Monday, October 25, 2004

cooking with blogs

I got home from a homeowners association meeting a minute ago, and was about to start cleaning up the kitchen when I realized, "wow, wouldn't it be cool to start a cooking blog?" A couple of weeks ago I decided to keep a cooking "journal" of various food experiments, to see how much I could learn by keeping track of what I cook & what I like.

So here it is, my inaugural entry in the What's Cookin' Now blog. Tonight, I re-heated some pulled pork for dinner, & decided to make some Carolina style vinegar sauce to go along with it, because it was tasting a bit dry.

So here's the sauce I improvised:

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Over moderate heat, bring all ingredients to a simmer in a non-aluminum saucepan. Take off heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Mix with pulled pork and serve. I noticed that it actually tasted more balanced when cool. When hot it was very vinegary and sharp, when cooled the taste had mellowed.

I smoked two pork shoulders (also known as "pork butt(s)") a few weeks ago in a Char-Broil H20 smoker that I bought from Home Depot for $35 and customized with a $7 electric hot plate, a $9 cast iron smoker box, and a $20 galvanized steel trash can (as an insulating cover). My first experience smoking meat, and on a cold, very windy and rainy day: not the optimum conditions for an thin, uninsulated metal shell to hold in heat. I got the hot plate because I was considering building an improvised terra cotta flowerpot smoker a la Alton Brown. Anyway, the smoker wouldn't get up to the "Ideal" temperature setting on the built-in thermometer (which is around 225 degrees). So, I removed all the handles, made a wire loop to replace the cover handle, and covered the whole smoker with an inverted metal trash can. In a matter of 10 minutes the smoker was at the ideal temperature, and stayed there very easily, despite the extremely poor weather. I took out the water pan too, was unnecessary. Now the whole thing works great.

Some choice pulled pork links:,1977,FOOD_9936_26997,00.html

The Char-Broil H20 Charcoal Smoker can be bought at

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