Prep began on the evening of May 17th, 2016,by taking the 9.48 lb. Boston Butt out of the freezer and into the refer to start defrosting. The evening of the 18th removed it from the cryovac and salted with kosher at about 1t per pound with the total as a little less than 1/4 C. The layer on the meat was more than I usually do. Back into the refer under plastic wrap on a small baking sheet.
- Ambient Temp is in the low 70’s at the start and low 80’s when pulled and wrapped. Smoke was thin white to blue from the AMZNTS filled with hickory pellets.
- 4:30 AM – Removed from refer onto cooling rack on counter. It has been dry brining for 2-1/2 days.
- Butt had a thin (max 1/2″) fat cap so scored it in diamond pattern to the meat. Coated butt with yellow mustard. Rubbed in a pepper blend made of: 1/4C fresh ground black pepper; about 1 heaping T paprika; about 1 level T granulated garlic. Rub is much more course that the usual as trying Adam Perry Lang’s idea of a course rub gives the smoke something to grab. Rub has no salt to not over salt due to anticipated salt from the long brining. Note in Conclusion that the salty brine plus no-salt rub left the smoked butt wanting a bit for salt. Next rub make with 1/8th C kosher and 1/2T Cayenne. Note that my rub recipe is getting its on post at this time.
- While MES is preheating took the small baking sheet–modified last week into a deflector shield–and flattened more the mid box lip so it does to interfere with the MES oval pan.
- 6:15 – Put butt on third rack from top with fat cap on top. Jalapenos cut in half and seeds removed plus garlic pods with top cut off and no oil on top rack on a mat. Lite full AMZNTS and reset MES from 225° to 250°. TS is slow to get going. Likely due to having loaded it last night and left it in the MES where it absorbed moisture from the air. Should have left it inside or dried the pellets in the microwave.
- 8:00 – Got back from getting truck serviced and found the unit off and box temp in the 150s. Found that the plug had giggled and lost contact in the table’s outlet. Plugged it into another outlet.
- 10:30 – a) Removed garlic pods and they were on too long. Dried out some but have nice brown smokey color and taste smokey but no sweet baked garlic taste. b) The butt has a great color. Box still set to 250 and air probe on meat grate door side over coil is reading 235-240. MES’s meat probe hanging so it is near the meat on the left side reads about 5° higher as the heat is coming up on that side due to the deflector cookie sheet. Inserted ChefAlarm meat probe and IT is 132° surely due to it being off earlier. Left MES set at 250 to get it to 140° IT quicker as the 4 hours is up. Steady thin white smoke from the vent although hard to see smoke in the window.
- 1:00 about – No more smoke so pull TS and it was burned out. Added about 1/2 and lite. MES still set at 250° and grate temps are in the 225-230° range.
- 4:45 – IT is still 173° as about what it has been since about 2:00 pm. a) Removed from MES, wrapped and put in convection oven at 350°. Should have wrapped it now and it may have been done in less that the 12 hours it took; b) Removed jalapenos as they are black brittle sticks. Should have taken them off when the second photo above was taken–say two hours.
- 6:00 – IT has been climbing but slowly. When it got to 198° reset oven to 300°.
- 7:00 about – IT is 205° so pulled to check if tender. Looks great and pulls apart but does not fall part. Very little jus in the foil at this time.
- 5:00 AM Sunday – Took this photo of it in the foil but now there is a lot more jus jelled in the foil.
- Do not do garlic and jalapenos with a smoke where you want to keep the door closed for long stretches to not loose time on a large hunk of meat. The garlic pod with top cut, no oil and gently broken open did seem to exposed it to the smoke better that not. Next time try husking large cloves with light thin coating of oil to catch the smoke and smoke maybe an hour. Also, try the SS pan with sides and holes so removal is quicker.
- The simpler rub with no salt (counting on the brine for saltiness) lead to an attractive bark and overall great look. Needed some salt and more cayenne but not bland. Just not quite enough. Will make a finishing sauce from the jus and have it salty enough to make the meat right.
- It was done too late to have for supper. But that did not stop us from enjoying pulling apart pieces of the moist warm meat with the great smokey taste and smell. The bark is firm even on the side in the photo that is what is left of the fat layer.
- As for the 2-1/2 day dry brining – The meat is moist and tender but the larger amount of salt used (1-t/lb) did not impart a salty taste to compensate for no salt in the rub.
- The deflector (modified small baking sheet) under the MES drip pan and about a 1/2″ off the right wall, did a great job of making the temps consistent across the box at the 3rd grate level. The MES meat probe hanging above left of the meat–to sense the air temp–and the Air-Probe with the grate clip in the front right of the meat were normally within 8° of each other.
- The third rack temp was about 20-25° less than the MES set temp. May want a better deflector to shield the box’s sensor on the back wall. Also need to be sure the deflector is tight against the back wall. Maybe double layer the deflector with vents out the sides to carry the heat from the main deflector away from the box’s probe.
- Next time raise set temp to 275. The rack temp will likely be about 250° but that is what it is.