Friday, February 17, 2012

12 Hour Pork Shoulder Cook Off

Last weekend was simply awesome, as we spent time in Florida with our friends Matt and Kate.  Part of what I love about hanging out with them is that they're totally passionate about food and we spent most weekend cooking in their gorgeous backyard.  The doggies joined in the fun too, and you can see Tipper here looking interested in some grub.

So what we did last weekend was an all day cookout, featuring a 12-hour smoked pork shoulder, jalapeno poppers, Caprese salad, roasted potatoes and my
sweet panini.  To say we were full is a given, but what I loved about the way we did it is that we spaced the eating out throughout the entire day.  Here's my personal commentary:

12-Hour Smoked Pork Shoulder
- Dan and Matt bought a gorgeous piece of pork shoulder at Fresh Market, Florida's version of Whole Foods if you will.  The piece was impressive on its own, but after being coated in Matt's special dry rub, which includes cocoa powder, it became even more attractive.  After letting it marinate overnight, Matt smoked it for 12 slow hours and basted it a few times.  It was a whole procedure to say the least, but all the effort was totally worth it, as when we actually got to eating it, it pulled apart effortlessly.  I just loved how beautifully it shredded into bite sized pieces that had a charred crust from the smoker.  Each bite was delectable and juicy - Matt's homemade sweet BBQ sauce was just the icing on the proverbial cake.

Jalapeno Poppers - Starting this meal with jalapeno poppers was a great way to get going.  As you can see from the above picture, we made many of them and good thing too, because we couldn't stop chowing down on them.  Matt used a recipe from Emeril, which included a filling of bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese and he also added chopped shrimp.  It was a great idea, which gave this dish even more intrigue.  I also improvised along the way, placing the filling onto slices of eggplant after we used up all the jalapenos.  Those were delicious too and you can totally substitute them if you're not into spicy stuff.  See jalapeno popper recipe

Caprese Salad - To keep things a little lighter (which was nearly impossible), I made a quick Caprese salad using fresh ingredients and some really good quality fresh mozz from Fresh Market.  Dressing it just with olive oil, creamy balsamic and salt and pepper, it was a simple side that totally hit the spot.

We ended things off with my
sweet challah panini with banana, Nutella and melted marshmallows.  Feel free to try it and use my recipe.

Thanks Matt and Kate for an awesome feast - we can't wait to do it again next time.

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