Hot Smoked Salmon

For Canadian Thanksgiving this year, to go along with all the other delicious food, I made a last minute decision to do a homemade marinate (inspired by the good people over at Mikes BBQ Rub, @mikesbbqrub on Instagram) and smoke a salmon, as well as some sausages.

I won’t giveaway the recipe, but its white wine based, and delicious. It gave the salmon a nice little bath for about an hour before being tossed on the smoker. The excess was used to brush over the salmon throughout the smoking process.

The Salmon was tossed on the smoker at 180 degrees for about an hour and a half. At this point, the temperature was increased to 225 for about another hour and a half, until the salmon reached an internal temp of 145. It was then taken off the smoker, and covered to rest for 10 minutes.

To go along with the salmon, we also tossed on 2 different types of sausage with about an hour left in the smoke. One was a honey garlic sausage, and the other was an incredible Rapini Berkshire Pork Sausage. Both tasted amazing and were cooked perfectly. In addition to this, we tossed on some Mac and Cheese, as well as some Brie Cheese, which made for the perfect snack throughout the evening.

I wish I had photos, but it all looked so good it was eaten almost instantly. All we have are leftover photos posted below, or the videos on our instagram, @the_pit_to. Be sure to check them out there and give a us a follow!

Bone Marrow Side Ribs

As if ribs werent delicious enough, we decided to give them a nice little bone marrow bath. Were going to start these off the same way we’d start any side rib smoke, and that is by setting the smoker to a nice 225 degrees.

In prepping the ribs, you can elect for any pork rub that you’re enjoying at the moment, but I go for Code 3 Spices 5-0 Rub. The nice zesty blend goes well with the pork in my opinion. After applying a thin layer of mustard, you can apply a liberal amount of rub. Let marinate for at least half an hour before tossing on the smoker.

At the same time, we will prep the bone marrow. I like to drizzle the bone with some quality olive oil, and then give a light sprinkle of code 3 spices grunt rub. Once this is done, you can let it sit and marinate for about an hour. Once the ribs have been on the smoker for an hour, we will toss on the bone marrow. This will smoke for about 2 hours, at which point we will pull it off and get it ready for the ribs.

Now that the ribs and marrow are taken care of, you need to start thinking about what you’re going to baste the ribs with. At this step, it is solely based off preference. You can choose to sauce them up, or follow what I do, which is mix apple cider vinegar, Coke or Dr. Pepper, blend of homemade spices, and a combination of food grade phosphates to help the meat retain moisture. I give the ribs a nice spray of this mixture every hour.

Once the first 3 hours are up, it is time to wrap the ribs. Once you have the tin foil (or butcher paper) out and ready, we can take off the bone. With a spoon, slide out the melted bone marrow across the tin foil, so it is spread evenly among the length of the ribs. We can then pull the ribs off the smoker, put them top down on the bone marrow, and wrap the ribs. We then place them back on the smoker at 225 degrees for another 2 hours.

Now for the delicious part. Once the 2 hours is up, we can unwrap the ribs. Place them top up on the smoker. You might notice you have a ton of bone marrow juices from the ribs being wrapped. I like to add this to some bbq sauce, and use this as my baste from this point forward. Every hour, instead of spraying my mixture, I take a meat brush and brush on this mixture. Once the ribs have been on unwrapped on the smoker for at least 2-2.5 more hours, they are good to go. At this point, you can take the ribs off the smoker, and let sit, covered, for 20 minutes before cutting.

Once 20 minutes is up, uncover, cut the ribs, and enjoy! The bone marrow should have combined with the rub to form a nice tasty bark that will have you wishing this was more affordable so it could be an everyday smoke.

Scroll below for photos of the cook. Videos throughout the process will be posted to our instagram page @the_pit_to. Thanks for reading, and happy smoking!

Side Ribs

Ribs can be a tricky one. Ribs are one of the few meats where you do not use the thermometer, so theres nothing telling you when the meat is ready to be pulled off. Just make sure to keep it low and slow, and you should be eating mouth watering ribs in no time!

First, we’ll set our Traeger Smoker to 225 degrees. once it hits 225, i like to switch to the smoke setting for 5 minutes to get an extra burst of smoke for when i toss the ribs on. Once the temp starts to dip below 220, I set it back to 225.

Take your ribs, and apply a line of mustard across the middle of the ribs. Follow by rubbing the mustard across the ribs, so a thin layer is coating the meat. this will help the dry rub bind to the meat. Once again, I’m a big fan of Code 3 Spices, but any pork rub should work pretty well. be very generous when applying the rub, as this is what creates the bark later in the process.

 After applying the rub, apply a layer of bbq sauce with a cooking brush before tossing on the smoker (I prefer Code 3 Spices patriot sauce, but any bbq sauce will do). Don’t worry, even with adding some sauce now, your ribs will still have that nice bark you’ve come to expect from lengthy sessions on the smoker. 

Make sure you smoke it low and slow, keeping it around 225 degrees, for about 7 hours. I like following the 3-3-1 rule- Smoke 3 hours, braise and wrap for 3 hours, then smoke one hour unwrapped. If you like your ribs a little saucier, you can apply more bbq sauce at this step. I like my ribs Texas style, so I don’t add sauce after the initial brushing.

Once the first 3 hours are almost up, its time to decide what youre going to wrap the ribs with. Make sure they are double wrapped in tin foil, so the heat and steam cannot escape. To give the ribs some sweetness without using too much sauce, I like putting a light drizzle of maple syrup, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and 2 squares of butter (per rack of ribs). The brown sugar mixes with the developing bark and forms a nice crystalization.

After 3 hours wrapped, unwrap and toss them back on the smoker for one more hour. Then you can finally pull them off, let rest for around half an hour, and enjoy your beautifully smoked ribs!

Scroll down for some photos of our latest smoked side ribs!

Pork Butt

So you’ve decided you want to try your hand at some deliciously smoked pulled pork. The good news, is that this is one of the more forgiving cuts to smoke, and even if you do not smoke it perfectly, it can still turn out delicious. Before we get to the smoking process and meat prep, we must get the right cut for smoking.
In order to ensure you get a nice even smoke, and that nice smoke ring, try and buy a cut of pork butt that is uniform throughout. Go for something that’s a nice even cube.

Once you have your cut of pork butt, while you wait for the smoker to heat up, it is time to apply your dry rub. While you can use almost any kind of rub you like, I am a huge fan of Code 3 Spices 5-0 rub, or their backdraft rub. These are two of my go-to’s when making pulled pork. I like the 5-0 rub, which is a little sweet and zesty, which adds a nice sweetness to the pulled pork. Be very generous when applying the dry rub, as this is what forms the bark. If you are unsure, it is always better to overdo it.

Now that we’ve handled the rub, and while we let it marinate with the pork, we can build our baste. By the time this is over, the smoker should be heated, and ready to have the pork tossed on. My go-to recipe for pork butt baste is simple: 2 cups apple cider vinegar, 2 cups lager, 5 dashes Worcestershire, pepper.
Basting should be done every hour. I use a spray bottle, but you can use a regular baster, or a brush to apply the baste to the pork. With each baste, the pork should have a nice glisten to it, which helps keep the pork from drying out during the smoking process while also helping to thicken the bark that will start to form shortly.

Knowing exactly how long to smoke something for, and knowing when to pull it off to rest can be tricky. The only real way to learn how to make good bbq is by making bad bbq. I find keeping the temperature around 250 works best. At this temperature, pork butt will take about 2 hours per pound. Once temperature on the smoker gets up to 250, I like to turn on the smoke setting, and then put the pork butt on the smoker. This gives an initial burst of smoke to start off the smoking process. Once putting the pork butt on the smoker, smoke until it hits an internal temperature of 145 degrees. At this point the meat hits a stall, you should pull it off the smoker and wrap in tin foil to help keep the cook on track, making sure to wrap thoroughly. You do not want any of the steam to leak through, as this is what keeps the pork juicy and builds that nice thick bark. At this point, smoke until you reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees. Once it hits this point, take it off the smoker and let sit about 30 minutes before pulling. Once the pork hits 200 degrees, the fibres in the meat start to break down, which is what makes the pork so easy to pull apart.

The good news about pork butt is that you will know how good of a job you did the second you start breaking it up. The bone should easily slide out when you go to pull it out, and you should easily be able to pull apart the pork with two forks. If the bone doesn’t easily slide out, don’t panic, you can still be ok. If you are unable to pull apart the pork, you may have kept it on the smoker a little too long or had the temperature a little too high. This is an easy thing to save, however. If you are making pulled pork for sandwiches, then lucky you, you can just toss on some bbq sauce to subtly mask the fact that the pork was left on a little too long.

We hope this article helped you achieve that perfect smoke for your Pork Butt. Check back soon for more!

*The photos featured are from the beginning of the smoking process, and after a couple hours on the smoker. This post will be updated with more photos the next time I decide to do pulled pork*

Brisket

So you’ve decided to tackle the beast that is smoking a brisket. Good for you for going after one of the more challenging cuts to perfect. When trimming, try to trim as uniform as possible, to get that nice and even smoke ring, and this helps a more accurate temperature read.

Before we get into temperature and smoke times, lets discuss dry rub. First, I start with a small line of mustard down the middle of the brisket. Rub it evenly around the brisket, so it is only a nice thin layer of mustard. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to taste it. The mustard simply acts as a binder, helping the dry rub stick to the meat, and helps in building a nice bark.

To get that thick black bark, I use only salt and pepper as a rub, and LOTS OF IT.(Code 3 spices also makes some great rubs that go delicious on a brisket). Be very generous when applying the rub. After applying the dry rub, and before starting the smoker, we need to think about what were going to use to baste the brisket while its on the smoker. I like using a spray bottle. It makes applying the baste sauce a little easier and cleaner. I use about 2 cups apple cider vinegar, and 2-3 cups lager (I usually go for Canadian or Heineken), and Worcestershire sauce. Give it a nice stir in the bottle to get it nice and mixed evenly throughout.

Now that we have taken care of the rub and the baste sauce, we can focus on the time and temperature. Brisket takes about an hour and fifteen minutes per pound. I like smoking with Hickory wood, but Oak, Cherry, or Mesquite make great options for smoking a brisket as well.

The key to a perfectly cooked, juicy brisket is 3 words; Low And Slow. Try and keep your smoker between 225-250 degrees. I tend to keep it closer to 250 but once wrapped, I lower it to 225. Smoke until the brisket hits an internal temperature of 165, basting every 45 minutes-one hour. The photo below is from my last smoke. The brisket featured is about 7 pounds, and had been on the smoker for 5 hours at this point. At this point, the brisket had been basted thoroughly about 6 times.

Once it hits 165, pull it out, double wrap it in tinfoil, and stick it back on the smoker until it hits an internal temperature of 195 degrees. At this point, it is time to pull the brisket off the smoker, and let it rest for an hour. I like to open up the tin foil at the top, so some heat is trapped keeping the brisket warm, but enough is released stopping the brisket from cooking more than another few degrees while resting.

After you have let it rest an hour, slice against the grain, about a pencil width thick. Enjoy your delicious brisket! Check out the photos below after letting it rest, and unwrapping the foil! I know the second photo looks a little yellow around the rub- I experimented a little bit by adding a little more mustard than I usually would, and added some grain mustard for added texture. Turned out great!