As time passes and our knowledge of food and cooking increases, we seem to be much more confident around the outdoor barbecue. The equipment is more sophisticated, the deck is bigger and our repertoire of recipes is expanding. In my backyard I have a pop-up tent that covers a Big Green Egg, a Weber charcoal grill, an old smoker and a portable Green Egg. I prefer natural charcoal as my fuel and an electric wand as my starter. I have learned the art of slow cooking when it comes to big cuts of meat or poultry. As Father’s Day approaches, here are two recipes that will work for a celebration.
Asian-Style Bone-In Pork Roast
Purchase a center-cut, bone-in pork loin with 6 bones. Have the butcher cut off the chine bone and cut through the back bone between the ribs. Do not trim the fat cover but score it into diamonds with a sharp knife.
Combine 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons kosher salt and 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice powder. Rub it all over the roast, then cover tightly in plastic film and refrigerate overnight.
Prepare a large charcoal fire and wait until the coals begin to turn white.
Soak 2 cups of hickory chips in water for 30 minutes and wrap in heavy foil, poking a few holes in the top.
Place the roast in a V-rack and set it into a foil-lined roasting pan that will fit under the lid of your grill.
Move the coals to either side of the grill and place the pan in the middle. Close the top and bottom vents on the grill so that they are only open about 1/4 inch. The temperature on the grill should now be about 275-300 degrees.
Mix together a “mop” (a thin sauce) consisting of 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons five spice powder and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Let the roast cook until an internal meat thermometer reads 125 degrees (about 2 1/2 hours), basting with this mop every half hour.
Make an Asian barbecue sauce by combining 1 cup hoisin sauce, 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons minced garlic and 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce.
When the desired internal temperature is reached, brush the roast with barbecue sauce and let it cook another 30 minutes. The internal temperature should now read 130 degrees.
Remove the roast from the grill and let it rest for 30 minutes, covered loosely with foil. (The internal temperature will rise to 140 degrees.)
Using a sharp knife, remove the ribs from the roast. While the roast is resting, cut between the ribs so you have 6 individual baby back ribs. Brush them with the Asian barbecue sauce and place them back on the chargrill for about 20 minutes.
At service time, slice the boneless roast into thick slices and place a rib alongside each portion.
Note: I found that stir-fried spring vegetables and jasmine rice went very well with this dish.
Texas-Style Beef Brisket with Baked Beans
The day before: Purchase a fresh beef brisket. The untrimmed flat cut weighing about 7 1/2 pounds works best. Be sure to leave the fat cover on the meat.
Make a barbecue rub by combining 3 tablespoons paprika, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon ground pepper and 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar. Rub this mixture over the brisket, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate overnight.
Make a mop by combining 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/2 cup beer, 1/2 cup diced onion, 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1 tablespoon kosher salt and refrigerate.
Place 1 pound of dried navy beans in 2 quarts of water and soak overnight.
Early on cooking day: Build a large fire in your chargrill and soak a couple of handfuls of hickory chips. When the coals begin to turn white, push them to both sides of the grill, leaving an empty space in the center.
Remove the plastic film from the brisket and place it in a V-rack and set it in a small foil-lined roasting pan.
Drain the hickory chips, wrap them in heavy foil and punch a few holes in the foil. Place the foil packet on the coals and put the grill in place.
Set the roasting pan containing the brisket in the middle of the grill. Place the lid on and almost close the top and bottom vents to achieve a constant low temperature.
Cook as close to 250 degrees as possible, brushing the brisket with the mop every hour. Turn the brisket over once during cooking and cook slowly for 5 hours, adding a little fresh charcoal if necessary to keep the fire going.
Remove the brisket and let it rest for 30 minutes before carving against the grain into thin slices.
Drain the soaking navy beans and set aside.
Cut 1/2 pound of thick-cut bacon into half-inch pieces and add to a dutch oven. Cook at medium heat until the bacon begins to crisp and remove with a slotted spoon.
Add 1 diced Spanish onion to the bacon fat and cook slowly for 5 minutes.
Remove the seeds from 1 jalapeño pepper, dice finely and add to the onions along with 3 minced cloves of garlic.
Continue cooking and add 2 cups chicken stock and 3 cups water. Add bacon pieces back into the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine 1 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup molasses, 1/4 cup honey, 1 tablespoon mustard, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce.
Stir this mixture into the beans, cover and place in a 300-degree oven for 4 hours, stirring every hour. Remove the lid and continue cooking for another 30 minutes to thicken the sauce.
Note: Serve the brisket and beans with a commercial barbecue sauce on the side and some good cole slaw.