Food, Wine & Just Good Living With SaucyJoe

It started with a love of food, wine & fun and blossomed into a maddening pursuit of the best recipes, techniques, grills, smokers, wines, crafted beers, rubs, marinades and sauces... We do more than play with our meat though -- we review and discuss all things cooking, drinking, reading, laughing and living at SaucyJoe's.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Beef Shoulder Clod

The Iowa Sullivan clan had a fabulous Thanksgiving experience! Lovely Linda roasted her famous turkey with sausage, apple stuffing. We had family from the current generation down to the newest generation of grandsons and nephew. The dinner table was roisterous indeed!

Dr. Dave did his part with smoking big meat; a beef shoulder clod. This was a challenge because I'd never smoked this large a cut of beef. This was a 15 LB clod, and all I'd read said that this needed to be smoked long, low and slow. So, I set up to smoke this clod one hour per pound, or 15 hours. Since we decided to eat at 5PM Thanksgiving day, this meant starting to smoke at 2AM that day.

But preparation of a clod doesn't just start 15 hours early. I began by marinating one day early. After trimming the gray skin and excess fat, I tenderized the meat using a 48 blade Deni. This gadget is great for getting deep into the meat with many tiny cuts.

Be careful though those blades are sharp. I cut two fingers just showing how the Deni works!

I liberally sprinkled black pepper, kosher salt, onion powder and garlic powder over the clod.

I then slipped it into a marinade composed of 48 oz of Irish stout. Marinating lasted 18 hours.

I set the alarm for 1AM Thanksgiving day.

First I made a slather of Dijon mustard and Worchestershire sauce, a very aromatic blend. I applied this to all sides of the clod, then sprinkled on a rub of paprika, cuman, mild chili powder, black pepper and kosher salt. I used lots of rub because this was a big cut o' meat.

I fired up my Big Drum Smoker using 6LB of Kingsford charcoal and 9 LBs of hardwood charcoal. I normally don't like hardwood charcoal because it doesn't burn very evenly, but I wanted the nice smoke flavor and I thought the Kingsford briquettes would aid in making the fire even. To add the smoke, I put in a small oak log and an apple branch. The outside temperature was 29 degrees F.

The clod went on the smoker at 2:20AM. I took cat naps and turned the brisket every two hours. The smoker was able to keep the smoker temperature above 200 degrees while the outside temerature dropped, but when it dropped to 19 degrees, the smoker couldn't keep up very well. Fortunately, the sun came up at 7AM, and the smoker was getting up to 220 degrees. The best thing was that the smoke kept coming. This big meat was going to have a nice smoke ring!

I was anticipating the meat wouldn't get up to the targeted temperature of 195 degrees until late afternoon. So I didn't insert the digital thermometer until 11AM. Much to my surprise, this 15LB piece of meat was already up to 190 degrees internal temperature. This clod was done! And dinner wasn't scheduled for another 6 hours! Figuring that the smoke had penetrated as much as it was going to go in, I wrapped the clod in aluminum foil and put it back on the smoker. Soon, however, the fuel in the smoker was getting consumed to the rate where it was unable to keep up the heat, and the temperature in the smoker dropped below 100 degrees F. I became concerned because there was no oven space (a 24LB turkey takes up a whole overn, believe me!). Then, I slapped myself in the forehead (ouch!). I had a perfectly good outdoor gas oven, my water smoker! Quickly, I slipped the clod into the gas heated water smoker for another 4 hours Keeping the temperature at 200 degrees for the whole time.

Well, the guests arrived, and after some good football (the Cowboys won!) it came time to serve Thanksgiving dinner. I removed the clod from the smoker and unwrapped it. It came out falling apart!
I learned an important thing about the Big Drum Smoker. It doesn't just heat using the smoke, it has a nice direct heat element (no pun!). What happens is that the meat cooks faster than a full indirect smoker. So if you're setting up your recipes, think "direct heat" like they have in some of the central Texas meat markets. This is a good thing because it imposes a nice smoke flavor while the meat is opened up by the direct heating. I can tell you, the falling part clod was most flavorful. We have leftovers too!
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Dr. Dave


Blogger Dr. Dave said...

This is the time of year where the garage becomes the refrigerator,and today we pulled the leftover clod out of the garage fridge for future use. Half the remaining clod went into the freezer. The other half went into the food processor for a rough chop. This meat is going into some chopped beef sandwiches, plus some tasty bits for my friends in the HyVee meat department.

I will tell you, pulling the meat apart for chopping, and tasting the bits available for munching, I was delighted with the full smoked beef flavor. If these beef sandwiches taste as good as the tidbits snuck while chopping, they will be very flavorful.

Now...what to do for a sauce? More to come!

Sun Nov 30, 03:18:00 PM CST  

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