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Cooking 40 lbs of meat on an Akorn for a party


dh14ster
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Greetings from Germany! Last week my hockey team, which is a mix of about half American military and civilians, but also Germans, Czechs, Finns, a Brit, an Aussie, a Mexican, and various other East and Central Europeans, traveled to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria for a 4 day hockey tournament on the 1936 Olympic ice. The team is appropriately named the Wiesbaden Vikings, so what better way to build camaraderie and team spirit than with smoked meat and lots of [German] beer? The problem was, I have an Akorn, and I was going to smoke around 50 lbs. of meat for approximately 30 people for Saturday night (11 February). This was going to be my greatest cooking challenge so far!

Here's what I wound up doing: Most of our European teammates had never had anything like American barbecue, nor could they even imagine it. I wound up cooking 18 lbs. of pulled pork, 18 lbs. of brisket, 5 lbs. of pulled chicken, and 5 lbs. of beef short ribs. It was a huge hit to say the least. But my problem was how do I smoke 50 lbs. of meat on an Akorn (20" cooking surface and an upper rack) and have it ready when people start showing up at 4 pm Saturday? Oh, and I was going to make about 5 dozen ABTs for appetizers.

As luck would have it, my neighbor, and teammate, is Czech, but lived in KC for 4 years and fell in love with barbecue. When I mentioned what I was doing, he offered to smoke the chicken and the beef ribs on his rig, along with about 1/2 of the ABTs. So that left me with 3x 6 lb. pork butts and 2x beef briskets to smoke. I decided to employ a modified version of The Wozniak Method (http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/cook_today_serve_tomorrow.html). I figured the pulled pork is probably more forgiving, so I started it Friday at 10 am and smoked it until about 7 pm at 225 until they hit 190* internal. Then I wrapped them in foiled and hit them with ice before putting them in the fridge for overnight. I shut down the Akorn, to clear the ash bin and recharge the charcoal, then fired it back up around 1030 pm. I let it stabilize then at midnight on go the briskets. This guy goes to bed and gets up around 0715. I had the Maverick 732 on the night stand in alarm mode. At around 10 am the butts go in the oven at 225, and at 1300 the briskets hit 203. They went much faster than I expected, so I didn't bother to foil them until I put them in the faux cambro. Then the butts go (wrapped) back on the Akorn because they are not heating up as quickly as I had hoped. By 1600, I was able to take the butts out of the foil and put them back in the smoker to firm up the bark. Guests started arriving as I was putting the butts in the cooler with the briskets to do the faux cambro magic. On went the ABTs, and as folks noshed on ABTS, chips, guac, salsa, magic was taking place. I served the 4 different types of 'cue with KC Classic, Grownup SC Mustard, NC Vinegar, and Texas Barbecue Juice. In the end there was barely enough meat to fill a 1 gallon freezer bag. Our goalie, from the depths of his meat coma, said, "I can't wait to be hungry again."

 

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2 hours ago, TKOBBQ said:

Wow that looks great, it also sounds like an epic adventure that turned out fantastic for you. Way to get it done, you and the rest of the team will have plenty of lasting memories of it.

TKOBBQ: Thanks for your compliment. It was, and the tournament was a blast! We're already looking for an excuse to have another barbecue, the guys liked it so much. It is definitely a great way to bring people together as well as to bring a little American culinary tradition to some folks who might never experience it unless they came to the States.

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Great Job.  Looks amazing. nothing brings people together like great food

 

What I have done in the past was smoke the meats for 2 to 3 hours then transfer to the oven to finish the cook to free up the smoker.  meats stop taking on significant smoke at about the 2 hour mark.  Was able to significantly up production.

 

Looks like you can start a BBQ team with your hockey team

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19 hours ago, wilpark said:

Great Job.  Looks amazing. nothing brings people together like great food

 

What I have done in the past was smoke the meats for 2 to 3 hours then transfer to the oven to finish the cook to free up the smoker.  meats stop taking on significant smoke at about the 2 hour mark.  Was able to significantly up production.

 

Looks like you can start a BBQ team with your hockey team

Thanks, wilpark. I've used the oven, too, and it can really help out. I had read about this method and was curious to try it. A party like this probably not the best time to experiment, but things came out really well in the end, everyone was happy. 

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On 2/24/2017 at 10:44 AM, ckreef said:

Sounds like a fun time but a lot of work. 

 

ckreef, it was a lot of work, but you know as well as anyone that the smiles it brings to friends and loved ones makes the effort totally worth it. I promised I'd do it again once the weather gets better. It's been a couple of years since I did anything like this-- I used to when I was back in the States for family events, but they're all back there. Sometimes I almost get a craving to do a big cook, but it's tough with just mama and me in the house. This gave me a good excuse to immerse myself in clattering metal, charcoal dust, smoke and fire.

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