Dry rubs bring big flavor to grilled meats. Folks usually go for dry or saucy when it comes to barbecue, though I admit to have had both on my plate at once. Most dry rubs have a lot of salt and sugar, but it really doesn't take much to get deep flavor.
I love barbecue all year round, though most of the take out variety are exceptionally high in sodium and our grill is currently out of commission. Plus, it's turned pretty cold up here and I am not one to stand outside in gale winds and freezing rain just to declare victory over the grill and the elements (my husband will, but that's a different story.)
This dish is a hybrid of barbeque and braising – I use dry rub spices with cider vinegar and mustard, then cook the roast slowly at a low temperature in a cooking bag. The result is a densely flavorful and moist dish that pairs perfectly with greens. We love it with braised cabbage (recipe to follow). Of course, even better with cornbread or biscuits.
Braised Barbecue Pork
1 tablespoon organic brown sugar
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 ½ teaspoon onion salt
1 ½ teaspoon celery salt
1 ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced fine or pressed
1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons raw unfiltered cider vinegar
1 4-lb. organic pork butt or roast
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl (except the pork.)
3. Place the pork on a clean work surface (like a cutting board) and pour over the marinade, making sure the entire surface of the meat is covered.
4. Place the pork in an oven-safe cooking bag. Close up the bag with the tie that it comes with.
5. Place the bag in a large roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 275 degrees.
6. Roast for about 4 hours. There should be a good amount of sauce in the bag which you can serve with the meat. The meat will be fork tender.
I got this recipe from a cookbook called All About Braising that is a great introduction to, well, braising. It is very simple dish and significantly healthier than fried cabbage - not to mention so delicious that folks will stand over the pot and pick off pieces or the leaves to eat. It's that good.
1 2-lb. head of plain old organic green cabbage (about 1 medium cabbage)
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4" rounds
1/4 cup homemade chicken or vegetable stock, or water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees (or, if cooking barbecue pork at the same time, leave the temperature at 275 degrees and cook for 15-20 minutes longer)
2. Lightly oil a large gratin dish or baking dish (9" x 13" is perfect)
3. Trim the cabbage by peeling off and discarding any bruised or torn outer leaves. Cut the head into 8 wedges. Arrange in a single layer in the dish - it's ok if they overlap a bit. If they don't all fit in the pan, set one or two wedges aside to save for a salad or coleslaw.
4. Scatter in the onion and carrot. Drizzle over the oil and stock or water. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
5. Cover the dish tightly with foil and slide into the oven as close to the middle as possible.
6. Braise in the oven for 2 hours if at 375 degrees, and up to 2 1/2 hours if at 275 degrees. Turn the cabbage wedges over with tongs halfway through cooking - it's ok if they fall apart a bit, just try to keep together.
7. After the cabbage is tender, remove the foil and raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Roast for about another 15 minutes or until the leaves start to brown.
8. Sprinkle with a tiny bit more salt, if desired, and serve.