… from the California Kitchen
How you doin’? Let’s do something a little different today. When I sold my house a few years ago, I had to give up my large smoker and grill. The smoker was the kind that had a trailer hitch and could smoke about 2,500-pounds at a time. I don’t want to brag (yes, I do), but my smoked brisket won best BBQ in Austin 3-years running. As I told my Texas client, “it took a California guy to teach a bunch of big strappin’ Texans to smoke delicious brisket, ribs and pork butt.”
Now that I live in a high-rise condo that does not allow any grilling on the balcony, I had to find ways to satisfy my need for smoked barbecued meats. How do I do it during the pandemic? I CHEAT. Without buying any new equipment and not breaking any condo rules or regulations here is a plan for making the best South Carolina pulled pork dinner with all the fixin’s. You may have to shop for a few convenience ingredients (that’s where the cheatin’ comes in) and allow the right amount of time to season and hold the pork butt overnight and about 7-hours of slow cooking. After you buy the boxed and canned goods you can flavor them any way you please. It’s really quite easy—I’ve given some guidelines below. Here’s the menu—get started.
Flavors That’ll Bring You To Your Knees
Boiled South Carolina Peanuts
Corn Bread Muffins
Vinegar-Based Dirty Cole Slaw w/Roasted Peanuts
Brown-Sugar Baked Beans
Pulled Pork Plate
For the boiled peanuts
My friend Jared Jester owns the Heritage Peanut Company down in Bluffton, SC. He makes boiled peanuts. You can order a mess of ‘em tasty little things on his website. All you have to do to eat them out of the bag is stick them microwave for about 30 to 60 seconds to hotten’ up a bit.
For the cornbread
I use Krusteaz Honey Cornbread & Muffin Mix or you can just use Jiffy Cornbread Mix—either way you can dress it up a little with a few enhancements. I used bacon fat for half of the called-for butter or oil; I added a few drops of Tabasco sauce, half cup of Cheddar cheese and I sometimes I add up to 1/2 cup of frozen corn. Bake as directed on the package.
For the dirty coleslaw
I start with a bag of pre-washed and cut, store-bought coleslaw mix. I add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce; 1 tablespoon Everything Bagel Seasoning (I prefer Trader Joe’s brand), 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon roasted garlic powder, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (that’s what makes it dirty) and 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I prefer peanut oil). Mix well and let it sit for at least 4-hours or overnight. Salt to your taste. Or fool around with it and make it your own. Always add the oil at the end to make sure all your spices have had a chance to blossom. When serving top it off with some roasted peanuts—that’s the South Carolina way.
For the brown sugar baked beans
I like to doctor a can of store-bought baked beans. This time I used Bush’s Brown Sugar Hickory beans. To a 28-ounce can I added 1/4 cup molasses, 1 teaspoon Wright’s Liquid Hickory Smoke, 1 heaping teaspoon yellow mustard (or you can use grainy mustard), 2 tablespoons minced garlic, 2 teaspoons hot sauce and 3 tablespoons brown sugar. Mix it all together and microwave it on high for 6 to 7-minutes (take out and stir about every 2 minutes). The sauce will thicken up. Serve while piping hot. Here again, these ingredients are just suggestions—make it to your own taste.
For the “BBQ” pulled pork
Go to your favorite butcher and buy a nice hunk of fresh pork butt—4 to 7 pounds. The night before you are going to cook it massage it all over with a nice rub. Here’s what I used this time.
For the rub I suggest 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper. Rub-a-dub-rub it all over the pork. Put in a clean plastic shopping bag (check for holes or you’ll have a mess in the morning) and refrigerate overnight. In the morning take the pork out of the refrigerator. Take the pork butt out of the bag and put it in a roasting pan and rub the fat side of the pork butt with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of smoked salty (I prefer to use SaltWorks Hickory Smoke Salt, easily found on Amazon). Finish off the prep with a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
The pork roast will take 5 to 7-hours to cook, depending on the size of the butt. Take the butt out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking. Preheat an oven to 225⁰ F and roast. If it’s starts to get a little too dark, cover with foil.
ChefSecrets: After nearly 250 editions of our Survival Guide, you are trusted to change and innovate these recipes to suit your family’s tastes. There are no secrets here, if there’s an ingredient you think will work, add it—if there’s something you don’t like, leave it out. Have fun and let me know how everything turned out… send pictures.
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: “Why do they call it the novel coronavirus? It’s a long story.”
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