
pepper gives it some heat and just a touch of ground celery seed
gives it that savory flavor. Boil it just a moment to free up all
the spices and it's done. A touch of Mrs Dash is also nice. I
don't have any measurements. I just mix til it tastes right.
With alabama-style BBQ, you also need sweet slaw. You'll need a
head of cabbage, a cup of sugar and a cup of vinegar. Shred the
cabbage like for cole slaw. Add the sugar and vinegar, mix,
refrigerate and allow to sit for a couple of hours. Doesn't taste
very good by itself but on a sandwich, ohhhlala!!