Two sauces give this pulled pork barbecue a great balance.
Spring brings many family gatherings: Mother’s Day, confirmations and graduations, to name a few.
Picnics should always be fun and easy to do. Pulled pork, potato salad and cole slaw make a great menu, and you can make all of them a few days in advance, leaving time to enjoy your party.
The secret to good barbecue is cooking the meat very slowly. Cooking at a lower temperature for a longer period almost ensures the meat will be tender. Many recipes suggest using a dry rub, which is a combination of salt, pepper and other spices and herbs, but for now we’ll keep it simple.
Two sauces complete the dish, a Carolina vinegar sauce and a sweet barbecue sauce. Combined with the meat, they add an element of sweet and sour.
Pulled pork Serves 10 to 12
8-pound pork shoulder (at room temperature)
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Salt and pepper the pork on all sides and then place in a Dutch oven, fat side down, cover and cook for four or five hours. (Many recipes suggest that you cook the meat until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 180 degrees F.)
After the pork has cooked, remove it from the oven and let the meat cool. When the pork has cooled enough to handle, lift it out of the pot and place on a cutting board. The meat will be tender and without much effort will separate into large chunks. Remove the fatty parts and pull or shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. This can be made three days ahead of time and reheated before serving.
Vinegar sauce Yields 2 cups
2 cups of cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
In a saucepan, combine the vinegar and spices and bring to a boil. After the sauce begins to boil, remove it from the heat and let cool. It’s ready to serve over the pork.
Barbecue sauce Yields 3 cups
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 cups of ketchup
½ cup of brown sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco to taste
Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions until they are translucent. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes.
Creamy potato salad Serves 10 to 12
5 pounds of medium-sized red potatoes
4 large hard-boiled eggs
1½ cups of real mayonnaise
2 teaspoons celery seed
1½ teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons fresh minced dill
Wash but leave the skin on the potatoes and steam for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. While the potatoes cool, blend the mayonnaise, celery seed, salt and dill in a large bowl. Chop the eggs and add to the sauce, mixing in very carefully. Once the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, cut them into bite-size pieces and carefully add to the sauce and eggs. Serve at room temperature.
Cole slaw Serves 10 to 12
½ head of white cabbage
½ head of red cabbage
6 medium carrots
For the sauce
1 cup of real mayonnaise
1/8 cup of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon of cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of celery seed
1 teaspoon of celery salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel away the outer layers of the each cabbage and core them. With a sharp knife, thinly slice the cabbage. Peel and trim the carrots and coarsely grate them. If you have a food processor, the slicing and grating will go much more quickly. When the shredding and grating is done, toss the carrots and cabbage together in a large bowl. Just before serving mix in the sauce.