This is in no way an Italian recipe, rather my attempt at a Southern classic, but there’s a striking resemblance between these two seemingly strangers of cuisines. KISS. No, not the band, they’re terrible. Keep It Simple Stupid. That’s Italian cooking to me, don’t screw with the ingredient too much, let it shine on it’s own, that’s why you’re eating it. Southern cuisine is similar, basic dishes highlighting a seasonal and fresh product.
Among the Southern states I’m glad to live in what I consider the the best of them all, NC. Mountains, plains, coasts, we’ve got it all, and with each passing mile comes a new series of delicious products: venison and trout from the mountains, our outstanding pork and veggies from eastern NC, and an array of seafood off the coast. What’s better, these local delicacies are becoming more and more available to the greater public, making it easier to cook with products that not only taste better but are better for you and your farmers.
Whole Foods does a great job of supplying all sorts of local products to the masses for a “decent” price. Yeah, it’s more expensive, but usually by a dollar or more which I’m glad to pay for something I know wasn’t injected in the ass with hormones or worse…Yesterday a Boston Butt (pork shoulder) caught my eye, and for 3.98 a pound I got this gorgeous pink hunk of meat for less than 2 bush-league subway sammys. Below is a recipe for a slow cooked pork butt, my first try but definitely not my last as it was dern’ good:
2-3lb Pork Shoulder (Boston Butt)
1 Dark Beer (Magic Hat Winter Brew worked like a champ)
Splash of Orange Juice or Ginger Ale (something with a little acidity)
1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
Chili Powder, Paprika, All Spice, Cinnamon, S&P (maybe a tsp of each…more for s&p)
Combine the Beer and OJ (or other acidy liquid) in dutch oven and bring up to a low bubble. In the meantime, combine the brown sugar and other spices, along with plenty of salt and pepper and coat the Pork entirely. Allow it to sit for a few minutes so the sugar starts to melt a bit.
Grill the Pork on all sides until a dark crust forms (Top Of Page). Add to the dutch oven with the liquid, making sure to roll the pork around so it’s covered in the beer mix. Cover and place into a 325 degree oven for 2-3 hours, or until the pork falls away from the bone and pulls apart easily with forks. Donezo! The Results will look like this:
How easy was that, rub it in some stuff, grill it for a second, douse it in beer and walk away for a few hours. Boom, kick ass pulled pork for less than $10 and 5 extra beers to enjoy it with. I made some local Mahol, ( or Mahon, I forgot the name), Yams from southern NC. They were almost light pink and really creamy, without any of the typical strings found in your average sweet potato. I cut these guys into steak fry size and coated in some seasoning, then roasted them for an hour or so until crunchy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside. The grilling added a touch of smokiness to the whole dish, crucial for bbq in my opinion. It also beautifully caramelized the brown sugar which added to the overall sweetness of the meat and leftover broth. Once we pulled all the pork apart we placed it back into the cooking liquid for quick dunk and then devoured, too good.
So keep it simple stupid, don’t over think things, just cook it quick (or simple and slow in this case) and eat it up. That’s living, and with all of the righteous products this state has to offer it shouldn’t be too hard. Grazie NC.