Prep

The Swineapple

The Swineapple.   It seems that social media is covered with pictures of boneless pork ribs stuffed inside a pineapple and smoked over indirect heat.   Barbeque aficionados grasped the concept; it seems relatively simple.  Purchase boneless pork ribs and a large pineapple. The actual process to meld the pineapple and pork is far more involved than one might think.

On Memorial Day 2015, my wife and I took on the Swineapple challenge and came out with a satisfying meal.  As background, I am an engineer and she is a designer. We took copious notes on the process from beginning to end.  Photographs and techniques were posted during the day on Twitter.  With a bit of luck, @fillyerhands noticed our efforts and asked for our thoughts. In this article, we’ll cover the preparation of the pineapple, ribs, grill, cedar planks and  charcoal.

Planks

We used standard cedar planks available from Lowe’s Home Improvement. The planks were soaked for several hours in a mixture of apple juice and water.  Soaking the cedar planks serves two purposes; the planks should not catch fire during the smoking process and the apple juice soaked cedar planks add flavor and juiciness to the Swineapple.
1 Soaking Cedar Planks
Charcoal

Living in South Carolina, we are bound by state law to barbecue, grill, or smoke every meal, weather permitting, twelve months of the year.  While grilling, we save larger chunks of lump wood charcoal for the times when we need a longer stained heat which briquette charcoal cannot provide.  Cowboy Charcoal and Royal Oak lump wood charcoal are better for salmon, steaks, chicken, and burgers. The house lump wood charcoal from Publix or Fresh Market provides larger pieces of coal for turkey, ribs or a Swineapple.  For this test subject, we used Western Real Wood lump charcoal and Royal Oak lump wood for the firebox.  During the last hour, we added chunks of Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrels for flavor.

Grill

We have a Chargriller with an offset firebox for smoking.  The primary ash pan of the grill was emptied of any old debris.  The grill grates were scrubbed with a stainless steel brush.  The secondary firebox was emptied of old ashes and the pan was lined with aluminum foil.  The top vent and side vent were both opened to allow maximum air flow over and around the meat while it is cooking.

8 Grill

Pineapple

Now we’re getting to the core of the project (no pun intended).  The pineapple selected should be the largest one available in your market.  Take a sharp knife and remove the outer layer. Remove the stem. Leave the top and bottom covered by the scaly exterior.  Placing the pineapple on its side, slice the pineapple parallel with the core.  I cut our first one with a 90/10 ratio.  The second one was 85/15 ratio. Don’t throw away the lid. You’ll need it shortly.

Using a serrated knife, gently cut the core from inside,removing the top and bottom. The pineapple flesh between the edges will be relatively simple to remove. The flesh along the core, as well as the between the core and the bottom of the pineapple, is a bit more difficult to remove.  Remember that to maximize the available space for the pork ribs; cut as aggressively as possible while retaining the structural integrity of the pineapple.
3 Hollow Pineapple
Ribs

I purchased seven pounds of boneless country cut St. Louis style pork ribs from Publix. I could only fit five pounds into two pineapples.  I used my standard Pulled Pork rub; the mix was too salty for this technique. Rather than post a mixture I will not use again, I’ve adjusted the ratio for what we will use in the future.  The ribs can be coated in the following mixture:

1 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp black ground pepper
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs brown sugar

The eight spices were blended together and then liberally applied to the ribs.

2 Boneless Pork Ribs

4 spice mix

5 Ribs with spice rub

I was able to fit between 32-40 oz of ribs into each pineapple.  The side of the pineapple was placed over the boneless ribs and secured with kitchen twine.  I recommend soaking the twine in water before smoking so that it does not catch fire during the process.
6 Ribs in Pineapple7 Ribs with lid
We covered the outside of each pineapple with thick sliced honey bourbon bacon.
9 Pineapple on Grill10 Bacon on Pineapple
The planks were placed perpendicular to the grill grates next to the firebox vent. The Swineapple was placed parallel to the fire, to allow for the most even exposure to the heat possible.

We closed the lid at 3pm and checked the firebox every 45 minutes, adding chunks as needed. The temperature remained between 225-250 degrees.

Two hours in the process, we used wooden spatulas with a large surface space to rotate the Swineapple,  The pineapple was soft and fragile; metal tongs were a mistake.

A meat thermometer was used four hours into the process; once the meat reached 160 degrees, we removed them from the heat.

Following standard grilling procedure, the meat was placed on a wooden cutting board and covered with aluminum foil, allowing the pork to rest.

11 After12 Finished Product
Final notes:

This was our first attempt at Swineapple and we will do it again.  That said, the procedure takes almost as long as smoking a turkey or racks of ribs.

We found that the citrus enzymes marinated the pork nicely.

Coring the pineapple and then removing the outer layer of pineapple might allow for more flavor infusion instead of a horizontal cut and scooped out the pineapple.  Another thought is to cut the pineapple down the middle and place the boneless pork ribs in either half, then tying the halves together before placing them on the grill.  Lastly, we would add the bacon much later in the smoking cycle.

I used too many Jack Daniels chunks in the firebox at once; the fire spread rapidly to the cedar planks, hence the blackened planks in the photographs.

We did not add barbecue sauce to the Swineapple. We used traditional offset heat, smoke, and a rib rub for flavor.

Good luck!
@gt24880a

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Categories: BBQ Pr0n, Deck, Pork, Prep, Ribs, Smoker, Wood | Leave a comment

Plans for 2013

It’s never too early to make my New Year’s Resolutions. So, here are the plans for the Bacon and Boomsticks Blog for 2013:

HOW TO

In 2013 I plan to make a series of How To videos on cooking different barbecue delicacies:

  • Beef brisket
  • Boston butt
  • Smoked sausage
  • Turkey breast
  • Chicken
  • Sides to die for – slaw, potato salad, beans, and more
  • Desserts to die for – biscuits, cobblers, ice cream, and more

REVIEWS

I am blessed to have at least 17 barbecue restaurants within 10 miles of my home. My goal is to visit and review all of them in 2013. It’s something I am willing to do for you, the reader. You’re welcome.

  • Big Shanty Smokehouse, Kennesaw
  • Barbecue Street, Kennesaw
  • Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Kennesaw
  • J.D.’s Bar-B-Que, Acworth
  • Bar-B-Cutie, Acworth
  • Zeigler’s BBQ & Catering, Acworth
  • Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q , Hiram
  • Briar Patch Restaurant, Hiram
  • Rodney’s BBQ & Catering, Dallas
  • Johnny’s Bar-B-Que, Powder Springs
  • Shane’s Rib Shack, Marietta
  • Dave Poe’s BBQ, Marietta
  • Williamson Bros Bar-B-Q, Marietta
  • Sonnys Real Pit BBQ, Marietta
  • Rib Ranch, Marietta
  • Old South Barbecue, Smyrna
  • Staqs Bar B Que, Smyrna

Some of these are chains. Some of them are new, and one of them – Old South – I grew up eating as a kid. This will be fun.

Note, I already wrote about Dickey’s once, but it wasn’t a full blown review. Look for a thorough write-up soon, complete with my Eye Patch awards!

TECHNIQUE

I have always been either an open griller, or a smoker. I am going to try to venture into some new techniques in 2013. Some ideas:

  • Pit cooked whole hog
  • Rotisserie cooked meat of some kind (ideas welcome)

Other ideas are welcome as well.

 

What do you think? Please sound off!

Categories: Beans, Beef, Brisket, Chicken, Pork, Prep, Review, Ribs, Sausage, Smoker | 2 Comments

Top Ten Tips for Smoking – From Someone Who Knows

Image

I ran across this list today, at the Weber Grill website. Can’t beat the source, and I couldn’t agree more with the tips.

TOP TEN TIPS FOR SMOKING

1. START EARLY: Many of the flavor compounds in smoke are fat and water soluble, which means that whatever you are cooking will absorb smoky flavors best when it is raw. As the surface cooks and dries out, the smoke does not penetrate as well.

2. GO LOW AND SLOW (MOST OF THE TIME): Real barbecue is cooked slowly over low, indirect heat—with wood smoke—because that’s a traditional way to make sinewy meats so moist and tender that you hardly need teeth. But don’t miss easy opportunities for adding sweet wood aromas to foods that are grilled over a hot fire for just minutes, like steaks, shrimp, and even vegetables.

3. REGULATE THE HEAT WITH A WATER PAN: Big fluctuations in smoking temperatures can tighten and dry out foods. Whenever you cook for longer than an hour with charcoal, use a pan of water to help stabilize the heat and add some humidity. Obviously a water smoker already has one, but for a charcoal grill, use a large disposable foil pan, and don’t forget to refill it.

4. DON’T OVERDO IT. The biggest mistake rookies make is adding too much wood, chunk after chunk, to the point where the food tastes bitter. In general, you should smoke food for no longer than half its cooking time. Also, the smoke should flow like a gentle stream, not like it is billowing out of a train engine.

5. WHITE SMOKE IS GOOD; BLACK SMOKE IS BAD: Clean streams of whitish smoke can layer your food with the intoxicating scents of smoldering wood. But if your fire lacks enough ventilation, or your food is directly over the fire and the juices are burning, blackish smoke can taint your food or lead to unpleasant surprises when you lift the lid.

6. KEEP THE AIR MOVING: Keep the vents on your charcoal grill open and position the vent on the lid on the side opposite the coals. The open vents will draw smoke from the charcoal and wood below so that it swirls over your food and out the top properly, giving you the best ventilation and the cleanest smoke. If the fire gets too hot, close the top vent almost all the way.

7. DON’T GO GOLFING: Smoking is a relatively low-maintenance way of cooking—but remain mindful and be safe. Never leave a lit fire unattended, and check the temperature every hour or so. You might need to adjust the vents or add more charcoal.

8. TRY NOT TO PEEK: Every time you open a grill, you lose heat and smoke—two of the most important elements for making a great meal. Open the lid only when you really need to tend to the fire, the water pan, or the food. Ideally take care of them all at once—and quickly. Otherwise, relax and keep a lid on it.

9. LET THE BARK GET DARK: Barbecued meat should glisten with a dark mahogany crust that borders on black. This “bark” is the delicious consequence of fat and spices sizzling with smoke on the surface of the meat and developing a caramelized crust over the luscious meat below. Before you take the meat off the grill or wrap it in foil, make sure the bark is dark enough that it tastes like heaven.

10. FEATURE THE STAR ATTRACTION: The main ingredient in any smoked recipe is like the lead singer in a rock-and-roll band. Every other flavor should play a supporting role. In other words, don’t upstage something inherently delicious with a potent marinade, heavy-handed seasonings, or thick coats of sauce. Harmonizing flavors in ways that feature the main ingredient is what separates the masters from the masses.

Categories: Prep, Smoker | Leave a comment

Getting Ready

After years of turkey, roasted and smoked, my wife and I decided to go with beef brisket for Thanksgiving this year.

I’ve always been a fan of marinating beef brisket before smoking. My favorite marinade is Claude’s, but I haven’t been able to find it in stores around the Atlanta area. The last time I was in Louisiana I bought some, but it’s been gone a while. I probably need to order some on line.

So this year, I’m using Dale’s. It’s a little stouter than Claude’s, but I like it.

I bought a 6 pound brisket and stuffed it into a gallon zip close plastic bag, and filled that with a whole bottle of marinade. As you can see, I had to fold one end of the brisket over so it would fit. (Note to self: find bigger bags.)

On a less pressing timeline, when I find a good brisket on sale, I will put it in the bag with marinade, and put the whole thing in the freezer. Then, I put it in the freezer a couple of days before the cook, so it thaws and marinates simultaneously.

But today, it’s in a pan in my refrigerator.

Tonight, when I get home, I’ll get out the smoker from under the porch, and clean the grill surfaces, and put new foil in the coal pan. Six o’clock comes early.

Then the decision – hickory or apple? I have both. It’s a nice problem to have.

I’m getting ready.

Categories: Brisket, Prep | Leave a comment

Boston Butt

The smoker got going at 7 AM . . .

The smoked Boston butt was ready at 6 PM . . .

And on the plate at 7 PM . . .

From contributor Fill Yer Hands, Kennesaw, GA.

Categories: Pork, Prep, Smoker | Leave a comment

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