Monday, February 4, 2013

My 4th of July BBQ

While I do love winter in all of its snowy glory it feels like it may be time for a more summery food post.  In a strong second place for my favorite holiday is the 4th of July. You see the 4th of July is my holiday, meaning that I jointly host the party with my parents, therefore I don't have to travel.  Believe me I'll gladly cook pounds and pounds of meat in order to avoid traveling on a holiday. 

My two specialties, that get the most requests over the years are my pulled pork, and what we've named "Fireman's Chicken."  The chicken gets its name from both the sauce (recipe below) that it is dressed with and the method by which it is cooked.  Many of the small volunteer fire companies in the county have chicken BBQ dinners as fundraisers in the summer. They often use a vinegar based BBQ sauce to baste the chicken, which is grilled in a clam-shell type grill that can be lifted and rotated over a bed of charcoal.  Between the tang of the vinegar and the smoke of the grease on the charcoal the meat is infused with a deep flavor of summer.

The pulled pork has been an evolution over time to its current state.  A brown sugar based dry rub is used 18 hours in advance, then the meat is given 8-10 hours in my cabinet smoker usually over some type of fruit wood.  Apple is nice, and so is cherry, however recently I have been addicted to pecan.  After hand shreding the meat, a Kansas City style sweet red BBQ sauce is added (recipe below).  Just enough to dress the meat, and extra sauce is on the side, per the guest's taste.  I've served a Caroline style vinegar based sauce as well, but my guests are typically more familiar with the ketchup based sweet sauce, so they gravitate towards that one.

Still over 5 months away, and I'm already dreaming of another 4th of July BBQ.

Happy Cooking,
Scott M

Fireman's Chicken BBQ Sauce

*Enough for about 20 pieces of chicken

2       c vegetable oil
4       c white vinegar
2       eggs
1/2    c salt
2       tbsp poultry seasoning
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder

Place all ingredients together in a large, sealable container (like the plastic jug the vinegar came in).  Shake thoroughly to incorporate.  Even though the main ingredients are vinegar and oil, the eggs that were added will act like an emulsifier keeping the mixture together.  Baste the chicken before you place on the grill, and each time you flip the chicken. 

Your heat source should be direct, in order to brown the chicken and cook thoroughly, but not excessively high, where the chicken dries.  Total cooking time is typically 2 hours.

*This contains raw eggs.  If you raise the chicken to the proper 165 degrees internal temp any sauce on the outside of the chicken will also be safe.  Due to the high volume of vinegar, I personally will dip my chicken into the uncooked sauce and have never had an issue.

Scott Messenger's Sweet BBQ Sauce

*This can be scaled up and down, and it can be processed for canning to be shelf stable for months.

3    tbsp vegetable oil
2    tbsp minced garlic
1    c ketchup
1/4 c water
1/4 c white vinegar
5    tbsp brown sugar
2    tbsp paprika
1    tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne

Heat oil and add minced garlic to soften, but do not overly brown.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer slowly for 15 minutes.

* For an interesting twist substitute your favorite honey for the brown sugar.

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