Etta White's Smoked Beef Shoulder Clod
Here’s our tribute to a little-known luminary African-American Pitmaster. We smoked a beef shoulder clod in honor of Etta White (Etta Randle) who ran Etta’s BBQ Stand & Whiteway BBQ in Texas from the 1930s - 1970’s.
This 10 lb shoulder clod is seasoned with our Texas rubs, the H-Town AP & MAD COW with NO binder because they didn’t have “binders” back then! We smoked it like a brisket with a wrap, rest and cubed up half for burnt ends and sliced the other half!
Easy and delicious!
(Photos below the recipe)
Prep Time: 10-30 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 hours (depending on temperature internal and resting time)
Time to let Meat Rest: 2 hours minimum
- 10-15 lb. Shoulder Clod
- Seasoning: H-Town All Purpose Rub & Mad Cow Rub
- A bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (or not if you’re not a saucy type of person)
- Apple cider vinegar to spray the meat at hourly intervals
- 2 cans of Beef Broth (for the wrap if you are not using butcher paper)
- Optional Condiments: White Bread, Fresh or Pickled Jalapeno Slices, Pickled Okra, Dill Pickles, Sliced Onion
- Offset Smoker or Kettle Grill
- Bundle of Post Oak splits or chunks
- Charcoal (Lump for the starter chimney and briquettes for the minion method)
- Butcher paper or Aluminum Pan long enough to house the shoulder clod
- Baking Sheet for prep
- Spray bottle or basting brush with apple cider vinegar
- Cutting Board
- Sharp Chef’s Knife or Boning Knife
- Instant read digital thermometer
- Food safe gloves
- Fill a charcoal chimney with lump charcoal and light it up. While the charcoal gets ready, place briquettes in the offset style smoker's fire box. If using the minion method, place 42 total briquettes in a 2x2 stack wrapped around the inside 3/4 of the way around the charcoal grate. starting at one end, place a chunk of wood every few briquettes.
PRO TIP: The minion method allows the charcoal to cook slowly, snaking around the inside of the cook chamber. As the hot coals get to the wood chunks, they will slowly start to smolder and smoke. Normally this method gives you 5-8 hours of smoke and heat without needing to add more coals.
- Next, season all sides of the shoulder clod with the H-Town AP and Mad Cow, letting the seasoning rest of the meat about 10 minutes per side.
- At this point, the lump charcoal should be ready. OFFSET SMOKER: In the offset, pour the lump coals onto the other charcoal and add a split log or wood chunks and as the wood catches fire, close the door and slide open the vents half way at least to get the smoke chamber up to about 250 degrees. Make sure to add more wood as needed throughout the cook.
KETTLE GRILL: Pour the lump at one end of the briquettes making sure to not let them hit any other side of the semi circle of coals. Cover the grill for about 5 minutes and let it get to a warm working temperature. When covering the grill, make sure to open the bottom vents to allow air flow at least half way, then all the way open on the lid and be sure to set the opening of the lid away from the heat. This will allow the smoke to travel across the meat and out the vent.
- Place the meat on the grill with the fat side down and any thinner pieces pointed away from the heat. If using the Kettle, place the meat in the center of the grate and close the lid.
- At every 1 hour interval, spritz the meat with apple cider vinegar. This allows the meat to slightly cool and take in more smoke. The meat will take in smoke until it hits about 170 degrees F.
- After 4 hours, use a digital thermometer like the Thermapen from Thermoworks and probe the thickest part of the shoulder clod. Check to see what the temperature is there as well as the thinner parts of the meat. When the temperature reaches 165 degrees F, remove the meat from the smoker to wrap.
- Wrap tightly in butcher paper and return to smoker. If using the aluminum pan method, pour broth in pan, place the shoulder clod in the pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil then return the pan to the smoker.
- Allow meat to continue to cook, checking again at hourly intervals in the thickest part of the meat.. Once the meat reaches about 190 degrees, check to see how smoothly the probe slides in and out of the meat. If it slides in with significant resistance, then it's not ready yet. If the probe needle slides in with virtually no resistance, like you're poking soft butter or peanut butter, then it's ready to pull off the smoker to rest. Normally the meat will be done between 190 and 210 degrees, so be patient. The end result will thank you!
After it’s ready to pull off the pit, let it rest in a cooler or oven (not hot) for a minimum of 2 hours (I like to rest for 4-6 hours). BE PATIENT- I know the meat will look juicy and you may want to cut it immediately, but that rest time allows the juices to reabsorb into the meat and makes for a tender slice of meat after that hour. If you cut it before resting, the meat WILL BE AS TOUGH as crocodile skin boots!
After the rest, dice the half of the shoulder clod in 2x inch cubes for burnt ends. Put these diced pieces in the foil pan, pour in and mix with your favorite BBQ sauce and seasoning, cover and place back on the smoker until they are tender about another 30-45 minutes
PRO TIP: These nuggets of flavor will be great tooth pick appetizers or quick sandwich.
Take the remainder of the clod and place on cutting board then slice against the grain. Each slice should be as juicy as the last revealing a beautiful pink or red smoke ring. Slice as thick or thin as you like. Serve on a plate or bun with your favorite sauce and enjoy!
PRO TIP: Pull Test: To make sure you have perfect slices, fold a tender slice over your finger. It should fold in half with the help of gravity alone. Next pull it apart from the sides. If it pulls apart without much extra effort from you, then you have smoked and rested it to perfection!
On this cook, we used the following products:
@bbcharcoal oak & charcoal
@rockwoodcharcoal lump charcoal
@merrywolfwoodworking Cutting Board
Sources about Etta White:
@bbqsnob @texasmonthly @texas_standard @southfoodways