Thursday, August 12, 2010

Smoked Pulled Pork and East Carolina BBQ Sauce

Today begins a marathon of cooking, most of which I hope to try to capture on this blog. My niece Hillary is visiting with her boyfriend Tiziano and his younger brother Valerio. Yes, Tiziano and Valerio are Italian and are in the States for the month of August. So rather than spending the entire visit in Hillary's hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, they decided it would be fun to come south for a couple weeks. They'll begin by visiting my daughters Emma and Rachel in Washington DC for a week, and then will head to North Carolina for a week.

It just so happens that during the visit, Tiziano will celebrate his 21st birthday, so in true Tiki style, Doug and I have decided to throw a 21st birthday party in his honor, featuring our takes on some classic Southern recipes. Because Valerio is a vegetarian, we have tried to include as many vegetarian options as possible.

Now before y'all get all Mason Dixon on me, I admit that Doug and I are both Yankees, so these recipes will reflect our Yankee sensibilities on what we love about southern cuisine. I have been living in the South for 25 years, so I must have picked up a few things here and there, so I don't wanna hear yer bitchin'!.

Here is the proposed menu for Tiziano's Southern BBQ:

Pulled Smoked Pork with East Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina BBQ sauces
Smoked Beef Brisket
Cold Boiled Peel and Eat Shrimp
Mama Ozzy's famous Smoked Gouda Mac 'n' CheeseCornmeal-Crusted Tomato Pie with Lemon Thyme and Basil
Cole Slaw
Potato Salad
Deviled Eggs
Red Velvet cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
Banana Pudding
Sweet Tea
Sweet Tea Martinis

Thats a LOT of food, but we anticipate being inundated with hungry college students, so I think it will all get eaten.

In order to get everything done, I am starting 5 days in advance to give myself a chance to relax... the heat index is supposed to be 107 today so I need to pace myself.

First thing up will be the smoked pulled pork. Pulled pork is a southern classic, and I really love this recipe from Alton Brown (of Food Network fame). It involves brining the pork in salt water and molasses and is really delicious. The pork needs to brine for at least 12 hours before it hits the smoker (where it will slow cook for another 12-14 hours over hickory wood chips). Once it is smoked and "pulled" it can be frozen and reheated. What follows is Alton's recipe with, as always, my variations:

Smoked Pulled Pork
(serves 10)
3/4 cup molasses1 1/2 cup Kosher salt
2 quarts bottled water
6-8 pound pork shoulder

1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp coriander
1Tbsp chipotle chili powder
1Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp Paprika

In a large stock pot with a cover combine all brine ingredients and stir until salt is completely dissolved. Make sure to use bottled water; tap water often has a funky "chemical" taste. Add pork shoulder to brine, cover and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

After 12 hours, remove pork from brine, and pat dry with paper towels. Combine cumin, fennel and coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle and coarsely crush the seeds. Combine freshly ground spices with remaining rub ingredients and mix well. Rub spice mix all over the outside of the pork.
Out of the brine, the pork shoulder gets a spice rub before hitting the smoker.

Place pork in smoker and smoke over hickory wood chips at about 210 degrees until pork easily falls apart (this takes about 12-14 hours in my smoker, but most smokers vary).

My apologies to the neighbors for filling the neighborhood with
the aroma of delicious, succulent, slow-smoking pork

Remove pork from smoker and allow to cool for about an hour to let the juices redistribute. Pull pork apart using two forks. Serve with the sauce of your choice.

East Carolina BBQ Sauce:

2 cups cider vinegar
2 Tbsp crushed red pepper
2 cloves minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp freshly ground Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients except black pepper in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Add Black Pepper and mix.

1 comment:

  1. I think I can smell it here . . . work that is. Not much better than smoked pork!