It’s All About the Baste
Recently I’ve decided to expand on my culinary techniques in that I’ve decided to start smoking meat. No, it isn’t a new drug craze, I mean I’m going to start cooking meat in a smoker. Of course when I told my “literal” wife and children that for practice I was going to start smoking a meat a day they got great joy from it. “Dad is going to start smoking meat!”, “A meat a day is good Dad, keep the dose low to start!”, and my favorite from my wife when I said I was starting with pork butt, “Just say no to ‘crack’!”
Comedian family aside, I did indeed start with a pork butt. I don’t have a smoker yet but I do have a gas grill. Now I know that smoking on a gas grill is not optimal, but you have to use what you have and this is how I did it. I took a small chafing dish aluminum pan and poke several holes in the bottom. After soaking my wood chips for 30 minutes I drained and transferred the wood chips to the pan with the holes. I then placed the pork butt, in this case, all the way to one side of the grill with no fire under it. I then placed the pan of wood chips all the way to the other side of the grill with the fire on low. The fire under the wood chips will slowly start the burning process producing the smoke. That process actually works quite well for me but I really need (want) a smoker.
My first attempt came out pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Actually the family said it too. It seems to me that the trick, besides good smoking wood of course, is the rub. I make my own rub, which I may or may not divulge the ingredients of, but you can use any good rub. I feel that you should be quite generous with the rub because remember you are seasoning a sizable piece of meat and you want the seasoning to permeate the whole thing. The other important part of the process is the mop. Mopping is the process of basting the meat basically. For my mopping sauce I just mixed some olive oil, cider vinegar, and some of my rub seasoning in a small pan, set it inside the grill to keep it hot and mopped it on the meat like every 1 ½ to 2 hours. Make sure to use a sauce mop and not a basting brush. Brushes are too stiff and will brush the rub off.
When I grill, or in this case smoke meat on the grill, I am usually alone for a good portion of the time. I don’t know if this is the reason for what happened next or if I was just fortunate to be alone, but during one of the moppings I starting singing to myself, “It’s all about the baste, ‘bout the baste…no dribble.” Like I said, fortunately I was alone and even more fortunately I can cook, because singing and songwriting are clearly not going to get me very far.