Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jul 22, 2006 at 12:39pm

Oink, oink! I’ll be earning my nickname – Smokaaaay – today, oh yes I will. The pork shoulder is on the grill, I repeat, the pork shoulder is on the grill. Butterflied, pricked and stuffed all over with slivered garlic, dry-rubbed with lots o’spicy spices, now slow-smokin’ over (a foil packet of) hickory chips. I’ll keep the heat very low and cook that baby all day long, until it’s just about falling apart. Then I’ll wrap in foil to cool, pull it apart, and slather it in barbecue sauce – that part tomorrow, actually, we’re having chicken tonight – to eat on buns with slaw. Woo hoo! Although I probably shouldn’t celebrate until AFTER it’s done, and I’m actually eating it. So stay tuned…

Now, out to the pool before it clouds over. I can swim while a haze of porky hickory smoke drifts over the pool…aaaaaaahhh…

Pool was lovely, quite, and the smoke drifting over the pool was too. I just pulled the pork off the grill – eight hours later! – and wrapped it in foil. At 250 degrees (that’s what I kept the grill at), 3.5 lbs of pork took that long to become fork-tender. Wow. Glad I put it on when I did or I’d be up rather late. It’ll all be worth it tomorrow, based on my “sample” tastes (cooks prerogative, sample tastes, yep, that’s the best part), it’s all lookin’ goooooood.

Chicken drummies were good too – roasted in oil and salt, this time without parchment paper, in the oven, ’til crispy. I made a pan-sauce with the drippings, which I don’t usually bother to do. Wow. Good stuff. I started by sauteeing diced cucumber and zucchini in butter until brown (recipe posted in comments, below). Removed browned veg from pan with a slotted spoon, then added minced shallot, chopped garden tomato, and chopped fresh tarragon to the pan and sauteed until the tomato started to break down. Set that aside until the chicken was done, poured off the fat from the roasting pan, then added broth to the pan to deglaze and simmered a bit. Stirred the defatted broth into the tomato mixture and voila, a lovely sauce. Served alongside the crispy chicken drummies, with rice, and the buttery zucchini/cucumber saute….mmmmm…

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  1. By Stephanie on July 25, 2006 at 10:51AM

    Slow-Grilled Pork Shoulder
    Stephanie Levy

    This is technique more than a recipe. Boneless pork shoulders usually weigh between 3-4 lbs., at least at my grocery store, but this technique would work for any size.

    Prepare the pork:
    Butterfly the pork shoulder by almost-halving it lengthwise, so it opens out flat like a book. Peel and sliver a few cloves of garlic, then using a small, sharp knife, poke slits in various places around the roast and push a sliver of garlic into each hole. In a small bowl, create a dry-rub by stirring together about 2 Tbsp. brown sugar and 1 Tbsp. each of salt, ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder (or regular chili powder), 1 tsp. of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. of black pepper, 1 tsp. of garlic powder, 1 tsp. of dried thyme. Rub all over the roast. You can do this a day or several hours before you grill the roast.

    Prepare the grill:
    I have a gas grill, although the concept is the same either way. The goal is slow-cooking the pork over low, indirect heat, for several hours, until very, very tender. With a gas grill, that means heating only one of however many elements you have and cooking the pork away from the heat element. With a charcoal grill, it means preheating the coals then moving them off to one side. You should maintain the temp as close to 250 degrees as possible. To get some good smoke going, scatter hickory or mesquite wood chips (available at supermarkets, by the charcoal) directly on charcoal or if you have a gas grill, fashion a small tray out of foil, throw a couple of handfuls of chips onto the tray, and place directly on the hot element. Consider your fuel needs – as I said, the pork will cook for several hours, so make sure you have enough propane or charcoal to continue refueling. You’ll want to add more wood chips as you go along as well.

    Grill the pork:
    After the grill is ready and preheated, and the wood chips are smoking, lay the pork on the grill, away from the heat source. Start this process early enough in the day that if it takes eight hours to become quite tender, you’ll actually be able to go to bed before midnight. Cook the pork, maintaining the temp around 250 degrees, turning every hour or so, until very tender. Remove from the grill, wrap in foil, and let cool to room temperature. Pull apart into bite-size pieces, discarding fat, and serve warmed with your favorite barbecue sauce. OR, chill the roast, still wrapped in foil, in the fridge, and slice into thin pieces (it’s easier to slice when it’s cold). Enjoy!

  2. By Stephanie on July 25, 2006 at 10:09AM

    Golden Sauteed Cucumbers
    Stephanie Levy
    Serves 2

    It’s all about the butter…so delicious.

    2 Tbsp. butter
    2 large cukes, peeled and diced, ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
    salt and pepper
    optional garnish: minced fresh parsley

    Note: if you want to make more servings, cook the cukes in batches, since over-loading the pan will result in mush instead of browned pieces of diced cucumber.

    Note: summer squash and zucchini are delicious prepared the same way.

    Heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. When melted and starting to sizzle, add the cukes and gently spread out in one layer. Saute, shaking the pan a couple of times, until the cukes are browned (don’t stir until the bottoms are browned or you’ll just break apart the cukes). You want the butter to gently brown (but not burn) – if the pan is too hot, reduce the heat a bit. Using a spatula, carefully stir/turn the cukes over and sauté, again shaking the pan a few times, until a second side is browned. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve.