I thought that the very first item we would try is the BBQ standard — Carolina-style pulled pork.
First and foremost THE most important ingredient is time. This is a 12-hour recipe, so start it early, make bacon on the deck, move the TV outside and invite friends over to help you watch the pig cook.
This is not crock pot pork.
Take a very large Boston Butt (10 lb. pork shoulder) and inject it with apple cider and cider vinegar. This helps break down the internal connective fibers, keeps it moist during the long day of smoking and the apples provide a great complimentary flavor (just ask Bobby Brady about his “pork chops and applesauce”).
Find a rub you like (we could do a whole column on rubs, but for now just try something from the spice aisle), pat it down all over and put it in the fridge overnight.
Set your alarm for about 4:30 a.m.
Get up and start the fire in the smoker. Uses any type of smoking wood you like, but get the fire to 275 degrees and keep it there for about 12 hours.
Have plenty of both wood and charcoal available to you. Rub it again, only add some extra brown sugar to the rub (it will carmelize the “bark”) — and on it goes.
I have an offset smoker, so I put a tray of water under the meat, with the fire on the opposite side.
This will create steam, which along with the heat and smoke will help cook and flavor the pork.
This is the start of a long day, which will require a lot of television watching, shouting to have people bring you beer and lots of snacking.
Early on, I do a little bacon on the side burner of my gas grill. There is no better smell than coffee and bacon outdoors in the morning.
Just remember to stoke the fire about every 15 minutes or so and keep it at 275 degrees the whole time.
The smoke is only going to be absorbed for about the first four hours, after that it is all about getting the internal temperature to around 210 degrees and this will take every bit of 12 hours. I used to go to 185 degrees, but a BBQ master I met at Assembly Hall said “No, 210 or not at all.” There should be a dark “bark” on the meat, with a pink smoke ring underneath it.
After 12 hours, let it cool and tear into it. It should just fall off the bone, however also give it a little chop to mix the bark and meat together.
For a true Carolina-style sauce, take a little commercial BBQ sauce (1/4 of a cup), some cider vinegar (2/3 cup), 1/3 cup of brown sugar, some pepper flakes, dry mustard and several long dashes of hot sauce and combine them.
Once they are mixed together pour it on the pork and mix.
Serve it on sandwich rolls, and in honor of last week’s Masters Tournament, try the “Broke Down Golf Cart.” It is 1/2 oz. Amaretto, 1/2 oz. melon liqueur and a dash of lime juice. Pour over ice and enjoy.
There should be a lot left for golf on the weekend when Phil and Tiger battle on the back nine.