Monthly Archives: October 2010

Smoked Pulled Pork with Carolina BBQ Sauce

We’re stretching out the summer.  Hanging out on the back deck.  Making sure we get out and walk while the weather is good.  Getting those tomatoes from the farm stands that we waited oh so long for.   If you can handle stretching out the planning and preparation of a meal, yet don’t want to do too terribly much actual work, this is for you.

The pork for the sandwiches is brined, smoked, pulled and finally doused with a zesty vinegary sauce before being piled high on a soft bun.  We are talking some serious piggy love here!  If you haven’t brined anything before, this is a perfect time to give it a try.  Brining simply involves heating flavorful liquid, cooling the liquid, and soaking the meat in the liquid before cooking.  Yes, it stretches out the cooking process but is certainly not difficult.  If you don’t have a smoker at home, you can use a slow cooker (8 hours on low) for meat with the same texture minus some smokin’ love.   And speaking of stretching, that’s what you’ll need to do after devouring this amazing sandwich.

This sandwich was adapted from a restaurant recipe provided by The Oinkster on Food Network.

Print versions:  BBQ pulled pork sandwiches Carolina BBQ sauce

Smoked Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

  • 5 – 6 pound pork butt
  • 2 gallons water
  • 1 ½ cup salt
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ½ cup sugar

Directions:

1. Boil 1 gallon water with salt, soy sauce, honey, molasses and sugar. Add remaining 1 gallon of water. Cool.

2. Add pork, cover and set in a refrigerator 12 to 24 hours.

3. Let pork drain on cooling racks and come to room temperature. Smoke over applewood chips at 250 degrees for 5 to 8 hours until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 170 degrees.

4. Use forks to pull the pork into pieces. Douse with Carolina sauce and serve on soft buns.

Carolina BBQ Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 qt apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 TBS red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 TBS dry mustard
  • 2 TBS worcestershire sauce
  • 2 TBS molasses
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil over medium heat, simmer for 10 minutes.

Notes:

  • How good is this?  We made it twice in the same week,  first on the smoker and later in the slow cooker.  While the slow cooker didn’t have that luscious smoky flavor, the texture of the meat was still wonderful and the BBQ sauce added the needed Carolina flavor.
  • After making the sandwiches, I finally went to The Oinkster’s web site and saw the sandwich they made for Diners, Drive Ins and Drives.  Oh my!  They top the pork with slowly cooked onions and red cabbage slaw.  It is a beauty to behold.

Jambalaya for a Crowd

Sometimes life is like a puzzle.  Needing to make a meal for a Kaleidoscope family, no kids or teens involved, something that could be stashed in the fridge or freezer if there is an unexpected turn in the cancer treatment, and a 2 pound bag of shrimp in the freezer calling out my name.  Oh yeah, and a newish New Orleans cookbook hanging out on the shelf.  The decision became clear: should I make jambalaya or, um, jambalaya?  Jambalaya it is!

This version is truly enough for a full crowd of friends ready for a good meal.  I was a bit worried in that the ingredients and directions are so straight forward.  There was no secret ingredient, no fantastically original cooking method, nothing to show that this would be simply perfect.  This just has the perfect proportions of delicious ingredients with classic cooking techniques.  And really, isn’t that what we’re looking for in a classic dish like jambalaya anyways?

Jambalaya for a Crowd

adapted from the book Gumbo Shop: Traditional and Contemporary Creole Cuisine by Richard Stewart

Serves at least 12    |      Jambalaya for a Crowd (printable version)

Ingredients:

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 lb smoked sausage, sliced into ¼ inch rounds

1 large onion, chopped

1 large or 2 med. Green peppers, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped,

5 cloves garlic, diced

2 16 oz cans petit diced tomatoes

1 tsp white pepper

1 tsp black pepper

½ tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp salt

1 cup long grain rice

3 cups stock (from step 1 below, cooking the chicken)

2 lbs peeled raw shrimp

Directions:

1. Cover the chicken with water ans set over a medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and reserve the stock. When cool enough to handle, remove the chicken meat from the bones and skin and break into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottom dutch oven over a medium heat, saute the sausage in the oil until lightly browned. Remove from pot and set aside with the chicken pieces. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper to the pot and saute until just tender. Add the diced tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot.

3. Stir in the rice and mix well. Stir in 3 cups of the reserved chicken stock, bring the pot to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Add the sausage and chicken and cook uncovered 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp, stirring into the jambalaya and cook until they are just pink.

Notes:

  • If you are squeamish about cutting up a chicken, this is a great place to learn since the chicken will be shredded anyways.
  • Did I mention the yum factor?
  • If you’ve never even made jambalaya before, this will still feel wonderfully familiar to you.  Its just one of those cozy meals.
  • Why is the title Jambalaya for a Crowd show this simple one person serving?  After delivering loads of jambalaya to the Kaleidoscope family and eating dinner at home, this was all I had for a photo to share.  Be lucky there was anything at all to share!

Fig Pizza with Pomegranate Cumin Dressing

Have you ever discovered something for the first time, only to realize it was right in front of your nose all along?  This summer I discovered the Tachella Family farm stand.  I’ve driven by it for years, but rarely stopped in.  They have a wide variety of fruits and veggies and ample parking.  They even note on each bin whether the contents are from their own farm or another farm, and usually even name the other farms.  This seems like a “duh” concept, but it is not always practiced in the area.  I certainly appreciate them for this.  Parking sounds like such a pathetic topic to even bring up, but believe you me, it can get crazy out there!

Finally, I just realized why even with all of these pluses, they don’t do a booming business.  Inside versus outside.  Most farm stands have tables outside, piled high with fresh foods that clearly call your name as you meander by.  Look at my lovely nectarines!  Yes, this watermelon wants to go home with you today!  We tomatoes are finally here and can’t wait to get reacquainted with you! But at the Tachella stand, everything is inside.  You just have to trust that its there and the foods will be delicious, which they always are.  I’m glad that I tucked inside last weekend, their last for the year, and found these adorable figs.  Time to cook!

Based on the recipe Grilled Sausage and Fig Pizza with Goat Cheese from Epicurious

Ingredients

Pomegranate Cumin Dressing

6  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4  tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sliced fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon ground cumin
6 tablespoons minced shallots
Fig Pizza
1 pound purchased fresh pizza dough
5 tablespoons Pomegranate-Cumin Dressing, divided
1 cup coarsely grated Fontina cheese
Fresh arugula
2 thin red onion slices, rings separated
6 fresh figs, quartered

Directions:

1.  Prepare dressing by whisking the ingredients together.  (The pomegranate molasses can be made by simmering 1 cup of pomegranate juice for 15 minutes.)

2.  Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Halve dough; roll to 10-inch rounds. Brush tops with some of dressing.

3. Grill pizzas, seasoned side down, until golden on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn pizzas over. Top with Fontina, arugula,  figs, and onions. Drizzle with more dressing. Cover; grill until Fontina melts and pizza is cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Whisk first 5 ingredients in bowl. Mix in shallots; season with salt and pepper.

Notes:

  • I used prepared pizza dough from Trader Joe’s.  While the shape of the pizzas was, um, unique, the dough was certainly easy to work with and grill.
  • The original recipe called for sliced sausages.  I made the first pizza with the sausages and felt they just didn’t add anything to the dish.  The top photo has sausages just because it was the money shot.
  • This dressing is crazy delicious!!!
  • The original recipe added some goat cheese crumbles at the end of the cooking.  I didn’t want anything to compete with the figs and Fontina, so just omitted it.