Memorial Day Authentic NC Barbecue

Discussion in 'Recipes' started by foodnfoto, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. foodnfoto


    Likes Received:
    Hi all
    As the weather is warming up my thoughts turn to smoking and barbecue. Ah yes, that wonderful smokey, tender pork that's pulled into tender shreds and piled on a soft, fluffy bun with tangy sauce and crisp cole slaw. Does eating get any better? Not for this expat Tarheel living in the barbecue wasteland called New York. Yeah, Yeah, I know, there's Blue Smoke, Virgil's, Dinosaur (love theplace, not the 'cue), and Pearsons. None really satisfy me.
    Since my husband and I are hosting a Memorial Day BBQ for all our friends and neighbors, I thought I'd share our recipe and technique. If any of you can join us up in the Hudson Highlands, PM me and I'll send you directions and an invite.
    Happy 'Cuein'!

    Carolina Barbecue Sauce and Smokey 'Cue
    first, the sauce----
    Makes about 3 quarts

    1/2 cup honey
    1/3 cup molasses
    1 bulb garlic, unpeeled and broken into cloves
    2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
    3 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
    1 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
    8 dried New Mexico chilies
    2 dried ancho chilies
    2 bay leaves
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    2 cans (26 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes, with juice
    1 quart apple cider vinegar
    4 cups water
    1/4 cup salt
    In a large stock pot combine the honey, molasses, garlic, cumin, coriander, peppercorns, chilies, and bay leaves. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is caramelized, but not scorched.
    Add the tomato paste and tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to break up the tomatoes. Add the vinegar, water, and salt; the sauce will be thin.
    Simmer, uncovered for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours (much better), stirring occasionally. Remove any large pieces of garlic skin and bay leaves. Puree sauce in a blender or food processor. (I like to use a food mill using the smallest sieve-plate.)
    Note: This sauce will keep for at least 6 months in the refrigerator, but tends to loose its hot-kick, though the flavors are, otherwise, just fine. It's the perfect combination of the eastern and western North Carolina pork barbecue disciplines. It's great on chicken, turkey, stronger fishes (tuna, salmon, grouper) and beef, but just plain weird with lamb. Goat I have not tried, but who knows?
    Scott Howell (the chef at Nana's restaurant) suggests you marinate pork shoulder in 1/3 of the sauce for 2 days, mop the pork as you smoke it with 1/3 and reserve the rest to drizzle over your pulled pork. I find all that is a lot of trouble. It wastes a lot of sauce during the marinating process and leads to tomatoey-tasting pork. If you try to mop the pork during the smoking process, you loose a lot of heat and smoke by constantly removing the lid lengthening the cooking time considerably.

    Now, for the Pork!

    Here's how to smoke Carolina-style barbecue on a Weber kettle grill:
    Prepare a brine by dissolving 1 cup of kosher salt in 1 gallon water. Submerge 2 7-8 lb. pork shoulder picnics in the brine, cover with cheesecloth. Allow to soak for about 24 hours, turning occasionally.
    Soak 2 cups of hickory chips in water for 30 minutes. Start a slow fire with natural chunk charcoal-NOT BRIQUETTES!. Pile the chunks on top of several wads of newspaper, then light the paper and allow to burn for 15-20 minutes-never use lighter fluid! When coals are lit, push them to one side of the kettle. Drain and sprinkle half the wood chips on the coals. Place a drip pan with 1" of apple cider, beer, ginger ale or water next to the coals. Attach the grate and arrange the pork shoulder on the opposite side from the coals and above the drip pan. Cover with the lid, adjusting so the smoke hole is above the pork. Maintain the heat at about 200°-210?F (you should be able to hold your hand about 2 inches above the grate for 10 seconds without becoming uncomfortable). You'll need to occasionally add more charcoal and wood chips as the fire burns low. This is the only reason to lift the lid! Smoke in this fashion for about 1-1 1/2 hours per pound of meat until internal temperature reaches 170°-175°F. We usually smoke 2 pork shoulders at a time for about 9-10 hours leaving lots of time for preparing side dishes and drinking long-neck Buds.
    When the pork is cooked, tear it from the bone for delicious pulled pork. I also like to chop it gently with the back of a chef's knife to break and separate the threads of meat. Drizzle with sauce, serve with ice-cold slaw and soft, fluffy buns for the true 'cue experience.

    Hope you enjoy!
  2. castironchef


    Likes Received:
    Culinary Instructor
  3. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Likes Received:
    Professional Chef
    I am a big fan of NC BBQ. There is just something about that mix of fatty pork and the spicy, vinegary sauce!
  4. blueschef


    Likes Received:
    Professional Chef
    Tell me when and where I will be there!
  5. steve a

    steve a

    Likes Received:
    Professional Chef
    I have to admit. The first place I ate when I moved back to NC from Upstate NY was at an Eastern NC 'Q. I didn't just walk out of there. I sort of rolled in a forward motion, stopping only to pay.


    (psst... ever go to Syracuse to Dinosaur BBQ? Not bad for 'red stuff.')
  6. islandgirl2


    Likes Received:
    Restaurant Manager
    Thanks. I have Virgils when I'm in NY, but don't bother anywhere else. I grew up with Piedmont-style, so that's my fav. I'll be trying your method soon.
  7. mikelm


    Likes Received:
    Home Chef

    Copied that one right into my big recipe file in the sky. I've been more into Texas-style 'que; always wanted to try the NC style, and yours sounds like the way to start!


    Mike :cool: