Friday, April 03, 2009
My dad likes barbeque. My dad really likes barbeque. My dad really really likes to make barbeque.
Clarification: my dad likes to make North Carolina style BBQ. North Carolina style BBQ revolves around the pig in all its various incarnations. My dad possesses a very large smoker, which lives in the backyard. We use it most often in the summer, but my dad will happily fire up the smoker whenever the whim strikes him. It's a Zen thing for him, I think. Some people cultivate topiary, some people do watercolors of covered bridges, my father smokes pigs. And we are all the better for it.
For this particular meal, Dad smoked a pork shoulder, racks of baby back AND spare ribs, and a whole chicken. Indeed, I sometimes suspect my dad is setting back for a nuclear holocaust when he fires up the smoker. (I am always happy to know that when and if the End Times come, I will be able to eat pulled pork for at least a few months before the zombies arrive.)
A note, if you will: North Carolina BBQ sauces are far removed from the ketchup based concotions popular in other regions of the country. At Chez Greenwood, we home-make two typical N.C sauces: vinegar and mustard. Although my dad has a SECRET RECIPE for vinegar sauce, the base ingredients include vinegar, red pepper, salt, black pepper, and lemon juice.
We usually have coleslaw to accompany the feast, prepared with more vinegar and less mayo in the general fashion of tarheel BBQ. If you're eating a pulled pork sandwich, the coleslaw is required to go on top of the sandwich: it does not belong anywhere else. It is also required by law to serve pulled pork sandwiches with sliced dill pickles. Defy these regulations at your own peril. Hushpuppies go beautifully with North Carolina BBQ but we are attempting to be healthyhere. (Hahah!) If you are really going for broke, make blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. I can't talk about that anymore because I might burst into tears.
This is a story best told in pictures.
Here are our lucky participants in the midst of the smoking process. As I recall, my dad likes to do his pork shoulder for 6 or 7 hours to attain a texture that is truly "pulled." I have no idea exactly how long the ribs and chicken take and should probably ask.
Since we are health-minded individuals, we had a light appetizer of pork spareribs. Here's the slab pre-carving.
And here they are sliced. If you are not licking the screen, I can only assume you are Jewish, Islamic, Jain, or lacking a human soul.
After that delightful interlude, the pork shoulder was ready. Here it is in the midst of the chopping process. The shoulder wasn't done enough for real pulling but we were hungry. Dad put half back on the smoker for another go to achieve the desired texture.
Here's the chopped pork all finished up. Yum.
For dessert, we had this smoked chicken. This chicken came out just plain divine: perfectly juicy with tons of soulful smoky flavor, thanks to the flavorful spice rub. I ate this for about two days straight after this particular dinner. It was a difficult task, a trial, let me tell you.
Next time: I show you how to make cheating-ass Southern collard greens. That still taste delicious.