We know that distinctive, regional BBQ sauces are serious business in the South. Cultural and social fault lines are drawn, and people get mad and protective of their regional sauces. My brother-in-law is from South Carolina, and the very ﬁrst time he met me, he pinned me down about sauce and whether I was a devotee of that "weird" Eastern NC sauce! I rolled my eyes and asked him if they really do put mustard in the BBQ in his part of the world (next door). Of course they do (this tradition was started by the many German settlers in South Carolina). After we had an uncomfortable and humorous go-round, we ﬁnally achieved peace in the kitchen. Until the cole slaw issue came up. His disdain for this crucial condiment of 'cue (served ON the sandwich, but of course!) drew the line between our Carolinian loyalties!
Anne's ENC Minced Pork BBQ
While our focus is on the sauce, it's important to use the right kind of pork (yes, pork). One can use chicken, but it's just not the same. You want to use a Boston butt pork shoulder (6-7 lbs with fat) and slow-roast it. Coat the pork with salt and pepper, and cook until it's crusty and golden brown, with an internal temperature of 195 degrees. If you have the means, smoke it, and use hickory (water-soaked hickory chips are also handy if you're doing this on a grill). This could take several hours but it's totally worth it. Let the meat rest and cool down, then pull it off with a fork. After that, chop it into a mince.
2 cups white vinegar (you can certainly use cider vinegar but it does bring out an "apply" tinge)
2 tbsp brown sugar (can also add in some dark molasses to taste)
4 tsp coarse salt
4 tsp hot paprika
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground black pepper
Put all of this in a mason jar and shake it up! No need to refrigerate. Pour it on the minced pork and mix well. Keep warm in a crock pot if you want it to steep or are serving the starving masses who can smell this a mile away. Serve as a chopped meat dish or on white buns with cole slaw.
If you learn one thing from this:
Don't take guff from anyone about your BBQ. Hold your ground! But quietly try to learn something about "their" BBQ and ask them about it before precious pork belly starts flying. You might actually get an interesting history lesson and I just bet they will bring you a Tupperware container full of it the next time they make it.