Sunday, December 12, 2010

BBQ Pulled Pork>a southern calssic

BBQ pulled pork is the King of Southern BBQ! Rich, tender, flavorful and smoky, for me at least it is a draw between Beef Brisket and Pork Butt I love them both. There are as many ways to prepare and smoke a Boston Butt as there are BBQ Pit Masters everybody seams to put their own little twist on it. I have tried many variations through the years some where fantastic and mediocre(There is no such thing as bad BBQ some may be better than others but it is all good!) I took what I liked from various recipes and added it to what I was doing and tweaked it here and there along the way to come up with what I feel is a very good product with well balanced flavors of sweet & heat, spicy and savory.
This is Low & Slow cooking done over many hours, although labor intensive the pay off is worth the price of admission. The Rub is key to quality BBQ in not only creating the "Bark" (dark crusty exterior) it carries the flavors that are associated with BBQ that when combined with the smokiness that is imparted from cooking with wood that make this so special. Enjoy!

Note: I know that some folks do not have access to a BBQ pit or may be living in an apt. in a concrete jungle. You can prepare this in your oven it will be good but will be lacking the smokiness that come form cooking over wood. Included here you will find a few pointers to help you over come this at the bottom of the page.

Prep time: 15 min                                           Cooking time: Varies depending on the weight of the meat.


1 Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder (I look for about 8 lb bone in Butts)
 Worcestershire Sauce

The Rub

 4 oz Paprika
1/2 cup Turbinado Sugar
2 tsp onion powder
2 tbl lemon pepper                                             
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp powdered ginger
2 tsp mustard powder
2 tbl kosher salt

( Combine the above spices in a 1 gal Zip bag seal and agitate to mix it can be stored in the bag  or transferred to an air tight container with a shaker top)

Remove the meat from the packaging rinse under cold running water pat dry with paper towels.

Position the Butt with the fat cap up and score the Butt with diagonal cuts first one direction then the opposite direction.  You should end up with a diamond pattern. This opens up the top of the Butt allowing the fat to render and baste the meat as it cooks and all so holds more Rub thereby creating more flavorful Bark.

Slather the Butt with Worcestershire sauce then liberally apply the rub to the outside. 

Build the fire in your Pit and bring the temp to 230 - 240 º F place the Butt in the pit Fat Cap up and put the probe of your digital thermometer in a meatiest part of closest to the center of the Butt. Close up the pit and no peeking;If your looking you aint cooking!

Maintain the temperature in your Pit until the internal temp of the Butt reaches 190 º F. At this point you need to preform what I call the poke test.; using a wooden skewer press into the meat if it slides in with no resistance ( Hot Knife through Butter feel) it is done. if it offers any resistance continue to cook and check it again when the internal temp has increased by 5 º F. most will yield between 200 - 205 º F.

Remove the Butt from the pit and double wrap it in  aluminum foil.. Line the Bottom of an empty cooler with news paper and place the wrapped Butt in the cooler.
Cover the Butt with folded bath towels filling up the space in the cooler allow to rest for at least 1 hour. I have left them like this for up to 8 hours.

After a rest remove the Butt from the cooler the bone will pull out cleanly. remove what little is left of the fat cap and pull the pork while it is warm. 

This is purely optional but I usually apply a little rub over the top then toss it through.
Traditional BBQ sauce for this is a Western N.C. vinegar sauce, however my DR. Pepper BBQ sauce works well too.

As promised this can be prepared in your oven if you do not a BBQ pit. with some simple changes.

To the rub add a tsp of *cumin(adds some smokiness)
Inject the Butt with 1 cup of apple juice mixed with 1 tsp liquid smoke
Lower the rack in the oven to the lowest point and put the prepared Butt in a roasting rack in a roasting pan.
Set the oven temperature to 230º F and follow the above instructions.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce

Texas is synonymous with BBQ it is a food group unto its self. Whether your idea of BBQ is Ribs, Chicken, Sausage, Pork or the undisputed "King of Texas BBQ" Brisket. All  BBQ needs a great sauce. Now let me say here really good BBQ should not need any sauce to be good, the meat will speak for it's self. This is not to say that great BBQ can not be enhanced with a touch of a quality sauce served on the side.
Two of the largest growing condiment lines are BBQ sauce and Hot sauce, look around the next time you are at the Market to many choices for this Cowboy to deal with. I decided to make my own based on what I consider the flavors of Texas. Something unique that will go nicely with all BBQ. As a base I chose my favorite beverage Dr. Pepper not only for its complex flavors but because it tastes so good with BBQ I have lots of experience here trust me. The resulting sauce has a sweet start that really elevates the BBQ's sweetness with a spicy finish and a little back heat, with the undercurrents of the Dr. Pepper in the back ground rounding out the experience. Enjoy!

Prep time: 10 min                                   Cook time: 40 min

Dr.Pepper BBQ sauce


2 cans Dr. Pepper
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup veg oil
2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Basil
1 cup Hunts ketchup
1/3 cup Worcestershire
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp New Mexico Chili powder
1/3 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Black Strap molasses

Place everything in the blender except 1 can of Dr. pepper and blend for 1 min. Transfer to a sauce pan stir in the remaining Dr pepper. bring to a low boil reduce heat to a simmer and reduce by 1/2. Cool and bottle.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Smoked Turkey Enchiladas

Every year I tell my self "get a smaller bird" and with out fail I never do. So there is plenty leftover, For sandwiches, pot pie, soup, and the king of turkey leftovers Turkey Enchiladas. This years bird I cooked on the smoker with a little pecan wood, dry brined with lemon and Mexican oregano. So using some of this super tasty meat in these enchiladas was incredible.
Mostly I use corn tortillas for my enchiladas but these are so much better with flour tortillas, Maybe it is me but I truly love a turkey sandwich on white bread and these keep with that theme. I pick up the flavors of fall in the sauce with cinnamon and clove and the filling with some Butternut Squash. I warn you these are truly amazing, mildly spicy and bursting with flavor You may decide to have turkey more than once a year. Enjoy!

Perp time: 30 min                                        Cooking time: 30 min

Tools: 13 x 9" casserole dish


8 Flour Tortillas
1 1/2 cups grated Monterrey Jack

2 cups turkey meat (diced under 1/2")
1/2 cup butternut squash (roasted and diced under 1/2 ")
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/3 cup diced onion
1 Jalapeno de seeded and diced (2 if you like it spicy like I do)
1 tsp comino seed
2 tbl chopped cilantro
2 tbl veg oil (or rendered turkey fat)
1/2 cup chicken stock

Enchilada sauce:
1/4 cup veg oil
1/4 cup flour
2 tbl ground chili powder (ancho & passilla)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups chicken stock


Prepare the enchilada sauce by starting in a heavy bottom skillet over med heat. Mix the spices and the flour together in a small bowl and warm the chicken stock in a small pan. dump the spices into the warm skillet and toast the spices stirring constantly until they become fragrant and add the veg oil and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Slowly whisk in the warm chicken stock and bring to the boil reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes remove from the heat.

To prepare the filing warm a heavy bottom skillet over med heat and add the oil and comino seed allow to toast in the warm oil for a minute and add the vegetables stirring frequently until the onions become translucent.
Add the turkey to the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and cover the skillet loosely reduce heat and simmer until the stock has reduced to almost nothing leaving a moist filling 5-7 minutes add the cilantro.

Assembling the Enchiladas:
Spoon some of the Enchilada sauce into the bottom of the casserole to lightly coat the bottom.
Using a pair of tongs dredge a tortilla into the sauce and place into the casserole and fill with 3 tbl of the turkey filling. Place this off center and closer to you. grasp the edge closest to you fold it over the filling and tuck the edge under the filling and roll up the tortilla placing the seam on the bottom of the casserole dish. Slide it to the opposite end and repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Cover the top with abou1/2 cup of the sauce and finish with the grated Monterrey Jack. Cover the Casserole dish with  aluminum foil and bake in a 375º F for 20 minutes uncover and bake for 5 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Side toppings Crema, Pico de Giao, sour cream, pickled radishes.