For a while now I have been wanting to elevate my BBQ skills and move up from my electric smoker. Two weeks ago my electric smoker stopped working, and I knew it was time to start cooking with wood. I did a lot of research on an affordable offset smoker and finally made the decision to purchase the Char Griller Smoking Pro offset smoker. I am really happy with my choice even though I will be making a modification and adding fire tape around the seems of the lid to maximize heat retention.
I will say it is very important to season your smoker before first use. I heated it up to 300 degrees for 2 hours and then did an additional hour at 200. The Smoking Pro comes with cast iron grates, so you will want to brush them down with vegetable oil or bacon grease to season the grates so they last a long time.
I picked up a bag of hickory wood logs from the local hardware store and used Kingsford charcoal briquets as the base to build my fire. It took me about 30 minutes to get everything going, most of the time was spent letting the briquets heat up in the charcoal chimney.
While that was happening I prepped my Boston pork butt. I started off by removing the access fat around the whole but using a sharp pairing knife. I then added the rub and let it sit for about 30 minutes to give the rub enough time to adhere to the meat.
At that time the charcoal had burned to where I wanted it to. All the coals where nice and gray with orange glow throughout. I dumped the coal into the side firebox and added 2 hickory logs. The logs caught fire instantly. I lowered the lid to the fire box and let the smoker come up to temperature. I decided to keep the temperature between 225 and 250 degrees.
Once the smoker was ready I inserted the thermometer into the thickest part of the pork butt, placed it on the grates and closed the lid. I found myself checking the temperature of the fire every 30 to 45 minutes and adding logs to keep the fire consistent. I will be buying a second digital thermometer to keep at the grate level inside the smoker to get more accurate reads of the temperature, so for this first cook I relied heavily on checking up on it and caring for the meat based on the internal temperature. After 3 hours I sprayed the pork butt with apple cider vinegar every hour until I was ready to wrap it.
Once the pork butt reached 165 I removed it from the smoker sprayed it down with apple cider vinegar and double wrapped it in aluminum foil to keep the juices in the meat. I let the pork butt cook until it reached an internal temperature of 203 degrees. I then pulled it from the smoker and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Once the pork butt was ready I placed it in a bowl and slowly tore open the aluminum foil to catch all the juices. I then shredded the pork butt with my hands and mixed it in with the juices. The pork turned out delicious and had that great smokey flavor you want.
I was happy with the results and that I was able to build and maintain a clean fire throughout the 10 hour cook. It’s definitely a learning curve coming from electric, but I love it, and the care that goes into making it comes through at the end when it is on the plate and ready to eat.
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