May 1, 2016
The whole house is still redolent of smoke. If there’s a better scent, I have yet to encounter it.
All day the meat – pork shoulders and beef ribs – sat in this contraption, soaking up the smoke and becoming increasingly delicious. Barbecue Pitmaster, John Markus hauled his mobile pit up our hill and set up a tent. Then he returned in the dark of the morning – 5 a.m. – to fire it up.
This is one of the ribs. But you want to see it up close to see how truly marbled the meat is.
There was, incidentally, a LOT of beef.
But have I mentioned the pork?
This is what the pork looked like a few hours in, about the time John loaded in the beef. And this is what it looked like twelve hours later, when it emerged:
Then it got pulled, mixed with a Carolina mustard sauce, and devoured.
Watching John hover over the pit all day, watching the temperature, filling it with more coals, moistening the meat (he used apple juice), gave me a whole new respect for pitmasters. This is not cooking, it’s a labor of love and unlike any other activity in the kitchen. It’s biting your nails, wondering what’s going on inside that smoking behemoth, fighting the urge to open it up and take a look. It’s having faith and appreciating mystery. Above all, it’s patience.
This is Larry Martinelli, John’s friend and helper, with the first butt out of the smoker.
How did it taste? The pulled pork was the best I’ve ever had. And the beef….
I have an indelible memory of the first time I went to Luling Texas, walked into City Market and watched the man pile brisket onto butcher paper. I took a bite and went to some other place. It was a primal taste, all meat, mineral and smoke. I’d never experienced anything like it, and I’ve been chasing that flavor ever since.
In the meantime I’ve tried a lot of barbecued beef, in a lot of great places, and what I’ve learned is this: I got very lucky that day in Luling. I hit a magic moment, one that happens very, very rarely.
It happened again yesterday. I feel so lucky.
If you want to know what else we ate – there were about 50 of us – here’s the rest of the menu. I’ll admit I overdid it, cooking for days and making way too much….. But I never want anyone to leave my house hungry.
Lovely local cheeses.
Aunt Birdie’s Potato salad
Macaroni and cheese
Nicky’s Vanilla Cake
Art Park Brownies
Lots of beer and wine….
Categorised in: Uncategorized