My Husband, AKA – “Grill Master” is taking over my blog today….he may take it over again a few more times this Summer. We finally got a wood smoker, and we are beyond excited! Since we will be grilling A LOT this summer, I will be creating a grilling page. We will be sharing so many different recipes from main, side, appetizer, and dessert. With all the recipes together, you will have a feast built for a king by the end of this fun summer!
To kick off the grilling fun, we made smoked pork loin tacos. Enjoy your time with my sweet hubby!
I don’t mind saying that I’m pretty good with fire.
I’ve always enjoyed grilling, starting with charcoal, graduating to a huge propane grill with four burners and a side stovetop for sauces and preheating.
But this past weekend grilling, for me, became serious.
We got a smoker. I’ve been wanting one for a long time and we found a good, inexpensive new addition to the family. Our next stop was to a bookstore, where we picked up a couple books about cooking this way- because it’s something I have literally never done before.
And it is different. In the first ten minutes I learned a lot about the different types of wood you use in a smoker, the difference between chips and chunks, and direct and indirect heat.
About cooking with a water pan and injecting meats.
We brought the smoker home, anxious to start. But hold on, first you have to assemble, and then “cure” the smoker- to make the interior safe to cook with.
Curing is simple, but time consuming and it meant we wouldn’t be able to put this thing to work until Sunday.
We decided to do something simple for our first outing, and debated briefly about beer can chicken.
And then we saw the Smoked Pork Loin Tacos in a book we picked up by Jamie Purviance called simply “Smoke.”
Because it’s not our recipe and we were reluctant to alter the recipe at all since it was our first time- we won’t include it here, but you can get the book through Amazon.com- and if you feel like it- you can get to Amazon through my website- radioexiles.com (podcasts from radio pros.) If you do that, it helps us out and costs you nothing.
Anyway- smoking involves varying temperatures and you really have to pay attention to what you are doing. I’ve always said you can’t walk away from a grill for long periods of time, and that’s especially true with smoking. “Low and slow” is the mantra here, and to do that takes attention to detail. Make sure your grill maintains a particular temperature depending on what you are cooking.
For this pork loin, the grill needed to be at least 450 degrees, and stay there. Wood burns hotter than coal, so getting the grill to 450 with charcoal first, then adding the smoke can be trickier than it sounds.
I did make one mistake that didn’t hurt us this time, so lesson learned. Get the grill up to the required heat- THEN add the wood. I got the coals burning hot and added the wood immediately.
I was impressed, in this case, with how quickly the pork loin cooked. You can’t really check your progress, because keeping the smoke IN the smoker is a key part of the process. So I trusted the recipe and checked the interior temperature of the meat when the recipe called for it. I was very surprised, and concerned, when the temp read 185 rather than what was supposed to be 145. I expected to cut into a dry, inedible piece of pork.
What we ended up with, was an incredibly moist, smoky, delicious cut of pork that made wonderful pork tacos. The meat even had that pink ring around the edge, the “smoke ring” that real barbecue purists strive for.
This Memorial Day weekend we are going to be smoking fools. I’m hoping to make ribs, and maybe the pork tacos again as we will have family in town and it was pretty easy to make, and there was a ton of food.
For the record, I refuse to abandon our big, cool propane grill. We’ve just added the smoker to the lineup.
It’s going to be a great Summer!
I’m looking forward to taking this journey with you, and I’ll share as much as I can about the process and about what I learned along the way. It should be fun!
Let’s see if I can remember how Terra closes out her entries…
What’s your favorite smoked meat?
Until next time, come on in, have a seat… sorry if I smell like smoke!