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Barbecue Of A
Different Nature
By John Havel

The first time I tackled a pulled pork barbecue I was, more or less, just wingin' it. I knew the procedure for a gas grill - remove one half of the grate (that's the side you'll be lighting), put some wood chips on some aluminum foil over the burners, and cook your pork on the other side. I'm not picky about my wood, as long as it's a hard wood. I like using firewood bark - make sure to soak it in water for about an hour. So far so good, but what's it going to taste like?

Barbecuing has three general opportunities for flavor. First, you want a dry rub which is usually a mixture of sugars and spices. I've seen hundreds of different rub recipes, but when I was at the grocery store, I picked up some McCormick Grill Mates Barbecue Seasoning. The taste reminds me of barbecued potato chips with a sweet and smokey flavor. It also has the same ingredients as most rub recipes.

Next, you want a mop - no, not because you spilled something, but a liquid to baste the pork. Here I went with a typical Eastern North Carolina vinegar-based sauce. I figured that would offset the sweet rub. While the pork is cooking, you want to liberally baste the meat with the liquid throughout the cooking process.

Finally, when the meat has slow cooked for hours and is so tender it pulls right apart easily, you'll need a sauce to flavor it. Here's where I break tradition. North Carolina BBQer's (along with much of the South) use a vinegar-based sauce whereas you'll find sweet tomato based sauces in the Midwest (another BBQ hotspot). Here in Upstate New York we have a restaurant called Dinosaur Bar-B-Que which has a very unique sauce - tomato based but thin and not sweet. It goes with the other flavors perfectly.

Realize one thing when you try this recipe - it's going to take up most of your day. The origins of the barbecue are to take a cheap piece of meat and cook it all day so that it's tender. This is 100% American peasant food and 1000% delicious. While you have the time, go all the way and serve it with cole slaw, baked beans, collard greens and corn bread. It's hardly a budget breaker.

Pulled Pork
2 boneless pork shoulder halves, about 6 pounds total
3/4 cup McCormick Grill Mates Barbecue Seasoning
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 quarts Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Mutha Sauce

Rub pork with the Barbecue Seasoning covering the entire surface. Let it sit at room temperature for one hour. Soak about six cups of wood chips in water. Prepare the mop by mixing the vinegar, water, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and oil.

Remove one half of the grill grate on a gas grill. Light only that side and adjust temperature so that, when covered, the temperature is a steady 250F. Place several layers of 9 inch square aluminum foil over the fire. Add a hand full of wood chips on the foil. Place pork on grill rack. Cover; cook until meat thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 165F, turning pork and brushing with cold mop every 45 minutes, about 6 hours total. Maintain the temperature at 250F and add more wood chips as needed.

Transfer pork to clean rimmed baking sheet. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Shred into bite-size pieces. Combine pork and Mutha Sauce in a crock pot. Turn crock pot on high and cook for about two hours, stirring occasionally. Serve on hamburger buns.

Music By John Havel


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