Friday, November 29, 2013

Pre-Thanksgiving Smoking Party

For the more than a decade, Uncle Kenny has hosted four pre-holiday smoking parties per year (for St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas).  People -- friends, family, strangers off the street -- are free to drop off whatever they want smoked, and he takes care of the rest.  It's a social event for him, an opportunity to hang out with some friends and throw a big party at the end that involves a taste of just about everything.  We had taken meat to be smoked before, and had attended the sampling afterwards, but had never been there for the actual smoking.  This year, I decided to change that.

Uncle Kenny's smoker is an industrial bakery oven that he salvaged and converted.  It contains a giant rotisserie, and he has rigged a woodbox to it to provide the smoke. 

The woodbox, piped into the smoker.

It's an all-day event, with work starting around 5 a.m. and the last item leaving the smoker after 7 p.m. or later.  The record for the most meat smoked at one of his parties is a bit over four tons.  This year's pre-thanksgiving event didn't quite hit that level, but it was still impressive.  The tally for the day was:  18 briskets, 23 pork shoulders, 53 turkeys, 73 slabs of ribs, 21 hams, 6 chickens, 3 corned beef briskets, two pork loins, about 25 pounds of sausage, a half dozen salmon filets and a couple of trout.

Turkey's going into the smoker.

Spraying down the briskets with a bit of apple juice.

Briskets coming off the smoker.

Above: Rib prep and ribs going on the smoker.

Just about done.

The procedure for pulled pork is pretty neat.  When a pork shoulder comes off the smoker, it goes into a (clean, I promise) paint bucket.  Then, using a power drill and a custom-made shredding attachment, the pork shoulder is shredded.  It only takes four of five quick pulses, and saves a lot of time compared to doing it by hand.  The entire process is shown below.

What's most impressive is that, despite dealing with hundreds of items, everything finds its way back to its rightful owner.  Each item is tagged with a numbered metal washer (as seen on the ribs below), and that number is logged along with the name of the person who brought it.  When meat comes off the smoker, it is identified on the log, packaged and labeled with the appropriate name.

Fish and ham are the last items to go on the smoker, as they take the least amount of time (the fish will overcook fairly quickly, and the ham, being pre-cooked, only requires enough time to warm up, take on a little smoke, and let the glaze melt).

Wrapped, racked and ready for pick-up.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I am going to show this to my husband. 1st he will drool. 2nd he will try to figure out if he can become a local smoker. 3rd I will try to persuade him to come out for a visit to see the operation. And you. I miss you guys.