I'll sum it up in one word: Meat Sweats....my whole houselhold has them. The Meat Sweats is a condition that sets in when you dig in to a meat feast so delicious that you go into a sort of trance. Symptoms include flushing, high blood pressure, hallucinations, and drowsiness. Seeing the signs of a full blown case of the Meat Sweats on someone you cooked for is a true compliment to the chef. Just beware of the related, yet more serious advanced case, the Meat Coma. That one can ruin your productivity for days.
To celebrate our great nation's independence from tyranny today, we had our friends over to celebrate our independence from dieting, and we came up with an unforgettable American menu to do it.
I fired up the smoker at 5am this morning because there is a short list of things that are worth doing at 5am, and firing up a smoker is on it. Other things included are....well there's....okay, THE ONLY reason to be up at 5am on a holiday is to prepare a smoker for some excellent barbecue.
Our primary protein today was a 7 pound Boston Butt, or pork shoulder, rubbed with the same dry rub I used on my ribs in the last post. I held back on the Celery Salt at Pregatron's request (all night pregnant heartburn), and it tasted fantastic. I rubbed the Butt (ha ha) last night and put it in the refrigerator for this morning.
It took me about an hour to regulate the temperature on the smoker to a solid 250 degrees, but once I had it, I had it all day. The Brinkman Vertical Smoker is actually very easily manipulated. I added coals and soaked hickory wood chips about once per hour for the duration. The meat came off the rack 5 1/2 hours later and we pulled it apart for sandwiches. However, we didn't stop there on this most American of holidays.
I added three links of spicy chicken sausages that are fresh made daily at a local grocery store and let them roast underneath the pork for about three hours. Turns out, this was about 2 hours too long. More on that later. But wait, there's more...
If you google "grill blog," at the top of the list, you'll find http://www.grillgrrrl.com/, an excellent blog run by a girl, for you slow types. She has a ton of recipes for all kinds of grilled food and drinks, and among them, I found this little gem: http://grillgrrrl.com/2010/02/jalapeno-poppers/. I turned on Meat Blaster's two left hand burners and set up a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption on the right including a baking rack, a shrimp skewer and a beer can chicken holder to keep the poppers aligned right. After an hour of slow cooking, the bacon was rendered down and the rub had caramelized, and the perfect appetizer was added to the table. Thanks for the tip!
The rest of the menu included Pregpocalypse's Famous Macaroni and Cheese, my mom's baked beans, and for dessert, Allison's Ice Cream Sandwich Cake. Hopefully she'll share that recipe with us, because it was ridiculous. We made our sandwiches Birmingham style, which means sauce on the side (two choices: Guy Fieri's Kansas City and the tangier Johnny Harris from Georgia), a pickle slice, cole slaw and a dab of Wickle's hot pepper relish on a fresh potato roll.
Winners were the bark on the pork butt, the overall flavor of the sandwiches, the awesome jalepeno poppers, and the fun visit with friends. The #1 high point was the macaroni, which was completely devoured. I'm just glad there was other food to distract us from the macaroni, because otherwise, we would have gotten into a potential friendship ending feeding frenzy over it.
Losers were the fact that 5am wasn't early enough, because, though fully cooked, the pork wasn't done enough to truly fall apart. I had to chop it to get it ready for the sandwiches. Also, the sausages were so dry after being on the smoker so long, you could chip them, then use them as packing peanuts that you need to last forever, like say for a shuttle mission to another solar system or something.
Happy Independence Day everyone!
Happy Independence Day everyone!