Backyard BBQ recipe

One of the truly tragic aspects of modern life is the use of the term “Bar B Que” as a verb, as in come over and we will “Bar B Que” some hot dogs. No.

Bar B Que is a noun, or a specific  thing: pork cooked slowly over indirect heat and adorned with a variety of sauces. I am not going to engage the Eastern v. Western North Carolina sauce thing here, but simply say that I grew up in Goldsboro, East of I-95 (aka God’s Country), and below I share my favorite version of Bar B Que sauce. The directions below are for the typical backyard gas grill.

  • 8 pound Pork Shoulder (Boston Butt it will likely be called; has some of the shoulder blade intact; you can use a full shoulder picnic as well but will take a big longer). 8 pound Butt will feed ~10 people
  • Dry rub a fully thawed Boston Butt with: Crushed Red Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Minced Garlic, Salt and very light Cumin. Put the skin side down on the grill.
  • Cook with indirect heat by placing the meat over an unlit burner (I have a 3 burner grill; furthest away on high, middle one on low with meat over unlit third burner)
  • Cook for 4-6 hours depending on how hot your grill might be.
  • Baste at 1 hour intervals using the sauce noted below
  • Bring Apple Cider Vinegar to a rolling boil with the following ingredients in descending magnitudes, to taste: Crushed Red Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Minced Garlic, very little Cumin. Once it boils, cut off the heat and use it or store it, most easily in a now emptied vinegar jug (it will last forever). Note: this mixture boiled in your house will approximate tear gas, so I do it on the eye beside my grill.
  • Use this sauce to baste as noted, as well as to serve with the meat. The basting is key because it cools the meat and keeps it from drying out.
  • If you insist on putting tomato based sauce on the finished product, well don’t, but if you follow the directions above, the meat will be great just before you ruin it.
  • You can do the same thing (indirect) with charcoal or wood, you just have to tend the fire more. It is best with cured oak wood, but that is much more work. The key is the indirect heat for a long time.
  • I have no idea what a meat thermometer should say, but if the shoulder blade in the cut noted above can be twisted and is pulled away from the meat, it is done. If cooking a full shoulder picnic, the bones in the top of the leg joint will easily pull out by hand when done.

And thank someone who served in the Armed Forces or who lost a dad, husband, brother, daughter, child, etc. doing so this Weekend.

About Don Taylor
Professor of Public Policy at Duke University (with appointments in Business, Nursing, Community and Family Medicine, and the Duke Clinical Research Institute). I am one of the founding faculty of the Margolis Center for Health Policy, and currently serve as Chair of Duke's University Priorities Committee (UPC). My research focuses on improving care for persons who are dying, and I am co-PI of a CMMI award in Community Based Palliative Care. I teach both undergrads and grad students at Duke. On twitter @donaldhtaylorjr

5 Responses to Backyard BBQ recipe

  1. Frank Hill says:

    …and we wonder why we have an obesity crisis in North Carolina. Wonder if there is a statistical study to show the correlation of obesity to proximity to any barbeque house in Eastern North Carolina.

    Think about it. Draw a 30-mile radius around any Parker’s, King’s or Wilbur’s BBQ House and there must be 500 overweight people per 1000.

    but thanks for the recipe nonetheless…

  2. Laurie Bley says:

    So grateful for this recipe from a true native. Thanks for sharing!

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