February 5th, 2020

beer

Aye, there's the rub

I had a request for more recipes, so I thought I'd share some of my techniques for cooking large hunks of critter. I'm rather known for my pulled pork and my beef brisket. Both of these start out the same way and are cooked the same way. It's mostly the rub that makes the difference.


Pulled Pork starts with pork shoulder, also called a pork butt. This is a large hunk of meat and will serve a family more than one meal. They come two to a pack sometimes, and you can fit two of them in a foil hotel pan, so I often cook them that way.

Rinse and pat dry your pork butt. Then slather with oil and apply rub all over (see below). Place in pan with a little bit of water (quarter cup or so) to start the rendering-steaming magic and cover with foil. Roast in a slow oven (250 degrees) for about 8 hours. (Overnight is a good way to do this.) Once the pork is easily torn with a fork, you can pull it with spoons or forks into shreds. You can pour off the juice first, if you like (it makes amazing pork broth), but if you want extra moist pulled pork, you can pull the pork and leave it in the juice (this is also a good technique if you're putting leftovers in the fridge -- they don't dry out this way).

You can also use my pork rub on a boar's head. Jungle Jim's sells whole pig's heads in December. They are super cheap -- like $13.50 for a whole head. Start them just like pork shoulder. Then roast them low and slow for about 10 hours. Adorn with fresh bays and rosemary, just like in the Boar's Head Carol. Serve whole and carve your own off the cheeks, or snag yourself an ear to chew on.


Beef brisket is a large cut of beef. And we're not just talking the flat, that we make corned beef out of. A full packer brisket has both the flat and the tip, and that's what you want. It'll be 12-15 lb. of goodness. One will fill a foil hotel pan. I usually cut off some of the fat before starting, though a nice fat cap will render out over the meat and make it tender and delicious.

Brisket starts out the same as pork shoulder. Rinse and pat dry. Slather with oil and apply rub (see below). Before slow roasting, however, I like to put the slab of beef on a grill over an open fire and char it for a couple minutes on all sides. This adds a wee bit of flavor you don't want to do without. You could try it in an iron skillet if you don't have an outdoor fire, but it's not quite as good (and you need a really big skillet). Transfer mass o' beef to pan (fat side up), add a wee bit of water to start the magic, cover with foil and cook for 8 hours. You can use the jus for a French dip. You can also save it for a soup/stew starter. Leftover brisket makes a beef and noodles you won't soon forget. I've also used it as a chili or stew starter.


ART'S PORK RUB (Will easily do a whole pork butt)
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp onion salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp red pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp black pepper
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp orange peel
And I usually add a crumbled bay leaf and throw in a wee bit of rosemary


ART'S BEEF RUB (will do one packer)
½ cup salt
¼ cup pepper
¼ cup garlic powder
2 Tbsp ground mustard
2 Tbsp cumin
¼ cup paprika
2 Tbsp celery seed


Rub quantities can be multiplied for as much as you're cooking. I usually do about 90 lb. of brisket (six packers) when I'm cooking for the Winter Rendezvous, and I've done as many as 12 pork butts at a time. Of course, I have three ovens available when I do that at camp. But if you're cooking for a large family or church gathering, these recipes can deliver the goodness with little strain. They don't need to be fussed over, and they can be put in the oven long before serving time, so they do the work while you sleep or manage other details. Once your meat bomb is out of the oven, you can lay it aside for a bit while you put the rolls in for a quick bake.

Both these meats (but especially the pork) cry out for a good barbecue sauce. I've shared my Scotch Barbecue Sauce elsewhere on this blog, so I won't repeat that recipe here. My daughter likes to do a Carolina Gold Sauce for pork.