Eating a good barbecue sandwich is as close as I’ve come in this life to reaching nirvana. With a bow of respect to my yoga instructor, I just can’t seem to tumble into the same state of bliss in meditative poses as I can when I sink my teeth into a perfectly constructed barbecue sandwich. The hedonist in me revels in that smoked pork flavor in a lip-smackin’ sauce topped with spicy Hot Slaw and sandwiched in a (I’ll repent tomorrow) soft white bun.
There is nothing fast-food about this recipe. I’m just so anxious to share this bite of heaven that I hope you’ll forgive it’s longevity. The Hot Slaw can, and should, be made the day before. With Labor Day around the corner, you may have more time than usual to keep a watchful eye on the pork butt as it smokes.
I have, in fact, simplified the family recipe. My brother marinates the pork 12 hours in advance in a citrusy Goya bottled marinade. It adds another layer of delicious complexity but I don’t bother. Also, instead of making my own barbecue sauce, I use a favorite store-bought barbecue sauce. Use whatever sauce your family prefers, but avoid overwhelming the lovely smoky pork flavor with excessive sauce, especially excessive sweetbarbecue sauces.
Hot Slaw is just a variation of cole slaw that is similar to a relish (or chow-chow) and is typically loaded up with hot sauce. Hot Slaw tastes best after sitting, refrigerated, 24 hours. If you prefer a milder sandwich, use whatever cole slaw recipe you prefer, be it mayonnaise or vinegar-based. If you’ve never paired barbecue and cole slaw on a bun, you’re in for a treat!
I would absolutely recommend barbecuing the pork in a smoker or charcoal, kettle grill. I discuss the “Art of Smoke” in a previous dinnerFeed (July 30) you may enjoy reading if you’re not familiar with smoking food on the grill. It’s also a good smoked pork tenderloin “starter” recipe as it takes less time and fuss.
I’m terribly jealous if you own a smoker. I smoke in my Webber kettle and it’s harder to maintain the consistent temperature needed (hovering around 225°) for a long, slow barbecue. I manage with delicious results but I have a good supply of soaked wood chips and refueling charcoal at the ready to maintain my low, slow, smoky temperature. You also need that precious commodity, time, to properly smoke the pork. This recipe is for the kettle charcoal grills but if you own a smoker, follow that particular smoker’s instructions for pork butts.
Any 2-inch white roll makes a nice sized slider bun. Busch’s bakes a good basic roll which works well as a small slider. Any good-old-fashioned hamburger bun does the trick and Zingerman’s, wouldn’t you know, makes the ultimate classic bun.
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