Most of my growing up, all the grilling and smoking were down by the men of the family. But something happened when I got married, somehow, some time, I started taking over the grilling at home. My husband was the one who did it and I was terrified of the grill. Then one day, I don’t remember when he taught me how to start the darn thing and I fell in love with it. So much so, I’ll grill in the snow, but hey, it’s NC and we all do it. Then, all the men of my family started getting smokers and we were at their mercy if we wanted anything smoked and boy did we really want a smoker.
As it turns out, not only do I grill but now so do both of my girls. I’m so proud! We love it! Even during our lunch break when I homeschooled, it was nothing for us to turn on the grill and grill chicken for salads, or wraps. Turkey burgers for lunch anyone? That was us! Then my husband showed up one day with a surprise, a smoker. Talk about being terrified! You wouldn’t believe how much research I did before I would even crank it on. My oldest daughter and I finally dove in and I’m so glad we did. Each time, it gets easier and we’re more comfortable.
I know how busy being a wife, mom, teacher, working mom, etc. can be and believe it or not, a smoker can help you out. How? It’s like a crock pot, prep the food, put the food in and you can kinda forget about it for most of the day. You do want to be home when you use a smoker and you do need to tend to it during the smoking time, but it’s super easy. You could easily do this while homeschooling, or a day that you are going to be home. Then you have a fabulous meal with lots of leftovers that you can freeze. It’s not as scary as it seems and if you don’t have a smoker, there are ways you can use the grill you already own as a smoker. Today, I’m sharing the recipe we used yesterday and it was scrumptious!
Smoked NC Style Barbeque
- Bone-In Pork Butt I used a 7lb for 5 people and I had nice leftovers to freeze
- Bad Byron's Butt Rub Seasoning
- Brown Sugar
- Kosher Salt
- Hickory Chips
- Cherry Chips
- Apple Cider
- Apple Juice or water for the smoker
- Tin Pan
- Aluminum Foil
The night or several hours before, in a large bowl or pan big enough to hold the butt, place the butt. I like to take a steak knife and for lack of a better expression, stab it a few times on each side. Then pour some apple cider vinegar over it on each side. It doesn't take much. Then cover with the seasoning and sprinkle a generous amount of brown sugar and salt all over it. It's hard to use too much, the more the better. Massage it in and make sure it's coated. Cover with plastic wrap and set in fridge overnight, or at least 4 hours.
Before you start smoking, in a medium sized bowl add about 2 cups each of the wood chips, covered with water. Let them soak at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better. This keeps them from burning up too fast in the smoker.
Start your smoker according to its directions and let it heat up. Just like using a grill or oven, it needs to preheat to 250 degrees. In the water pan, add water, or apple juice depending on the type of flavor you want in your meat. I used plain water this time. You will need to check this every couple of hours to make sure you don't run out. This helps to keep the meat from drying out.
Add a handful of chips. I just left mine in the water all day and checked every hour, or so to see if it needed more. Then you can add your butt! Put it on the center rack, if yours has multiple racks. I did not wrap mine in aluminum foil until it was down cooking. I also use a wireless thermometer to keep a check on my meat temp. If you use one, you can insert it now, but you don't have to have one. Close the door.
Check your temperature, it should be around 250 degrees. You want to keep it between 225 - 300 the entire time you cook. Do not worry about overcooking it. The longer this cooks the better. Plan on at least 8 hours of cooking time. If you are using a thermometer, cook to an internal temperature of 145 - 150, but if you wait it out and get to around 195, you will be rewarded. You can take it off before it hits 195, but it needs to be at least 145 degrees for safety. You don't want to get sick.
After you have hit your desired temp, take the butt off and wrap it in aluminum foil and place in one of those throwaway tins and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, an hour is even better. If you have cooler, you can even put it in there to rest and it will be heavenly. After resting, remove the bone. It should just pull out. Then you can slice it, chop it or shred it like we do here in NC.