Saturday, January 12, 2013

On the Menu This Week

I've been visiting the butcher at Apple Market more frequently these days. I was there yesterday and picked up a gorgeous pork shoulder roast which was beckoning to be included in our weekend plans. Time for a bbq! I will need to grab some Kirby cukes (golly, will I be able to find them this time of year?!?) to make those yummy pickles inspired by Chicago Q and a cabbage for Slaw. Then we just need some Cornbread and Grandpa's Baked Beans.

Our last bbq feast was a few days before Thanksgiving, the day everyone arrived in from out of town. I tried something new - slow roasting the pork in a Dutch oven on a bed of onions in a braise of apple cider. That was based on a recipe I saw on Oprah's site - click here to see it. I like to "brine" pork shoulder in a dry rub overnight before bbq'ing. I use spice blends from the Spice House (Smoke House Seasoning and Milwaukee Iron are my personal faves), sprinkling them liberally all over the roast and then wrapping the roast tightly in plastic wrap. To cook, I set my oven to 175 (you could do this in a slow cooker, as well), slice an onion and line the bottom of a 3 or 4 quart Dutch oven with the slices. Unwrap the roast and place on the bed of onions. Add about 2 cups of cider (or stock) to the pot, then put in the oven for like 6 hours at least. Pull it out when it's falling off the bone.  I love smoking the roast outside on the grill (using Hickory chips), but, let's face it, this is a lot easier.

This is a good time to talk bbq sauce, one of my favorite condiments. My all-time favorite is Noh Hawaiian, and I've picked it up at Apple Market in Chicago, but I didn't see it there the yesterday. I'm also a fan of Sweet Baby Ray's Original, which I thought of as a small-batch Chicago product when we moved here seven years ago, until the day I saw it bundled at Costco. 

Turns out, I knew very little about bbq sauce seven years ago. I thought the only differences were in smokiness or sweetness. I had no idea that bbq sauce existed that wasn't tomato-based. Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, is the only place I know where you can get South Carolina mustard bbq sauce, eastern Carolina's vinegar bbq sauce and the tomato-based condiment I love so much. (If you're still curious about bbq sauce history, geography and origins, read this from Zingerman's founder Ari Weinzweig.)

Ok, off to look for cukes and cabbage!

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