Smoked Pig Tails

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Smoked Pig Tails

Postby Lord_Byron » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:56 am

I was at the grocery store last Friday and they had pig-tails for $1.79/lb so I bought two pounds-- six tails. Figured, what have I got to lose? I had eaten them braised at a curling tournament up in northern Ontario one time about 30 years ago.

So, I brined them for about two hours, sprinkled them with rub and put them on the WSM at about 220 degrees for 3 hours. Then I took them off and finished them over direct charcoal on the kettle to crisp the outside a little.

Verdict: Not a lot of meat on them, but they have really good flavor. Along the lines of baby-back ribs. Pretty fatty with a lot of connective tissue. They still had skin on the tips, and that became tough and inedible during the process. Next time, I'd skin them first.

Next time I do them, I'll probably go with about a 2 1/2 hour smoke, wrap them in foil with apple juice/mop sauce and let them braise for another hour or so, then back on the smoker with BBQ sauce for 1/2 hour.

All-in-all, I'm glad I did it, and will do it again. They would be fun to have a few guys over and eat with beers. . .
BG '79

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Re: Smoked Pig Tails

Postby hammb » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:47 pm

Nice! That sounds like a fun project smoke, just for the heck of it!

I got me a big ol' offset stickburner and I think my WSM is getting jealous. I just cannot help myself. Playing with the live fire is so much fun, and the quality of the 'Q is next level. I have made some damned fine 'Q on my WSM, but I've only had the offset for a half dozen cooks or so and every one of the have been fantastic.

Went to Mabel's a couple months back and I cannot say enough good about it. The wife wasn't interested in trying the pigtails on the menu, but maybe next time I go I'll give them a whirl.

My next "something different" is I wanna get me some beef cheeks. Do a good smoke on them then, maybe finish in a braise with onions/garlic/chiles. Some REAL barbacoa. Beef Cheeks are fantastic, but I have to plan ahead...can't just walk into the butcher and get them.
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Re: Smoked Pig Tails

Postby Lord_Byron » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:01 pm

What brand of stick-burner did you get?

I think that's my next purchase, but I want to get a good one.
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Re: Smoked Pig Tails

Postby hammb » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:59 pm

I found an old project smoker on Craigslist. Talking to some BBQ guys I think we figured it must be an old Lifetyme model. The thing is all 1/4" steel and weighs a metric ton. It was a mess when I got it (for like $250).

Previous owner had modded it with a crap gas burner system in the horizontal cooking chamber. That got junked. All the cheap thing expanded metal grates (heavily rusted) went to recycle. Angle grinder to the whole thing inside and out. Added 2 new pneumatic tires (although they don't really support the weight well, need a new solution). New grates made. New tel tru therms. New handles. The bottom of the vertical warning chamber was rusted out so a new piece was welded in. New coat of high temp BBQ paint on the outside, sprayed with Pam and seasoned on the inside.

The bones were in decent enough shape. And all told I probably have about $450 in this bad boy... and buying the crazy expensive tel tru therms.. absolutely love cooking on it. Obviously takes a lot more babysitting but it's fun and worth it.

Unfortunately he diameter of all the metal is only 15". I cannot do a brisket perpendicular to the opening. For the price and opportunity it's been a steal. But if I were looking brand new I want a custom reverse flow trailer from www.shirleyfabrication.com Plenty of other good builders out there as well though.

Catered a friends wedding this spring and had an absolute blast with it...not to mention the massive ego stroking of everybody raving about the food. Someday I'd love to have a big trailer rig and cater some events on the side.

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Re: Smoked Pig Tails

Postby Lord_Byron » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:34 am

You're killing it, dude. I'm jealous. :shock:

Not only is that a great rig, you must have had a great time doing the restoration and the mods.

Do you have a good source for hardwoods so you know what kind of wood you are burning?

Some friends asked me to smoke some butts for their daughter's graduation party next Saturday. Looking forward to doing it -- like you said, people are used to crock-pot pork and when they get the real thing, it's fun to hear the reaction.

Now that you have the stick-burner, you should read "Aaron Franklin - Meat Smoking Manifesto". He spends a lot of time on fires, and heat management, etc. I couldn't put it down. Great Father's Day gift, if you don't have it already.
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Re: Smoked Pig Tails

Postby hammb » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:14 pm

It was a fun project. One of those around the house projects where you actually look forward to getting some work done on it instead of constantly putting it off. Unfortunately I don't cut metal or weld, so my dad had a guy that did that work. I did drill out new holes to mount the handles, did all the grinding to get the rust off, painted, etc.

And yes, Franklin's book was awesome. Asked for it for Christmas and was so upset it was about the only thing on my list that I didn't get when it was the item on my list I most wanted. So I bought it shortly after Christmas and ran through it in no time. Great read for anybody interested in A) learning how to cook in an offset smoker, and B) learning what it takes to go from zero to one of the most popular restaurants in the world.

It is a great rig and I don't foresee getting rid of it anytime soon. Eventually I'll want something bigger. I was able to do 2 packers on it though for the wedding (about 25# total). They wouldn't fit flat, but I was able to prop them up a bit with my pepper smoker rack. Worked well. I put 2 Rib racks next to each other on memorial day and did 3 racks of St. Louis without cutting them in half (which I always have to do in the WSM). Probably could have done 6-7 racks in there though.

And the vertical chamber is awesome for smoking at a lower temp. When I was doing the ribs on Memorial Day I also had 2 butts in there that I had cured to make "ham". It turned out amazing after slicing thin on a buddy's meat slicer. Used it this past weekend to hold some short ribs warm after they were done in the main chamber. If you're into real low 'n' slow, which I've started moving away from a bit, you can easily keep the vertical chamber around 200-225*. I usually cook more like 275 in the main chamber though.

For wood, Craigslist is your friend. TONS of wood available. I bought an entire cherry tree that a guy had taken down...got that for $40, it's a fair amount of nice wood, but I acutally haven't gotten into it yet. I bought a pickup truck load of apple from a local orchard. It was $100 delivered. It was advertised as seasoned year old. I'm mostly happy with it, but as I've gotten into it I've found more than a couple chunks that are well on their way to rotten. Not good for cooking with, and clearly more than a year old in that case. Overall though I've done all my cooks with that apple and I got a lot of high quality wood for $100.

I also have a peach tree that didn't survive the harsh winter a couple years ago that I need to take down and piece out.

Also the maul makes for a good workout/stress reliever when you've had a bad day. Just go out and split a few chunks of wood up :)

Lord_Byron wrote:You're killing it, dude. I'm jealous. :shock:

Not only is that a great rig, you must have had a great time doing the restoration and the mods.

Do you have a good source for hardwoods so you know what kind of wood you are burning?

Some friends asked me to smoke some butts for their daughter's graduation party next Saturday. Looking forward to doing it -- like you said, people are used to crock-pot pork and when they get the real thing, it's fun to hear the reaction.

Now that you have the stick-burner, you should read "Aaron Franklin - Meat Smoking Manifesto". He spends a lot of time on fires, and heat management, etc. I couldn't put it down. Great Father's Day gift, if you don't have it already.
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