We've been looking forward to this meal for a while. Years ago, Marc and I lived in Maryland and several of his colleagues were transplants from North Carolina. Two gentlemen in particular--Willie Smith and Linwood Williams--knew where to find all the best food in the area. One day for lunch they went out for Carolina barbecue and promised Marc they would bring some back for him. Mr. Smith described the shredded pork and vinegar sauce and informed Marc that the sandwich would include cole slaw. Marc was not pleased--cole slaw, in the Midwest, is a side, not a sandwich topping. Not to mention, he doesn't even like mayonnaise.
But, Mr. Smith ignored his protests and told him to sit down and eat the sandwich. Marc talked of nothing else for days. In fact, I think that specific event may have been a turning point in his foodie career.
This is most certainly not a quick meal. It's an all day event for man and grill alike. The goal is to get a hunk of meat up to a temperature of 185 degrees as slowly as possible. As it cooks, it develops a deep smoky flavor and a crisp charred bark on the outside. Good stuff.
Start with a bone-in pork shoulder (this one was about 8 1/2 lbs), with a good, thick fat "cap" on one side. Generously season with salt and pepper. Heat charcoal and soaked hickory chips and try to maintain a temperature of about 225 degrees. Smoke the meat for 8 to 9 hours, replenishing the charcoal and chips every hour or so. Remove the meat from the grill and wrap well in foil to rest for about 45 minutes.
The shoulder blade should slide easily out of the roast:
Remove any excess fat, and finely chop the meat.
Finish with cider vinegar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Use enough vinegar to thoroughly coat and moisten the meat.
Now for the slaw. Traditional Carolina slaw is not mayonnaise based (much to Marc's surprise years ago!). In the past, I've used this recipe, and it's very good. I've recently been converted to Rick Bayless's version, which is quicker to prepare:
Hickory House Sour Slaw
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 T dry sherry
1 T sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 medium head green cabbage, shredded.
Blend the dressing ingredients with 2 T water and pour over shredded cabbage. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
You'll noticed there are no "plate" pictures--I was in too much of a hurry to eat!
Lucy was initially skeptical, as she was not a big fan of the brisket we prepared for the Missouri meal. We assured her that this was nothing like brisket. She liked the slaw well enough to agree that this meal is pretty good. Maia also liked it, and was looking forward to concocting another Arkansas barbecue salad with the leftovers.
We (finally) got to draw our next four states: Alaska, Delaware, Nebraska and Colorado!