7.6.10 Up in Smoke

Bbq 790 xxx
photos by george billard
Low and slow, that's how we cook it. Our two 12-pound Boston butts from Dickson's, rubbed with a heady mix of chile powder, cumin, brown sugar, salt and cayenne, were on the smoker by 10am the morning of the 4th. G actually prefers smoking on the Weber, because it retains the heat much better, but ours is just not big enough to accommodate all that pig. Several hours of smoking over hickory and apple wood chips, a couple in the oven, an hour to rest and then G and Philip were up to their elbows chopping barbecue. I almost fell flat on my face in the kitchen, the floor was so slippery.

After they pulled and chopped the smoky, fatty pork, I doused it with an Eastern North Carolina hot sauce made from vinegar, Tabasco and red pepper flakes. It's an irresistible combination: salty, tangy, spicy, smoky richness. Then this gets piled on a cheap, soft potato roll, smothered in pickles (dill or bread-&-butter, your choice), with perhaps an extra dash of hot sauce, and you've got some authentic barbecue. A high-falutin' roll is not welcome; you need something that breaks down easily and sops up all that juice. And though we don't generally do white flour in our house, this is a worthy exception.
Smoker 790 xxx
where there's smoke
On the grill 790 xxx
there's pork
Chips1 790 xxx
chip in
Smoke 790 xxx
wafting goodness
As for sides, we had a classic, finely chopped green cole slaw with mayonnaise; a spicy purple slaw with japaleños and cumin-lime dressing; fresh peas with radishes, preserved lemon and mint tossed with buttermilk; kale chips; and jícama with chile and lime. A little while later, we passed out homemade ice cream sandwichestriple chocolate cookies with raspberry or mint ice creams. Sadly, my popsicles (coconut-lime or rhubarb-orange) had softened irretrievably due to some strange freezer anomaly. Drinks? you ask. Check in tomorrow, and I'll fill you in on how you can get three bottles of Hendrick's gin to disappear in no time flat.


enough for one 8-lb pork butt
  • — 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • — 1-3 teaspoons ground cayenne
  • — 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • — 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • — 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • — 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • — 4 tablespoons sweet or hot paprika
  • — 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • — 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • — 1 tablespoons ground white pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then massage well into meat. Wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

Download recipe  Download Recipe

Spicy Slaw

serves 10-12
This slaw is great with barbecue and goes equally well with goat or fish tacos.
  • — 1 large, firm head organic purple cabbage
  • — 4 jalapeños
  • — 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • — 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • — 1 tablespoon ground cumin (freshly ground is ideal)
  • — 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt

Halve and core the cabbage, then slice as thinly as possible. Pile into a colander set over a bowl or in the sink, and toss with 1 tablespoon salt. Let this wilt and drain for at least an hour and up to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, stem, seed and mince the jalapeños. Chop the cilantro. Transfer the cabbage to a large bowl and toss well with the other ingredients, using your hands. Taste for seasoning, and add salt or more lime juice as needed. You can chill this, or serve it at room temperature. If you are making it hours in advance, I recommend tossing with the dressing not more than an hour before serving.

Download recipe  Download Recipe


After seeing the first photo I want you to cater my entire life.
jgiven on July 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm —
OK, but there will be raw milk involved...;-)
laura on July 6, 2010 at 12:20 pm —
I'm so jealous! We aren't allowed to have a BBQ on our small balcony, so we have to keep inviting ourselves over to friends for BBQ dinners. But we're always willing to cook for them. :-)
Rob Lee on July 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm —
You're welcome any time you're in our neighborhood...
laura on July 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm —
Yum! The whole party looks fabulous. So jealous of your grill.
nakedbeet on July 8, 2010 at 3:18 am —
Made both the pork and slaw last night for some SF foodies and they loved them. Thanks for the help in making by bbq a success Laura!
Jim on July 9, 2011 at 9:38 am —
Jim, that is so awesome!! Can't wait to hear the details.
laura on July 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm —