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The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke


Grill Camp ‘06-Day 6

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The sixth day of “Grill Camp” marked two firsts: The first time making Smoked Pot Roast (PIT POT ROAST) and the first long cook with the new Kingsford. Both proved interesting
Pot roast is my favorite New England style boiled dinner. I’ve long wanted to try smoking one. My mother had a frozen Bottom Round Roast she donated to the cause. I started defrosting this in the fridge on Monday night for use on Thursday. The next step was to find a recipe. After looking around I found one in Smoke & Spice. It was an intriguing recipe as it used a spicy beer based mop sauce, a spicy rub & the meat was spiced with garlic and jalapeno slivers. The roast in the recipe took about 7 hours to smoke.

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The roast is flavored with garlic & jalapeno slivers

The first hiccup I ran into was the roast hadn’t finished defrosting when I pulled it out of the fridge Wednesday night. I placed it in a large pan full or cold water. I changed the water every 20 minutes and after 90 minutes the roast was defrosted. This was important as it is hard enough to insert garlic slivers, but jalapeno slivers were even more difficult. After inserting the alternating garlic and jalapeno slivers, it was time for the roast to be rubbed, covered and refrigerated overnight.

The roast is rubbed and ready to refrigerated overnight in a covered marinade bowl

I lit the grill around 6:00AM with the intent of starting around 7:00AM. It was grey and drizzly so I was glad I had left my EZ Up shelter up for the week. The new Kingsford takes it’s time getting to 225 (110 C) but was very stable. I closed down the dampers at about 220 (104) and it drifted up to 225 (110 C) and pretty much stayed there. Throughout the whole cook I only had to play with the dampers twice times. more. Once when I had to change charcoal around 11:00 or so and once around noon when I had to put the foiled roast back on the smoker to finish it off covered. When I did the charcoal swap I tried something new. Instead of removing the baskets, I simply used some old tongs to slide the charcoal forward the front of the baskets toward the main grill chamber. Then I filled the rear of the baskets with fresh charcoal poured straight out of the bag. It looked almost the same as the start of a Minion method cook and the grill held temps well.

The crust is flipped and moved to the medium heat zone to be topped

One variable I had was the cook time, when to pull the roast of the grill to wrap it in foil and the end time and temperature. The recipe in Smoke & Spice called for a 3 pound roast. The said to cook it for 4 hours out of the foil. Next they had you pull it off the smoker place on aluminum foil, add some whole peeled tomatoes & a little mop sauce and seal it well in the foil. My problem was when to do this. My roast was 4.25 pounds (2 Kg) so my time would differ. Doing a little extrapolation (4 hours is to 3 pound as “X” is to 4.25 pounds (2 Kg). Solve for “X”) I was guessing at a time of around noon. I was hoping this would correspond to a temperature of around 140 degrees (60 C). This is supposedly the temperature where meat no longer absorbs smoke. The other trick was final time. Extrapolating the time as before told me about 10 hours instead of 7.5. This would be a 5:00 PM finish. This was why I started at 7:00 AM. I know better than to go by time in a smoke and I was really looking for an end temp. Looking around on various web sites 180 (80 C) seemed to be and end temp to shoot for. People that shredded their pot roast took it up to around 205 degrees (96 C).

Whole tomatoes, their juice and some reserved mop sauce are added to the roast before it is wrapped in aluminum foil

At 11:45 AM my roast hit 140 degrees (60 C). This seemed to be kismet: both the time I’d guessed and the temperature I though would be appropriate were both reached. I brought the roast inside and placed it on the foil. I’d forgotten to reserve a quarter cup of the mop sauce, so I’d put one half cup in one of my metal measuring cups and boiled it for at least 3 minutes. This left me with quarter cup to use on the meat. Next time I shall remember to set it aside first. I double wrapped the meat: first putting the seam in the foil on top. Next I placed a piece on top and this put the seams on the bottom. I placed the temperature probe back in after the second foil layer. I used a small piece of foil wrapped around the foil to try to seal of the hole.

I returned the newly foiled roast back to the smoker. In a strange twist the temps actual started going slowly down for the first hour. They actually reached 130 (54 C) before beginning to rise again. The other strange thing that happened was a man showed up to work on the yard. He was a smoker who had made smoked pot roast many times and told me I was in for a treat. He confirmed my 180 degree (80 C) end temp was in the ball park. As the temps started to rise they began to do so very quickly about a degree every two minutes. Doing the math it pointed to a 3:30 not a 5:00 end time. When I looked online to try to find more info about the end temp, I saw many people let the finished pot roast rest in a cooler for several hours. Of course this didn’t specify whether it was for shaved pot roast taken to 205 (96 C) or sliced pot roast. I assumed it didn’t matter. So the early finish didn’t phase me.

The roast had gotten taller but not as deep during it’s foil nap

The roast hit 180 (80 C) at 3:20PM and I wrapped the foiled roast in a heavy towel and placed it in the cooler. The original plan was for it to come out around 5:00. My schedule changed and it wasn’t until 6:00 that I was able to unwrap it. There was still quite a bit of liquid inside the foil and the smell was wonderful. One odd thing was the way the roast had shrunken. t appeared to be about the same length but where it was once 4” (10 cm) deep x 4” (10 cm) high, it now appeared to be 3” (7.5 cm) deep and 5” (12.5 cm) high. This was odd. The second thing I noticed is my electric knife wasn’t passing through the meat as easily as I might have hoped..

The roast had a nice deep red smoke ring but was as tender or as juicy as expected

The roast turned out to be a mixed bag. The outer crust had a great flavor. The garlic and jalapeno slivers certainly helped as did the spicy rub and mop. Knowing this meat was porous, I’d gone easy on the smoke. The hickory flavor was pronounced but not overpowering. The meat was nowhere near as moist or tender as I expected. I have a feeling it was either my end temperature or the 3 hour foiled rest. The wonderful flavor encouraged me to try this dish again. That and the fact I had plenty of the spicy rub left over, enough to make about 3 more roasts. Next time I will not have a frozen roast and I will give it only a ten minute rest before serving.

Smoked pot roast, potatoes and carrots

So day 6 was a mixed bag in terms of both the meal and using Kingsford for a long cook. The meat was a bit tough and dry, but very tasty. Certainly worth trying again. The Kingsford didn’t last very long but was VERY easy to keep at 225 (110 C) over a long period of time on my CharGriller. Bottom line: It sure beat being in work!

I added an new picture entry with my pictures of the PIT POT ROAST with pictures from this day’s cook.


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