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July 05, 2003
Smokin', Part I

Tonight is the party a bunch of us are having for the Independence Day weekend. Ya, ya, yesterday was the Fourth, but the party is tonight.

As previously discussed, I'm providing the barbecue.

Yesterday, I brined the newly-acquired pork.

Note: barbecue is pork. Not beef, not chicken - pork. Furthermore, "barbecue" is not a verb, it is a noun. You "cook barbecue" and "eat barbecue," you do not "barbecue some hamburgers" or steaks or hotdogs. You grill those particular foods. (They're good, oh yes, but they are not barbecue.) A backyard event where cooking is done is a "cookout" or a "pig-pickin'", not a barbecue.

Furthermore, barbecue implies low and slow - low temperatures - I try for between 225° and 250° - for a long time - all day, in this case. Yes, you can grill pork - a grilled pork loin chop is excellent - but it's not barbecue.

Sorry, got off track there.... So anyway, I brined the pork in salt- and molasses-laden icy water. A 12-hour bath, guaranteed to pump up the flavor of the pork. Went to bed.

Got up at 6:45 this morning. Egads, what a surprise - I can't think of the last time I was up this early on a Saturday. I even managed to wake up before the alarm clock annoyed me out of my sleep. Made a pot of coffee.

Lit the real-wood-chunk charcoal at about 7:30. There's something almost transcendental about building a fire in the cool of the morning with a good hot cup of coffee in hand.

While the coals were settling into their home in the bottom of the smoker, I applied a rub to the pork. No, I won't tell you what's in the rub. Well, there's chili powder, but that's all I'm saying.

By 8:30 the coals had settled down to a comparatively gentle and steady glow, I added mesquite chunks for the smoke to start the day with - I'll be finishing later with hickory - and inserted the pork.

As of right now, the temperature in the smoker is holding steady at 237°. Perfect.

I have to check it periodically - can't let the coals die. It's going to be a long day, but so well worth it.

Posted by Russ at 11:20 AM, July 5, 2003 in Barbecue

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