Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Return to Smokey Mt.

summer social poster.001 fig. a:  the invite

It was that time of year again.  Time to head down the 87 to the Catskills.  Time to fire up the smoker. Time to feed a whole mess of nice people from the City, from the Catskills, and beyond, on a gloriously beautiful midsummer's eve with some true Southern hospitality.

summer social program fig. b:  the bill

Thing is, up until the last minute, for the first time in five years, we weren't sure if we were going to be able to make it--which is why we didn't make the bill.

But by Friday afternoon, by the grace of God (and with a little help from an extra-special friend--TY!) we'd arrived at the Stone House, checked in, and gone for a dip in a nearby swimming hole.  And by evening that Smokey Mountain smoker was all fired up, sending sweet hickory smoke wafting in the air, and slowly, magically turning almost 40 pounds of Fleisher's pork shoulders into hog heaven.

smokey mt. fig. c:  getting up to temp

By noon the next day those shoulders had been pulled, chopped, and dressed into a towering heap of luscious North Carolina-style smoky chopped pork, and we were busily putting together our sides.

By 3:00 p.m. the guests had started to arrive in full force.  And by 6:00 p.m. dinner was served.

The spread:

3x 12-lb Fleisher's pork shoulders, hickory smoked and chopped 
Martin's potato rolls 
Tidewater coleslaw 
AJ's Down East baked beans 
Smokehouse potato salad 
AJ's Holy Grub BBQ sauce 
AEB Totally Jacked-Up BBQ sauce 
Blackcurrant lemonade 
Michelle's rhubarb & white chocolate petit fours
By about 7:15 the pork had been entirely cleaned out.  People made themselves four or five heaping sandwiches.  It was like a well-mannered, totally relaxed feeding frenzy.

By 9:00 p.m., as Color War took the outdoor stage, hickory smoke wasn't the only smoke in the air.

smoked out fig. d:  up in smoke

And by 10:00, after Color War's set had ended in ecstatic dancing and thunderous applause, there was a whole mess of other smoke shooting into a clear, star- and firefly-filled Catskills night.

after fig. e:  c'mon, baby, light my pyre

I'm not sure if it was all that smoke, or what, but I started to have all kinds of strange and interesting visions.  Like this guy.

double fantasy fig. f:  double fantasy

Saw him in a vision not long after the Theme from Twin Peaks played announcing the arrival of Color War onstage.  Had the even stranger experience of seeing him mounted to the wall of a log cabin the very next day.

Didn't get an invite?  Like to try some of my "luscious North Carolina-style smoky chopped pork"?  Well, if the Good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise, you'll get your chance tomorrow.  I'll be selling chopped pork sandwiches at Place de la Paix, right next to the Société des Arts Technologiques and the Foodlab, tomorrow, July 17, from 7:00 p.m. till 9:00 p.m.  What's the occasion?  It's a Pop Montreal/Film Pop presentation of Computer Chess on the outdoor screen.  It's also part of a Film, DJ's, and Chefs series that's going on all summer again this year.

Hope to see you there!

In smoke we trust.


p.s. Many thanks to Patricia for making all of this possible, and to Flannery for invaluable assistance in the kitchen.


The Hungry Italian said...

Sounds mighty good. Is this a family thing or can one (by the grace of God) get an invite? Wish I could make it tonight but I got a gathering of my own to attend to. Also, going to New Haven Con. in a couple of weeks (pizza pilgrimage) and going to drive past the Catskills. Any recommendations/ foods to sample etc.

aj kinik said...

Hey, Hungry Italian,
There's a lot of interesting stuff going on in Hudson, NY--food, wine, and otherwise. Fleisher's has its original location in nearby Kingston, NY, and we swear by that place. Those would be my two major recommendations for the area. You can find information on both on AEB. Have a great time in New Haven--the pizza is bonkers.--aj

aj kinik said...

Oh, yeah: and you should make a stop at Oscar's Smokehouse on your way down, if you can--we're big fans of their hickory-smoked bacon, their smoked cheddar, their smoked brats, etc.--well worth a visit: http://endlessbanquet.blogspot.ca/2009/09/on-and-off-road-2.html