Happy Memorial Day! Perhaps the long weekend will offer you more time to relax and fire up the grill, and the following recipe for Hot Slaw and Shoulder Sliders has been a family favorite for generations. My millennial son, Zan, is getting married to Lucy in 4 weeks, I’m hosting a party the night before the wedding, the boy wants mama’s down-home barbecue, and it better be good. Damn good.
Frozen smoked, pulled and sauced pork.
Serving pork, fresh from the smoke, is BQ done right, but that special evening I want to be apart of the revelry–not an ember-scented mama, eyes watering from smoke, fingers sticky with sauce.
So I quadrupled the barbecue portion of the recipe below to feed sixty, and for the past two days, I’ve smoked 4 shoulders in my Big Green Egg; the large Egg accommodates 2 shoulders but it takes 6-7 hours to smoke them. Then, I froze the pulled, sauced pork, which I plan to thaw the night before the party. I’ll serve it from a sterno-lit chafing dish next to the slaw and buns. Heresy, perhaps, but I’ve frozen freshly smoked pork before with excellent results.
And they’ve only been open 10 months. I’ve license to brag, right? Dang.
Family recipes are what will lend sentiment to the occasion; food from Zan’s side of the family honoring family present and those who’ve
Pork should smoke at a constant temperature.
“moved on”: my Alabama mother’s recipe be for smoked pulled pork shoulder (a.k.a. Boston butt); his uncle Allen’s recipe for Hot Slaw; his German grandmother’s recipe for potato salad; his stepmother’s recipe for carrot cake, which she (praise God) will be making. Strategically placed bowls of my own riff on Pimento Cheese, gussied up with bacon and creme fraiche, will be served with pumpernickel bread and celery sticks. Peanuts in the shell at the bar–easy-peasie. Deviled Eggs may make a showing, if I’ve the time. For libation I’m making a whiskey punch, and for fun I’ve hired a fiddler to work the crowd.
Barbecue is, more than likely, the oldest form of cooking in our part of the world; whether its genesis be African slaves, Pilgrims or native Hawaiians; whoever had the great idea of devising that first pit of burning embers, and placing a pig within it to roast. The art of the pit is in it’s golden age with nationwide beloved pit masters and their BQ joints enjoying more local notoriety than their representatives at the White House.
For me, the key to making the best smoked pork is keeping my fire at a constant temperature (250-300 degrees), selecting my favorites woods for smoking pork (hickory and a fruity wood such as apple or cherry) and removing the pork when it temps at 190-200 degrees.
The following recipe is for the typical, popular kettle grill. A couple of years ago, I sprung for a Big Green Egg, which has made smoking infinitely easier, once you get the hang of it. I’m able to skip the drip pan step in the recipe below, regulating heat and keeping a constant heat is a breeze, and one kettle filled with their organic charcoal is enough fuel for 7 hours+ of smoking time.
Still. I could never capture Ansel Adam‘s American West no matter how many strings of cameras I roped around my neck.
I suspect you may have similar experiences when traveling; put that camera phone to good use and lighten the load.
Aside from Thai Sapa, a restaurant in Springdale (the gateway to Zion) that served the most amazing fusion Asian, this was no culinary adventure–I doubt backpack sandwiches and cut-up veggies are your thing.
And now I’m sitting in my kitchen, in the throes of re-entry blues, poring over recipes that I can carve into a dinner party this weekend.
Spring is loaded with celebrations; celebrations mean food. This past weekend Ann Arbor was inundated with graduation parties. Next weekend is Mother’s Day; Richard and I are spending it in Chicago with daughter Greta and her partner, Tom.
Flank Steak Success: Cook over high heat and serve medium rare to rare.
We’re hosting a dinner party for a close friend Saturday night and I’ve been perusing the site for inspiration. We want to grill, closing the doors on winter, and we want to utilize the wild leeks Greta recently picked.
A Spring Green Risotto , to utilize the leeks, paired with Balsamic Flank Steak (recipe follows) that we’ll throw on the grill, and we’re in business.
A pic I took of Greta on the telly.
For dessert Greta is making a Creme Brûlée, using a blow torch from her workshop to caramelize the top. On Mother’s Day we’ll all be watching her put the blow torch to its intended use on Discovery Channels, Epic Bar Builds that airs Sundays at 3:00 (EST).
Think of the challenges in life you’ve faced. Some circumstantial–a restructuring, say, of your job to incorporate skills you’ve never acquired, and never had the desire of acquiring because it’s not your modus operandi. In my case (a typical situation), a superior at work once set me up for failure inserting complex spreadsheet analysis into an otherwise demanding schedule. A challenge, no doubt. Walking out that last day, tail tucked between legs, the door bashed my spirit on the way out.
And then there are the invited challenges. Resolutions that might, if accomplished, improve your health: avoiding excess sugars, or training and then finishing your first triathlon–challenging yourself to beef your financial situation by acquiring a particular degree or skill set. Or taking on a challenge that might improve your character, your community, hell, maybe you’re that breed of person that takes on a challenge to better the planet.
There are the daily challenges and the life-long. One, for me, has been affording the time to write a novel, indeed, many novels. But that degree in English morphed into a degree in communications. Ain’t no money tree in my back yard. My first job was as a copywriter in Manhattan for a Public Relations firm. But the itch still itched and I kept scratching.
My first attempt was a book with the working title, “On Heretics and Snails”. But after opening my store, The Back Alley Gourmet, the book never made its way out of the card file. After selling the business, and working odd jobs here and there, I landed contract work writing a weekly food by-line for the Ann Arbor News that morphed into MLive. Loved that job; great fodder for the feeder. Getting close.
I conceived the story, Simmer and Smoke: A Southern Tale of Grit and Spice, five years ago after a visit to my family in Alabama. Upon my return to Ann Arbor, I wrote that first, all-important sentence, which is, perhaps, the only sentence that hasn’t altered through years of re-writes. Yesterday I finished my final proof; I’ll be birthin’ a real book soon, Miss Scarlet.
In the meantime, there’s a more immediate challenge: to clear counters of tax-related BS so I can cook. Eating a lot of Tricked-out Ramen these days.
Here a recipe for Caldo Verde, a delicious Portuguese kale and potato soup that I appreciate making during tax season. It doesn’t require much counter space and uses inexpensive ingredients. Alas, it’s time to shore up your money as the tax man’s a comin’, palms outstretched, breathing down your neck.
Food writer by trade, curious cook by design.
The past 30 years have witnessed a raucous race from my professional to
home kitchen - persnickety customers, petulant children and piles of dirty dishes
lie in my wake. And the dinnerFeeds - well - they
are my story. More about Peggy and this site...
Taste buds prickle; wanderlust triggered. An Argentine barbecue (asado)
enticed me to Patagonia. A friend gave me a vial of ground sumac berries--4 months later I was
waking at dawn to the "Call To Prayer" in Turkey. Porcini to Tuscany, and so on. Read more about my chronicles of
trips and favorite associated recipes. Browse my travel recipes...
Here are ideas gleaned from others that speak to me;
where I highlight projects that bring friends, neighborhoods, and communities together. For me,
complimentary food makes the project and event more fun. Browse my projects and related recipes...