I picked up six good sized pork butts Saturday at the Harris Teeter on Potomac Avenue. Harris Teeter always has pork butts on sale right before the 4th, and the one on Potomac Avenue is right by Mangialardo’s, which has great subs, as any police officer or firefighter will tell you. (Order the G-Man on a hard roll without peppers.) I trimmed a lot of the excess fat off of these.
First, I set up the stovepipe smokers on each of my grills. Note that each is about 5/6ths full of charcoal. That should be enough. Always use Kingsford charcoal. Never, ever use catchlight charcoal.
I picked up Nancy at Dulles airport at about 8:00. She was just back from an Operation Smile mission in Vietnam. I was back home and had the meat trimmed and the fire started at about 9:20. The coals are ready now.
Note that perhaps 1/3 of the coals are really engaged. That means it’s time to dump them out onto the grill. The goal is low and slow cooking. You don’t want to start with a hot fire.
The coals are spread enough so that all parts of the grill will have hot coals. The meat will cook over direct heat. I added 5 or 6 hickory chunks to the coals. It’s best to soak the chunks for a couple of days so that the water can actually soak in a tiny bit. I neglected to do that this time, but they were wet so they will help keep the fire cool. I also have a bunch of hickory chips soaking that I will add the chips from time to time to build that hickory flavor.
The meat goes on fat side up at about 9:30, and the lid goes on. I start with the upper vents about 1/4 open and the lower vents wide open. The lower vents will stay open throughout unless the fire gets too hot.
You’re off to a good start.
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