The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Karen's Kitchen

June 27, 2012

What is your barb IQ?

TARBORO — One of the articles that I did early in my journey with the Daily Southerner was on barbeque. It's the first time I ever got hate mail. I knew that North Carolinians took their barbeque seriously but I didn't expect quite as much passion as I found. Today I am including the 2 recipes that started that. One is eastern and one is western. However, the rest of the country takes barbeque pretty seriously too. Two of those areas is Memphis and Kansas City. So, today, you get a taste of all four styles.

My first is Eastern of course! As you know, I love Relay For Life. I also love our Relay Golf Tournament. I missed it this year and it broke my heart. For many years, James Hollifield and his buddies cooked our pig for the pig pickin' that ends the tournament each year. This is his recipe. What I found surprising is that he cooks the pig with nothing on it. Everything is put on after the pig is done. He has other rules. One hard and fast rule that James and Rusty adhere to is that the cooker is not opened for the first six hours. Each time the cooker is opened fifteen to twenty minutes of cooking time has been added. Rusty quotes an old axiom that says, “If you’re lookin’ you aren’t cookin’”.  After six hours, the cooker is opened and the pig is checked. They pierce the hocks and look at the meat next to the bone. The cooking time is then adjusted based on that assessment. The rule of thumb is about fifteen minutes per pound.

Once the pig is cooked, the talent part of the cooking project really begins. James and Rusty do their own seasoning of the pig. When the pork is done, the ingredients that James uses are sprinkled on the pig, not mixed and poured (recipe to follow). The pig is then tasted and adjustments are made by adding whatever is needed. If you want extra sauce at the table, they will allow some George's with a little sugar added. There is nothing like a pig cooked by James and Rusty!

The second recipe is the western version. It's a tomato based sauce. They only cook the shoulders. That takes some of the fun out of it for me, but hey, it's their rule! The sauce is still pretty awesome though. This recipe comes from Hobert's friend Bill Scarlett. He sent it to me so that I would know what "real" barbecues tastes like. I have used it many times and it is delicious!

The third recipe is a dry rub from Kansas City. I mix this up and keep it in an airtight container. I always have some of this on hand! It's great to sprinkle on ribs, pork chops, chicken - almost anything! Be sure that you make some of this up. You won't regret having it on hand.

The dry rib rub is followed by Kansas City's sauce. It's also a tomato based sauce. It has ketchup, vinegar and molasses. It's thick and sweet and tangy. I love it. You can add more heat if you like. I don't want it to burn so I keep it mild.

The last recipe is Memphis Style. Memphis varies from Kansas City in that Memphis is a mustard based sauce. It isn't over powered by the mustard but you can tell that it's there.

No matter what type of bbq is the "real" one for you, these are great recipes to have on hand. Try them all and see which you like better. They also store well. The wet sauces will keep for a good while in the fridge and the dry rub will keep for months in an airtight container.

If you have tips, recipes for sauces or other pig cooking information, please email me this week or send me a response on Facebook. If I get responses, I will include them next week.

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Karen's Kitchen
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