Pork Neck Bones "Rib Style" on the Mini-WSM

Discussion in 'Pork' started by kettlemetal, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. kettlemetal

    kettlemetal Fire Starter

    Hello all,

    The low price of pork neck bones makes them very attractive. I've done "crock pot bbq" with these in the past, which turned out well, but never on a grill/smoker.

    It looks like a few people here have experimented with them before in a rib style, but mostly you see them smoked and added to beans, soups, etc. Today I'll be cooking them like ribs on the mini.

    As you can see, there's a lot of meat on these things. I paid $1.29 a lb, which is not great, but still much cheaper than any cut of ribs in my area:

    Size is pretty uniform, with a few being larger, a couple really small pieces. I made up a quick rub of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, a little bit of white sugar, paprika, old bay, and chilli powder:

    I'm going to set up the mini shortly, aiming for 275-300 with KBB and some hickory chunks. Stay tuned!
  2. kettlemetal

    kettlemetal Fire Starter

    Struggled with getting to temp and clear smoke today. It's in the upper 50's, winds about 10-12 mph.

    I loaded the basket with fresh KBB and a little bit of used, and buried 3 chunks of hickory. Wood placement is something I grapple with, not sure what's best. When I do snakes on my kettle it's simple, but here I don't have the best feel for where to put it. Hit the edge with a torch for about 1 min then assembled the smoker at about 3:15 pm. Bottom and top wide open, took a while to get near 300. When it did, I went to about 1/3rd open, which is holding well. The smoke looked pretty thick until about 4:45 pm, which is way longer than I normally see. Not sure why.

    Meat on just before 5 pm:

    Going back out to enjoy the fall weather and keep an eye on things. I'd like to cook these at 300, but if the mini wants to sit a little higher, that's OK too. Planning to take a look in an hour. Stay tuned...
  3. kettlemetal

    kettlemetal Fire Starter

    Temps dropped pretty harshly after I added the meat so I went full open. Nearly an hour later, I couldn't get past 250. Hmmm...

    I set up the mini today with the steamer insert as a diffuser, plus a small pizza pan and foiled disposable pie pan to catch drippings. Thinking that might be holding me back, I decided to pull it and replace with a second cooking grate + pizza pan and pie pan. Vents are wide open right now, hoping to see temps come up to the point where I can choke the intake back a bit and hold them.

    My 22" kettle is laughing in the background and saying "should have used me!"
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
  4. kettlemetal

    kettlemetal Fire Starter

    Removing the diffuser did the trick. I was back to 300 in no time, and a vent adjustment kept it there. Since it ran low for most of the first hour I decided to let it go for awhile, and then took a look at 6:45. I'm glad I did, because they were DONE, even a little over. These are hard to test so I took some temps and saw ranges of 195-204. Yikes! Here's how they looked:

    I brushed some sauce (Trader Joes KC style) on the tops and let them go another 5 min before pulling. Added a little more sauce after that, and covered the pan for about 10 min. Here they are finished up:

    I wanted to show the inner meat, but there aren't many thick chunks to cut a sectional view from:

    Plated them up with not a vegetable in sight and dove in.

    They were really good, but I can see merit in arguments either way as to whether they're worth the trouble. When the fat renders away, you're not really left with a ton of meat, so the "before" picture is a little deceptive. That said, for the price, I'll definitely do these again since they're tasty and cook up fast.
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    They look good and now I have a taste for Neck Bones!. Neck bones are a cut I like, and striive for, Falling of the Bone. Got to get the most out of each piece. For me, low and slow then time in Foil with my Foiling Juice until super tender. Eating is more sucking the meat off the bones and out of the nooks than biting the meat away. More bang for a similarly priced Buck with a Pork Butt but the neck meat is far more rich and collagen/gelatin loaded. Nice post...JJ
  6. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    These look and sound pretty good.  I'm going to keep a look out for them.  Thanks for your post.
  7. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wow. They look great. :drool

    Something else for me to try.

    Your mini temps dont seem right thou.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    They look delicious... Good job.... Lots of flavor I'll bet..... Dave
  9. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Nice job on the neck bones

  10. kettlemetal

    kettlemetal Fire Starter

    Thanks all! 
    I think you may be onto something doing these low and slow. It was hard to get some of the meat out of the nooks and crannies since they cooked so fast. 
    Agreed, something seems to be up. The steamer insert shouldn't have held back the temps like that. My gauge tested correctly in boiling water before I installed it, so maybe it's too gunked up? Will have to take a look.

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