This Wednesday: The Barbecue Sundae

I thought I’d seen it all until I saw this: the barbecue sundae.  Rest assured, this sundae doesn’t involve any chocolate syrup or chopped walnuts.  This sundae involves chopped pork and looks pretty damn good.  The sundae includes beans, ‘cue and slaw, and is served layered in a plastic cup.  I’m not sure how I feel about the beans but I like the sundae concept.  I wonder if substituting hushpuppies for beans would make this dish even better.  On the other hand, it’s hard to improve on the classic slaw-pork BBQ tray.  Still, off to my BBQ tasting lab to experiment…

Porky’s Pulpit: Fighting Words

Ladies and gentleman, we have work to do.  How can we sleep at night when people are going around claiming this joke of a recipe is “North Carolina Style” barbecue sauce?  North Carolina has plenty of style and she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing this sauce.  The recipe, which author Jill says makes her “wanna learn to rope a calf” (good, because it ain’t fit for pork), is as follows:

2 each 32-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, chopped with juices
½ cup unsulfured molasses
½ cup honey
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cups water
1 1/3 cups cider vinegar (or to taste)
Salt, to taste

Italian plum tomatoes?  Bay leaves?  Garlic?  What in the name of Bob Garner is this nonsense?  Is this the Chef Boyardee recipe for NC-style barbecue sauce?  Did Jill get hit on the head with a pork shoulder?  She obviously doesn’t know NC-style barbecue sauce from a jar of Ragu.  It’s time we North Carolinian defenders of the divine swine rise up and protect our beloved state’s good name from the attacks of Jill and her ilk.  In other words, this aggression will not stand, man.

Porco Pizza: “Wise person who if dealt with a stuffed pig”

Do any of you BBQ Jew readers speak Portuguese?  If so, your help is needed in figuring out what the heck is going on in this video about a Portuguese pig pizza.  According to the website Boing Boing (surely a reliable source judging from the name), the video “documents the creation of the revolting Porco Pizza, a pizza whose crust is an entire, flattened suckling pig.” (Thanks to reader/BBQ buddy Eric “Raw Food Hog” Calhoun for the story idea.)

Unfortunately, I speak no Portuguese and I have no time to learn given my busy barbecue eating schedule.  Luckily, I discovered an article on the porco pizza to help explain things.  Unfortunately, like the video the article is also in Portuguese.  Luckily, I was able to find a free web-based translation service.  Unfortunately, the translation is a wee bit confusing, as this abridged transcript reveals: 

“Today the Oba presents an unusual plate at least. This Saturday I was invited for a confraternização of a group of friends intitled “the Eaters,” heading given in function of all the fridays to go in a different restaurant… The offered cardápio was the “Paraguayan Pig” or “Pig Pizza “, as some had called. Wise person who if dealt with a stuffed pig, but did not imagine the content of the filling….  Arriving at the mansion, I was to know the process of the preparation. In the reality, it was a boned and open wild boar, that rested in the grate with a golden one to full the eyes… 

1 – The pig (or in the case wild boar) boned is tempered with left pickling brine and on of paper aluminum, with the leather for top, until dourar.
2 – Then it is turned for another grate, of this time with the leather for low e without aluminum.
3 – The grate is returned to the fire.
4 – The wild boar is covered by one mixture of cheese, ham, tomatoe, maize, peas, olives, palmito, onion and orégano… Then it is served, abundantly served (he is enough to see my plate).

…Difficult to explain the delight that was. The meat baked in the accurate point… Detail that beyond the wild boar, still had a rib made in soil fire, melting of so soft….”
Here’s my summary: Dude went out to eat with some other dudes.  Dudes who knew dude’s dudes made some crazy pig pizza dish for all the dudes.  Dude thought pig pizza tasted pretty dang good.  Dude ate his fill of pig pizza.  Dude wants to share his love for pig pizza with the world, but not many dudes in the world speak Portuguese. 

Porco Pizza!

Make Slaw Not War

I recently attended a potluck that had barbecue as the main course (not really a pig pickin’, nor did it claim to be,

Classic mustard & mayo slaw for those down east

Classic mustard & mayo slaw for those down east

so I’m refraining from using that sacred term).  I decided to bring coleslaw to this event because :

1) Slaw goes with ‘cue like french fries with a burger or chocolate with bacon (pretty well, actually, as I found out at the potluck).

 2) It’d been a long time since I last made slaw.

3) The pre-packaged slaw sold at grocery stores is often truly vile stuff.

4) I’d been looking for an excuse to try out some slaw recipes from Holy Smoke

Oh yeah, and, 5) I am cheap and so is slaw (especially when vinegar and mayo are treated as staple foods and always kept on hand).  A quick trip to the grocery store to buy two heads of cabbage and I was ready to make slaw.  Continue reading


The one on the right had some dry rub, hence the blackened look

The one on the right had some dry rub, hence the blackened look (honest).

There’s a mystique around barbecue that it’s a skilled craft best to leave to the pros, it requires all day, you need a pit or a pig cooker to make it right, and so on.  Though these ideas have some truth to them, they shouldn’t dissuade you from cooking your own ‘cue once in awhile.  In fact, you really should cook your own ‘cue.  As they say, give a man directions to a BBQ joint and he’ll eat for a day, but teach a man to barbecue and he’ll eat for a lifetime (or at least until he burns his house down).

Cooking passable barbecue is really not that difficult.  Just block off five hours or so, grab a beer, call up a friend, gather at least one bag of charcoal (not instant light) plus a charcoal grill, round up a meat thermometer and ideally an oven thermometer to leave in the grill, and make sure you have some hickory chips on hand.  Now all you need is a Boston Butt or two and some salt.  If you’re making your own sauce/dip, you’ll also need some cider vinegar and pepper flakes, if you are an Eastern-style minimalist and a little ketchup if you are into the Lexington lifestyle.  Or you can just buy some Scott’s or other NC barbecue sauce at your local grocery store.  Here’s how my buddy and I prepared ‘cue a few weeks ago:

  • Start with a 4 to 5 lb Boston Butt (which is the top piece of a pork shoulder and is commonly available at grocery stores, at least in this part of the world) or a larger one if you have extra time and are patient while it cooks.  Get two if you have the room on the grill–no point spending 4+ hours cooking a half-empty grill. 
  • The night before cooking be sure to rub salt onto the pork.  As the authors of Holy Smoke write, “if you’re the type who turned in extended bibliographies with your middle-school papers, you might want to ‘brine’ the cut by soaking it in salt water overnight.”  They recommend a tablespoon of table salt in a pint of water for each butt.  Either way, on the day of your barbecuing, bring the butt to room temperature for half an hour before cooking and rub a little more salt on the meat.  Throw some hickory chips in water to let them soak while you prepare the grill.
    Continue reading