Pit Boss Jim House has been in the BBQ business for over a decade. His award-winning Pork Island BBQ started as a food truck at the Jersey shore, then five years ago, he opened a brick & mortar location in Ocean City called Pork Island Grill. His BBQ and comfort food menu feeds tens of thousands of locals and vacationers every year. This man knows how to please a crowd with his ‘cue.
🔥 PRO TIP #1: How to order & what to know about ordering BBQ
I usually start by asking a server what a restaurant’s specialty is or their most popular dishes. I know every Pit Master has a few items that they genuinely love doing and are most well-known. I’ll ask if they smoke “on-site,” if yes, that, of course, is the way to go. I’ll ask about their rubs and sauces and request a “taster” size run of their sauces if available. If their answer is “everything is good,” then I choose my favorites—pork ribs, pulled pork, cornbread, mac and cheese, baked beans & collards, if they offer them. I seek a nice balance of dry rub, smoke & sauce—good tenderness on the meats. I like a natural pull on my ribs, not necessarily “fall off the bone” and moist strands of pulled pork. If you can get that, you’ve found a winner in my book.
🔥 PRO TIP #2: Home Smoking
If you are new to smoking, I recommend starting with a pork shoulder, preferably a Boston butt. Trim off any excess skin or silver skin. Find a dry rub that you like & apply it liberally over the entire shoulder. I run my smoker at 250 degrees for pork shoulder and let it smoke for at least five hours. Then, I’ll spray it down with apple cider about every hour. Once I’ve hit the 5-hour mark, I’ll put the shoulder in a half pan and cover the top with butter, brown sugar & honey. Then, I’ll cover it with foil and place back on the smoker or put it in the oven until it is done, roughly 5 to 7 more hours depending on the size of the shoulder. I want the internal temperature to hit between 205-210. At that point, I’ll take the cover off, let it cool for about 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of the shoulder), pull it apart, and use some of the juice, plus add some of my favorite BBQ sauce, and BOOM, done. It’s important to remember to keep a consistent cooking temp and time. Smoking needs time. Don’t try to rush it, and keep your smoker closed. You lose heat if you keep opening it.
I always say, “If you’re looking, you’re not cooking.”