Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winter Fake-y-que

This is certainly the winter of snow. What this does mean of course, are snow days. I am fortunate enough to actually get snow days, and I promise I’ll try not to rub it in. But, I have had some free time on my hands which means I have been baking/cooking more than usual. (Joe’s had it pretty good, let’s put it that way.) After a couple rounds of bread, a cake and an apple gallette I was in the mood for a savory, hearty treat, and this past weekend’s below zero temperatures reiterated that feeling.
Plus, the football games on Sunday just gave me the extra nudge I needed to make a gigantic dinner. Well, I decided that I could fudge a little indoor BBQ this weekend to remind me of warmer days. And the results weren’t too bad. I guess it can’t really be BBQ since there is no smoking of the meat involved, but it is slow cooked and when some homemade barbeque sauce is poured over it, I think it totally still counts.
I followed the basic tenants of traditional barbeque but adapted them to the work in the oven without a smoker. I know you can get indoor smokers, but in the interest of our upstairs neighbors, I opted not to try and actually smoke anything. So the basic steps were, make a dry spice rub, rub it on meat, sear the meat, braise meat, shred meat, douse with sauce.
In braising the meat, I took a ‘less is more’ approach – not in time; no that was about 5 hours, but in flavors. Since most barbequed meats are basted with some kind of mop sauce, I thought I could let it cook in the mop sauce instead. And letting it slowly cook for 5 hours was easy, plus as a bonus the kitchen was nice and warm for the entire afternoon.
Once I took the meat out and shredded it, I poured the remaining braising liquid back over the whole mess, and let people add their own barbeque sauce. But the true test of the pork was from my 20 month old neighbor, who would walk into the kitchen every minute or so and say “Pork?” in her tiny high pitched little voice. I would find a bite sized piece and hold it out to her like a little bird, pop it in her mouth and she’d walk away. Since she kept coming back, I assumed the pork had to be good – and it was.
So the next time you are in the deep winter doldrums, host your own fake-y-que. Or if you find yourself in a snow day with 5 plus hours to kill, try this recipe out.

Braised BBQ Pork
You can use your favorite spice rub, or make your own. Choose flavors that you prefer, but be sure to include a little heat, and if you have it, a little smoke flavor. I used a smoked paprika, but any smoked spice will do. I also made a bbq sauce, but again you can use store-bought if you’d like.

For the Rub
1 (3-4) pound pork butt
1 Tb salt
1 Tb ground pepper
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper (or 2 tsp. red pepper flakes)
1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. dried rosemary
2 tsp. dried onion flakes
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. ground mustard
½ tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika

For the Braise
1 small onion, sliced
1 Tb olive oil
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1 c water
1 bay leaf

For the spice rub, combine all the spices together in a little bowl. Rub mixture all over pork and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. You can let it sit longer to really develop the flavors in the refrigerator also.

Preheat the oven to 300°. In the bottom of a heavy Dutch oven, sauté the onions in the oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Next, brown the pork on all sides. Some of the spice mixture will come off and stick to the bottom of the pan, that’s ok. Remove the pork to a plate and set aside.

Next, deglaze the pan with the apple cider vinegar, scraping up all of the brown bits. Place pork back in pot as well as any liquid on the plate. Add water and bay leaf, the water should come up about an inch and a half on the pork. Bring this to a boil, then cover and place in oven. Cook for about 5 hours.

The pork should be smaller in size and incredibly tender. Remove pork and place on a cutting board. With two forks, pull the meat apart to get shredded chunks. Pour onions and sauce over meat after you have finished shredding.

To serve, place meat on a roll, top with BBQ sauce and coleslaw (optional) and enjoy!

(If you want to make your own BBQ sauce, there is again, a basic recipe you can tinker with. Sauté some finely diced onion in a little oil. Next add in apple cider vinegar, mustard, ketchup and brown sugar. If the sauce is a little sweet add some Worcestershire sauce, simmer and serve.

For mine, I didn’t use any sugar but I did use some pomegranate concentrate I had, as well as lemon juice and oyster sauce, I let it simmer for about an hour and then let it cool before serving. So get creative, and if all else fails, keep your favorite sauce in the pantry.)

1 comment:

  1. How about a coleslaw recipe?? By the way, I am at work today, despite the foot plus of snow that fell on nyc last night. I would much rather be cooking...or sleeping...or sledding.


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