I apologize for waiting until today to display the finished product of yesterday’s labors. We had company. To resume the barbecue discussion:
About 6:15, after people had started arriving, I shut down the grill — closed all vents to kill the fire. I left the meat on the grill to move gradually from cooking to resting.
Here’s Butt #1, served at about 7:00, I think — probably a little after. It’s fresh off the grill which stayed warm for a good while, so that the meat rested gradually. The butt started to fall apart when I took it off the grill. Nice and tender.
And below is Butt #1, chopped. I go for a nice rough chop, with the bark scattered throughout the rest of the meat to add texture and flavor.
And Butt #2, fresh off the grill and tender as can be, provided necessary reinforcements. The bowl next to the meat contains chopped raw cabbage, which can provide a nice texture and freshness to a sandwich, although it’s actually best with a finer chop, a la Eastern North Carolina; but I thought I’d give it a try. They add raw cabbage at the truly outstanding Dixie Pig and other place sin Arkansas. Beyond the cabbage is a bowl of hamburger dill chips, which I always put on barbecue sandwiches, a do most places in Birmingham. They’re just the thing to add texture and a touch of vinegar to a barbecue sandwich. (I actually prefer sour pickles but they’re hard to find in Washington and no one else seems to like them.)
I prefer basic hamburger buns with barbecue — the cheaper and simpler the better. The bun is a vehicle for the meat. You don’t want a lot of flavor or texture from the bun that would interfere with the taste of the meat. Update: Martin’s potato rolls are the way to go.
If I do say so myself, it was delicious, tender, moist, and smoky. Much credit goes to Ollie’s Barbecue Sauce, a wonderful thin vinegar-based sauce that can forgive a multitude of sins. Although Ollie’s of Blessed Memory is no longer around to sell barbecue, the best ever, and the Platonic ideal of coconut pie, the sauce lives on. It’s available at grocery stores in the Birmingham area and maybe other parts of Alabama, and you can order it on line. And there’s also an Ollie’s Rib Sauce. I drive down to Birmingham from time to time to see family, eat barbecue, perhaps go down to Tuscaloosa to watch a football game, and, not least to bring back some sauce. Next time I’ll get some rib sauce.
It was a feast. We are blessed with close friends who really know how to cook, and they brought some delicious side dishes and desserts. Nancy made her world-class potato salad which I dearly love, and cole slaw, and Liza Tanner Boyd brought the Best Coconut Cake in the World. I love my life.
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