Apple-Smoked Barbecued Pork Sandwiches

There's just something about standing and tending food as it sizzles and smokes over an outdoor fire that appeals to the primal masculine soul. That may be why so many men also enjoy slow-cooked, smoked recipes that fall into the category of true "barbecuing" (as opposed to quicker "grilling"): The open-air, contemplative pleasure continues for hours rather than minutes.

I'm happy to share one of my favorite recipes for barbecued pork, which will provide a good three hours of happy outdoor cooking. No matter your experience level, you should find it fairly easy to achieve great results.

The first key is to prepare the fire correctly. Slow outdoor cooking requires a hot fire in one half of the grill bed and a cooler area in the other; you sear the meat directly over the hot fire, then move it to the cooler area and cover the grill so it cooks through slowly. Many gas grills make this easy by featuring dual controls for different parts of the fire bed. With charcoal grills, start the fire in your usual way, and then use a long poker to rearrange the hot coals.

The smoke here comes from apple wood chips, sold in grill shops, hardware stores, and gourmet cookware shops. Or try other fragrant woods like hickory, pecan, or cherry. Soak them in water before use, so they'll smolder rather than burn up quickly.

As for the seasonings, I start with a dry rub, a mixture that flavors the meat and gives it a delicious crust. No need to add the barbecue sauce until after cooking has ended, thus preventing its sugars from burning in the grill's intense heat.

The only remaining ingredient, not listed in the recipe, is ice-cold beer. Have enough on hand to enjoy one while you cook, and more with the food. Cheers, Dads!

Apple-Smoked Barbecued Pork Sandwiches

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook time: 30 minutes

    Yield: Serves 8 to 10

Apple-Smoked Barbecued Pork Sandwiches Ingredients

    1 bone-in pork butt roast, 5 to 6 pounds total weight

    1/2 cup Barbecued Pork Rub (recipe follows)

    1 tablespoon dry mustard

    Extra-virgin olive oil

    1 handful apple wood chips

    Spicy Southern-Style Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)

    8 large sandwich rolls or buns

    1 small red onion, thinly sliced

    2 large pickled cucumbers, sliced into thin rounds

Apple-Smoked Barbecued Pork Sandwiches Directions

    Put the pork in a shallow pan. Put the rub in a mixing bowl and stir in the dry mustard. With clean hands, rub the mixture well all over the pork. Drizzle with some olive oil and rub well again. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

    About 4 hours before serving, put the wood chips in a bowl of cold water and soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the pork from the refrigerator and preheat an outdoor grill for indirect-heat cooking, with a medium-hot fire in one side of the grill bed and low heat in the other.

    Drain the wood chips and place in a smoking tray or small metal tray near the hot side of the fire. Place the pork on the cooking grid over the hot side and grill, turning occasionally with long-handled tongs, until evenly seared golden brown, about 15 minutes total. Move the pork to the cooler side, cover, and continue cooking, turning the meat every 20 minutes or so, until tender enough to pull easily into shreds and fall off the bone, about 2-1/2 hours.

    Remove the pork to a carving board or platter, cover with foil, and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

    Slice the pork with a sharp knife or tear with a pair of forks into bite-sized slices or pieces, transferring them to a large bowl. Toss with enough barbecue sauce to moisten to taste. Brush the cut sides of the rolls or buns with olive oil and toast briefly on the grill. Serve the pork on the rolls or buns, garnishing with onions and pickles. Pass more sauce on the side.

Barbecued Pork Rub Recipe

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

4 tablespoons dark brown sugar

4 tablespoons onion powder

4 tablespoons garlic powder

4 tablespoons dried thyme

4 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons mild paprika

2 tablespoons hot paprika

2 tablespoons kosher salt

4 teaspoons cayenne

4 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper

In a mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Store any extra in an airtight jar at room temperature.

Spicy Southern-Style Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Makes about 3 cups

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 medium onion, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh organic oregano leaves

1 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons Southern-style hot sauce such as Tabasco, plus extra as needed

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra as needed

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra as needed

Put the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and oregano and saute, stirring frequently, until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; then reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/2 hours. Adjust the seasoning and spiciness to taste with more salt, pepper, and hot sauce.

Barbecued Pork Recipe, American


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