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My father used to say, “Chuck doesn’t do anything in halves.” He was right: sometimes its a virtue and sometimes a curse. He and my mother taught me to cook, sometimes using cookbooks, like Julia Child's, but more frequently just winging it. This site is a roller coaster ride of recipes, articles, ingredients and anything else that involves cooking and presenting food. There is something here for everybody from beginners to experts.

Cooking Temps

Chicken breast 165, Chicken thigh 170 or more. Pork med well 145, Pork med 140, Rack of lamb med rare 131, Beef very rare 125, Beef rare 130,Beef med rare 135, Duck Breast 126, Salmon med 118, Disclaimer: USDA stds dictate much higher temps. To be super safe, cook everything until it is dry and crunchy, then toss it in the trash

Smokin Pork

This is really easy. I will try to get some more pics to update.This is not the ultimate dissertation on smoking pork shoulder. There is enough information here to get you really good results and some understanding of what is involved.

Pork shoulder is divided into two parts with unlikely names; Picnic and Butt also called Boston Butt. The Picnic is kind of ice cream cone shaped and includes the upper portion of the front leg. The Butt is a rectangular block and includes the shoulder blade. Get the Butt. Cooking methods vary wildly and you can read BBQ forums for hrs without finding any consensus. In picture below the Picnic and the Butt are still connected

pork primal cut

A few themes to be aware of:
1) As the meat cooks the temp will go up until you get to about 150-160F. At this point the temp may not go up for awhile as the connective tissue starts to dissolve. This temperature plateau is called the "Stall." You can turn up the heat to push through the Stall
2) The target temp ranges from 190-205
3) The outside of the shoulder will get dark chewy; this is called "Bark."
4) Wrapping with foil at about 160F reduces the stall time, retains moisture but reduces the amount and quality of the Bark
5) Opinions on Oven/smoker temps vary from 225-300F; At lower temps cooking time is about 2hrs/#

Rub. Use what ever you want. Most are mixes of brown sugar and salt. The following one has you salt the meat first then add the rub just before cooking
Meathead Goldwyn’s Memphis Dust Rub
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground ginger powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons rosemary powder

1. Trim most of the fat off, and coat with 1/2 tsp/lb Kosher Salt. Let it sit several hours or even overnight refrigerated. Removing the fat allows the smoke to penetrate the meat and makes serving easier.
2. Smear yellow mustard on all sides. The mustard helps the rub to stick.

pork shoulder with mustard

3. Cover all sides with a liberal amount of the rub
4. Start up the smoker at 250F Place on aluminum foil and smoke until the inside temp is 195F. I use Apple Wood chips for the smoke. This will take about 1&1/2 hrs/#. If you are going to wrap with foil, do it at 160F.
5. When it gets up to temp. you can turn the heat down to 150F and hold it until serving or just take it out and cover it with some towels; it will stay hot for quite awhile. Another strategy is to cook it the day before to make sure that it is done before it is time to serve. Just keep it in the refrigerator and reheat before serving.


I use it alone with BBQ sauce, or as an ingredient like the pizza below

Smoked pork shoulder pizza