Wednesday, May 14, 2008


In just a few weeks it will be the start of barbecue season. I was well into my 20's before I realized that not everyone held the same kind of BBQ's as my family did. I was raised in the Hudson Valley and the Palisdade Park system was a short distance from our home. My mother and her sisters, brother, mother, and assorted children would frequently plan BBQ's in one of the parks that provided grills. The men would often leave as early as 6 AM (to beat the "city folk" to the best spots) and get breakfast started. They'd lug griddles and skillets and start the day with bacon, eggs, sausage, and other "typical" BBQ foods. The women and children would join them in time for a hearty start to the day, and then the cooking would begin in earnest. Huges pots of boiling water would be placed on one grill; pots of sauce which contained meatballs, sausage, braciola, pigs' feet, and other assorted meats would be placed on another grill to reheat. I think my mother's sister-in-law would bring hot dogs for whatever kids wanted them (she, of course, was not Italian). While most parents insisted that their children not go into the water for an hour after eating, our family needed to draw that out a bit given the menu.

This type BBQ was later replaced by a more Americanized version, one which DID include hot dogs and hamburgers and even potato and macaroni salad (all homemade, of course) for those who didn't like our more traditional fare.

When Larry and I began planning our first BBQ in our new home, it was clear that we were from two very different schools of thought regarding cookouts. I'm pleased to say that we've compromised and that you can usually find hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, pesto pasta salad, and baked beans in addition to the "real" BBQ food.

One of my favorite BBQ foods is shredded BBQ pork. I have used two different methods to make this wonderful dish. One involves slow roasting in the oven and then shredding with two forks, a lot of work and a bit of clean up. The other is a slow simmered BBQ pork which you can do on the stove in a Dutch oven, or the way I prefer--in the crockpot. I love this dish served with really good cole slaw and either mashed potatoes or potato salad. It's great on a roll as well. I always include it at our cookouts.
2 1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Cut the pork shoulder crosswise into 1/4 inch slices (it slices more easily if it's partially frozen). Combine all ingredients in the crock pot, mixing well. Cook on low setting for 7 or 8 hours (pork should be tender), stirring occasionally.
Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven, mixing well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

The pork shreds itself and has a wonderful flavor, either method you use.

1 comment:

  1. You are amazing. I remember all those cookout's/BBQ's too. And I too told my girls not to go in the water for 60 minutes after eating. hahaha. Funny how things get passed down from generation to generation.


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