Suggestions for the 4th

tnthudson

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 31, 2008
328
0
Central VA
#1
Hey everyone,
OK, I'm having my family and my wife's family over for the 4th...not too big, just 7 adults at this point for dinner and some pool time. So I was thinking the usual steak or steak & chicken, but I'd like to go a little further without having to cook all day or do too-extravagant recipes. Plus these folks are 'meat and potatoes' kind of people.
At this point I'm thinking some slow-smoked BBQ Chicken breasts and maybe a bone-in ribeye (since I'm dying to try my Char-Broil Big Easy, it cooks some mean bone-ins)...and maybe a few chicken quesadillas as appetizers. Maybe some baked potatoes and baked beans or something similar as sides(?)
BUT I'm open for suggestions. Any ideas? I have a Big Green Egg (charcoal smoker/cooker), a gas grill and that Big Easy from Char-Broil.
Love to hear what's on your menus also.
thanks
 

MikeInTN

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May 28, 2007
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Middle Tennessee
#2
We'll be doing just pulled pork this year. Did pulled pork and babybacks last year, and man, that was a lot of food! Going to do 4 butts (bought them today, in fact), so we'll have enough to take some to the fire station 2 doors down from us, to some of my coworkers who keep asking "when are you doing BBQ again?" , and then for our friends showing up on the 4th. We'll also do some baked beans, deviled eggs, potato chips, a veggie tray, some type of dessert..and lots of cold beer. :goodjob:

The only thing I get hacked about is our town doesn't allow personal fireworks. We used to ignore it but did get caught one year and told to cease and desist, so we haven't bought them since. Pity really, because we really put on a good show for the neighborhood.

EDIT - I forgot to add "floating in my sparkling clear pool, thanks to the wonderful folks here at TFP". :wink:
 

MikeInTN

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May 28, 2007
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Middle Tennessee
#5
Shorelover said:
"We'll be doing just pulled pork this year"

Wanna share that recipe? Please?

Thanks,
Sue
Sure! Pulled pork is very easy, but you'll need a smoker or a gas grill. I have a Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain propane smoker that's a step smaller than the famous "Big Block" smoker, but big enough to smoke whatever I need.

OK, first thing to do is prep your boston butts. If you're going to use a rub, the night before you're going to smoke, slather the butt with yellow mustard and then put the rub on the mustard, and wrap up in plastic wrap and let set in the fridge overnight. Don't worry, the mustard cooks off during the smoke and doesn't affect the taste of the meat. If you do or don't use a rub, take the butt out the day of the smoke and let it set for about 30 minutes or so to warm up a bit. Fire up your smoker or grill, and let it come up to temp. You want the temp around 200 - 225 degrees, so if using a grill, only light one burner on one end of the grill (with grills, you cook with indirect heat). While the smoker or grill's warming up, fill up your smoke box with wood chips or chunks of your favorite smoke wood. For butts, I use hickory. You can make smoke boxes by wrapping the wood chips in aluminum foil, making a little packet of sorts, and then poking holes through the foil for the smoke to come out. Some folks like to soak their wood chips beforehand; I don't, and have always had good smoke. Anyways, Go ahead and put your smoke box in the smoker or grill (again, if using a grill, put the smoke box over the lit burner). Once you see or smell the hickory smoke starting, put the butt in the smoker or on the grill (with the grill, put the butt on the opposite end of the lit burner). Keep the smoke going until the meat reaches 140 degrees. After that, I'll add water to the water bowl in the smoker (if using a grill, put a metal bowl or aluminum pan filled with hot water over the lit burner), and let 'er go until the meat reaches 170 degrees, refilling the water pan as needed. I'll even let it cook past 170, but 170 is the safe internal temp for pork. Now, take the butt off of the smoker or grill and wrap it in aluminum foil, then wrap it in some old towels, and place it in a cooler for an hour or two to let the butt rest. Take it out, let it cool enough to be able to touch, and then start pulling the meat apart. It should be very tender and basically fall apart in your hands.

The main thing to remember is low and slow - keep the cooking temp around 200-225. For a butt, it'll take from 10 - 12 hours usually to cook.

We use a vinegar-based finishing sauce as a finishing sauce and BBQ sauce. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it! :)
 
G
#6
Thanks so much! I have a grill, not a smoker. Will have to make sure I refill that tank! Now I need this recipe, please:
We use a vinegar-based finishing sauce as a finishing sauce and BBQ sauce. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
 

AnnaK

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Platinum Supporter
TFP Expert
#7
We're having a weekend house party with dog friends. Three couples, 12 German Shepherds and Little Jake. The party is a tradition. Our wedding anniversary is on the 5th and we've been getting together for years to celebrate.

Everybody brings food to this happening. This year it'll be pulled pork, hamburgers, cole slaw, baked beans, potato salad, bread pudding, peach trifle. Deviled eggs and a variety of chips and dip. Blueberry pancakes for breakfast as well as the standard bacon and eggs. Tiny Heineken kegs, lots of Pinot Grigio, Tequila with and without mixers (I prefer it straight), and our own private Dock Dogs competition :)
 

MikeInTN

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May 28, 2007
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Middle Tennessee
#8
Shorelover said:
Thanks so much! I have a grill, not a smoker. Will have to make sure I refill that tank! Now I need this recipe, please:
We use a vinegar-based finishing sauce as a finishing sauce and BBQ sauce. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
Certainly! :)

2 cups cider vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Tony Chachere's Cajun seasoning
2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
2 teaspoons red pepper

The original recipe called for 1/2 the amounts shown above, but I usually buy a pint of cider vinegar at a time to make it with, so I doubled up on the amounts so I can use up all of the vinegar. Plus, I pour the excess back in the vinegar bottle for storage in the refrigerator.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a saucepan and warm gently to help the sugar dissolve. After it cools, fill up a squirt bottle, and then put the excess back in the vinegar bottle.

We like to use it as a BBQ sauce moreso than a finishing sauce, because there are some folks wandering around out there that do not like vinegar based sauces.

Remember if you're smoking a butt on the grill - low and slow. Usually one burner will maintain around 200 degrees, but you might want to get an oven thermometer just to make sure.
 

NCFlyersFan

LifeTime Supporter
May 30, 2008
116
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NE North Carolina
#9
I'm with you, Mike. Pulled pork with all the fixings.

I prefer to smoke the butt to 180-190 instead of 170. I find it is much easier to pull, stays juicy, and renders out more of the fat. The down side, though, is it adds about 2 hours to the cooking time. I also like to use apple juice in a spray bottle to "spritz" the meat every hour once it gets to 135 or so. Adds a nice subtle sweet apple flavor to the meat.

I just have to ask...what is a guy from Tenessee doing using a vinegar sauce? I thought that was limited to us crazy North Carolinians :-D .
 

MikeInTN

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May 28, 2007
1,335
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Middle Tennessee
#10
NCFlyersFan said:
I'm with you, Mike. Pulled pork with all the fixings.

I prefer to smoke the butt to 180-190 instead of 170. I find it is much easier to pull, stays juicy, and renders out more of the fat. The down side, though, is it adds about 2 hours to the cooking time. I also like to use apple juice in a spray bottle to "spritz" the meat every hour once it gets to 135 or so. Adds a nice subtle sweet apple flavor to the meat.

I just have to ask...what is a guy from Tenessee doing using a vinegar sauce? I thought that was limited to us crazy North Carolinians :-D .
Yep, I usually go to around 190 myself, and then let it rest for a couple of hours in a cooler. 170 is the minimum for pork, and the temp should go on up another 10 degrees or so while it rests, but it never hurts to let it cook a little more. I haven't tried the apple juice on a butt, but do use it on my babybacks before I foil them for the "2" in the "3-2-1" method. I might have to go get some fresh apple juice tomorrow. :)

Weeellllll....one of our favorite BBQ joints here uses a vinegar-based sauce, and we found that we liked it much better than the tomato-based variety. So, when I decided to try my hand at smoking my own BBQ, I joined a smoking forum on the web, and found the recipe there. So you crazy North Carolinians' secret is getting out.. :-D
 

MikeInTN

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TFP Expert
May 28, 2007
1,335
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Middle Tennessee
#11
Shorelover said:
Thanks so much! I have a grill, not a smoker. Will have to make sure I refill that tank! Now I need this recipe, please:
We use a vinegar-based finishing sauce as a finishing sauce and BBQ sauce. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
Sue,

One other thing I'd like to mention - it will be worth your while to get an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of the meat. You can get a dial-type fairly cheap, or go all out and get a wireless model with a digital readout. The dial type you'll need to stick in and pull out each time you read the temp; the wireless one you stick in and leave it until you're finished.

Oh..and one other item...I agree with NCFlyersfan..go ahead and cook the butt until you get to 180 or 190. It will make for more tender BBQ.
 
G
#13
Thanks so much! It sounds wonderful.

I was planning on trying this over the weekend for a group. My neighborhood is having a big party; one of my neighbors just volunteered to roast a pig! So now I just have to bring a side dish over.

So I'll try it another time when I'm having people over. Have a great holiday!

Sue
 

mudrider420

Well-known member
Mar 7, 2008
62
0
#14
i'll probably have ribs or steak and shrimp or just plain ol' hotdogs and hamburgers. haven't decided yet. have to go to store on wed or thurs and see what's on sale. :scratch: one thing for sure, it'll definitely be from the grill. i know it won't be chicken, but i wouldn't mind having that drunken chicken again. it was juicy and delicious!!! :party: :whoot:
 

tnthudson

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 31, 2008
328
0
Central VA
#15
I'm revising the menu...for some reason bone-in ribeye is tough to find around here at this time of year, according to my butcher fella. SO, I found a recipe for prime rib roast, I think I'm gonna throw that into the Big Easy and see how it turns out.
Yummy stuff here, we have a North Carolinian sales manager, and I'm gonna try his vinegar-based pork recipe sometime, too. :p
 
G
#16
mmmm, I'd rather have the prime rib anyway -- sounds great! Let us know how it turns out. I'll have to check out that Big Easy.

Sue
 

tnthudson

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 31, 2008
328
0
Central VA
#17
My boss is really into BBQ 'stuff,' and he got one awhile back. We were at the Hearth, Patio & BBQ Association national trade show this year and this durn little 'Big Easy' from Charbroil got some kind of mention in an awards ceremony...it goes by the tag 'oil-less turkey fryer,' which is true, but it can do any large cuts of meat. The burner is more or less inbetween the double-wall construction, which creates infrared heat, and my boss likes this thing better than his Big Green Egg or his other stuff (at least for now :lol: )
So I'm anxious to try it, it's really ingenious in the simplicity of its design. Just when you thought they had thought of everything.......