Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hot Mustard BBQ Pork


SOUTH CAROLINA 
PULLED PORK BBQ W/ CHINESE HOT MUSTARD & 
JICAMA-CHAYOTE SLAW

There are a number of foods that I would classify as "typical American kid food" that I absolutely detested growing up.  Let me name a few: ants on a log, grilled cheese, popcorn, peanut butter and jelly, and BBQ.  Actually, I'm not sure if I "absolutely detested" them, or just never ate them much.  Here's a case in point: as a freshman in college acclimating to dorm food, I actually turned to my Michangander/Middle America friends and said "what's up with them always having the tomato soup when they serve grilled cheese?"  I never knew about that whole thing.  

Don't go thinking I was some snooty kid above canned soup.  There were plenty of grossities that I fancied.  I would even say that I had sort of a thing for the basest of the packaged, processed stuff that kids go for.  Remember Gobble Sticks?  Loved those.  
Anyways, the point is that over the course of my twenties my taste buds have changed (but hardly matured) and I've grown to like popcorn, peanut butter and jelly, and dunking grilled cheese in tomato soup (still hate ants on a log).  When it comes to BBQ, however, I think my acquired taste is much more a product of exposure to really good BBQ in adulthood.  My only association with BBQ as a kid was basically Sweet Baby Ray's.  Chicago may not be the first BBQ city that comes to mind, but we have a few establishments that can hold their own.* 

One BBQ discovery in particular was a whole range of vinegar-based sauces that are nothing like the sugary ketchup paste I remember from the 90s.  So that opened some doors for me.  Then came the discovery of the South Carolina mustard BBQ sauce.  I LOVE ALL MUSTARD.  So, done.  I'm in.  

As a warning, I know next to nothing about making BBQ meats, which I realize is sort of an art.  So I apologize in advance if any of the methods here offend the purists.  Whether this is actually "BBQ" or not, it was damn good.  I got a little experimental and replaced some of the traditional ingredients with their East Asian counterparts for a nice little Chinese-American fusion BBQ sauce.  The tang went great with a slightly sweet slaw of jicima, chayote, and radish.  While I braised country pork ribs, could could certainly use the sauce with whatever meat you want.  Give it a whirl.
Ingredients: BBQ Sauce (makes a little over a pint):
  • 1/4 cup Chinese hot mustard
  • 1 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp. mustard powder (optional)
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. hot sauce (I used sriracha to keep the Chinese theme)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. ground pepper
Ingredients: Braised Pork (makes 3-4 servings)
  • 4 country pork ribs, cut into individual pieces
  • dry BBQ rub of your choice
  • 4 cups stock
  • 1/2 onion, large dice
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
Ingredients: Jicama-Chayote Slaw (makes 4 large servings):
  • 1/2 jicima, peeled and julienned
  • 1 chayote, julienned
  • 3 radishes, julienned
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 4 whole wheat burger buns

Heat the oven to 400 degrees for braising the ribs.  Coat each rib with a good amount of the dry BBQ rub you choose.  I went with a sweeter rub with lots of brown sugar to counter the tang of the sauce.
In a dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and sear each side of the ribs until crispy and golden brown.  Add the onion, garlic, and stock.  Bring to a boil, cover, and put in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  You can easily adjust the amounts to make it sweeter/tangier according to your preference.  
The slaw comes together just as easily: julienne the jicama, chayote, and radish, then toss in lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.
After about 1 1/2 hours your ribs should be done.  You'll know because the meat will fall of the bone and fall apart very easily.  Remove them from the cooking juices and tear apart with a fork.
Assemble by placing a heap of pork on a bun, drizzling it with BBQ sauce, and topping with slaw for a nice crunch. 
*Here are my favs in Chicago: Fat Willy's, Smoque, Smoke Daddy, and Honky Tonk BBQ

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