My backyard this morning!
Yep! Spring is coming! Or so they say. You could’ve fooled me today. This is what I woke up to this morning.
Let me preface all this with the words: “I DON”T DO WINTER.“ (At least not by choice.) We’ve been lucky this year. Normal snowfall for a total season around here is about 22” and this year has been extremely short on snow. (I LOVE this fact!) The deepest snow we’ve had (till today) was only about 4 ½ inches and we happened to be traveling then and missed it. Then we had a 2 ½ “ snowfall. Again, we were away. (We were in South Carolina where we also had snow though it was only a dusting there and disappeared before lunch time.) There have been a few morning dustings (like yesterday) and one ‘sweepable” inch or two, but nothing big. At the moment, this looks like about 6 inches and I think it may be over. It will hang around for a few days as we will be fairly cold and well below freezing.
Can we hope this is the end - for the season? I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I want green grass, daffodils, hyacinths and WARM sunshine. I’m ready for Spring. Bring it on!
I’m working on putting together several blogs about new craft sales sites (Yes, there are more. They seem to be multiplying like rabbits!) I had hoped to run a long article about consignment sales today but it had some rough edges so I’ll hold off a day or two while I refine it. It’s a normal Monday here so I’m trying to do the usual laundry, housework, sorting through weekend e-mails that need answers, and more day-to-day business. As usual, I’m doing some major cooking for the week. (YES! I have an oven these days! It’s nothing fancy but I love it.)
Today’s effort is Pulled Pork. This is how I do it:
This will take a long time to cook (1 ½ hrs/lb) and prepare but it’s well worth it and goes a very long way! It freezes wonderfully. Traditionally prepared on an outdoor wood or charcoal smoker, I’ve adapted this for indoor cooking in the oven.
Pork shoulder or butt
**I always use a pork shoulder but you can use butt with the same results.
Dry rub of your choice
Vinegar based BBQ sauce of your choice
· Season the meat generously on all sides, massaging the spices into the meat. (I use my own barbecue rub but you can use whatever seasonings you like. You could use a straight Southwest seasoning or dry barbecue powder right from the bottle, or possibly combine some chili powder with garlic powder and a little brown sugar. For the less daring, you could do a nice job with a little salt and pepper. Go fairly light on the salt as pork has a naturally salty flavor.)
· Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
· Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before cooking.
· Preheat oven to 235 ° .
· Place a small rack in the bottom of a roasting pan. Add ½” of water to the bottom of the pan. Place the meat, fat side down, on the rack. Place on lowest shelf in the oven, uncovered. After two hours, turn the meat fat side up and return to the oven.
· About 2/3 of the way through the cooking time (allow 1-1 ½ hrs. cooking time per pound), generously spritz the meat with apple cider or apple juice. Check the internal temperature of the meat. Continue checking the temperature and spritzing approx. every hour at this point. (The cider - or juice - will add moisture and a fruity background flavor during cooking.)
· When done, meat should have an internal temperature of 195° . (Cooking the meat beyond the USDA recommended 160° renders out the fat and tenderizes the meat.)
· When done, remove the roaster from the oven and allow to cool for 15-30 minutes. At this point, you should be able to handle the warm meat.
· Begin pulling, or shredding, the meat with your hands or with two large forks. The bones should pull out cleanly. Any fat left in the meat will pull out in clumps to be discarded while you are pulling the pork.
· As you pull, place the shredded meat in a large bowl or pan, add a vinegar based sauce of your choice to the meat and toss. Do not add so much liquid as to make meat soggy, you simply want to keep it moist.
At our house, I usually serve it this way with additional sweet bbq sauce and hot sauce on the table so it can be seasoned to personal taste.
So, go out there and be creative today! Cook something delicious or paint something pretty, whatever floats your boat. But, enjoy!