21 May, 2007

Pig Pick

(Genuine Authentic) Smoked Pulled Pork Barbecue.

Oh don't even...Here in a country I like to call the land of the free and home of the brave (and I don't mean Scotland), the beginning of summer queues the national obsession for smoky meats slathered in sugary sauces. Everyone has a story as to where to get the best barbecue, how it is made, what makes it authentic, and you can find millions of pages arguing each particular point ad nauseum. While I would like to stay above the fray, I will endeavor to share with you what I think are some of the important points of "genuine authentic" BBQ and why I think everyone could and should be making their own at home.

1) Meat. For "genuine, authentic" barbecue, you can't go to Whole Foods. Cheap cuts are what you need and you need to get them where they are cheap. Go visit the local butcher, or try to find a nearby packing house. When I lived in Chicago, I used to go to Bari Foods, now in the Southland, I have a meat packing place about three miles away. For pulled pork, you need to look for pork shoulder, or a Boston butt roast, bone in bone out doesn't matter, just try to find it fresh.

3) Prep. "Genuine, authentic" barbecue does not require a lot of effort but it does take some forethought. A dry rub should be applied to the meat the day before cooking. If the cut is amorphous, then it should be tied into a nice roast.

4) Cooking. "genuine, authentic" barbecue is cooked over (or near) an open fire. As for containing the fire, use whatever you have on hand, a hole in the ground, a kettle grill, or a Kalamazoo Dual-Fuel Gourmet Hybrid Grilling Drawer System. While those fancy pants smoker grills are fun to gawk at( And I certainly wouldn't turn down an opportunity to fire one up), Why spend the money on a shiny hood when you all need vessel in which you can heat your meat low and slow for a long period of time. The only equipment I suggest you buy is a thermometer: A Weber grill thermometer will do the trick and it should be about 10 bucks. Measuring the temperature of your fire and keeping it constant is important; as for what the temperature should be let the grill decide. My smoker likes to run about 250 F. I find it easy to keep a kettle grill at about 300F. "Genuine, authentic" barbecue is happy cooking anywhere between 225F and 350F. If you can, throw some wood (Chunks/ chips whatever, I like hickory) on the fire for the smoky love. However you do it, make sure you are set up for the long haul, your fire has to last between six and ten hours.

Is it time to eat yet?

In previous BBQ posts I mentioned that I read somewhere that chewy meats don't start to break down until the internal temperature is above 160F. Pulled pork wont start to shred (or pull apart) until it has reached an internal temp of 190F. When I smoked this roast last weekend my target temp was 200F. However I never made it. After seven and a half hours of smoking at 225F the meat had only made it to 168F. I don't know why some roasts take longer than others. Instead of pulling I got sliced.
At this point I could have taken a cleaver to it and mince it, but much to my surprise, sliced was fine. not chewy at all. So I have a new proclamation: As long as it is fully cooked, "genuine, authentic" barbecue is ready when it is time to eat. Serve it with some slaw on a bun with a side of greens.

Here's the quantities I used:

6lb bone in pork shoulder roast

40 g (1/4 cup) black peppercorns

35g (1/4 cup) paprika

55 g (1/4 cup) sugar

45g (2+T) salt

8 g mustard seed OR 2 tsp ground dry mustard

1 g garlic powder

2 g ground ginger

1 g (1 tsp) cayenne

Starting the day before, grind the peppercorns and mustard seeds in a spice grinder, and combine with other ingredients to create spice rub. Using HALF of the mixture rub the roast all over. If the roast look floppy, tie it into a nice shape. Wrap it and put it into the fridge overnight.

The next day fire up the grill and get out the meat. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the spice mix, then use the rest to rub the roast again. Take the left over spice mix and simmer it in a pan along with:

2 cups of (Real) cider vinegar

1 cup water

1 T Worcestershire sauce

This is going to be you sop that you mop (basting sauce). Baste the meat with the warm sop every couple of hours. Cook to an internal temp of 200F or till when you are hungry and it is over 160F.

For "genuine, authentic" barbecue sauce, I cooked down the leftover sop with some added brown sugar, strained it, then mixed it with ketchup.

This recipe was adapted from the Virtual Bullet website, which I believe adapted it from the book, Smoke and Spice.

I believe barbecue was invented when someone had a cheap cut of meat, a fire pit and a lot of people to feed. It's simple flavorings of sweet and tangy, maybe a little heat, appeal to a broad audience. There's no recipe for "genuine, authentic" barbecue, it is a method to create something out of whatever you have, and share it with people on a nice summer's day.



Anonymous said...

Looks delicious. You should invite the neighbors over for Beer, Bags and BBQ.

E said...

Man, I want to crawl into that sandwich and eat my way out.