Tom Rossman loads the pit with pork butts.
This weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with my dad Tom Rossman and the Knights of Columbus Council 6950 in Katy for a full day of smoking meat.

Several times each year the Knights sell barbecue as a fund-raiser. They presell briskets, ribs and pork butts, cook on Friday and customers pickup on Saturday. This time they prepared 42 briskets, 75 racks of ribs and 12 pork butts.

The preparation of the meat was done Thursday and cooking commenced Friday at 6 a.m. The Knights were using 4 large smokers (three for brisket and one for pork) and one rather large “cajun” cooker for the ribs. The “cajun” cooker is a large rectangular box with a removable lid and no floor.

Piles of charcoal and wood are lit on the ground and the box is placed on top. It seemed to work well and held about 35 racks of spare ribs.

Ed (Breezy) Brzymalkiewicz loads the ribs in the cajun cooker.
I’m not a barbecue cook, but I was curious. My dad has been telling me about their BBQ fundraisers for a few years and I was finally able to take a day off and get down there to watch/help.
Dad was responsible for the pork butts. He did them with a simple salt and pepper rub. They went on at 6 a.m. and they hit an internal temp of 200 at just after 2 p.m.
I pinched a small piece that stuck to the grill and I can attest it was top notch.
The briskets were still on the heat when we left, but I did taste a bit of a burnt-end the next morning and it too was wonderful.

Maybe I’ll get to taste the ribs next time.

Harry Mican mops briskets while Grand Knight Gary Clark looks on.

I enjoyed my day as an apprentice pitmaster. Keeping the fires going on four smokers is a job you have to stay in front of and opening the pits to spritz the butts with apple juice or check their temperatures was a hot and smoky business.

It was interesting to see the meat progress. My dad told me about the temp plateau (175 degrees) the meat went through at about the six-hour mark and sure enough, a bit more heat and a closed lid for 45 minutes was all we needed to get the temperature we were looking for.
I have a renewed respect for pitmasters, especially those to do it every day for their restaurants. It’s a lot of hot and hard work.

I can’t wait to go back and help next time.

Breezy and Leonard Tydlacka turn the ribs.


Finished pork butts ready for wrapping.


Mike Hurst turns the briskets.


Photos ©Jim Rossman/Texas BBQ Posse

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