How To Grill

Our textbook
Season 1

Show 108: Whole Hog

For many Americans (especially if you live in the South), "barbecue" means pork. In this show, we certainly go high on the hog, starting with pork chops and pork tenderloin, working up to a smoked pork shoulder and even a whole hog. By way of accompaniments, I'll show you how to make barbecued "baked" potatoes and North Carolina vinegared slaw.

Today's menu:

  • Mojo marinated pork tenderloin
  • Smoked brined pork porterhouse
  • North Carolina pulled pork shoulder
  • Whole hog

Brining your way to succulence

Brines help keep pork chops and other lean cuts moist during grilling through the process of osmosis. A brine is nothing more than a solution of salt, water, and optional seasonings. It works in two ways: first the salt draws the blood and water out of the pork. Then, to reestablish the equilibrium of minerals and liquids, the brine flows into the meat.

The basic formula for a brine is 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar or other sweetener for every 1 cup water. Other flavorings, from herbs to garlic to even spirits or coffee, are limited only to your imagination.

The typical brining time for a pork chop is 2 to 4 hours. Remember-less is more: over-brining will give the pork a rubbery texture and make it overly salty

How to pull pork

  • Should your pork shoulder come with skin, don't bother to remove it. The skin cooks to a crisp mahogany brown and can add flavor and crunch to pulled pork. (You will need a cleaver to chop the skin.) North Carolina pit masters call the stuff "brownies" and on request, will add it to your pulled pork.
  • Pork pulls easiest when it's hot. To protect your hands, wear insulated rubber gloves for pulling.
  • The traditional wood for smoking the pork is hickory, but you can also use oak or pecan.
  • Pulled pork is traditionally served mounded on hamburger buns with coleslaw. Not the mayonnaise based coleslaw most Americans would think of as slaw. North Carolina slaw consists of finely chopped cabbage tossed with vinegar sauce. That's it.

Makes 1 cup

  • 1/4 cup coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic flakes
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • 1/2 to1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
APPLE "STEAKS" printer-ready version

Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir or whisk to mix. Store the rub in a sealed jar away from heat and light. It will keep for several months.

for the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 medium or 3 large grannie smith apples
1. Make the glaze. Place the cider, honey, lemon juice, and butter in a heavy saucepan and boil until thick, syrupy, and reduced by about 1/3-6 to 10 minutes. Set the glaze aside.

2. Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

3. Cut the apples crosswise into 1/2 inch thick round slices. Don't worry about the seeds-they add a rustic charm to the preparation.

4. Brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the apple slices on the grate and grill until nicely browned and semi-soft, 3 to 5 minutes per side, rotating each slice 90 degrees after 1-1/2 minutes to lay on a handsome crosshatch of grill marks. Baste the apple slices with the cider glaze on both sides as they grill.

5. Transfer the apple slices to a platter or plates. Drizzle any remaining glaze over them and serve at once.

Note: recipe from Steven's new book: BBQ USA.

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort