Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back to the Food

Yesterday's return to food was simple, pork steaks and tater tots. And while I was at it I made a butternut squash soup for Dinah to take to work.

As you may or may not remember back in December I started using coupons in earnest and buying in bulk at my local grocery store (which by the way I learned yesterday sucks. They don't have the same stuff or as much stuff as the neighboring towns' Ingles do. I'm switching to the Ingles in Murphy). On one of my trips I bought a fifteen pound bone-in Boston butt. I have no idea what to do with a fifteen pound pork shoulder, especially one with a huge bone in it. I could smoke it and make BBQ, but that was way more effort than I wanted to put into it.

For those of you not of the Southern persuasion, the Boston butt is THE cut for pork barbecue which is THE main food group here below the Mason-Dixon Line (really lower than that). As much as I may whine about down here, it is also one of my favorite food groups, so for me it is a perk of living here. I did start early in life. My Dad was born in Louisiana of Hoosier stock and grew up in Houston. My Grandpa used to barbecue HUGE amounts of chicken with his own secret sauce, hot not sweet. And I grew up with that, but I prefer pork. And truth be told the best of all options is a Texas Plate, preferably somewhere in Texas, of smoked sausage, brisket and chopped or sliced pork with beans and fries and a sweet tea (all my trips to Texas, I ate it almost every day). I love it so much that someday I hope to complete the NC BBQ Trail. So far I've got Murphy and Shelby under my belt. But I'm getting way off topic here.

Boston butt is a pork shoulder and is quite tough. But it is well marbled with fat and so when it is cooked "low and slow" like in a smoker it basically self bastes and the meat comes out soft and tender and very moist, a la perfect barbecue. I cut out six pork steaks from the shoulder. The rest was pretty fatty with some meat and of course the bone. That I broke down and froze for a later day, maybe I'll smoke it, more than likely I'll make chorizo with it.

The meat was interesting. The steaks looked exactly like NY strips except with the marbling you typically associate with a rib-eye. Even the meat looked like beef rather than pork, deep red in color. I grilled up two about a month or so ago. Didn't pay attention and over cooked them, well they were perfect for those of you who grew up with pork that had to be cooked dry to prevent trichinosis, but I like mine just at done. And sure enough they were tough, just like the pork I grew up with, needed a lot of bottled barbecue sauce to get down.

THIS time I planned ahead. Two hours before I was planning on grilling I tossed two steaks in a gallon sized Ziploc bag and covered them with some Fat Bastard Shiraz we had laying around that was old but had not gone bad. Put them in the fridge and flipped them over every half hour or so. The marinating did the trick. I cooked the steaks perfectly through and they were still tender and moist. There was an ever faint but pleasant taste of the wine, matter of fact it may have even made the meat taste more like beef than pork. It was an excellent little technique tenderizing tough meat and shows you why you should do it BEFORE you cook it rather than after.

As for the soup, I don't eat it nor do I eat squash though I did the last time. So I can't say much about it, yet. The recipe is here. When Dinah reports back, if there are positive reviews, I will write up how I made it and post it here. It looked right, just like the picture.

1 comment:

Brook said...

Nice-I have a great recipe or three for pork butts. They'll come out in the wash-and only one is bbq(chinese that is)I am not a fan of squash soup either. And how is the coupon thing working? I still haven't really gotten into it. But buying in bulk. Oh yeah. I love having the freezer. Love it! Keep 'em coming Huff Daddy!