Archive for September, 2011

I decided to fire up my Masterbuilt XL Propane Smoker to slow cook 4 pork shoulders. Two were for a family get together and 2 went to my in-laws.  I usually purchase my pork shoulders from Costco. They come two to a pack and the bones have been removed with a little fat trimming as well.  I start by washing the shoulders in cold water and the patting them dry with a paper towel. The next step may surprise you. I slather them up with mustard to give the pork rub something to hold onto.The mustard does not add any perceptible flavor to o the meat. You have to trust me on this, I have smoked at least 200 pounds of pork shoulders and not a single person could taste the mustard. When using the rub, use it liberally. You can see I love making messes, by  looking at the pictures below. Once the meat is rubbed, bring the meat up to a temp of 165 degrees. At 165 degrees the pork shoulders are double wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil and placed back into the smoker until the temps hit 200. They are then pulled out of the smoker and place into a cooler with beach towels to break down a little more before serving.

I use 4 to five chunks of pecan wood for the smoke flavor. The following pictures document most of the process that was discussed. Since I was getting tired of an all nighter at the smoker, I did not get the final product pictures.

Lot's of mustard and lots of rub. You need to make a mess to have some good que...

Both shoulders rubbed on both sides.

Looks like I have some cleaning to do!

Did I say that I like to use a little mustard and some rub?

That is 4 pork shoulders loaded into the smoker at 2:00 AM. These should be ready in 10 to 12 hours.

pecan wood chunks

I only used five of the biggest chunks of Pecan about the size of a closed fist.

The pork shoulders are about 1/2 done. 5 to 6 more hours to go. Notice the probe wires on the top rack for the meat thermometers?

I have two cheapo wireless meat thermometers that tell me when the temps hit the right point to foil and later when to remove the meat.

The setup I use is the Masterbuilt XL Propane Smoker.

Zoey is smelling the pork shoulders and is hoping that I might drop one of them as I remove the shoulders from the smoker.

Sometimes simple is cheap too. $2 at Walmart. Just plain old pork rub by Grill Mates.

At 165 degrees the pork shoulders are double wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil and placed back into the smoker until the temps hit 200. They are then pulled out of the smoker and place into a cooler with beach towels to break down a little more before serving.

I also cooked two double sized loaves of no-knead bread for the occasion. See my other post on making the no-knead bread in my cast iron dutch oven.

Can you believe that I turned 45? Time is a slippin......


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I made the pilgrimage today to get a truckload of firewood. There is an older guy who lives in Lakeside that sells firewood, and he is a character that words simply can’t describe completely. The pilgrimage starts with a phone call and the instructions are to drive to the gate with a huge stop sign with the several “No trespassing Signs” posted on the chain link gate.  I was told to get out of the gate and ring the old school bell. I did as I was told and the bell woke every stray dog occupying the property. I had to wait a few minutes before an older fuzzy gentleman limped to the gate. He stood about 5 feet 6 inches tall and had a pot belly, but he was of thin build. He wore an old Calvary hat and he had a custom Bowie Knife strapped to his side. He was smoking a cigarette way past the point of pleasure. It must have been unfiltered since it look liked he was putting out the cherry with his lips. I really can’t describe the conversation without offending a few folks. The man has a large vocabulary of offending words, or euphemistic speech as they say. He could make a french sailor blush. It was a good thing that little Jakey was asleep in the back of the truck, or he might have had a few extra words to share with mom.

The best way to describe the property is to compare it to the American Pickers episodes that show a combination of barns, old vehicles and pets. He even has a 5 to 6 foot plaster chicken from an old restaurant in his yard. Since this was my second trip, I knew what to expect. There are many farming antiques and old saddles and cowboys stuff all over the place. He has a helper who lives in a fifth wheel. He walked by and banged the side. Like clock work, the door opened with a younger man with gloves in hand. I backed up to the 30 foot tall pile of wood and the owner hopped on an old backhoe with a front load bucket and rammed that old tractor right into the pile. I was a little nervous as he dumped a yard of wood into the back of my truck. Remember that little Jake was sleeping in the truck? It did not even phase him. Jake even slept through the second load of firewood that shook my truck violently. I noticed that several logs bounced of the tailgate of my truck. I have some dings and scratches, but my truck is almost 4 now and she has a few beauty issues already.

Here is some photos of the load. They were taken with my Sony Bloggie, so the quality suffered a little.

Just pulled in to the driveway. The hard part is unloading and stacking.

Another view of the load.

Neatly stacked up on one side of Zoey's outside shelter.

Neatly stacked on the other side. This load should last us two winters. Remember that we live in So Cal!

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The plants are thriving but I have noticed a slow down in growth. Maybe the plants feel fall coming on. Feel free to double click on the photos for much better detail. 🙂

This plant has canes that can touch the top wire at 6 feet. Not bad considering that the plant was planted on July 1. and was 2 feet high. The plant managed to grow in extreme summer heat and avoided transplant shock.

One single Triple Crown cane over 10 feet now. I tried to pinch it three times to get a fork in the cane but this plan is stubborn and wants to shoot out one lateral at a time.

Newly planted Triple Crown blackberry that replaced my struggling Natchez Blackberry. It is sjowing some signs of new growth after 2 weeks. See photo below.

Triple Crown Blackberry new growth after planting in ground two weeks ago.

Nice growth on the Black Satin. I am surprised by a new massive shoot at ground level that started two weeks ago. It is almost 2 feet long and is thicker than any of the existing vines on the plant.

I pulled the failing Natchez out of the ground a little over two weeks ago and the plant has made a strong comeback. I will try again in the fall, when the temperatures are a little more moderate.

My Triple Crown blackberries were easily growing an inch a day, but I noticed a slow down. Could be fall in the air?

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