112: Learning to cook, gearing up to pick a pig

Next week at the Coldholler log cabin, we'll slow-cook a 120 pound Mule Foot pig from Trillium Farms Natural Pork.  More on that "heirloom" breed in Chapter 114, but here are some pictures taken over the last month, while I've been earning how to use my new cooker, made for me by an old South Carolina farmer...

These pictures start with the most recent, and you can scroll down to see the first cooks.

 Succulent, roast pork.  It'd be indistinguishable from great chopped BBQ if we hacked it up, but that's just not acceptable.  It should have been pullable...  Now I know to cook the pig longer than 8 hours.  Maybe 10 or 12?

 Man, this was good.  Dad (Mike) and Nathan Willard help cut up (and eat) our first BBQ.

After 6 hours at 250 degrees, these Boston Butts were still only 180 degrees at the core.  Delicious for sure, but I'm guessing they needed another 80 minutes to render the fat, melt the gristle, and become pullable. 

Almost ready to turn these into BBQ.   The sauce is a homemade old family recipe belonging to Taylor Watts, and it's lowcountry SC all the way.  We cooked off some of the apple cider vinegar and melted the sugars into the mustard by setting the dutch oven in the cooker for three hours...

I strongly recommend a wireless thermometer that keeps tabs on both the meat and the cooker.  The hood-mounted thermometer runs about  50 degrees cooler, so relying on that would overcook the meat.

 I geeked out, carrying the thermometer receiver around in my pocket all day...

9AM, and the butts are on.  Will they be ready by 3pm?  That's mustard holding the rub on -- it'll cook off... 

Cooking ribs and chicken at Lake Lure

Taylor Watts saucing up 35 pounds of ribs and chicken! 

Whoa Nellie -- that's a lot of meat.  We were feeding eight adults and an army of younguns. 

Corn does nicely as well! 

Camping with friends at Jackrabbit on Lake Chatuge

Taking off the ribs, right before I sliced my finger to the bone with that knife. The dry rub Vous ribs were awesome!

Instead of our usual SC mustard and vinegar sauce, I tried a Memphis-style dry rub, from a guy's labor-of-love website, here.   He reverse-engineered the Vous rub, that even I've heard of...

All packed up to go camp.   

Other cooks...

Brother David Despeaux, "supervising." 

Ribs and chicken, anybody? 

Before I got my good thermometer... 

Beef ribs took 6 hours, and I cooked them too hot.  


Getting ready to cook for the very first time!

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I use this blog to chronicle certain aspects of my life near the Smokies. I'm building a cabin. I kayak. Sometimes I bike.