Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Pulled Pork Odyssey

I was excited about the Fourth of July. Mostly, as you could probably predict when it comes to things I'm excited about, because of the meal I had planned. We had not used the grill yet this year, and I have never grilled a big ol' chunk of meat, so I decided that this was the year I would attempt to make one of Bren's favourite things ever: pulled pork.

A few months ago, whilst standing in line at the supermarket, I flipped through a copy of ATK's "Best Recipes of 2008" magazine.

My jaw dropped. I grabbed Bren's elbow. "Look."

The magazine had fallen open at a luscious photo of "Lexington-Style Barbecued Pulled Pork." Without a word, Bren grabbed the magazine out of my hands, and put it in our basket. Over the following months, I would gaze upon that photo, wondering when I would make it.

Meanwhile, Mum turned me onto an awesome blog, Simply Recipes, written by a woman (Elise) who regularly cooks with her talented parents. This week, Elise published a BBQ sauce recipe that blew my eyes out: bourbon, molasses, worcestershire sauce, butter... oh man! I had to make it! Thank goodness Mum had pointed this blog out to me! Thanks Mum! You have impeccable taste (which thank goodness, I have inherited, ha!).

Bren was as geekily excited as I was. I bought, wait for it... 7lbs of pork shoulder, also known as Boston Butt for some inexplicable reason. I suppose it's apropos, since my favourite thing about Bren (who was born in Boston) is his bum. :)

Bren helped a lot. He got the coals going, whilst I soaked 4 cups of hickory wood chips (next time, I'm going to use more...).

The butts sat in the fridge, absorbing the smoked paprika/brown sugar/black pepper/salt rub I had massaged into them, whilst talking to them like a crazy person: "there you go my love. Does this feel good sweetheart?"

12:45pmOnce the coals were ready, Bren poured the coals into a pile on one side of the kettle, and I sprinkled the soaked wood chips over the smouldering pile. I gingerly placed the two voluptuous butts on the grill, dodging the flames that rose up to meet them.

Then, it was two hours of waiting. Fingers crossed!! (I feel like I look like an anime character in this photo).

Meanwhile, I made a batch of coleslaw (sans mayo), with some savoy cabbage, apple and some japanese turnips I got at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago. I dressed it with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, sesame oil and extra virgin olive oil, then threw it in the fridge. I still had time, so I set to making the BBQ sauce as well. This sauce is gorgeous: sweet, tangy, brightly lemony and thick.

2:45pm: Beeeep bee-bee beep! Beeeep bee-bee beep!

The alarm went off, and we crawled out onto the porch, roasting pan in hand.

"Wow," we both mumbled, dumbfounded by the impossible rosy colour the pork had taken on.

We transferred them into the waiting oven for ANOTHER two hours of roasting.

Meanwhile, our house started to fill up with the darling souls we call our friends. First, Ross came over and took some awesome photos of all of us.

Kosmo (from my improv class) also came over, masterfully capturing all of us in a self-portrait...

...our dear (newly-engaged!! yippee!) Alex and Sara joined us too...

...and so did Ross' friend, Michelle (who is also a superhero :)

I'll put more hanging out photos up tomorrow. Today is about food. [insert serious face here]

445p: We pulled the pork out of the oven, allowed it to rest for 30 minutes, and then I set about tediously pulling apart the pork, blowing on my blistering fingertips whilst again, like a crazy person, whispering to the roasts about how glorious and beautiful they were.

Even though I had followed a recipe, as opposed to making one up, I have to admit, I did puff my chest with pride a little at how picture-perfect the pork had turned out: crispy and crystallized on the outside, tender and pink on the inside.

6p or so:I tossed the pork shards with all of the BBQ sauce, and served it alongside some luxurious white bread (I mean seriously, we haven't bought white bread in YEEEEARS), some pickle chips, and the coleslaw. I didn't catch photos of it on the 4th, but today, when Bren had it for breakfast, I snapped a couple of pics for your eyeball'ic consumption.

Does it look great? And pretty much just like the photo in the ATK magazine!

I don't want to publish the recipe out of respect to the ATK folks, but if you want it, email me, and I'll email it to you. You have to try it! It is the best pulled pork I have ever tasted.

Sorry that this one was so long, but I just had to show you all the stages of my pulled pork odyssey!



bodaat said...

That looks tremendously fabulous!! Congrats! I've always wanted to make pulled pork and I have to say that you make it look all very simple!

Sasafras said...

Wow, what a feast. Your home looks so warm and welcoming.

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