Saturday, April 20, 2013

If you give a girl a pig . .

Yep, another semi cooking blog. This one’s for you, Amy Scott. Meat.

But first, I must tell you my asparagus are coming up. Or is it, my asparagus is coming up? Either way, if I don’t eat them raw standing in the garden, my favorite cooking technique is to grill them.
Toss them in a little bit of good olive oil and sprinkle a little kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper on the spears, then drop them onto a hot grill for about a minute. That’s all it takes. Amazing side dish.

Or serve the grilled asparagus cold on a spring salad with a little vinaigrette. Also great on pizza. The asparagus. Not the vinaigrette. Never tried a vinaigrette pizza. I assume it would be a bit soggy. 
Just my take on the subject.

Now for the pork. We are talking barbeque here, oven barbeque for those of us not fortunate enough to live near a great BBQ  place. Which is 95% of us. Or have a wood smoker, which cuts out another 50% or so.

Get yourself a whole pork shoulder. I know, it’s a lot of meat, but BBQ freezes beautifully in small packages, and then you can have it anytime you want, with no more effort than remembering to pull it out of the freezer.

Personally I would recommend a wild pig that your neighbor brought you in December and which you have butchered yourself and frozen. But I realize some of you might not be that fortunate.

 Especially those of you in cities. In that case, try and find a locally sourced pig. You will notice the difference, I assure you.

Rub the entire shoulder with a mixture of 3 parts kosher salt, two parts granulated onion, two parts granulated garlic, one part each black coarse ground pepper, smoked paprika, ground cumin and ground thyme. If you like spice add one part cayenne.

Put the shoulder in a pan and add 1 tsp. of liquid smoke, one dark beer, a splash of cider vinegar, and cover tightly. Put in a 300 degree oven for 4-5 hrs or until you can pull the meat off the bone. Uncover and cool.

(I remove most of the fat before I make my bbq. If you don’t, cook for at least an hour uncovered to get the fat cap crisp.) Be sure and watch during this time to make sure all the liquid doesn’t evaporate. Add water if necessary. You don’t want the stuff on the bottom to burn, or the meat to dry out.

Cool the shoulder in the pan overnight in the fridge. In the morning take the meat out and remove the fat that has congealed on the top of the liquid (which will now resemble jello)

Pull the meat off the bone, removing as much fat as you wish in the process.  Add to the stock in the bottom of the pan 2 T ketchup, 2 T mustard, and 2 T cider vinegar. Heat up the mix (if you want you can transfer the sauce beginnings to a saucepan at this point.

Taste the now liquid mixture after stirring thoroughly. 

Now, depending on your preference, if you like Memphis or Kansas City style, add honey, more ketchup or tomato paste till it tastes right. If you like South Carolina style, add mustard to taste. If, like me, you like a NC vinegar based sauce, add more vinegar. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Now you can get creative if you want.  Add a flavored vinegar, or balsamic? Add that weird mustard your friend gave you for a present last year. Add Cajun spices. Whatever you want to make it taste the way you like it. The hell with everybody else.

This is YOUR Que.