Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend Grill-Out

This past weekend was truly a great spring-time weekend. We had so much fun stuff to do and soo much yummy stuff to eat! Plus, it was warm without being sweltering for once (hi Spring!) and it even got a little chilly at night.

Our fun weekend started Friday afternoon: The Hub and I had a pork loin and a boston butt in the deep freeze from our pre-organic days and I decided that there was no point in wasting it and that we might as well share with all the neighbors... so we planned a grill-out for Friday night. That afternoon I made BBQ sauce, a BBQ rub, and broccoli-cauliflower salad while The Hub lugged our tables & chairs and the grill from the garage and the backyard and set them up in our street (we live in a cul-de-sac, so it was okay!). Then, about 3:30, the pork-butt made it onto the grill, rubbed with mustard and dry rub. The loin followed not too long after, about 5:30.

As everyone trickled home from work, we all sat in the sun (or shade) and drank a few beers (or lemonade for the kids) and ate Sun Chips and peanuts. As soon as the pork was taken off the grill to rest for a few minutes, everyone brought out their contribution - a dip with tomatoes, black beans and avocado, baked beans, potato salad, brownies, cherry pie, and LOTS of chocolate chip cookies. And let me tell you - it was ALL delicious... I mean, it must have been, because there was absolutely nothing left at the end, save for a few chocolate chip cookies and a couple of brownies!

The pork was sooo delicious, (I tried not to think of the poor pig, but I mean, what would be the point in just wasting the meat?) moist and lightly smokey and very flavorful from the rub. Even the loin was moist - thanks to generous beer basting! We sliced the loin and shredded the butt, and served BBQ sauce to go with everything - not that you needed it! (I do - I LOVE BBQ sauce!) And the sauce I whipped up is sooo sweet (might be too sweet for some) and smokey and not too spicy. All in all, everything was too yummy for words. I even think we inspired others to cook some pork butt! I don't really know why more people don't cook it. I guess it can be a little intimidating, because you have to cook for a long time, but it's really easy and it's such a cheap cut of meat.

On Saturday The Hub had to go into work and I went yardsaling with Mom. We were just going for fun, but as luck would have it, I found a new dining room table! We have a rectangular table now and while I love this table, I've been pining away for a round table for some time because I think it would fit the space more nicely. Plus, you can fit more chairs- our rectangular table is huge, but you can only fit 4 chairs because the legs are weird. Now, we can fit 6-8 chairs! Waaaay better for dinner parties! I'm going to have to paint the table (it's wood - which is nice, but not what I want) and round up some chairs, but I think it's going to be so fun - I like the eclectic look of purposeful mis-matchy so I won't have to bother with finding a set of matching chairs.

As soon as The Hub got home from work and changed we headed out to the ball field with a cooler of lemonade, tea and beer for our neighbor's office baseball game & crawfish boil (They needed extra players, so he invited all of us neighbors. I did not play - I was spectator/kid watcher/beer drinker). Hub's team won, and now The Hub has been recruited for their team, lol.
After the game, we all ate our weight in crawfish, shrimp, potatoes, corn and fried fish. It was sooo delicious - although my fingers and mouth were on fire! Crawfish boils are such good food for a group of people - especially people who don't all know each other - because I think it demands camaraderie. You can't be squeamish about eating food other people touched, or getting juice all over your or squirting juice on someone else! If you're not having fun dissecting and eating crawfish, then you're doing something very, very wrong!

When we all got back to the street, we all helped peel the leftover crawfish to freeze. We got two grocery bags full of heads and shells and two small zip-top bags full of tail meat for about an hour or so of peeling! Oh, well - it was a ton of fun!! I think we need to have another one, just on the street! We spent the rest of the night hanging on the street, drinking beer and chatting. Good suburbia fun!

Sunday was a lazy day. I slept in, read, and did a little bit of cleaning. Hung out in the street in the sun with the neighbors (yes, I do that a LOT!), and one of my old high school friends, who I just found out lives down the hill (small world, right!) came over for a couple of hours to hang in the street with us. All in all, it was a super-terrific Spring weekend.

Dry-Rub & Grilled Pork Loin

1 pork loin
Dry Rub - recipe follows
1 beer
BBQ sauce - recipe follows

Pre-heat the grill to medium-hot - 350-400*. Rub the pork loin generously with mustard, then cake generously with dry rub making sure to pat in well. Sear the loin on each side for 10 minutes over direct heat, about 350-400*. Then, move to a place on the grill over indirect heat and cook for 70-90 minutes or until done. Meanwhile, drink a couple sips out of a beer and put a tablespoon of rub into it. Stir carefully, so it doesn't foam up. Every 20 minutes or so, use this to baste the loin so it doesn't dry out. When done, cover with foil and let sit for about 10 minutes, then slice and serve with BBQ sauce. Yum!

Dry-Rub & Grilled Boston Butt

1 Boston butt
Dry-Rub - recipe follows
BBQ sauce - recipe follows

Pre-heat the grill the medium to medium hot - about 300-350*. According to your grill's instructions, add hickory wood chips. Rub the butt generously with mustard and then dry rub. Make sure to pat the rub in well. Place on the hot grill, above the smoke plate and cook for about 3-4 hours until done. Make sure you watch the temperature - 300 is better than 350, but 350 is okay. When done, remove to a cutting board, cover with foil and let sit for about 10 minutes. Then, cut into large chunks and using two large forks shred the meat. Serve with BBQ sauce. So good!

Dry BBQ Rub

3 T brown sugar
4 T paprika (or 3 T paprika & 1 T chili powder - both are good)
1 T salt
1 T black pepper
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T cumin
1 T oregano
1 t cayenne

Mix contents in a bowl or jar- I usually double or triple and store in a Bell jar. This is good for pork or chicken and would probably (though I haven’t tried it yet) be good on roasted potatoes.

Super Sweet & Smokey BBQ Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
3 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/2 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t cayenne
1/2 t salt
1 t black pepper
2 t cocoa powder

Dump all ingredients into a saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-30 minutes. The longer you simmer, the thicker the sauce will be and vice versa. If it gets to thick, you can think it with a little water. Serve as a dipping sauce for pork or chicken. To wet-bbq - marinate in the sauce for at least an hour or overnight, then brush with more sauce during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. Delish!

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