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mame11
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Here's my (good) dilemma. I have lots of leftover pulled pork. More than 2 1/2 people can eat in a reasonable amount of time. Does cooked pulled pork freeze well?

PICNIC!

Man, I spend like two hours offline doing work and I miss my chance to say this!

(Seriously: PICNIC!)

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If I started pulled pork, or ribs, or whatever in a BRAISE, and then finished them on the smoky BBQ for a few hours, what would I lose/gain?

For pork ribs they would probably fall apart considering they only need 3-4 hours of smoke.

Doesn't meat stop taking smoke flavor after it reaches a certain point? Would it make more sense to do it smoke then braise? I would think that the braise would make the meat a bit soft to handle and put on a grill, unless it still has a ways to go.

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If I started pulled pork, or ribs, or whatever in a BRAISE, and then finished them on the smoky BBQ for a few hours, what would I lose/gain?

Piqued by your questions to consider learning to BBQ on my own, ]I just bought a fascinating book, "Low & Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in 5 Easy Lessons", by Gary Wiviott.

The concept is that you treat the book as a long distance class, beginning with half chickens marinated in commercial mojo criollo, so you don't waste good pork ribs and other expensive ingredients while you get started. Each subsequent lesson involved more difficult meats and more expensive ingredients. You start at the beginning and continue through each step, not skipping lessons.

One thing you might like, Dan, is that each lesson has suggestions for cooking on an offset smoker (which I have), a Weber bullet, or a kettle grill (which you have).

Something that's very different than my husband's technique is never reusing charcoal, always burning it up and starting clean, with a clean fresh fire. He says that charcoal absorbs off odors and grease so you need new charcoal every time. So today I have to scrub down our offset so it's clean for tomorrow. I bought a couple of halved chickens and some Goya mojo criollo, and tomorrow, if the weather cooperates, I will give it a try. But I am going to doctor the marinade, even though he saves that for attempts after the first try. I am not a complete novice.

Cannot paraphrase the directions, it's very simple but each step is explained in great detail for the complete newbie, or those who started out with bad habits and need to relearn, like me.

But to answer your question, Wiviott says don't braise your baby backs. In the book he explains why, and goes into great detail on how to prep them. There might be more on his website.

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I'm interested in hearing about how you like your book-I've been thinking about getting this one-serious barbecue. I think I do o.k. w/ basic bbq, especially pork, & I did a beef brisket last weekend that wasn't too bad...I don't think I would braise before smoking, although I have heard of parboiling ribs (I don't do ribs, so I have no firsthand experience)....

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Wiviott used to have his "course" available for free on-line before turning it into a book. I always like his laid-back approach, which I feel is more in the spirit with the whole concept of barbecue. In contrast, some other websites and books are little too scientific and exacting in their approach, in my opinion.

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Wiviott was how I started in BBQ a few years ago, and actually I felt the opposite of Plunk. I did appreciate having some sort of guideline, but his ideas were too laid back to me... The problem is you have to be able to adjust to different conditions and sometimes his stuff just turned out wrong. I think its worth doing it his way to start then integrating everything else after. Though if I had it to do over again I would have probably just stuck to the Virtual Weber Bullet website.

As far as braising goes you can do it, though myself I would not. What you would gain is greater control, and the meat would be fall apart tender. What you lose is bark and I feel flavor. When you braise a lot of that flavor ends up in the liquid.

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As far as braising goes you can do it, though myself I would not. What you would gain is greater control, and the meat would be fall apart tender. What you lose is bark and I feel flavor. When you braise a lot of that flavor ends up in the liquid.

...which can then be reduced and introduced back into the meat. :)

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{This is entirely unrelated but my only personal encounter with the surname "Wiviott" is because there is a preeminent cardiologist by that name. Personally, I find the juxtaposition of the 'cue master and the cardiologist rather entertaining.}

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Yes you are right, you could. I would be happy to try such experiments. :)

I actually did something a bit similar with a brisket I did recently. It wasn't exactly braising - not sure exacty how well that would turn out, especially since, at least as far as I'm concerned, good bbq shouldn't need much sauce. I was trying a high-heat session and as I ony have a cheap offset and not a fancy water smoker I wrapped the brisket (along with a little liquid) for part of the smoke so as not to dry it out. So far I've tried this technique twice and it's worked quite well both times. I've done ribs, pork, chicken and whathaveyou a number of times but have generally avoided brisket as a traditional low & slow takes a long, long time - this past smoke it took me about 5-6 hours (plus and hours rest) for a 13 or so pound packers brisket (that's the full point and flat).

Basically you smoke it at around 325 until it hit's 160 at which point you wrap in foil (I double wrap to be safe) with a little liquid and put back in (I used beef broth, but beer or something else with a complimentary flavor) - you only need about a cup as it's just to keep the air moist. Stick it back in until the brisket hits 180 then unwrap and put back in the smoker until it hits 190. This last part is basically to re-crisp the bark. Reserve any liquid in the foil, separate the fat and reduce by about half or so and you'll have a really nice sauce. Depending on what sort of rub you used and your taste it may need some heat added, and it will be thin, but this actually works quite well to penetrate the beef and keep it moist (especially with leftovers) but not overwhelm it like a thicker KC type sauce would.

This past session I actually wrapped the brisked in foil and a towel for about an hour after I took it off as I had other stuff to finish up. It stayed plenty hot and crisp. In fact there was a great deal of variety in the meat from nice crispy burt ends from the end of the flat to an almost too fall apart point.

Also, a site that has helped me a lot in the past is http://www.amazingribs.com. While I didn't get the idea above from him, it does have a ton of useful info.

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Yes you are right, you could. I would be happy to try such experiments. :)

Check out Alton Brown's recipe for baby back ribs. If you don't have a smoker, this basic recipe is an amazing way to do ribs. As Brown suggests, and as Dan alludes, you oven braise ribs for several hours and then reduce the braising liquid into a bbq sauce, which is added to the ribs for a few quick minutes on the grill to caramelize. I add in one extra step where I give the ribs an hour or two of smoke either in my kettle grill or my bullet smoker. This happens between the braise and finishing on the grill. A very viable technique for those that don't have the time or equipment for a long 18-24 smoke.

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Check out Alton Brown's recipe for baby back ribs. If you don't have a smoker, this basic recipe is an amazing way to do ribs. As Brown suggests, and as Dan alludes, you oven braise ribs for several hours and then reduce the braising liquid into a bbq sauce, which is added to the ribs for a few quick minutes on the grill to caramelize. I add in one extra step where I give the ribs an hour or two of smoke either in my kettle grill or my bullet smoker. This happens between the braise and finishing on the grill. A very viable technique for those that don't have the time or equipment for a long 18-24 smoke.

When I do have the time and equipment for something, I'm always leery of techniques that circumvent that. What am I potentially LOSING using a technique like this? What might I be gaining?

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So we tried Lesson 1 from Low and Slow by Gary Wiviott last night. Or rather, we didn't.

I had marinated two chicken halves on Sunday, but when NOAA was issuing tornado warnings, decided to wait. And one thing lead to another and lo and behold, it was Wednesday, younger son was in town, and the marinaded chicken halves still had not been smoked so I bought another chicken without time to marinade so we could feed the troops.

I had intended to cook it all by my own self but just not enough time so DH acquiesced in request to man the grill per Wiviott's instructions. Well, he was resistant and did not follow orders (no surprise!) so we did not actually cook Lesson 1, but a variant thereon. Less than perfect results.

Observations: oak, even with the bark removed, is just too acrid for a couple of little chickens. Maybe OK for big cuts of beef but next time we'll go with fruitwood for the chickens. Opening up both vents all the way made the fire way too hot on a New Braunfels Texas smoker, said DH, who said the temp in the box was 375. Closing the bottom vent halfway made it cooler but at 1 1/2 hours the chicken wasn't done.

Wiviott said two scoops of charcoal, DH said one, and the fire went out before the chicken was completely done. Skin was not crisp.

Towards the end DH went back to usual fussing routine, but at least conceded that maybe opening and closing the lid repeatedly might have let some heat out. Next time, I will follow orders, but still unsure about that 375 thing.

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I'm smoking some ribs today (I usually use pork butt or shoulder, don't think I've ever done ribs). I'll second that link that GBA put up amazing ribsamazing ribs[/url], lots of great info there, I especially liked the diagram of the rib anatomy. I just hope we don't have any torrential downpours this afternoon, but I have a big umbrella ready...(it's an electric smoker)

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OMG, I can't believe how good these ribs look-smoked them for 3 hrs., then swabbed them w/ a thinned down commercial sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's sweet n spicy, w/ apple cider vinegar)-gonna let them cook for another hour or two-I 'm not a rib person, but I think my family will enjoy these...

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OK, your ribs are prettier than mine, but I'm still happy w/ the response I got -very simple sides-french fries & coleslaw-the ribs were falling off the bone....I couldn't get over how inexpensive spareribs were....

They actually look better in the photo than in person :)

Back ribs courtesy of Costco - great price, and very meaty.

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I foil my ribs, but not the pork shoulder-I just cook the heck out of it. i used a (gasp) electric smoker before getting the Weber Smoky Mt. (from a local Craigslist seller, who has a great price)-I am still amazed on how I can load it (minion method), & it will cook 10-12 hours, without reloading coals-an overnight cook is a wondrous thing....

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I'm going to smoke beef brisket & a turkey breast on my WSM this weekend-turkey was in the freezer & brisket was a bargain at the commissary, $3.59/lb (I might pick up some extra to freeze for future team dinners). I plan on doing just a basic s&p rub on both & experimenting w/ a sauce for the brisket, I'm trying to eliminate processed sugar right now so I'm thinking about using pineapple juice as a sweetener for a tropical type sauce. Anyone planning a BBQ blowout for Labor Day weekend?

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I don't like sweet sauces either (not a huge fan of any sauce, except hot sauce), but since trying to eliminate any commercial sauce (which I keep around for my family), I find almost any sauce is sweeter than I would make it, since my taste skews towards chiles & heat-in the sauce you mentioned, I'd have to sub the ketchup, which is pretty sweet...

I really like the meats mostly unsauced, although I like & use commercial salsas. I find brisket to be challenging to cook correctly, if you want to eat it unadorned, it's hard to hit the perfect spot between under- & over-done, where it's tender, but not tasteless...turkey breast, in comparison, is a breeze- take off the meat & use the carcass for broth....

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you could easily sub out tomato sauce instead of ketchup. The bitterness of the espresso and vinegars work well with the ketchup though and really doesn't taste sweet in the final product.

brisket's not hard once you do it enough. Control your fire, don't go over 300. wrap it in paper once it hits 165 and pull it once you can stick a probe in without much resistance. Put it in a cooler for a couple of hours and you're set.

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Thanks, I'm actually looking forward to experimenting w/ the sauce, & w your tips, maybe this will be my best brisket yet (& if it isn't, there's always chili)...Do you use parchment paper instead of foil?

butcher paper, but yeah. It has the same basic effect as foil, but doesn't ruin the bark.
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I'm going to smoke beef brisket & a turkey breast on my WSM this weekend-turkey was in the freezer & brisket was a bargain at the commissary, $3.59/lb (I might pick up some extra to freeze for future team dinners). I plan on doing just a basic s&p rub on both & experimenting w/ a sauce for the brisket, I'm trying to eliminate processed sugar right now so I'm thinking about using pineapple juice as a sweetener for a tropical type sauce. Anyone planning a BBQ blowout for Labor Day weekend?

My Weber Performer got a workout over the Labor Day weekend. We had several neighbors over for dinner Sunday night, which included ribs, pulled pork, and a couple of beer can chickens. I grilled the corn for the Corn and Avocado Salad the night before. I thought about doing a brisket as well; however, some of our neighbors are from Austin, Texas and I knew there was no way I could compete with that. ;)

I've put this on my holiday wish list until I get a separate smoker.

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Brisket & smoked turkey are in the frig, already made broth from the turkey carcass, the worst part of BBQ is cleaning up-not that emptying the water pan & scrubbing the grates is comparable to washing multiple utensils & pans, but still- I'm lazy, wish I had a brigade to clean up after me- my kids are not answering to this task at all....

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So, we decided to step up our Falcons tailgates this year and we are theming the food based on the opponent - this week was a breeze because it was Carolina. I made Carolina-style pulled pork BBQ, and other than making WAY too much, it was a great success. I did it it my oven on Saturday - 10 pounds worth of boneless shoulder, braised at 350 degrees in apple cider, white vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic. Shredded it by hand, then mixed it with a "sauce" of cider vinegar, honey, ketchup, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. I put it in my slow cooker and reheated it in the parking lot (don't ask about THOSE technical difficulties - I reeeeeally want a generator for next season), and it worked really nicely. Had slaw and pickles for the sandwiches as well.

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I am going through BBQ withdrawal- my son went off to college, my daughter's teammates don't seem to like BBQ as much, so other than a flurry this past month (the boys were leaving school, didn't eat much, so it's in the freezer), my smoker is sidelined. But I did make an awesome Brunswick stew, w / leftover smoked pork butt, smoked chicken thighs, onions, garlic, Rotel tomatoes, frozen baby limas, & white corn (& other stuff)- with some jasmine rice, it was delicious.

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Related to my other question in a different thread...

I'm making this recipe for pulled pork on the 4th.

I've got two 6.5 lb boneless butts. Do you all think I can cook them at the same time (they'll fit) and have them take the same amount of time as stated in the recipe? I don't see why not, given that they are separate, and not one big piece, but since I have people coming over at 4 pm I don't want to chance it. I can't do any cooking in advance of the morning of the fourth (unless I leave one smoking outside in the grill all night, but that seems like a bad idea).

Suggestions? Thanks, as always to the experts here.

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Related to my other question in a different thread...

I'm making this recipe for pulled pork on the 4th.

I've got two 6.5 lb boneless butts. Do you all think I can cook them at the same time (they'll fit) and have them take the same amount of time as stated in the recipe? I don't see why not, given that they are separate, and not one big piece, but since I have people coming over at 4 pm I don't want to chance it. I can't do any cooking in advance of the morning of the fourth (unless I leave one smoking outside in the grill all night, but that seems like a bad idea).

Suggestions? Thanks, as always to the experts here.

No problem with timing so long as you have enough space between the butts. The initial temp will drop a bit when you first put them in as they are cold and you are opening the grill. When I smoke my butts I always allow for extra time just in case. If they get done early it's no problem to wrap them and stick them in a cooler to hold.

And if you ever want to leave 'em smoking overnight get a BGE, it'll hold a nice low temp all night with no problem.

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bowing to a request for a traditional meal for the 4th-- I couldn't help putting twists on the recipes:

herb-brined, hickory and oak-smoked pork shoulder (pulled and served on brioche buns with ZQ sauce)

sesame cabbage and tuscan kale slaw

new potato salad with roasted red pepper, pickles, dill and mustard-mayo-yogurt dressing

steamed corn on the cob

watermelon

DB Vienna lager

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Deviled eggs [Penzey's Singapore Seasoning, TJ's sweet pickle relish, bacon, cider vinegar, French's yellow mustard, Hellman's Light]

Turkey burgers with smoked gouda

Spare ribs

Grilled beer-braised bratwursts 

Fresh fava beans, cherry tomatoes, and watercress with apple cider vinaigrette

Corn on the cob with butter
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Both of your meals sound absolutely delicious. I backed out of cooking my turkey in the smoker, because things are a bit chaotic around here. Believe it or not, this was the first time I've ever cooked a whole 14 lb turkey in the oven, it was pretty good, but I prefer smoked turkey. In a few weeks, things should settle down.

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