Posted on August 12, 2011 by Porky LeSwine
This video, despite the cheesy Muzak and accompanying voiceover, is actually a fairly good introduction to how to make barbecue on a backyard cooker. Check it out here or below. And if you want to turn it into a drinking game, take a swig every time the video shows something that should make North Carolina BBQ aficionados cringe (drink twice when you see the BBQ plated next to steamed brocolli!).
How To Make Carolina Barbecue by Howcast
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Posted on June 17, 2011 by Porky LeSwine
As the summer heat cranks up, things get interesting in North Carolina. For one thing, Porky LeSwine starts to speak about himself in the third person and craves food beyond just barbecue. While man could live just fine on the holy trinity of swine, slaw and hush puppies, sometimes a taste of something else is good for the soul (and the aorta). Luckily, there are two new cookbooks from North Carolina that allow folks like Porky to get a taste of the good life beyond pork.
Andrea Reusing, newly minted James Beard award winning chef at Chapel Hill’s Lantern Restaurant has released her first cookbook, Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. Reusing is best known for the Asian-inspired, locally sourced, carefully prepared fare she and her team serve at the Lantern, but Cooking in the Moment features few Asian recipes. Instead, it is full of fairly simple, eclectic recipes that are organized by season, well explained, beautifully photographed and, judging from the few dishes I’ve made thus far, delicious.
Cooking in the Moment is particularly enjoyable for anyone who lives in or near Durham and Orange Counties, as it includes many stories involving local farmers many of us recognize from the area’s several farmer’s markets. But don’t get me wrong, this is a hell of a cookbook and will appeal to people who live anywhere and love good food. So, we can forgive Ms. Reusing that she fails to include any recipes for barbecue. Die hard pigavores will have to suffice with cider-braised pork shoulder, carnitas and the like.
Another cookbook with a similar theme and Chapel Hill ties, this one published by The University of North Carolina Press, is The New Southern Garden Cookbook by Sheri Castle. The title hints at what is inside: over 300 recipes organized alphabetically by vegetable/fruit ingredient–apples to zucchini, and a whole lot in between.
Rest assured that ham and plenty of other pig parts make their way into The New Southern Garden Cookbook’s recipes. This is the “new south” but it is still the south. I should confess that I’ve yet to read this cookbook–my copy is in the mail–but it sounds like a winner from all I’ve heard. I’ll report back once I get a chance to test drive the recipes. Until then, happy cooking… and don’t forget to take an occasional break from all the produce for some barbecue. It’s important to stay in shape, after all.
Filed under: Cooking | Tagged: Books, Chapel Hill, Orange County, Recipes | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 11, 2011 by Porky LeSwine
As I write this post it is one of those remarkably beautiful North Carolina spring days. The temperature and humidity are perfect, the sky is Carolina blue (even for a devout Duke basketball fan like myself), and the swarms of summertime mosquitoes have yet to come out of hibernation or wherever the heck they are over the winter. In other words, it’s the perfect time to cook some barbecue.
If you want to become a master barbecue cook, or at least not embarass yourself too badly, I highly recommend reading through the great info at AmazingRibs.com. The chief blogger/cook/all around BBQ guru over there, Meathead, offers a ton of free advice on everything from cuts of meat to buying guides for grills and accessories. Really valuable info that ignorant wanna-be BBQers like myself can’t match. If good old fashioned cookbooks are more your speed, I highly recommend Peace, Love, & Barbecue by Mike Mills or pretty much anything Steven Raichlen has written. Sure, he looks like a bit of a goofball but he knows his stuff.
You can spend a ton of money on a grill or smoker, but if you’re a newbie I recommend starting with something basic. Cooking barbecue isn’t easy but it’s not all that complicated either. There are lots of places to buy a grill, and online shops have started offering a lot of choices at competitive prices. For example, CSGrills.com offers everything from entry level charcoal Brinkmann Smokers to top of the line Weber Gas Grills, as well as a range of other BBQ grills (with free shipping on most). In my opinion, the only thing better than using a grill is dreaming about what a darn good pit master you’d be if you just had the right set up. (Okay, maybe that’s just me).
Anyway, enough about my fantasies. The bottom line: if you need a grill, buy one; if you have a grill, use it; and if you are planning to cook a bunch of barbecue, by all means save me some! Happy cooking.
Filed under: Cooking | Tagged: Brinkmann Smokers, Consumerism, Gas/electric-cooked, Weber Grills, Wood-cooked | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 27, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
As much as I enjoy a good spiral cut Christmas ham, it’s not as good as barbecue. I decided to perform a little pork alchemy and attempt to turn my leftover ham into barbecue. My secret recipe follows:
1. Dice the ham to make it somewhat resemble barbecue.
2. Sauce the ham liberally with barbecue sauce (in this case from the North Carolina Barbecue Company).
Although the end product bears little resemblance to NC barbecue in appearance, taste or texture, it does taste pretty decent in its own right. Gratuitous before, during and after pictures follow.
Filed under: Cooking | Tagged: High holidays, Recipes | 3 Comments »
Posted on November 24, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
Newsflash: Thanksgiving is tomorrow.
You still have time to put your bird in a brine bath and get it ready to barbecue tomorrow. Barbecued turkey is delicious and keeps the oven free for all the other Thanksgiving delicacies, which is convenient. Need a recipe? You could do a lot worse than this one for Bourbon-Brined Smoked Turkey. If you don’t have an actual smoker, you can follow this basic recipe but cook over indirect heat on a Weber or even a gas grill (I’ll confess that the latter is all I have the time/patience for on Thanksgiving). Also, you can raise the temperature up to 300 or so without burning the bird. If you want to get fancy, and have a thing for needles, I recommend using a flavor injector to add basting liquid (chicken broth with herbs and melted butter works great) into the bird’s thighs and breast before putting on the grill.
However you cook your bird, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Filed under: Cooking | Tagged: High holidays, Turkey | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 8, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
Fellow BBQ Jews, need I remind you that Hanukkah comes early in the year 5771? (That’s 2010 for you genteel gentile readers.) Indeed, the Jewish Festival of Lights begins less than one month from today, as you can likely tell from all the Hanukkah tunes polluting the radio (my local station has “Latkes Roasting on an Open Fire” in predictably heavy rotation). Though time is slipping away, rest assured it’s not too late to find the perfect Hanukkah gift for the ones you love.
In case this website sells out of BBQ Jew Merch again, as it has in many past Hanukkah shopping seasons, then consider buying The White Book instead. As implied by the awkward title (awkward at least for those of us in America, where “white” suggests a mayonnaise-loving racial group more so than a type of meat), The White Book is a pork cookbook. It was written for Israeli Jews by an Israeli Jew. Former cardiologist, current author and likely future hate mail recipient Dr. Eli Landau is a not too serious man after my own heart (as The New York Times article puts it, “ANY author has to deal with bad reviews, but how about the wrath of God?”). He waxes poetic about the other white meat, telling the Times, “Pork meat is to a cook like canvas to a painter.” He also goes on record suggesting that Israeli Jews will abandon their pork-scorning behavior in a couple of decades; a bold assertion for a people awash in thousands of years of tradition and religious teachings but time will tell.
Alas, the Mediterranean focus of Landau’s cookbook seems to exclude North Carolina style barbecue pork from the list of recipes, but no matter. Assuming The White Book manages to break down the thousands of years old wall of anti-pork (and pro-boiled chicken) sentiment among my Jewish brethren then no doubt whole hog barbecue will soon sweep the Promised Land quicker than Moses parted the Red Sea. Until then, at least you’ll have a nice cookbook to get you through the holiday season if you get sick of latkes.
Filed under: Barbejews, Cooking | Tagged: High holidays, Outside NC, Recipes, Signs of aporkalypse | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 29, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
As you may have alread concluded, one of this site’s numerous weaknesses is its lack of recipes. This fact has been pointed out to me by several regular readers (and by my own wife, bless her, who is not a regular reader). I’d like to remedy this problem but need your help. If you have a North Carolina barbecue-related recipe to share, please send it to me at BBQJew at gmail.com or by leaving a comment on this post. Note that I only want recipes you have a right to use; e.g., your mama’s coleslaw recipe would work but the coleslaw recipe you stole from page 126 of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue would not. Got it? Good. Your reward for sharing a recipe will be getting acknowledgment when I post the recipe and maybe even getting discovered by the producers of The Food Network’s “Next Boiled Barbecue Potato Star” or whatever.
Thanks in advance, and I’ll try and semi-regularly share recipes in the months ahead,
Filed under: Cooking | Tagged: Recipes | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 22, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
A self-described “Southerner by birth and temperament and appetite,” James Villas has given the people of his native North Carolina many reasons to be proud over the years. His latest cookbook, Pig: King of the Southern Table, is perhaps the most significant reason yet. Tarheels and tarheels at heart will be wowed by Pig’s wide-ranging collection of recipes, which describe how to cook every part of the pig one could ever imagine wanting to eat (and then some).
Long before penning his culinary ode to North Carolina’s favorite animal, Villas received his PhD in Romance Languages and Comparative Literature and served a stint as a university professor. Soon he left academia to follow his heart/stomach (they are one and the same after all) into the world of food writing. Villas spent the next 27 years of his life as Food and Wine Editor of Town & Country magazine. In addition, he has written for Esquire, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Life, and The New York Times, and published a baker’s dozen of cookbooks, two novels, and a memoir. Mr. Pig himself was kind enough to chat with us about biscuits, barbecue and his heart-wrenching (for us readers) decision to never write another cookbook focused on swine. Enjoy…
Follow this link to read the interview with James Villas.
Filed under: BBQ & A, Cooking | Tagged: Interview, Words of wisdom | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 10, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
The weekend is almost here, summer is fading into fall, and it’s the perfect time of year to fire up the grill. Next time you cook out, you might should consider taking a break from burgers and hot dogs. You might should want to cook some barbecue. But you might don’t have a grill large enough for a whole hog or even a pork shoulder. Plus, slow-cooking those big ol’ cuts o’ pig is more time consuming than most people can handle. Ribs make for a nice change of pace for North Carolina barbecue addicts, but I’m guessing you might could use some guidance on which cut of ribs to buy.
The best website I’ve seen on exploring the wonderful world of ribs is without a doubt AmazingRibs.com. Check the site out when you get a chance. Until then, read the recent Huffington Post article by AmazingRibs.com creator Meathead Goldwyn. “Unfuddling the Many Different Cuts of Ribs” is an illustrated guide to understanding and selecting the right ribs for your next cook out. Happy ribbing…
Filed under: Cooking | Tagged: Meathead, Ribs | Leave a Comment »