Beer-be-cue’n Part 2

Cooking with Beer by | Aug 2009 | Issue #31

After barely scratching the surface of barbecue in last month’s article, I decided that the topic was worthy of a “part two,” and was happy that the BeerAdvocate editors agreed. Great barbecue can be found all over the USA, from Kansas City to Texas, to Memphis and out to the Carolinas. However, many of us do not have access in our hometowns to all this great barbecue nationwide, so here is a little more of what I crave during the warm summer months.

Blind Pig-Injected Smoked Pork Butt
Pulled pork is a beautiful thing. When done right, the swine falls apart at the touch, and a great “bark” is formed from the low and slow cooking, followed by a deep-pink smoke ring. By using an injection needle and a great IPA, the flavors of hops and malt are infused into the sweet meat. With the addition of smoke and a spice rub, any barbecue fan will salivate.

Serves: 8 as an entrée or 12 for pulled-pork sandwiches

10 oz. Russian River Blind Pig IPA
2 each garlic cloves, peeled and minced finely
1 tbsp. all-purpose rub
5–6 lb. pork butt or shoulder, bone in, if possible
1/2 recipe all-purpose rub
mesquite charcoal
apple, pecan, peach and/or fig wood for smoke

Begin by placing the IPA, garlic and spice rub in the pitcher of a blender. Blend until the garlic is smooth to prevent the needle of the Cajun injector from clogging. Fill the syringe with the marinade. Take the pork butt and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place the butt into a large casserole pan. Begin mapping out the bone. Starting on the opposite side of the bone, inject the meat with the marinade by plunging the needle into the flesh, then pull the needle to the surface of the meat (using the same hole) and inject the needle at a different angle. Repeat this technique, using the same hole at four different angles. Repeat this process throughout the butt until all the marinade is used. Now sprinkle the rub on the outside of the meat and coat evenly. Rub lightly, so as not to push the marinade out of the butt. Wrap and refrigerate overnight or for 24 hours before smoking for best results.

Remove the swine from the refrigerator two hours before adding it to the smoker, allowing the meat to come to room temperature. Following the general smoking instructions from the July issue, place the butt into a smoker and smoke at 250°F for 10–16 hours. Use mesquite for the base heat and add fruit wood chips that have been soaked in either water or beer to the smoker. The internal temperature of the leg should not go beyond 185°F. Another tip is to add a drip pan/water tray under the butt to help create a warm, moist environment for cooking the pig. Once done, remove from the smoker and let the butt rest for 30 minutes, covered. Put on some clean rubber gloves and pull the meat apart. If the crust (or “bark”) is too crispy to pull apart, use a knife to cut it into smaller pieces and then mix it back into the other meat to distribute the flavor.

This can be served as is, or you can add some of the IPA mustard sauce into the pulled meat for more of a North Carolina-style barbecue. Another option is to add some of the Smoked Porter and tomato barbecue sauce for more of a Kansas City spin. Place on a plate or a bun, and enjoy.

Pinto Beans with Smoked Ham Hock
Oftentimes, barbecue comes with a side of baked beans, cornbread and/or coleslaw. Most sides are something that you can leave behind and won’t be missed. However, these beans are worthy of making a little extra room for on the plate.

Makes: 3 quarts of beans

1 lb. pinto beans, dried
1 ea smoked ham hock/shank (optional)
1/4 cup Smoked Porter and tomato barbecue sauce
8 each plum/Roma tomatoes, smoked
8 each garlic cloves, smoked
2 each yellow onions, smoked
1 tbsp. yellow mustard powder
2 tbsp. beef brisket spice rub
2 bottles Guinness Export Stout
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Wash and soak the beans overnight in a container that is large enough to hold the beans times three. Cover the beans with cold water and refrigerate. The next morning, when the smoker is ready and the meat is cooking, add the tomatoes, garlic and onions, smoking them for two to three hours.

In a Crock-Pot, add the drained beans and mix in the mustard powder; rub mix and cover with the Stout. Once the vegetables are done smoking, peel, chop and add them to the Crock-Pot. Cover with a lid and cook on high until the beans are tender, about five to six hours (depending on the beans’ age). Remove the ham hock, chop up the meat and add it back into the beans. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.

Cherrywood Smoked Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Leg of Lamb
A spice rub can include flavors that challenge traditional barbecue. Using the same idea and technique of classic cue’ing and overlaying the flavors of Morocco to a leg of lamb brings this dish to a new level of sophistication. Serve this with the Kriek pomegranate barbecue sauce and the smoked garbanzo bean couscous for the full effect; barbecue meets Morocco!

Serves: 8 as an entrée, with some great leftovers for the next day’s lunch

Spice Rub Ingredients:
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. black pepper, freshly cracked
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Lamb Ingredients:
5–6 lb. leg of lamb, boned
3 lb. cherrywood chips
mesquite charcoal

Spice Rub Directions:
Place all of the spices into a bowl and mix together well. This recipe can be doubled and used with other Moroccan dishes. Great on duck, chicken, eggplant or even a steak.

Lamb Directions:
Take the leg of lamb and evenly dust it with the spice rub. Massage the rub into the whole leg. Wrap and refrigerate overnight, if possible. Following the general smoking instructions from the July issue, place the leg of lamb into a smoker and smoke at 275°F for five to six hours. Use mesquite for the base heat and, to the smoker, add cherrywood chips that have been soaked in either water or beer. The internal temperature of the leg should not go beyond 140°F. Once done, remove from the smoker and let the leg rest for 20 minutes, covered. Slice against the grain, and enjoy!

Kriek Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce
A tart and sweet sauce that works great with smoked lamb, chicken and duck, or just drizzled over grilled beer-brined pork chops.

Makes: 1 quart

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 each Maui or Walla Walla sweet onion, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
3 each shallots, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt
750 mL Linderman’s Kriek
1 1/2 cup cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen)
8 oz dried Montmorency cherries
2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses*
1 each orange zest

* Available at Middle Eastern or specialty markets; 2/3 cup of pomegranate juice can be used as a replacement.

In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, add oil, onions and shallots. Stir until they are caramelized, about 10 minutes. Season with cinnamon and salt, cooking for another two minutes. Deglaze the pan with the Kriek, using a wooden spoon to dissolve any fond from the pan. Add the cherries (both fresh/frozen and dried), pomegranate molasses and orange zest, and turn the heat to low. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes. Purée with either a stick blender (for a chunkier sauce) or in a blender. Serve sauce warm. Remaining sauce can be chilled and refrigerated for up to three weeks, or canned and given as a gift.

Smoked Garbanzo Bean Couscous
This side salad compliments the Moroccan theme, full of wonderful flavors, particularly from the smoked garbanzo beans that accentuate the smoky essence of the dish. Moreover, couscous is so good, they repeat the name twice!

Serves: 6–8 as a side dish

11.2 oz. Witbier or Wheat Ale
2 tsp. preserved lemons, available at many specialty stores and are pretty easy to make
10 each dried apricots, chopped
1 1/2 cup couscous
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 each orange, juiced
1 each orange zest
10 oz. garbanzo beans, canned, rinsed and dried
2 each bell peppers, mixed colors, roasted and julienned
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 bunch Italian leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 bunch mint, chopped
1/2 each orange, juiced
2 tbsp. red onion, minced
1 tbsp olive oil

In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, add the beer, preserved lemons and apricots. In a small bowl, add the couscous, salt and oil, mixing together with your fingers to evenly distribute the oil over the individual grains. This will help create a light and fluffy finished texture. Once the liquid is boiling, add the couscous and mix well, covering with a lid and removing from the heat. Let sit for 20 minutes to cook. Once finished, using a fork, flake the little couscous pearls to separate them.

Open the can of garbanzo beans and rinse them well. Dry on a paper towel and add to a bowl. Lightly season the beans with a touch of olive oil and salt, tossing to evenly distribute. Place the beans in either a small ovenproof pan, or a make shift tray out of double-lined aluminum foil with a few small holes poked in the bottom. Spread the beans in one layer and place in a smoker, heated to 250°F–300°F for one and a half hours. The beans will dry slightly, but absorb a wonderful smoke flavor. Smoking the beans is optional. Rinsed canned beans can be substituted.

In another bowl, mix together the bell peppers, cilantro, parsley, mint, orange juice, red onion and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and add the cooked couscous and garbanzo beans. This salad can be served warm or at room temperature.

All-Purpose Rub
Perfect rub for pork, chicken or fish.

Makes: Just over 2 cups

3/4 cup paprika
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup organic sugar
3 tbsp. cumin, ground
3 tbsp. coriander, ground
3 tbsp. mustard powder
2 tsp. sage, dried and ground
2 tsp. thyme, dried
2 tsp. mixed peppercorns, ground
1 tsp. cayenne pepper, ground

In a bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well. Place into a sealable container. Will last several months in a cool, dry spice drawer.