Michael heads deep into America, in the chapter entitled ‘Fire’ to learn how to Barbecue, a process hugely debated across the States; what is Barbecue? Who is authentic? Who isn’t? You can’t Barbecue a chicken apparently, only pork; only an entire pig in some states. He finds the so called king, pit-master Ed Mitchell who teaches him the process of slow BBQ, whole hogs cooked slowly overnight till the fat breaks down in huge smoking chambers with walls of coals and wood built up around the hog to cook it evenly. Then, chopped and seasoned, all of the beautiful, soft, smoked meat is mixed until there is a bit of every cut in every bite - shards of crackling finely chopped and mixed through the meat, it sounds amazing. Every state seems to differ; dry rubs, BBQ sauce, variety of hog, length of cooking, serving, and they all say the other is wrong...
Well, god knows what they would make of me and my little smoker in the back yard, but I’ve had him out again, and until I find somewhere to build one big enough for a whole pig I’m just going to have to stick to more manageable cuts of meat. There was a bit of brisket at Charlotte’s Butchers that looked lovely, so began the idea.
I made a dry rub from paprika, garlic powder, mustard powder, mixed dried herbs, black pepper, sugar and salt, about a teaspoon of each. Sprinkle it all over the meat and then leave in the fridge for an hour or so, or overnight if you’re organised.
Such a delicious smoky meat, moist in the middle, with soft fatty bits and a sticky smoked crust. I served it with homemade baked beans and mash. So good, I don’t think it would win any points with the pit-master but it went down a treat in my house.