Monday, February 27, 2012


After about eight hours, your butt should look like this:

Your next step is to drain away everything except for the butt. You should end up with this:

Grab your forks, and get to pulling! As you can see, you may need a delicious Bud Light to help you do this.

After about two minutes (or probably less), your final product should look like this:

Now we can do whatever we want! I am of simple taste, and I wholeheartedly value the classic tradition of BBQ, which entails just a simple white bun to hold this glorious meat. If you have been to any serious BBQ joint, you know that white bread, without any shenanigans, is the preferred way to serve BBQ. Why? Because the meat is the star of the show. I don't need some garlic-brushed, buttered, and toasted piece of bread to hold my pork. (Also, BBQ originated as a low maintenance, low cost way to cook food. Eventually, BBQ became mainstream, and a lot of people in the south began to sell it. The need for a starch became obvious, and breads like Wonder Bread and Merita Bread were the simple choice).

What to do, what to do? For some, this will be enough. However, most people I know would like to add a little sauce to the mix. Tonight, I took the lazy man route, and grabbed a bottle of BBQ sauce from Publix (see below).

Now, what follows is a sticking point- one of which has caused many battles throughout the ages. Keeping it simple, there are four main BBQ regions of the US: Kansas City, Texas, Memphis, and the Carolinas. Aside from the different cooking methods that originate from these areas (and the main cuts of meat eaten), the key differences lie in the types of sauces used. For my butt dish, I chose an off-the-shelf, Carolina-style sauce:

Why is it a Carolina-style sauce? Typically, the sauces are vinegar-based (my personal favorite), and have more of a tangy taste.

When choosing store-bought BBQ sauces, here are a few tips which I religiously follow: I NEVER buy any sauces (including ketchup) which contain high fructose corn syrup. Without getting into science, this stuff is pure chemical sugar, and is terrible for you. Look closely at most shelf BBQ sauces, and you'll see that most list this in their ingredient list first, which means that product contains mostly HFCS (FYI, ingredient lists are listed from most-used to least). Also, I usually turn the BBQ sauce bottles upside-down to see how they run. If they are loose, and run like water, they are probably vinegar based. If they hardly move, they are probably ketchup and molasses based (like KC Masterpiece). Also, although  it's hard to see, this sauce is made by the Kraft family.

Here's my finished product:

And, what do do with the rest?

So, there you have it. A very simple recipe for starters. FYI, after eating, I realized I should have added more salt, and maybe some more brown sugar. It was very tasty though.

Cooking is different for everyone, and I hope that this dumb recipe sparked, however small, the drive to start your own brand of cooking. Unless you're baking, there are basically no mistakes that can't be fixed when cooking, and that's what makes it so fun.

Here's what to expect in future posts:

BBQ regions and what differentiates them.
BBQ sauces - make your own
BBQ rubs - make your own
Cuts of cow (how they're different), and how to cook them
Cuts of pork (see above)
Chicken - fowl temptress (pun)
Breakfast - It's what's for breakfast

And..... Sandwiches!

Cook em' Danno.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

What follows below is my version of pulled pork made in a slow cooker.

You'll need:

1-3 lbs. of "Boston Butt" aka pork shoulder. It depends on the size of your slow cooker. Any amount over one pound is going to yield a lot. This cut of meat comes from the upper front leg area, and may contain a bone depending on how big your cut is. It's a cheap cut of meat in relation to how much it yields.

1 Onion

1 Clove of Garlic

Rub for the pork. My own rub is: 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup pepper, 1/4 cup paprika, 1/4 cup brown sugar. In place of garlic and onion power, I use actual onions and garlic, but feel free to substitute if you are feeling thrifty and already have the spice blend. This is a very basic pork rub that most BBQ aficionados are familiar with. You can also add cayenne for more heat. In my recipe, paprika provides some heat, and the brown sugar offsets it beautifully.

As Bobby Flay says, "Everything good starts with onion and garlic." Let's cut the onions and garlic for use (we're doing a rough chop for both). Cut both the top and bottom of the onion off, and then chop in half. Remove the outer shell. Next, cut the weird base off the garlic. After doing so, the garlic will basically fall apart into different cloves. After, use your knife or another flat surface and pound each individual clove to get the skins off. FYI, there are two methods to get garlic skin off. One, use some type of rubber sleeve to rub it off. Second, you can pound it. By doing to, you are expanding the garlic which will naturally force the skin off. You should end up with something like you see below:

Give both a rough chop:

Place the garlic and onion in the bottom of the slow cooker, with a little salt and pepper.

Time to rub your meat (that's what she said): Liberally coat with rub mixture, and make sure to get all the nooks and crannies. If you have time, rub it and wrap it (that's what she said) in plastic wrap, and leave it in the fridge over night. That will really enhance the flavor.

You should end up with something like this:

Next, place the butt in the slow cooker, layering it over the onions and garlic. Then, add water, so the pot is about 2/3 full. You don't need to cover the butt.

Put the lid on, and cook on low heat for about eight hours! The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the butt. You could also cook on high heat for five-six hours.

Here are a few notes: I use filtered water to cover- not straight from the tap. I can always taste chlorine in my water, and I don't want to transfer that taste to my food. In place of water, you could use Coke, which imparts a great flavor onto the butt during the cooking process. Lastly, I know I spent time rubbing my butt, but there is a lazy-man version of this recipe: Put butt in slow cooker, cover with two/three bottles of favorite BBQ sauce, and cook for six to eight hours.

I make my recipe this way so I can end up with some great, non-sauced pork. I am then free to do whatever I want with it.

Stay tuned for the finished product!

Testing the water... AKA Drinking On A Monday

There are few things as wonderful as when the first sip of delicious Bud Light hits your tongue. I mean the Bud Light that's been sitting in the freezer, and is ten seconds away from the point that it begins to turn to slush. The Bud Light that's so cold and tasty, that you forget, even for a moment, all of your troubles. Like the feeling that Red, Heywood, Snooze, and Floyd had drinking icy cold suds on the roof of Shawshank Prison.

Alas, I digress. This blog will chronicle my search to find those few things. Now, those things are different for everyone. Some people live in the moment when the first ray of sunshine breaks the horizon in the morning. Others find happiness underneath their freshly cleaned sheets after a hot shower with a good book. And there is a small group of people who take solace in all shows where fat people lose weight.

 My wonderland you ask? Drinking and eating. I find I am happiest in those fleeting moments when the burger, tomato, onion, and cheese come together in such a way you couldn't imagine. Those times when baked chicken skin is so crispy, salty, and tasty that you wish chickens were just made of their own skin.

This blog will be a slow, ever-changing, history of food and drink I've sampled, as well as some of my own how-to creations. I am a fledgling foodie, and I think something like this will help grow that passion.

A few things you should know ahead of time: I don't like seafood. It's not for lack of trying, either. I try everything put in front of me, and I just can't seem to form a bond with those thing that populate our oceans and lakes. Additionally, my main areas of romance currently are the grill- things like BBQ, burgers (not bbq!), and steaks...., and sandwiches. All things sandwich.

So without further ado.....