On Wednesday night, Chris quizzed me on what I was thinking of blogging about over the weekend. It's going to be great weather, he said. You should definitely do something on the grill. How about a pork shoulder? One of the things that makes us such a good pair is that I love to cook, but have a hard time deciding what to cook, while Chris, has no problems with deciding what he wants to eat. This cooking expedition is a joint effort.
Sometimes the best cut of meat is the least expensive, most pedestrian simple cut. It's easy to make an expensive cut taste good, but it's truly a stroke of ingenuity to make those less desired cuts delectable morsels of goodness.
Start with a pork shoulder with the skin on. Pork shoulders sold in regular grocery stores have the skin removed. This is why a special trip was made to Uwajimaya yesterday. They are the only store nearby, that I know of, that sells them with the skin on. When you are planning on slow cooking this all day, the skin is an integral factor to keeping the meat juicy.
I put the pork shoulder in a simple brine of water, salt and brown sugar yesterday afternoon. Let sit overnight in the brine and remove in the morning, rinse, dry, and let come to room temperature. Chris started the charcoal grill at 9:30 this morning. By 10:00, the pork shoulder was on. Maintain a temp of about 250 degrees. Set the charcoals to one side of the grill to cook with indirect heat. Throughout the day, wood chips are added for smoking. And, to maintain the heat, more charcoal needs to be added along the way.
At about 4:00, we started to baste with a mixture of cider vinegar, butter, brown sugar, honey, mustard powder, and black pepper. We like red pepper flakes as well, but left that out for the kids. At 5:00, the shoulder was removed from the grill and wrapped in foil with some more basting liquid and put into the oven at 300 for two more hours. This steams the meat and is the last element in making it fork tender.
Remove the skin and cut or pull the meat apart. We served with potato rolls and stir fried cabbage with a little of the basting sauce on top. It was smokey, tender, juicy and reminiscent of summer on the beach.