Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Pork

Your Guide to Heritage Meats

Your Guide to Heritage Meats

Left two photos by Edsel Little via Creative Commons. Right photo by Jim Richardson. If you’re a fan of the TV show Portlandia, you’ll remember the first episode where Peter and Nance pepper a restaurant server with questions about the chicken they are about to order. The waitress obliges them with the chicken’s photo and curriculum vitae—the fowl’s name is “Colin”—and he was raised, we learn, on a farm just south of Portland. Peter and Nance put a hold on the table and excuse themselves to check...

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The “McRob” McRib: A REAL Barbecued Rib Sandwich

The “McRob” McRib: A REAL Barbecued Rib Sandwich

All photos by Rob Baas. You know our friend and Barbecue Board member Rob Baas. A few weeks ago the Project Smoke fire wrangler, BBQ U alum, and all around master of live fire cooking had the idea to reimagine the fast food McRib as real barbecue. Challenge met and expectations surpassed. This is one guest blog I can’t wait to try out on my smoker. –Steven Like so many other American high school kids who needed gas money, my first job was at the local McDonald's. Had the McRib been on the local menu back then, I might be working there still. If ever there was a fast food item with a cult following, it is the McRib. It doesn't really make any sense,...

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Home-Smoked Pastrami, Part 1

Home-Smoked Pastrami, Part 1

Photo by Richard Dallett. If you think to eat killer pastrami you need to visit a landmark deli in Manhattan, you haven’t been to Fette Sau BBQ in Brooklyn. Or The Granary in San Antonio. Or The Local Pig in Kansas City. America is experiencing a pastrami renaissance with soulfully cured, assertively spiced smoked meat turning up at top barbecue joints across the country. Darkly crusted with crushed coriander seed and fiery with black pepper. Meat so moist it squirts when you cut into it and so flavorful, you...

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In Praise of Pork Shoulder, Part 3: How to Cook It

In Praise of Pork Shoulder, Part 3: How to Cook It

The pork shoulder may be the world’s simplest cut of meat to cook. Simpler than steak. Simpler than brisket. Simpler than ribs. In a nutshell, you season the hell out of it (for tips on buying and seasoning pork shoulder, see Parts 1 and 2 of this series) and cook it at a low to moderate heat for 3 to 6 hours (2-1/2 to 3 hours at 350 degrees; 5 to 6 hours at 250 degrees.) What emerges from your smoker or grill gives you a bodacious blend of crisp crust, luscious fat, and meltingly tender meat. But simple doesn’t mean simple-minded....

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The Feast: Porchetta Goes Whole Hog

The Feast: Porchetta Goes Whole Hog

Every once in a while, you come across an idea so original, so insanely mouthwatering, and just so darn cool, you shelve whatever else is on your grill or smoker to try it. Such is Michael Garcia’s porchetta, a whole hog skillfully boned, stuffed with fennel, garlic, herbs, and other seasonings, tied into a compact cylinder, spit-roasted, and served skin crackling crisp off the fire. Hey, if you do try it (I mean when you try it), send photos to the Barbecue Board. Thanks, Mike. –Steven...

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The 3-2-1 Method for Ribs

The 3-2-1 Method for Ribs

In a field as disorderly as barbecue, numbers bring a certain comfort. Perhaps that explains the popularity of the 3-2-1 method for cooking ribs. Not familiar with it? I first encountered the technique researching my book Ribs, Ribs, Outrageous Ribs. (Competition barbecuers sometimes call it the “Texas Crutch.”) In a nutshell, you break cooking ribs into 3 time blocks: • 3 hours of smoking unwrapped at 225 degrees, followed by • 2 hours...

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High on the Hog Holiday Dinner: The Ultimate Pork Loin Rib Roast

High on the Hog Holiday Dinner: The Ultimate Pork Loin Rib Roast

In Tuscany, they call pork loin roast arista (from the Greek aristo, literally “best”). It’s an aristocratic hunk of meat, to be sure, and it’s about to take your holiday feast over the top. I like to think of it as the pork equivalent of beef prime rib—but with an eminently friendlier price tag. Essentially, a pork loin rib roast consists of conjoined pork chops—lean, tender, moist, sweet loin meat on bones you will gnaw...

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In Praise of Pork Shoulder, Part 2: Season It Like You Mean It

In Praise of Pork Shoulder, Part 2: Season It Like You Mean It

Photo by David McSpadden. In Part 1 of this series, we gave you tips on buying pork shoulder, sometimes called pork butt, even though it has nothing to do with a hog’s hindquarters. Now you’ll learn how to coax the most flavor from this indispensable hunk of meat. When it comes to seasoning pork shoulder, remember that a faint heart never won a poker—err, porker—game. You have options: Rub: We Americans use rubs with greater imagination and with a freer...

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In Praise of Pork Shoulder, Part 1: How to Buy It

In Praise of Pork Shoulder, Part 1: How to Buy It

The pork shoulder has everything a grill or smoke master could wish for. Heft. Flavor. Affordability. And remarkable ease of preparation. Although a whole pork shoulder tips the scale at 14 to 18 pounds and a Boston butt (the top half of the shoulder—the cut most commonly sold at the supermarket) at 5 to 7 pounds, this large hunk ’o meat always comes out tender. And that’s true whether you smoke, indirect grill, or spit-roast it—methods commonly used by hog-o-holics around Planet Barbecue. But not all pork shoulders are equal, and to get the biggest bang for the buck, you need to know about anatomy, animal husbandry, seasoning and grilling techniques and gear. We’ll cover all those topics in this three-part...

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“Secreto”: The Best Kept Secret in Barbecue

“Secreto”: The Best Kept Secret in Barbecue

There’s an old saying: “Even a blind pig finds an acorn every once in a while.” It came to mind when I chanced upon something unexpected while searching for duck at my local supermarket recently. It was an appropriate metaphor given that my find was a package of pork labeled “Secreto Ibérico de Bellota”—the “secret” cut from one of Spain’s acorn-fattened pigs. (Bellota means acorn in Spanish.) I first heard about secreto when Steven blogged about eating (make that devouring) it at the Imperial restaurant in Portland, Oregon. Chef-owner Vitaly...

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