- Few of us will ever cook a whole hog, but we all have the ability to smoke a pork shoulder. This recipe started out as North Carolina-style barbecue (remember, barbecue is a noun) and has, over the years, evolved from low-and-slow-cooked smoked pork in a vinegary sauce to a meat that works as a base for all the regional sauces, including Memphis and Georgia styles. The rub in this recipe is more Memphis, and it helps produce a better “outside brown,” those prized bits of char that get chopped into pork barbecue. You might find the use of a Cuban ingredient weird here, but smoked or roasted pork shoulder is a favorite in Cuba. Like so many good recipes, this happened almost by mistake, but as I continued to tinker with it and serve it to a multitude of different people, I found that I might well have hit on the ultimate recipe.
- You could use a whole shoulder, a Boston butt, or a fresh picnic here. Injecting whole hogs and pork shoulders is all the rage now, with good reason: it helps to keep the pork moist and achieve flavour from the inside out. This makes a lot, but it freezes beautifully.
- Serves 12 to 15
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1 5- to 7-pound bone-in pork butt or picnic shoulder
1 cup strained Cuban mojo marinade or 1 cup apple juice mixed with 1/4 cup kosher salt
6 to 8 cups hickory or apple wood chips, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
Lexington Style Sauce (see recipe below) or your favourite barbecue sauce
- Editor’s note: Cuban mojo marinade is available in Ontario under the Goya brand.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, sugar, salt, black pepper, white pepper, granulated garlic and mustard. In another small bowl, reserve 1 Tbsp of this spice rub mixture; set it aside. Rub the remaining mixture evenly over the pork. Wrap the pork in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- At least 1 1/2 hours before you plan to put the pork on the grill, remove it from the refrigerator. Take an injection syringe and pull the mojo marinade up into the tube. Plunge the injector into the pork and then slowly push in the mojo as you move the needle back towards you and out of the meat. (You want to do it this way so that you don’t have huge puddles and so that the mojo is more evenly distributed.) Repeat this several more times at random spots in the meat until all the mojo has been used.
- Drain the wood chips. Preheat your grill using all burners set on high for 10 to 12 minutes with the lid closed.
- Oil the grill racks. If your grill is equipped with a smoke box, fill it with chips and place the box at one end of the grill. (You will use more of the chips later.) If you do not have a smoke box, divide the wood chips evenly among six perforated foil packets and place one packet at the end of the grill.
- Place a disposable 9- by 13-inch aluminum pan crosswise on the grill rack at the end opposite the smoke box (or foil packet) and fill the pan halfway with water. Turn off the centre or back burner and adjust your heat to medium-high. Close the lid.
- When the wood chips have started to smoke, cut off the all but one burner and turn it to low. (Make sure the centre burner is turned off.) Position the pork in the centre of the grill, away from the direct heat of the burner. Cover the grill and go drink a beer.
- Typically, smoking chips or even chunks will last 15 to 20 minutes. The pork will gather most of its smoke flavor in the first 2 hours of cooking. Every 20 minutes, working as quickly as you can to keep the smoke from escaping, replace your smoke packet or the chips in the smoker box and add water to the aluminum pan if necessary. When you’ve used all the chips, try not to open the grill again until the barbecue is close to being done, which will take 4 to 5 hours longer. The best clue that the barbecue is done is to take a pair of tongs and grab the flat bone that runs through the center of the meat. If it moves easily or you can pull it out, then the pork is done. Sometimes in windy conditions or when it’s cold, it can take up to 7 hours for a shoulder to magically become barbecue. The internal temperature should be 180°F to 190°F.
- When you’ve determined that the barbecue is ready, transfer it to a large roasting pan and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Then with forks or tongs, begin to pull the meat so that it comes off in stringy chunks. Separate out the skin and as much fat as you desire. Any of the outside brown, which is crispy, should be set aside and finely chopped, then stirred back into the meat. You can leave the barbecue pulled as it comes off the shoulder, or you can chop it a little finer if you desire. At this point I like to sprinkle the pulled pork with the reserved tablespoon of spice rub that I used for the outside, tossing the barbecue to blend.
- Some people like to sauce their barbecue at this point, and I tend to do that with about 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce that I intend to serve. Again, toss to combine. Serve hot with cole slaw and additional barbecue sauce on the side.
- This is the dividing line for North Carolina barbecue. In the Piedmont, which includes Lexington, pork shoulders are smoked and the sauce features some ketchup and sugar, but more sugar than sauces from eastern North Carolina, and less ketchup than sauces from western places like Memphis and Kansas City. Use the “dip” to toss with any pulled pork, chicken, or turkey; it makes an excellent table sauce, as well. People who prefer predominantly dry, Memphis-style ribs might like to use this sauce as a mop during the last few minutes of cooking.
2 cups apple-cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 Tbsp hot pepper sauce
2 tsp crushed red chile flakes
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar, water, ketchup, brown sugar, hot sauce, chile flakes, salt and pepper until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Shake before using.
- Barbecue reheats nicely in a microwave at medium power. Don’t nuke this stuff full bore or it will dry out. Another way I like to reheat pork is to put about an inch of water in a 3-quart saucepan and then insert a vegetable steamer. As the water begins to simmer and steam, pile the barbecue on top of the vegetable steamer and cover. Steam the ‘cue for 5 to 10 minutes or until heated through.
- Pork shoulder is so moist that it is often pulled, chopped or shredded to make pulled pork. The pork shoulder can be cooked with the skin on or off depending on your taste. If you ever have leftover pork shoulder, store it in the refrigerator or freezer for reheating at a later date.
- Thaw your pork shoulder. This can be done by setting it in some hot water. Make sure the pork is in a container or food storage bag. Otherwise, you can set the pork shoulder in the refrigerator for two days until it thaws.
- Place the pork shoulder inside an aluminum pan. You can get disposable pans at your local grocery and dollar stores.
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.
- Pour 1 1/2 cups of apple juice in the aluminum pan.
- Cover the aluminum pan with foil and place it in the oven.
- Heat for one hour and eat.
- Serve hickory smoke-infused pork shoulder at your outdoor festivities throughout the summer. Serve the shredded pork on buns for sandwiches or use it to top salads and baked potatoes.
Cook Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Chill: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
1 (5- to 6-pound) pork shoulder or Boston butt pork roast
2 teaspoons salt
10 pound hardwood charcoal, divided
Hickory wood chunks
- Sprinkle pork with salt; cover and chill 30 minutes.
- Prepare charcoal fire with half of charcoal in grill; let burn 15 to 20 minutes or until covered with gray ash.
- Push coals evenly into piles on both sides of grill. Carefully place 2 hickory chunks on top of each pile, and place food rack on grill.
- Place pork, meaty side down, on rack directly in center of grill. Cover with lid, leaving ventilation holes completely open.
- Prepare an additional charcoal fire with 12 briquets in an auxiliary grill or fire bucket; let burn 30 minutes or until covered with gray ash. Carefully add 6 briquets to each pile in smoker; place 2 more hickory chunks on each pile. Repeat procedure every 30 minutes.
- Cook, covered, 5 hours and 30 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers at least 165°, turning once the last 2 hours. (Cooking the pork to 165° makes the meat easier to remove from bone.)
- Remove pork; cool slightly. Chop and serve with Cider Vinegar Barbecue Sauce or Peppery Vinegar Sauce.
- Smoked pork neck is an example of the types of food our great grandparents ate because they didn't want to waste anything. Pork neck bones are what's left after the boneless roast, valued for its rich taste, is removed. They are simmered or braised and used in a wide variety of dishes all over the world. Smoked pork neck bones are readily available in some places and you have to ask for them in others. If you've never seen or tasted this chewy, rich meat, this will be a challenge to try something new.
Smoked pork neck bones
crock pot or slow cooker
veggies and other ingredients as noted
- Buy pork neck bones either smoked or fresh. In this country, we simmer pork neck bones in seasoned broth or wine but in Europe, they are usually braised. Either way, they are most easily finished in a crock pot or slow cooker. Pork neck can be served in a delicious variety of ways, thanks to the inventiveness of the working classes of the world.
- Simmering leeches the salt used in curing from smoked neck and and fat from fresh meat. Season chicken broth with rosemary, parsley and a little salt and pepper or simmer your smoked neck in a mixture of a dry red wine and water seasoned with parsley and rosemary. Gently simmer smoked pork neck bones in seasoned boiling water or a wine stock for about an hour and a half or until soft and cooked throughout.
- To braise pork neck, brown the meat in a hot pan with a little butter or cooking spray and then put it in a slow cooker with enough wine or seasoned broth to just about cover it, Cook on low for an hour or until tender.
- Use smoked pork neck instead of more expensive ham in soups and stews. Home made bean soup packets are widely available in markets and easy to cook up with the addition of water, a can of tomato paste, a crock pot and a little time. After boiling your pork neck, skim and use the cooking water for your bean soup. Add the meat from the pork necks for the last half hour of simmer for a rich, mellow backup to the beans. A loaf of hot French bread and a salad will complete a great late autumn or winter meal.
- Serve smoked pork Bohemian-style with potato dumplings (available where Czech or Slovak foods are stocked), braised cabbage and vegetables with porcine sauce. Porcine sauce is made with the liquid used to cook the pork. If you want to try this preparation, braise rather than simmer your pork. Simmer on low for about an hour and use some of the (skimmed) liquid to make the porcine sauce by adding a little cornstarch. Braise your cabbage and vegetables (carrots, beans, shredded beets work well) separately, using the rest of the broth from the simmer.
- Germans cook their cabbage as sauerkraut to serve with pork. Potato pancakes are also popular with pork. The dish shown features a pungent, sweet sauce, made with crushed pineapple, thickened with cornstarch and simmered with dried cherries and raisins. The sauce is ladled onto the pork and served with potatoes and green beans.
- Pork is a staple of Asian cuisine and the lowly pig neck can be used with a hoisin sauce in a variety of dishes, served over rice with steamed vegetables or in curries. Try braised neck with tofu and Shitake mushroom over fried rice with a garlic-peanut sauce. Make a sauce using Japanese soy, garlic, five spice powder and brown sugar for a variation on Teriyaki.
- Give your pork a Latin flair by presenting pulled pork with an escabeche, a sort of spicy chutney with chili and garlic in a fish sauce base. Or use red beans and rice as an accompaniment. Pork necks are served in the American South with beans and rice, mashed potatoes, corn bread (or hush puppies), collard greens or any steamed vegetable in season.
- The brisket is the section of the beef breast located between the front legs. It is considered to be the toughest cut, but it can be very tender and tasty when cooked properly. Good ways to cook brisket are braising, smoking, or poaching.
- There is only one basic rule for cooking brisket: cook low and slow. Whatever method you use, maintain a low cooking temperature, and the cook the beef slowly.
- Brisket can be cooked using either the moist or the dry heat cooking method. This article will discuss the dry heat cooking method, which means that no liquid is used in cooking. Smoking or barbecuing are examples of dry heat cooking methods.
- The brisket is prepared the night before it is smoked. Select a brisket which has fat that is about ¼ inches thick. If the fat is thicker, it will prevent the smoke from penetrating the meat under it. You will need to trim it down.
- You can either rub the brisket with a sauce, such as mustard, or marinate it.
- The marinade can be made using vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, or other acid based liquids. These can help break down the tough fibers in the brisket. If you marinate your brisket, leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
- If you decide to use the rub method, massage your sauce all over the meat, making sure that all parts are covered. See to it that the sauce is not too thick. After rubbing the sauce onto the brisket, wrap the brisket in a sealable plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
- You will need a smoke cooker. There are different types of smoke cookers – propane smokers, water smokers, and charcoal smokers.
- A water smoker has three parts: the cooking area, the firebox, and the water pan. The water pan can be found between the cooking area and the firebox. It screens the cooking area from the direct heat and moistens the air.
- The smoked flavor that the brisket will acquire depends on the kind of wood you use. In Texas, people favor mesquite.
- The average cooking time per pound of brisket is 1 hour and 15 minutes in a 225 degree heat. There are many factors that affect cooking time, such as, how many times the smoker is opened, or how close the brisket is to the fire box. You need to check on the meat every 45 minutes to one hour to check the progress of your cooking.
- After brisket is cooked, it needs to be sliced properly to ensure that it will be served as tender as possible. You have to cut across the grain. If you don’t, the long and stringy fibers will be very tough.
- You can do this by lifting the layer of fat from the top. Look at the direction of the grain of the meat, and carve against it.
- Here is a Christmas treat that has just come out of the oven and is now resting before I carve. It is a 4.5 kilo pre cooked Smoked Picnic Shoulder Ham. They come vacuum packed, so all you have to do is to finish them off in your oven.
- First you remove the sealed wrap and the netting that were originally cooked in. Score the the skin just down into the fat and coat with liquid honey and sprinkle with granulated soft brown sugar. Then place in your baking tray with a grill in the bottom, so as to keep the ham suspended. Then add a cup of water just to supply moisture while to baking is taking place.
- Set your oven to bake at 325 degrees F with bottom heat only. Leaving your baking dish uncovered, place it in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour or until the crackling has taken on the glaze as it appears in the photo above.
- Remove from the oven and let the ham rest for about 30 minutes before carving. Besides having this as an extra to go with you Christmas Turkey, it is handy to have as a main course.
- If possible it is best to keep this in a cool larder, rather than a refrigerator, then it is ready for the odd Christmas Ham sandwich over the holiday period.
House Seasoning, recipe follows
Jerry's Basting Sauce, recipe follows
Favorite BBQ sauce, if desired
- Prepare smoker to 250 degrees F. I use charcoal and wood chips such as hickory.
- Remove membrane from ribs if desired. Rub thoroughly with House Seasoning. Place ribs on smoker grate and cover. Slow smoke ribs for 2 to 3 hours. Every 15 minutes brush ribs with vinegar solution. We serve our ribs without sauce. If you like sauce cooked on, brush ribs with sauce about 15 minutes before they are done, turning often, watching carefully that the sauce does not burn. Ribs are done when they are tender enough to easily pull from the bones. If you're not a sauce eater, remove ribs, cut and serve with BBQ sauce on the side.
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
3/4 cup lemon juice
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 to 4 dashes hot red pepper sauce
1 small onion, minced
3 to 4 dashes salt
Seasoned pepper, to taste
2 to 3 cups water
- The technique used for this smoked pork tenderloin recipe creates a great tasting smoked tenderloin that's tender and moist on the inside, and beautifully browned on the outside.
- The pork is marinated, smoked, then flash cooked in an oven or a very hot grill. A short resting period locks in the juices before it's served.
- The secret of this tenderloin recipe is to let the internal temperature of the meat be your guide. The pork is removed from the smoker before it's done, and flash cooking brings it nearer the desired temperature. During the final rest, the internal temperature rises just enough to bring the smoked pork tenderloin up to perfect doneness.
- Pork tenderloins are small strips of meat, weighing in at about 2 pounds each. Don't confuse these with pork loins, which are found on the top side of the hogs back. The tenderloins are taken from the underside of the backbone, with one running along each side.
- Trim the tenderloins by removing visible membrane and fibers. Remove any stray flaps or shreds of meat that remain attached. Those "hangers" could burn, plus they detract from the look of the meat.
- This dish begins with marinating. The following recipe makes enough marinade for two - 2 pound pork tenderloins.
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, bruised
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Marinate the tenderloins for 4 hours. Remove and pat dry.
- Use either a smoker or a grill to add the smoke flavor to the meat. Keep the cooking temperature down near 200°F, using two small additions of smoke wood to add flavor. Fruitwoods and nutwoods are good here.
- Insert a remote cooking thermometer probe into the center of the thick end of the tenderloin. (Stick it right into the end, and leave it until just before serving time.) Now you can monitor the internal temperature without opening up your grill or smoker.
- Continue smoking the pork tenderloin until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F. Remove it and let it rest at room temperature for 20 minutes, covered lightly with foil.
- Next, bring the internal temperature up to nearly done, and give it a nice, brown crust in a single step.
- Preheat your oven or your grill up to 500°F. If you use your grill, keep one side open for indirect grilling-that's where you'll lay the tenderloins. Place them on the grill grate, or in a shallow pan that goes into the oven. When the internal temperature reaches 150°F remove them to a platter, cover lightly with foil, and lay a light towel over the whole works.
- The internal temperature will continue to rise to between 155-160°F, perfect for pork tenderloins. (You didn't take out that thermometer probe yet, did you?) This three step smoked pork tenderloin recipe creates an excellent tasting, great looking dish. Brown and crispy on the outside, moist and tender inside...with a nice hint of smokey flavor!