May 28, 2007

Memorial Day cooking

Like most holidays, Memorial Day is a day for me to cook some man-food. This almost always involves the grill and my smoker. I've been making some good baby back ribs for a couple of years thanks to my buddy Andy and his web site Andy's Ribs. Ouch, I just saw on his site that he'll no longer be selling his rib rub and recipes. Darn it! I have sent quite a few friends his way in the past and they've always loved what Andy was dishing up. I still have my recipe book, but I'll have to hit Andy up for the one piece I am missing - the recipe for his rib rub.

Besides using Andy's rub I've used Alton Brown's dry rub recipe, too. I prefer Andy's for ribs, but Mr. Brown's dry rub is great for pork shoulder, pork chops, etc.

Today's menu includes pulled pork made from two smallish pork shoulders (boston butt cuts). I just put them in the smoker about an hour ago, so they still have another 6-8 hours to go. I cooked up a much larger whole shoulder for a party we had late last summer that was in the smoker for 12 hours before I announced it done. Creating some good pulled pork is a labor of love - 3 days ago I pulled the shoulders out of the freezer, yesterday they got a 12 hour brine bath to soak up a bunch of moisture and this morning I got up early to get them dried off, covered in the dry rub. and ready for the smoker. It is a lot of work, but by about 3:00 this afternoon it will all be worthwhile. I'll serve it up with two types of sauce, a (partly homemade) tomato based sauce and a very tangy (completely homemade) Carolina style mustard-vinegar based sauce. The mustard sauce is my favorite by far with pulled pork - something about that vinegar with the sweet pork is mouth-watering delicious. Homemade cole slaw and baked beans will partner well with the pork, too. Throw in some big red smokeys, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, chips, all the fixins and a few cold ones and we should be loving life come late afternoon.

The food and family time will be great, but I can't forget what Memorial day is all about. Hearing "Taps" before the races yesterday put everything into perspective. It gets me every time. 

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