Mood: crushed out
The meat was a tad dry but undeniably tasty, and swabbed with a western NC-style mop, topped with cole slaw on plain buns, not bad. But the experiment didn't pan out quite as planned.
The part I thought would be the toughest, keeping the temperature between 200 and 250, was not as hard as I'd expected; it actually cruised along without the addition of coals at the right temp throughout most of the afternoon, spiking only briefly when I did add coals and stir them up a bit.
From my research I learned from many sources that such a chunk of slow-smoked pork would rise in interior temperature to about 160 or so and then arrive at a plateau that would take about two to four hours and then rise until it reached 190, 195, 200 which would be the perfect point of melting fat and collagens, and then it would be perfectly ready to pull (translate shred).
But that never happened. In the late evening it reached the plateau and just never left it. The temperature in the Weber kept right where it was supposed to be, around 225-240, the aromas were lovely, but the meat never did what it was supposed to. I didn't want to give up, and crazily kept at it until it had been on the fire for 19 and 1/2 hours, and I had been conscious for 24, at which point I simply gave up, spent and ready to sleep. So I just wrapped it in a couple layers of foil and a big paper bag, put it in a cooler with ice, washed some of the ashes off my filthy feet, and crashed. The next day I put in in the oven for a couple hours and the temperature still never rose about normal pork temp, although it did shred pretty well.
The meal was great; my mop was cider vinegar, water, brown sugar, catsup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, red pepper flakes, etc., nicely balanced, and a coleslaw dressed with mop, plus baked beans James Taylor style from Amy Rogers' Carolina cookbook. At the last minute I ditched the hush puppies I was going to make, but served a killer grits and fresh corn casserole, redolent of garlic, jalapeno and cheddar, that I did up in preparation for a cooking demo I'll be doing at the Dutchess (NY) County Fair on Thursday. Friend Erin brought a great green salad. As a goof, along the southern theme I made a blueberry jello "salad," which was actually great, although I don't usually go for that sort of thing. I did some lame sausage balls for an appetizer, but a nice peach cobbler for dessert, but that pork just didn't quite do what I wanted it to do and I m not sure that I want to try it again. I will ask my expert buddies at the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts and Letters, who know everything, what they think I did wrong.
Oh, and I took photos, but when I tried to add them they were too huge, so I will keep working on the technology of that, too...