Easy is good. Hardly anyone disagrees with this. The simple adage goes for about anything, including barbecuing and fire starting. From the novice cook to the next Steve Rinella, any easy cooking session is a coop.
It’s not about being complicated.
That’s the beauty of smoking a pork shoulder. You tend to a few basics and then you can basically sit it out for a few hours.
The words simplicity and leisure come to mind. You can run errands, do lawn work, or sit back with your favorite beer and admire the puffs of smoke leaving your smoker.
Likewise, if you’re camping or hunting, you can spend the idle time doing camp chores, shooting your bow, or resting up for the evening hunt.
However, the whole exercise can’t be considered simple unless the simplicity runs from start to finish – and starting well means having the ability to seamlessly create a solid lasting fire. These days, I accomplish that with the help of the Pyro Putty fire-starting solution.
Pyro Putty is a flexible putty-like fire-starting solution that is easy, weatherproof, and dependable. Offered in both small tins and foil packets, it’s extremely lightweight and portable.
After years of bulky charcoal chimneys and lighter fluid bottles, this magical substance is as important to my smoking and grilling repertoire as my favorite homemade dry rub. On top of it all, Pyro Putty even comes in blends specifically designed for cooking, such as the Competition Charcoal Lighter blend).
My last smoking session started with Pyro Putty Summer Blend and ended with pulled pork that made me a hero.
Here are the steps I took, starting with prepping a moderate-sized pork shoulder and making the perfect coals via a quarter-sized lump of Pyro Putty and a Dual Arc lighter.
Here is how I did it.
What you will need:
- 1 tin of Pyro Putty (Competition blend is ideal, but other blends also work well).
- Pyro Putty Dual Arc Lighter
- Separated piles of kindling of different sizes
- Lump charcoal
- Your favorite rub or marinade
- 1 6 to 8-pound pork shoulder
- Meat claws
Initial Meat Prep:
First, I thawed and seasoned an 8-pound pork shoulder. I used my favorite home-brew rub teaming with garlic salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin, and brown sugar. I generously coated the meat with the mixture and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, while the pork was thawing to room temperature, it was time to pull out the pyro putty, my lighter, oak twigs, and a little lump charcoal. Note, it’s important to use a variety of wood appropriate for cooking, such as oak, pecan, hickory, or mesquite. You want to avoid some types of wood such as cedar that will taint the flavor.
I set a quarter-sized lump of Pyro Putty in the bowl of the smoker and lit it with my Pyro Putty rechargeable Dual Arc lighter. While a match or grill lighter work, I like to operate as if I was in the woods on a backcountry hunt for practice. Plus, the dual arc lighter is rechargeable and fits in the palm of my hand.
Next, I placed the smallest kindling next to and over the flame, allowing the fire to gain momentum for 3-4 minutes. As the flame and oxygen did their magic, I continuously added kindling, graduating up to larger pieces. After another five minutes, I had a formidable fire, allowing me to add a couple of small pieces of lump charcoal. I continued the process for a few minutes until I had added a few more chunks of charcoal and small oak logs (you can also purchase wood chunks for this purpose) and left for the next few minutes.
After the fire reached about 350-degrees, I placed the pork on the grate and quickly charred both sides. Then, I closed the smoker lid. The fire would, within an hour, reduce down to the 250 to 280-degree range. This was the heat level the pork would smoke at for 6 to 7-hours. While a lower temperature is even better, it’s not necessary. A pork shoulder is more tolerant of heat level than say a brisket.
Though I would intermittently check the temperature throughout the day, my work was almost done.
At the end of the day, I pulled the pork shoulder off the pit and let it rest for about 45-minutes.
From Flame to Smoke to Table
When it was all said and done, a small piece of my Pyro Putty stash had effectively worked in concert with my seasonings and favorite smoker.
A couple of closing points; the Pyro Putty and pork shoulder had a couple of things in common.
One, they’re both inexpensive, as the pinch of the Summer Blend cost about 20-cents and the pork shoulder $12. Yeah, the 20-cents is an estimate, as the $10 tin makes about 20 fires.
Secondly, they’re both very forgiving. Full of marbled greatness, the pork shoulder is easy to prepare. Likewise, the small amount of putty worked perfectly, despite the breezy conditions – a reminder of its even greater utility in wilder outdoor settings.
As always, the bed of coals was proof positive that Pyro Putty is the perfect foundation of any smoked meat creation. It’s a welcomed alternative to what used to be an odorous dousing from a bottle of lighter fluid. In the end, I was a winner.