This is not about simple platitudes like “Happy Memorial Day,” rather it is about Memorial Day observance.
First I would like to say thank you for your service to all the American soldiers around the world and to those who have paid with their lives to keep America free.
There are three veterans to which I would like to give special thanks. First is my granddad, Joseph R. Connor, Sr.
He was a helicopter pilot who fought in the Korean War.
Second is my granddad, M. Dexter “Red” Hoffman, Sr. He was a POW In World War 2 and survived a daring escape to freedom.
Finally, is my cousin Brett E. Walden, a Green Beret who served during operation Iraqi Freedom and tragically lost his life. His story is told in Horse Soldiers, a book by Doug Stanton.
Please take a moment of silence for all of America’s fallen heroes at 12:00 pm on Memorial Day.
Now lets get to some barbecue. If you grill out on Memorial Day, I would like to help you explore the slow and low art of cooking called barbecue and, no, it is not Sonny’s, which is the McDonald’s of BBQ: cheap, quick, and consistent, but not exemplary of quality food. When you are done with this marathon cooking method you will have the best food on the block, and your neighbors will be wanting to trade you a hamburger for a North Carolina BBQ pork sandwich!
What is BBQ and what isn’t BBQ? BBQ is a slow method of cooking, using indirect heat and smoke to cook. BBQ is not grilling, which is a direct heat cooking method. Hamburgers and hot dogs come to mind as something one might grill.
Step One Make sure you have all your ingredients on hand. (You don’t want to have to run to the store to grab something.)
Step Two Soak the wood chips or blocks. We are looking for smoke not a flames, which would result from bone dry chips. Hickory, mesquite, and pecan are all good wood choices for pork.
Step Three Set up the smoker.
If you have a charcoal chimney, fill it with charcoal and light it up. Take the rack off the grill; when the charcoal is gray and has no flame, put it on one side of the grill. The smoker should be between 225 and 250 degrees.
If you have a gas grill, it is not as much fun, but it will do. Fire up only half of the grill and add wet chips to the flame side to create the smoke.
Step Four Put together the rubs and sauces, and rub the pork.
Step Five Put the pork in, fat side up, for 10 hours; baste it every half hour.
Step Six After you have pulled the pork and mixed it with the BBQ sauce, it is time for the final assembly of your North Carolina style pulled pork Sandwich. So, grab some sandwich buns and add the pork and coleslaw.
Step Seven Enjoy!
BBQ Mop Sauce
240 ML apple cider vinegar
120 ML of apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons of black pepper
1 jalapeño, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Mix ingredients in a bowl.
The pork should be mopped or basted every hour for the first 4 hours, and then every 30 minutes for the remainder of the cooking time.
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of paprika
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of cumin
Mix ingredients in a bowl.
600 ML of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of BBQ dry rub
1 teaspoon of BBQ rub
Reserve 120 ML of the finished BBQ sauce for the coleslaw
First, place all ingredients into a non-reactive sauce pan and cook until the brown sugar is fully dissolved. Then, let cool.
2 pounds of slaw (bagged, pre-chopped slaw is fine if you want to save some time)
1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
The juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon of celery seed
A pinch (not a punch) of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Combine the slaw and red onion, then mix the rest of the ingredients together with the BBQ sauce and toss with the slaw.
Refrigerate the mixed slaw for 2 hours prior to serving.
Grill gas or charcoal
BBQ gloves or any food safe glove that can with stand heat
3 Medium Size bowls
Charcoal and chimney
Wood Chips or blocks (You can get these at most grocery stores)
Water for soaking
Sauce pan to cook the BBQ Sauce
After you have pulled the pork and mixed it with the BBQ sauce it is time for the final assembly of your North Carolina style pulled pork sandwich. So grab some sandwich buns and serve up the pork and slaw.
Before you dig into your pulled pork sandwich, consider snapping a photo and post a picture on Instagram or Twitter using the hash tag #ATREYofGOURMET. Thanks!
Fun fact: Henry Ford created the charcoal briquette as a way to profit from the scraps of wood left over from his car manufacturing plants, putting the “ford” in Kingsford charcoal.