South Carolina Barbecue
We are in the land of BBQ. In the Carolinas (In South Carolina where I grew up BBQ means pork and mustard without any tomatoes).
To me BBQ is the ability to season & correctly smoke the food correctly first and foremost.
Smoking properly means to using smoke to either add flavour or cook food and more importantly balance to the food. Under or over smoking the food will cause it to become unbalanced.
I’m already having a Pavlovian response as most of you are at the mere mention of the word BBQ so lets get started.
So one of the things we do at the restaurant as we stated in an earlier article is use a mix of spices to give a more complex flavour profile. We use salt (kosher), crushed red pepper (we actually shift it and only keep the big pepper flakes), Coarse ground black pepper and coffee grounds. So we have natural opposites of salt versus black pepper and the aromatic crushed red pepper flakes versus the earthy coffee grounds.
Okay. So now that we have an overview of seasoning lets get cooking.
In this case we will use wild hog as there are plenty around here.
It’s early winter so we can either trap or shoot the pig over bait.
Gut, skin and process the animal. Separate the animal into primal sections including the four legs including the shoulder & butt, the thoracic & back strap. Rinse any residual hairs off & pat dry. Season the shoulders/butt heavily with the above spices and put in a cooler for 2-3 days turning the meat once a day. Do the same seasoning and refrigerated dry marination with store bought pork butt/shoulder.
20-pound bone in or 15 pound all grass fed or organic / Duroc (good breed) bone out pork shoulder/butt. You can also use from 150-300# wild hog (sow or boar) is especially good or even preferred.
South Carolina BBQ sauce
Yield 2 Quarts
4 cup Dijon mustard (whole grain)
1 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup pepper vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
Taste to adjust seasoning.
Set the sauce aside overnight for the flavours to meld.
Pat dry and set in a pit/smoker. Smoke with wood charcoal (preferable) at the heat of
+/-225 degrees Fahrenheit. When deciding on the weight of the shoulder/butt remember you will lose about 40% of the ‘wet’ weight of the meat so that yuuuge 20 pound hunk o hunk of pork will only yield 12ish pounds of meat and even less if it’s bone-in.
Smoke/cook time will be roughly 1.5 hours per bone-in pound of meat or 1 hour per pound of boneless meat. Remember these are more of guidelines not any hard/fast rules.
Once the meat is smoked pull out and tent with foil and let it rest about an hour. This resting phase is very important as it lets the meat fibers (actin-myosin fibers) relax so the meat will be super tender.
You can serve the meat as slices drizzled with sauce over mashed potatoes for a more upscale presentation or do what I’m feeling right now……a pulled Carolina BBQ sandwich.
For that we will pull the pork meat and shred with two forks. In a pan we will ‘wet’ the meat in BBQ sauce and heat thru. Let any leftovers cool to room temperature and put in a air tight container and refrigerate or freeze.
For the sandwich use any soft roll bun you prefer (onion roll is perfect) and fill with a generous heaping of sauced meat. Top with true southern style coleslaw (very little dressing with a touch of buttermilk and celery salt).
Enjoy with German potato salad and or old fashioned ruffled potato chips. Y’all come back now…ya hear.