Walkthrough: Pulled Pork & Chicken

Here's the timeline for our Labor Day weekend feast - recipes will follow.

Friday: my butcher cut me a beautiful 9-pound Boston Butt, the ideal section of pork for smoking. The Boston Butt is the top portion of the front shoulder of the pig - the other, bonier, half of the shoulder is the Picnic. I also picked up a couple of plump chickens, about 4 and a half pounds each.

Saturday, 9PM: rubbed the Boston Butt with a generous quantity of the Tri-Wizard, supplemented with celery seed, mustard powder, onion powder, brown sugar and paprika. Popped it into a 2.5 gallon Zip-Lok and watched "Human Nature," our Netflix pick.

Sunday, 9PM: took the pork out of the fridge and let it rest on the counter for an hour, still wrapped. At about half past the hour, I warmed up the smoker and prepared a mix of hickory and pecan wood, for sweetness and tang.

Sunday, 10PM: with the temperature at a perfect 225F, the pork hit the pit. Pork shoulder ought to spend about 1.5 hours in the smoker per pound of meat.

Monday, 9:30AM
: took the chickens out of the fridge and let them rest in the sink for about 20 minutes, still wrapped, while I prepared their accompaniments. I cleared out the cavities, rinsed the chickens well, then stuffed each one with 4 cloves of garlic, 4 whole cloves and an onion, cut in half. Light salt, pepper and paprika.

Monday, 10:30AM: with the temp still holding steady at 225F, the chickens joined the pig in the pit. Chickens should go about 4 hours in the smoker. Time to make the potato salad and cole slaw!

Monday, 3:00PM: the chickens come off the pit, after 4 and a half hours, with an internal temp of about 165F. I'll let them sit for 30 minutes, while I make a light sauce, then pull the meat off the bones and mix it with the sauce. Wrapped up, it'll stay warm for a couple of hours.

Monday, 4:00PM: after 18 hours, the pig's internal temp is only 170F, but we've got to go - we're taking the show on the road today. It gets a triple wrapping of aluminum foil before going into an ice chest.

Monday, 6:00PM: I unwrap the pig and pull it with two pairs of tongs. It's perfect: tender, smoky and juicy. Let's eat!

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