Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire

WCC 31 – BARBECUE

I’m not a big grill fan.  I mean, I’m not a big griller.  I know, I know, guys are supposed to love grilling!  Standing outside, cooking slabs of meat over fire – now that’s a guy thing! 

Uh….not for this guy.  Grilling time is summer time and summer time means heat, bugs, humidity, etc.  I hate it.  That’s why I have a gas stove – I get cook with fire every night.  So, when the lovely and gracious Sara picked grilling as the theme for this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge, I was concerned. 

Then…Inspiration!

Before moving to New Hampshire, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I lived in North Carolina for five years.  And North Carolina means two things – College Basketball and Barbecue, often at the same time.

Now, I don’t know what “barbecue” means where you are, but in New England it means hot dogs and hamburgers cooked on a grill.  In North Carolina, it means a Boston butt (in a case of confused geography, it’s really a cut from the shoulder of a pig) smoked for 8-12 hours until the juicy meat falls from the bone.  Oh, baby!

Smoke it?  Yes, you need a smoker for this.  You may be able to jerry-rig a smoker with your grill, but a dedicated smoker will make a better butt.  A smoker usually has a separate smoke chamber so the meat isn’t over a direct flame.

I don’t have one of those.  I don’t know anybody who does.  BUT, I do have a friend with the king of ceramic cookers, the Big Green Egg.  And the Big Green Egg acts as a damn fine smoker.

Equally as important to the meat is the sauce (or dip).  This is where the schism happens.  There are two kinds of sauce, Eastern-style and Lexington and may God have mercy on the souls of those using the wrong one.  The wrong one is the one you don’t use.  And your loyalty here is required and must be all consuming – there is no “this-way, that-way”.  In North Carolina, apathy to barbecue sauce is akin to rooting for more than one college basketball team – it’s just not done.  You have three teams to pick from, Carolina, Duke or State and then you fight to the death for your team.  And it’s the same for your barbecue sauce.

Both sauces are vinegar based, not at all like the sickeningly sweet Kansas City-style barbecue sauces you buy in the bottles at the grocery store.  The main difference between the two Carolina styles is tomato.  There is none in Eastern and some in Lexington and people come to blows over which one is best.

LEXINGTON BARBACUE

MEAT

7-9 pound Boston butt

(That’s it for the meat.  Some people want to add a rub to the meat.  That is an unnecessary distraction.  We want the flavor of the meat and the smoke, nothing else.  There was one more step for me – give the meat to my friend Joe to cook on his Egg.)

Smoke the meat until the internal temperature is between 190 – 200 degrees.  The meat will be so succulent, so juicy that you can shred it with your gloved hands or two forks.  Serve with a Lexington barbecue sauce and don’t be prissy with it.

Check out the pink “smoke ring” – that means it was done right.

SAUCE OR DIP

(From the Yadkin County Homemakers Extension Club Cookbook)

  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 onion  – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and boil slowly for 15 minutes.  Strain and put in a squeeze bottle.

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August 17, 2008 - Posted by | Main Dish, Pork, Weekend Cookbook Challenge

5 Comments »

  1. Oh Mikey! This looks amazingly wonderful. Thank you so much for taking part even though grilling isn’t your thing. So yummy.

    Comment by Sara | August 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. Love some pulled pork! But I do like to put a little rub on it. mmmm.

    Looks great!

    Comment by Elle | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  3. […] of when I read Mel’s Diner author and Resident Man In The Know, Mike’s post about his Lexington Barbecue. A Boston butt simply smoked until the juicy meat falls from the bone.. can you imagine the pulled […]

    Pingback by FoodieView Blog » Recipe Roundup: Football and Food | October 6, 2008 | Reply

  4. […] of when I read Mel’s Diner author and Resident Man In The Know, Mike’s post about his Lexington Barbecue. A Boston butt simply smoked until the juicy meat falls from the bone.. can you imagine the pulled […]

    Pingback by FoodieView Blog » Recipe Roundup: Family, Football and Food | October 6, 2008 | Reply

  5. Hi Mike! Thanks for this truly mouthwatering recipe. We are proud to have it in this week’s Recipe Roundup!

    Comment by Michele | October 8, 2008 | Reply


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