Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hot Day + Grill = Smoked Pork Shoulder

It's been very hot lately in NYC. I don't mind it so much, actually. I prefer very hot to very cold. On a super hot day recently I decided to light the grill and attempt to smoke a hunk of pork shoulder. I know that sounds kind of odd - hot day, several hours of hot grill. But there is something about cooking on a super hot day that I find to be especially satisfying.

This was impromptu pork, and so instead of seasoning with salt and pepper at least 24 hours in advance, this shoulder hunk got only a few hours of salt time. In fact, this might be a good time for the BBQ purists out there to simply turn off the TV and come back tomorrow - you might be shocked and offended by what you're about to see. Or, take a deep breath, and try to find the good in it. Not everyone can be from Kansas City, Memphis, Texas, or the Carolinas, you know.

Hardwood coals lit, burned down for a while, pork in a pan next to the coals, mesquite soaked in water on the coals, smoke for a while, more mesquite, smoke some more, more mesquite, perhaps a fresh piece of coal, more smoking.

End result above. I managed only about 3 and a half hours on the grill, which is just the beginning in real BBQ country, but the afternoon was drawing to a close and I needed to do things like get dinner ready for the kids.

To my surprise and delight, the meat shred easily and became something like "pulled pork." It was smokey and just a bit moist, and pretty darn tasty. And there was even a half centimeter of red where the smoke penetrated.

So we all had pulled pork sandwiches. I topped them with a simple cole slaw and opened a can of baked beans. The kids loved it - the cole slaw took a little convincing, but they ate that too in the end. I threw a handful of dried crushed chili flakes into a jar of plain white vinegar (dare I say Carolina style?) and the adults got a little bowl of that for sandwich dousing purposes.

What to drink with this porky feast? Beer is great, and there are certainly plenty of wines that I think would go well. Iced tea is nice too.

But on this evening I drank Rye whiskey, Michter's, one of my favorites at any price point, and at about $35, much cheaper than most straight Rye whiskeys. This was a good end to a summer day.


Timothy Lock said...

that looks really tasty!

Have you tried making your own baked beans to accompany? they'll kick the pants off the canned variety, and take almost exactly the same amount of time (about four hours). While i haven't been back to Maine to nab a true bean pot, i've found my small La Creuset dutch oven works fine (although more traditional new englanders might disagree). Colman's dry mustard, Crosby's molasses, some salt pork and your good to go...check out John Thorne's book Serious Pig for some great history and recipes...although i doubt he would ever pair it with whiskey, let alone Grenache.

kitchen tables said...

That is new way of grilling. I never tried that before. The result looks so great. I love the color. I can see that it is a juicy one.