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Cooking North Carolina Barbecue

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Cooking North Carolina Barbecue

Naco | Jul 8, 2010 08:58 AM

I deliberately didn't put this in Home Cooking because I've done similar threads there before, and the knowledge level really wasn't there. Everyone does KC/Memphis style, side smoker, etc.

Anyway...I actually do have a side smoker, but I wasn't satisfied with the results I got using the side firebox, so I started cooking directly over the coals in the main chamber. Using the firebox required me to constantly put wood chips or chunks in to get any smoke flavor at all, and it left the skin leathery and inedible. Cooking directly uses less fuel, doesn't require any flavoring wood unless I want to add some, makes the skin palatable, and takes less time, to boot.

I'm still working on perfecting my cracklings- even when I score the skin, I usually end up with a layer of fat on the bottom that makes it hard to eat. I was thinking about removing the skin when the shoulders are done, wrapping the meat, and returning the skin to the grill for a few minutes to burn that fat off. Any thoughts?

I've also been thinking about cooking a fresh ham on the smoker. I don't have the setup to cook a whole hog, but Piggly Wiggly sells a back quarter that's a ham and ribs, so I figured that plus a shoulder would essentially be the same thing. I'm a bit worried about how to cook it without totally drying it out, though. That's easy with the shoulder, which is really fatty, but hams are leaner.

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