Friday, June 28, 2013

Tasting the Best of July 4th

Photo by Jennifer Davick
The fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. As children, my sister and I played in the water hose, swam, and ran circles around our Scuppernong arbor while Dad's barbecue smoked away most of the day. We ate on the screen porch while mosquitoes practically hovered right outside the door waiting for their lunch. The day ended on creamy sweet spoonfuls after we anxiously waited on homemade ice cream to churn. 
No matter the childhood memories or the big plans for the perfect summertime menu, it's a day to be proud to be an American. God Bless America!

Spiced and Smoked Boston Butt

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. celery seeds, crushed
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground red pepper
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3⁄4 tsp. ground allspice
1 (5-lb.) bone-in pork shoulder roast (Boston butt)
10 cups hickory chips
1 disposable, aluminum-foil roasting pan
Vinegar Sauce

1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a small bowl. Place pork in a large bowl. Generously coat all sides with 3⁄4 cup spice rub. Reserve remaining rub for another use. Cover pork with plastic wrap; chill 8 to 24 hours.

2. Soak wood chips in water to cover 30 minutes to 2 hours.

3. Place aluminum-foil pan half-full of water on 1 side of a ceramic smoker (such as a Big Green Egg), under the grate, to collect drippings and keep them from burning. Light hardwood charcoal on the other side of the smoker, and bring internal temperature to 300°. Maintain temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Drain wood chips, and place 2 cups directly on coals. Place pork, fat side up, on cooking grate over the water pan; cover with smoker lid.

5. Smoke pork, maintaining smoker temperature at 300°, for 6 hours and 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 190° and the meat falls off the bone. Check smoker every 30 minutes, adding wood chips (1 cup at a time) as needed to maintain smoke, and adjusting vents and adding charcoal (5 to 6 pieces at a time) as needed to maintain 300° heat. Keep the lid closed as much as possible. Cover meat with foil when the crust is browned to your liking.
6. Let stand 30 minutes before chopping or pulling. Serve with Vinegar Sauce.

Makes: 8 to 10 servings

Recipe and photo from Around the Southern Table by Rebecca Lang (Oxmoor House, 2012)

Vinegar Sauce

1 1⁄2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
1⁄3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3⁄4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until brown sugar dissolves. (Do not boil.) Store in refrigerator up to 3 months.

Makes: 3 cups

Recipe and photo from Around the Southern Table by Rebecca Lang (Oxmoor House, 2012)

Easy Ice Cream

Fruit and extract of choice (see below)
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Place the fruit in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process the fruit until pureed.
2. Combine the pureed fruit, extract, milk, cream, sugar, half-and-half, and lemon juice in a 4-cup measuring cup.
3. Set up a half-gallon ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Turn on the machine, then pour the ice cream mixture into the freezer container. Turning on the machine first keeps any ice cream from sticking to the inside of the freezer container. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes: 1/2 gallon

1 pint fresh blueberries
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

3 fresh peaches, peeled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 pound fresh strawberries, stemmed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Recipe from Quick-Fix Southern by Rebecca Lang (Andrews McMeel, 2011)

Copyright 2013 Rebecca Lang Cooks, LLC. All rights reserved.