Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Savage Boleks Smoked Apple Pork Shoulder

It is time for the smoking season at the Savage Boleks.  This is the time when I try to experiment with smoking various proteins, as well as experimenting with different rubs and sauces, in an effort to find recipes that I could make for parties and get-togethers that we host at our home.  

It has been a while since I have smoked a pork shoulder, so I decided that the initial smoke for this season would be a seven pound Boston Butt.  I started with a basic rub that I found a while back on Steven Raichlen's Barbecue Bible website. The rubs ingredients are fairly straightforward: salt, sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, freshly ground black pepper and celery seed. This basic rub has become my go to rub for any pork barbecue.  The recipe below produces a lot of rub, especially given that I had only a 7 pound pork shoulder.  The leftover will definitely get used as the basic rub for my next pork shoulder.

With the pork resting in the refrigerator, I needed to turn my attention to the rest of the cook.  I had estimated that I would need at least 7 hours.  The plan was to cook the shoulder at a slightly higher temperature, between 275 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  I wanted to shorten the cooking time because the pork would be served at a get together with friends.  

I figured I needed a mop sauce and some barbecue sauce.  I first figured out the barbecue sauce using one from Steven Raichlen's book entitled Barbecue Sauces, Rubs and Marinades.  I found a great recipe called B.B.'s Lawnside Spicy Apple Barbecue Sauce, which was ideal for the pork shoulder, which I planned to smoke using apple wood.  

After choosing the barbecue sauce, I started looking for the mop sauce.  I wanted a sauce that would incorporate some apple brandy that I had left over from the Glazed Roast Loin of Pork recipe I made a couple of months ago.  I found a recipe for Honey Apple Brandy Glaze.  The combination of honey and the apple brandy helped with the color of the pork roast and added another layer of sweetness to the final product.  

In the end, this was a good start to the smoking season.  I had to pull the shoulder before I got to the ideal temperature of 190 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit because of the event we hosted.  Some of the shoulder was able to be pulled, but I just chopped the rest in large pieces that could be served in a pork BBQ sandwich or just by itself.  Now it is time to plan the next smoke. 

Basic Rub recipe by Steven Raichlen's Barbecue Bible
Honey Apple Brandy Glaze from Barbecue Smoker Recipes
B.B.'s Lawnside Spicy Apple Barbecue Sauce from 
Steven Raichlen's Barbecue Sauces Rubs and Marinades (page 166)
Serves many 

1 Boston Butt Pork Shoulder (6 to 8 pounds)

Ingredients (for the Raichlen Rub):
1 cup sea salt (or kosher salt)
1 cup brown or white sugar
1 cup sweet paprika
1/2 to 1 cup coarsely ground or cracked black peppercorns
3 tablespoons granulated garlic powder
3 tablespoons granulated onion powder
1 tablespoon celery seed

Ingredients (for the Honey Apple Brandy Glaze):
1/2 cup of apple brandy (or Calvados)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
5 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons brown sugar

Ingredients (for the B.B.'s Lawnside Spicy Apple Barbecue Sauce):
1 bottle (14 ounces) ketchup
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon molasses,
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 /2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1.  Marinate the pork butt. Combine all of the ingredients for the rub. Season the pork shoulder on all sides with the rub, massaging the rub into the meat.  Cover the shoulder with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

2.  Prepare the smoker or the grill.   Set up the smoker or grill for indirect grilling and get a fire going.  Preheat the grill to about 250-270 degrees Fahrenheit.

3.  Smoke the pork butt.  Place the pork but, fat side up in the middle of the grate over a drip pan.  Toss a handful of soaked wood chips (soaked for about an hour) on the charcoals.  Cover and smoke the shoulder until it is the color of mahogany, about 7 to 9 hours.  The internal temperature should be about 195 degrees.

4.  Prepare the glaze.  Place all of the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil.  Simmer gently for about 5 minutes (this helps to remove the bitterness from the alcohol by burning it off) and stir gently for the five minutes.  After 5 minutes, take the pan off the heat and allow it to cool so that it becomes a semi-viscous glaze.

5.  Continue to smoke the pork butt.  Toward the end of the smoke, around the last hour or so, brush the glaze every half hour (about 2 times).

6.  Make the sauce.  Combine all of the ingredients in a large, heavy, nonrestrictive saucepan and stir or whisk to mix.  Bring the heat to low and gently simmer the sauce, uncovered until thick and richly flavored, stirring often to prevent scorching, 15 to 20 minutes.  Use right away or transfer to jars, cover and cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several weeks.

7.  Finish the cook. Once the shoulder reaches the ideal temperature (about 190 degrees), remove the shoulder from the smoker and allow it to rest (which will bring it up a few more degrees).  Pull or chop the pork, add some of the sauce, and pour the rest of the sauce in a bowl for guests.


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