Thursday, July 13, 2006

BBQ #1, pt. 2: Sunday

eat bbq here!

It sure wasn't easy to sleep that Saturday night/Sunday morning. We were a little bit nervous, of course--the usual butterflies we get when we try out a new recipe for an occasion combined with the fact that the alarm was going to be rudely awakening us at 4:45--but more than anything, it was the aroma of that pork shoulder making its way through the apartment that made it tough to doze off. That rub was something else, and as the shoulder began to cook it quickly filled the apartment with its sweet spiciness--we found it was quite a distraction, and I'm sure some of our neighbors had otherwise inexplicable barbecue-related dreams. Somehow we managed to get a bit of shut-eye, Michelle was even able to get herself out of bed to make sure the roast was going as planned at 4:45, and when we awoke again the pork shoulder was fully cooked. We took it out of the oven, unwrapped it, noted its perfect appearance, and then took its temperature just to make doubly sure ("170º F." "Perfect!"). Then while Michelle shredded the pork and separated it into two batches, I mixed together the Sacred Harp-Approved sauce and got ready to smoke the North Carolina-Style pork.

By 10:00 both our pulled pork batches were ready to go, so we quickly set up our rummage sale, including a few not-so-hidden gems,*

toothpick dispenser, cake stand

made some early sales, then settled in for our first pulled pork sandwiches (breakfast!) at about 10:45, before the lunchtime rush. For our first taste, we both opted for the North Carolina-Style barbecue, complete with cole slaw dressing and a side of beans. The Alabama-Style barbecue tasted pretty great, too, but the hickory smoked flavor of the North Carolina barbecue was absolutely irresistible. The verdict: That dog can hunt! Again, we weren't going to be challenging the supremacy of Lexington Barbecue #1 or Wilber's or any one of those other legendary barbecue joints with our North Carolina-style pulled pork, but this was a mighty fine sandwich, made all the better because of the unreal smoky-tanginess of our cole slaw and by a single, solitary touch of local flavor: that Montreal classic, the Portuguese bun. Schlesinger and Willoughby acutally recommend serving their pulled pork barbecue on "cheap white fluffy buns," presumably to get that full, Deep South, "white trash" effect--we went "cheap," "white," and even a bit "fluffy," but, surrounded by excellent Portuguese bakeries on all sides, there was no reason to opt for something that tasted like it came off the shelves of Piggly Wiggly. We couldn't have been happier. In fact, Michelle, who'd never had true pulled pork barbecue before, just some sickly sweet slop she got at a local restaurant once, was quite nearly in tears. But we had a job to do, so before things got out of hand we cleared our plates and braced ourselves for the throngs.

All in all, our sandwiches were a big hit. Some who'd opted to stick to the sides wound up getting tempted to buy a sandwich too; some who'd enjoyed their first sandwich ordered a second to take home with them. This was by no means a massive barbecue--for our first streetside barbecue, we'd tried to keep things limited--but by 1:00 we'd sold out of both kinds of pork, our cole slaw, our beans, and about 5 jugs of Michelle's 100% Guaranteed Lemon-aid. The People had spoken.

Based on our experience, these recipes are sure-fire. If you're an amateur of pulled pork lacking the necessary equipment or the wherewithal to pull off 5-7 hours of hardwood or hardwood charcoal slow cooking over constant but indirect heat, these here are the recipes for you. Of course, there's absolutely no reason to start your barbecue at 12:45 a.m., unless you're itching for a fresh BBQ brunch. I've written them out as we actually prepared them, noting the source recipe that served as the inspiration/foundation for each. Here goes...

All-South Barbecue Rub

2 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp cumin, freshly toasted and ground
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp cayenne
2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp hot paprika
1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika

Mix together. Makes about 1 cup of rub.

[adapted from Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby's The Thrill of the Grill.]

Basic Pulled Pork Barbecue

1 bone-in pork Boston butt (about 11 lbs.)
1 cup All-South Barbecue Rub

Rub the pork butt on all sides with the dry rub and allow it to come to temperature, about 1 1/2 hours. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to roast your meat, preheat your oven to 300º F. Wrap the shoulder well in aluminum foil, sealing it very tightly at the top. Transfer the shoulder to a deep roasting pan, leaving the sealed side up, and fill the pan halfway with water. Bake, refilling the water halfway through, until the pork is exceedingly tender and falling away from the bone, about 8 hours.

Unwrap the pork, discarding any juices, and transfer to a baking sheet or large cutting board. When the pork is cool enough to handle, shred it, discarding the bones and any fat, and transfer to a large bowl.

When all was said and done and the bones and fat had been discarded, we were left with about 5 – 5 1/2 lbs of tender pulled pork. You’re now ready to add your sauce/s and finish your barbecue.

[adapted from Coy Ivey's Pulled Pork Barbecue recipe in Kathryn Eastburn's "The Sacred Feast," Saveur, June/July 2006 and Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby's The Thrill of the Grill.]

Sacred Harp-Approved Alabama-Style Pulled Pork Barbecue

1 3/4 cups high-quality barbecue sauce (see recipe below)
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the barbecue sauce, ketchup, Coca-Cola, Tabasco, cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste. Take your cooked, shredded pulled pork, and add the barbecue sauce concoction as desired (this sauce was more than enough for the 3 lbs of meat we turned into Alabama-Style barbecue), mixing well to combine.

Transfer the pork to a baking dish, making sure to cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Cook in the oven until the pork is heated through and the flavors have fully mingled, about 45 minutes.

Spoon the pork into a split Portuguese bun and serve warm or hot, with sides of cole slaw (see recipe below) and beans.

[adapted from Coy Ivey's Pulled Pork Barbecue recipe in Kathryn Eastburn's "The Sacred Feast," Saveur, June/July 2006.]

Eastern North Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat your grill. Place your hickory wood chip smoking device (filled with 2 cups of pre-soaked hickory chips) on the bottom of your grill [we were using a gas grill], giving it about 10-15 minutes to come to temperature and start smoking. Meanwhile, transfer your cooked, shredded pulled pork to an open sachet made of aluminum foil. When the smoker has begun to do its job, place your sachet on the grill, closing the lid, and allowing it to smoke for about 15 minutes to get a full hickory-smoked flavor.

While the pork is smoking, mix up your sauce. Just mix all the ingredients listed above together. Any extra will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator, covered.

Transfer your smoked pork to a large bowl, and add the Eastern North Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce as desired. We mixed up about 2 lbs of the North Carolina-Style barbecue, and we had quite a bit of the Eastern North Carolina sauce left over.

Serve in a split Portuguese bun with a generous dollop of Piedmont-Style Cole Slaw (see recipe below), hot sauce, if you’re so inclined, and a side of beans (or corn, as the case may be).

Eastern North Carolina-style Pulled Pork Sandwich

[adapted from Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby's The Thrill of the Grill.]

A.J.'s Tangy Piedmont Cole Slaw

1 1/2 cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp celery seed
1/2 – 3/4 cup high-quality barbecue sauce (see recipe below)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 head green cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, finely grated

In a small bowl, blend the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, barbecue sauce, paprika, salt and pepper, and mix well.

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage and the carrots. Pour the dressing over the mixture and blend well. Refrigerate until serving time, at least 2 hours.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

[adapted from Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby's The Thrill of the Grill.]

Not Quite All-American Barbecue Sauce

This recipe is a version of Schlesinger and Willoughby's Basic All-American Barbecue Sauce with two major differences: first of all, the yield (about 1/4 of the original), and secondly, I replaced a bit of liquid smoke with a healthy touch of chipotle purée, giving the sauce a bit of added heat while still adding some smokiness to the mix.

1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 28-oz can of tomato purée
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp molasses
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 – 1 tsp chipotle purée
2 tbsp brown Dijon mustard

In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in the oil over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 7-10 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered at the lowest possible heat (while still simmering) for 4 hours.

Purée the sauce. Adjust the seasonings, if needed.

This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for weeks.

We used this sauce in the Sacred Harp-Approved barbecue and in the Piedmont-Style cole slaw, we also left some out on our fixings table in case anyone wanted to add even more zest to their sandwich.

[adapted from Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby's The Thrill of the Grill.]

That's everything you need. Knock yourselves out.


*I always kinda feel like Enid of Ghost World fame when I throw a garage/rummage sale. There are always a few items (like that toothpick dispenser) that I actually really don't want to sell. I was thrilled when Birdy came back up the stairs with us at the end of the sale. After all, he actually bends over and plucks toothpicks with his bill!


Anonymous said...

ok, i learned about this way too late, and im an american girl who has been DYING for good pulled pork bbq. i cannot for the life of me find it in this city. im crying over missing this and i want to ask..will you ever do it again? if so, WHEN? i am hoping you will because you call it bbq #1 so that gives me hope that there will be a #2.

aj kinik said...

Fret not, Anonymous,
there will be other events (at least 2) later in the summer, but they won't all be pulled pork bbq. In any case, we'll try to provide better advance notice but you could always send us an e-mail and we could put you on our mailing list (that goes for any other montreal-based bbq/street food devotees out there, too). said...

Hi AJ and Michelle, love the blog!

Just wanted to mention how funny it is that you were making pulled pork that weekend, all the while I was doing the same thing for my girlfriend's bbq/birthday party (in the mile-end also, no less!). I managed to get incredible hickory flavour with a bradley smoker I got from Le Baron. It practically cooked itself and people were begging for more (I guess 6 kilos wasn't enough). Do post a prior notice next time you intend smoke some pork... I just might try to make some myself so we can have ourselves a cook-off!