BBQ Tech Support

I received a frantic phone call from my brother yesterday.  You might recall that he is a recent convert to the Big Green Egg.  It seems that he put a couple of pork butts on the BGE at 9:45pm on Friday night and was surprised to find them finished at 6:30am the next morning.  He was looking for guidance on what to do with them since they weren’t prepared to serve them until dinner time.  He was also putting on some baby back ribs to serve at the same time.

First, let’s define what “done” means.  This is one of the things that stood between me and good BBQ for a long time.  Like my brother, I read the meat thermometers etc. and thought that pork was done at 160-170 degrees (depending on who you believe).  This is a fine target for lean cuts of pork, like chops, tenderloin and the like.  Pork cooked at this temp won’t kill you.  However fatty cuts of meat like pork butt & pork shoulder, aren’t “done” at this temperature.  In fact these cuts are only beginning the process of being “done” when they hit 165-170.  They will plateau at this temp and cook there for many hours while the fat is rendered out of the cut and the connective tissues break down.  Once that process completes, the temp will begin to climb again.  When the internal temp hits 195 degrees, they truly are done and ready to be pulled.  (The same principles apply to fatty cuts of beef like brisket).

Back to the BBQ tech support situation.  My brother had pulled the meat a little earlier than he probably should have, but that aside he had a long time to hold the meat until dinner.  He had double wrapped the meat in aluminum foil and put them in a cooler.  I advised to run the meat thermometer through the foil and into the meat to continue to monitor the internal temp.  As long as the temp stays above the danger zone of 145 degrees, he should be able to continue to hold it.  We agreed that if it fell to 150 degrees, he would need to pull it, refrigerate it, and plan on reheating before serving.

The second issue was how to prepare ribs on the BGE.  He had a basic plan and only needed some reassurance and a bit of a tweak to his planned cook time.  Based on the pictures that follow, I’d say he did alright.




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