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More than just a good Butt

Dear Foodies, I hope all is well and that you’ve managed to eat some good food recently! The weather has been super the last few days, which has been great as it means that we’ve been able to get out and enjoy some beer gardens for the first time in what feels like forever. It’s still a bit parky for sitting outside in the evenings mind! We’ve had a great few cooks over the last week or so, with a particular high-light being our smoked Boston Butt Pulled Pork.

Our Boston Butt Pulled Pork BBQ freshly unwrapped after being cooked and rested for 24hrs
24hrs Smoked Boston Butt

BBQ in the US varies from state to state, and even within the state itself, and like a lot of things with American food can stir up regional passions on what is authentic and true. Many a heated conversation can go on till the wee hours over a jar of moonshine! One area where there seems to be universal agreement though is that it “ain’t BBQ unless its cooked over wood”. Yes, charcoal and gas we are looking at you. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t get darn tasty food by cooking with these, but what you are doing there my friends, is grilling! It’s not just the way that fire, smoke and heat combine to slow cook your regions preferred BBQ style, creating true BBQ is something that is steeped in culture, folklore and pure hard graft that makes it an expression of food history in the south. It’s not just slapping a sanger on a grate over some hot coals and cremating it, much loved by the British Backyard Griller (Hi Dad!) and calling it a BBQ. True BBQ is a labour of love that takes time and is combined with so much history and love it is literally in every bite that you eat, leaving its mark on your BBQ’d meal.

A thick BBQ bark, with the smoke ring peaking through, with fall apart tender meat for the perfect pulled pork.
A nice solid bark

It’s something that takes time to make, as is learning the craft of becoming an expert, to earn the epithet of Pitmaster. Knowledge is passed down from generation to generation, with things been tweaked with every cook, learning to read the smoke and the heat. Being called a Pit-master is a badge of honour, something to be proud of and undeniably romantic. But it’s earnt, and like anything worth having, it’s not easy. It’s hot hard work. It’s staying up all night, it’s working in pits as hot as hell itself (I kid you not!), its tending, watching over, loving, lifting and turning hogs that weigh 250lbs+ (circa 150kg) all for the buzz of seeing people’s face when they take that first bite of ‘cue and porcine (or bovine) paradise overloads their senses, taking the backslaps, smiles and “awesome ‘cue!”, as you sup a well-deserved cold beer, as the sun beats down on another hot-humid southern day. Shattered, but fulfilled, then, you can call yourself a pit-master.

Now, whilst we do cook awesome ‘cue, I am probably a bit of a way off being able to call myself a pit-master, as to cook in a truly authentic style we’d need to have a pit with a burn barrel, and the space of a London garden just isn’t the place to do that. I am sure the neighbours and the London Fire Brigade wouldn’t be too happy with me! (Now if any one has a field or a big enough garden and wants to cook for 100+ people…….and doesn’t mind a bit of scorched earth……) However, we do cook with just wood, using a mixture of applewood, hickory and oak to infuse the pork with an authentic taste over an extremely low smoke at 185F for the first few hours to allow smoke to stick and penetrate the meat as much as possible. We got a great smoke ring this time round, with it being 1” deep in places!

Our BBQ smoke went an inch deep in places!
Look at that smoke ring!

Once the internal temperature has approached the dreaded stall at 160F the meat is wrapped, often given the sobriquet the Texas Crutch (some purists see this as cheating, hence the slightly derogatory name) and the heat is increased to 225F for the rest of the cook. Once we’ve got to the finished temperature of 205F where all the collagen, fats and tissue will have broken down, we pull the meat off the smoker and wrapped further in foil or peach paper and then wrapped again in towelling before being placed in a cooler to rest for several hours. This last stage is super important as it allows all the liquids to redistribute evenly through the meat, making it the juiciest and tenderest meat you ever did eat, whilst still having a bit of bite that is the hallmark of good BBQ!

BBQ'd Pulled Pork Sandwiches with coleslaw
The rewards!

If you missed out on some this time round, don’t worry, we’ll be firing up the smoker for some more pulled pork in a few weeks time where we hope to be putting on the menu some brisket and short-ribs as well for the first time! Or of course, book us for your own backyard bbq and let us wow your guests with our authentic southern flavours!

So what are we cooking this week? We’re back to our delicious double cheese burgers with all the trimmings this week, as well as offering our ever-so-moreish jalapeno cornbread. As always, please pre-order to avoid disappointment as we do regularly sell-out.



This weeks burger friday at the southern kitchen
TSK Menu 23rd April


Hope to be cookin’ for you soon, and as always, thank you for your support.


Rich


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