How many times have you had barbecue at a friend’s house or other gathering and said to yourself, “I could do this better?” After this weekend and all the Memorial Day parties I was invited to, I decided that maybe there should be a recipe for the ‘best barbeque possible.’
I am going to share my secret recipe. This recipe does not even go into my restaurants; it is that big of a secret.
What we will need:
pork. I use pork loin, because I like the light meats.
a crock pot or roasting pan, utensils and storage pans.
salt and pepper.
apple cider vinegar.
a touch of local honey, if desired.
spicy Dijon mustard.
rosemary, thyme and tarragon.
good quality buns.
For the secret sauce:
fresh brewed tea (sweet, of course).
Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce (your favorite flavor).
onion powder and garlic powder.
Let us start the pork first; it will take the longest, depending on size of the meat. First, you will need to clean the loin, wash it and trim off the larger caps of fat. Leave some fat, as it is delicious and also makes for better barbecue. In the crock pot, place the pork loin in the center of the pan, seasoning it with the salt and pepper.
Next, slice coins or little circles of carrots around the pork loin…the more the merrier. These become a simple side item when the pork is finished. Then sprinkle the herbs all over the pork and carrots. I usually go heavy on thyme and rosemary, and very light on tarragon.
Now comes the fun part: for each pound of meat, add 1 teaspoon of spicy Dijon mustard. This is just a thickening agent for the sauce. After the mustard, sprinkle dark brown sugar or honey over the contents of the pan. We are almost finished, and next is the tricky part. Use ¼-cup apple cider vinegar for every cup apple juice and pour over the pork. You want enough juice to completely cover the pork. For me, using a crock pot, I set it to 10 hours, and it cooks itself until it falls apart. The trick to perfect pork is low and slow.
While you are within that final hour or cooking, it is time to put together a strange, yet amazing, sauce. In a pot, boil 1 gallon of tea, whisk in a cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce and 1 teaspoon each of onion and garlic powder. What you are waiting for is the mixture to reduce or cook down by half, and it will thicken. After the sauce has thickened it is ready to eat. Lightly drizzle the sauce on the pulled pork and enjoy.
This is one recipe people will love – they might ask you for your secret, but shhh. Keep it to yourself. Zinfandel is king when it comes to barbecue wine pairings, and there are several excellent suggestions in this week’s wine column. A good, solid barbecue recipe and good wine (or beer) will make your next summer get-together the best ever.
“Food is like a journey; interesting alone, but better with friends,” – Justin Ferguson.
Justin Ferguson is a Nashville native who now lives in Wilson County. A professionally trained chef specializing in farm-to-table cuisine and molecular gastronomy, he now provides restaurant consulting services and is operations manager for Vin Fine Wine & Spirits in Lebanon. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his daily What’s for Dinner segment, or for more than 1,500 other recipes, visit lebanondemocrat.com/recipecentral.