I have written about re-heating leftover barbecue, and about cooking barbecue in bad weather. I had occasion recently to do both under circumstances that would have daunted the weather-tolerant Persian couriers memorialized the US Postal Service per Herodotus.
We had company over on a day in which, as it turned out, over 8 inches of rain fell on Washington – or so I hear. My own weather station suggests more than eight.
The biggest problem with cooking on a grill outside in the pouring rain is getting the fire started. Admittedly, that’s not as big a problem as those that arise from cooking on a grill indoors (loss of house and death, both well before the meat is ready), but it’s big enough — especially when it takes 12 (count them, 12) matches just to get the newsprint in my chimney starter to catch fire and keep burning. The essential element of the solution is a large umbrella.
Of course, if you leave the umbrella there as you keep adding newsprint, it is liable to catch fire, so you have to hold the umbrella up over the open grill for an eternity, sucking clouds of smoke into your lungs, while the coals heat sufficiently to continue to burn after you add the lid.
You’re probably tired of my whining , and I’m getting tired of it myself (see final paragraph here). I didn’t melt or even get all that moldy, and ultimately, everything worked out. I dumped the coals on one side of the grill, leaving space on the other for the meat to be heated indirectly,* and added a lot of hickory chips. Once I had the coals going, I could cover the grill with its lid. After that, I only had to go out and check every now and then to make sure the grill wasn’t over-heating, (getting too close to 250 degrees). That could have dried out the meat.
I had stored the pork butt wrapped in tin foil. Before placing the meat, foil and all, on the grill — this is important — I opened the foil so that the pork could receive the smoke from the hickory. In all, I re-heated the pork butt, which was around eight pounds at time of purchase, for about two hours, with lots of hickory smoke.
It was all worth it in the end.
Doesn’t that look good? It was quite good — moist, tender, and delicious. Just ask Frank McAuliffe, the noted connoisseur. That did my heart good.
And while you’re at it, click “follow” on our front page to receive blog posts in your email box. Or bookmark us and check in from time to time. If you’re planning a trip, you can “Search” the name of the city, state, or country for good restaurants (in Europe, usually close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event). Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome. And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.
*Direct heat is essential when first cooking the meat: the essence of good barbecue is addition of the smoke from pork fat dripping onto the coals in a low-oxygen environment, in which the fat cannot flare. When re-heating, you want the meat to retain its remaining moisture. The tin foil base tends to redirect the heat and slow the loss of moisture. Of course, if you keep the meat wrapped up in tin foil, the hickory smoke can’t get in.