Friday, September 2, 2011

Girls, Get to the Grill!

You’ve seen your man get a testosterone rush with his spatula, hot grill and cold beer. Swap it up and get your own giggles. Grab a glass wine, your favorite apron and declare the spatula yours for the weekend. Your hair will smell like smoke, your food will be amazing and you wouldn’t have it any other way. 
Who made the rule that women must stay in the kitchen and boil potatoes while the men fuel the flames outside? Isn’t it just as appropriate, if not more, that the women, who feed the mouths on every other day, also “man” the grill for the holiday meal? It’s fun, it’s empowering, and it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and feed the flock at the same time.
If you’ve never grilled before, it can be a little intimidating. It’s like trying to find the treadmills on the first day in a new gym or changing the very first diaper on your firstborn. After just one time, you’re comfortable and know exactly what you’re doing. Give it a try and get out of the kitchen and live up the long weekend outside. It’s one of the easiest ways to cook with much less cleanup at the end.
Elizabeth Karmel is a Southern girl that has been leading the charge to get women to the grill all over America. She’s the founder of Just like every other woman in the world, she’s got countless irons in the fire each day. Elizabeth is an innovator in designing and creating grilling products. In addition to writing 3 cookbooks, she is the Executive Chef of Hill Country Barbecue Market in NYC and Washington, DC, and NYC’s Hill Country Chicken. After all, it takes a lot of energy and talent to be named “America’s Female Grilling Expert” by Stephen Raichlen.
Following Elizabeth’s lead can make any woman comfortable in front of an open flame. Knowing a few general rules before getting started is a huge help. teaches women everything from lighting the grill to testing for doneness. Even tips like tying up long hair and using long handled tongs to preserve a manicure are included. Put your newfound skills to work and fire up the grill for Labor Day. You may never cook inside again.
Elizabeth Karmel’s Carolina-Style Pulled Pork Sandwich
Barbecue is a noun. In North Carolina it is defined as pulled pork with a distinctive tangy vinegar sauce—no dark heavy, sugary sweet sauce allowed! The pork is either “pulled” into pieces or chopped with a meat clever and doused with the vinegar-rich “dip.” The thin sauce cuts through the richness of the pork and perfectly accentuates the sweet, smoky meat. In parts of South Carolina, the vinegar is mixed with yellow mustard for a sharper tang and a golden-hued barbecue, that is beloved by those who grew up with it and bemoaned by those who didn’t. Both sandwiches are served on a classic white hamburger bun topped with a simple slaw of chopped green cabbage dressed with the same vinegar sauce.

Grilling Method: Indirect/Low Heat

Hickory wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes 1           
Pork Butt, Boston Butt or untrimmed end-cut pork shoulder roast, 7 to 9 pounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil
Lexington-Style BBQ Sauce (see below)
North Carolina Coleslaw (see below)
1 package plain white hamburger buns—no sesame seeds

Prepare either a charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking.
Remove pork from wrapper. Do not trim any excess fat off the meat, this fat will naturally baste the meat and keep it moist during the long cooking time. Brush pork with a thin coating of Olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside on a clean tray until ready to cook.
Before placing the meat on the grill, add soaked wood chips. Place chips directly on white-gray ash briquettes or in the smoking box of your gas grill. For more tips on smoking on a gas grill, see sidebar. If using a charcoal grill, you will need to add charcoal every hour to maintain the heat.
Place pork in the center of the cooking grate fat-side up. Cook slowly for 4 to 5 hours at 325- 350°F, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork registers 190°F-200°F. The meat should be very tender and falling apart. If there is a bone in the meat, it should come out smooth and clean with no meat clinging to it. (This is the real test for doneness on the barbecue circuit.) Remember, there is no need to turn the meat during the entire cooking time.
Let meat rest for 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Using rubber food-service gloves, pull meat from the skin, bones and fat. Set aside any crispy bits (fat) that has been completely rendered and looks almost burned. Working quickly, shred the chunks of meat with two forks by crossing the forks and “pulling” the meat into small pieces from the roast. Alternately, you can chop the meat with a cleaver if you prefer. Chop the reserved crispy bits and mix into the pulled pork. While the meat is still warm, mix with enough Lexington-Style BBQ Sauce (recipe follows) to moisten and season the meat, about 3⁄4 cup. The recipe can be made in advance up to this point and reheated with about 1⁄4 cup additional sauce in a double boiler.
Serve sandwich style on a white hamburger bun and top with North Carolina Coleslaw (recipe follows). Serve additional sauce on the side, if desired. Serves 10

Lexington-Style BBQ Sauce:
2 cups cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
1⁄2-1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (the more flakes, the hotter the sauce*)
2 tablespoons white sugar
1⁄4 cup brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 cup ketchup

Mix all ingredients together and let sit at least 10 minutes or almost indefinitely in the refrigerator. (*Note, the longer the sauce sits, the hotter it gets since the heat from the red pepper flakes is brought out by the vinegar. Start with 1⁄2 tablespoon red pepper flakes and then add more to taste. )

North Carolina Coleslaw:
1 recipe Lexington-Style BBQ Sauce (see above):
1 medium head green cabbage, chopped or grated

Mix sauce and cabbage together until well mixed and not quite wet. Refrigerate. Let sit 2 hours or overnight.

South Carolina Mustard Sauce:
3⁄4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup prepared yellow mustard
1⁄2 cup molasses
1⁄4 cup honey
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 1⁄2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1⁄2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1⁄2teaspoon ground black pepper
3 dashes cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons fine-ground sea salt, optional

In a stainless steel or non-reactive saucepan, combine the liquid ingredients. Whisk to combine and bring to just under a boil, stirring well. Add spices and whisk again. Note: The most popular Carolina Mustard Sauces do not include salt in their list of ingredients, preferring a very sweet single note sauce. I think that the pork tastes a little bland without the salt so I add the salt, giving the sauce a little more complexity. Reduce to a simmer and let cook and additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool before using.
Yield: 2 cups

South Carolina Coleslaw:
1 recipe South Carolina Mustard Sauce (see above)
2 medium head green cabbage, chopped or grated

Mix sauce and cabbage together until well mixed and not quite wet. Refrigerate. Let sit 2 hours or overnight.

Recipes and headnote © 2011 Elizabeth A. Karmel, recipes adapted from the cookbook, Taming the Flame: Secrets to Hot and Quick Grilling and Low and Slow BBQ (John Wiley & Sons).
Photograph courtesy Elizabeth A. Karmel.

Copyright © 2011 Rebecca Lang Cooks, LLC. All rights reserved.