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While nothing can duplicate the sweet ambrosia of slow, pit-cooked, whole hog Eastern North Carolina barbeque, this is a right close backyard approximation for those of us who find themselves exiled in distant, heathen regions of barbeque heresy. First, get yourself some pork shoulders or Boston Butt roasts, as many as your smoker will hold comfortably. I use a Brinkmann Professional Pit Smoker with an offset firebox, but you can do this with a vertical Brinkmann water smoker as well. The key is providing a moist, smoky, indirect heat for a long period of time. What I do is put a bag of charcoal in the firebox, open the vents, light it, and let it burn down to coals. Then I add wood (generally oak, since hickory is scarce up here)--two parts wet (soaked) wood to one part dry--regulate the dampers, and put the shoulders or butts, fat side up, in the cooking chamber. Beneath the meat I put a drip pan half-filled with apple cider vinegar. You must keep the heat between 180-260 degrees throughout the smoking process; the optimum range is 220-240 degrees. Normally, Ill add apple wood to the firebox as well, and I always add between 5-7 whole heads of garlic during the process. Keep the firebox fed and a good smoke going for between 8 to 10 hours. Do not open the cooking chamber to baste the meat--the only time you open the cooking chamber is when the temperature spikes above 260 degrees, and you open it only long enough to bring the temperature back in the proper range. By the time the smoking period is finished, the outside of the pork will have a golden amber to dark brown crust. Now, take the meat and put it in a covered Dutch oven. If its too dark outside to continue, preheat your indoor stoves oven to just under 300 degrees; otherwise, just raise the temperature in the cooking chamber a like amount. Get a quart-sized Mason jar; fill it halfway with apple cider vinegar, add one (or more) teaspoons of red pepper flakes, and fill the rest of the jar with water. Dump this into the Dutch oven with the pork, cover, and cook until the meat falls from the bone, about 2 more hours or so. When the meat is done, let it cool a bit. [NOTE: If youre too tired, you can stop here for the day--cover em up, put them in the fridge, and warm em up the next morning and continue the procedure]. While its cooling, fill some 16 ounce bottles with apple cider vinegar, adding about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes to each one (I use Grolsch beer bottles with those pull-down caps, any excuse for buying good beer...). When the pork has cooled enough to handle (I use latex gloves) pull it into thumb-sized chunks, discarding as much fat as possible. Pack roughly 3 pounds of barbeque into a large frying pan (I use a Number 10 size cast iron skillet). Dissolve 1 tablespoon of salt into 2 1/2 cups of warm water and pour it into the pan. Add about 12 ounces of your apple cider vinegar and red pepper sauce, turn the heat to medium, and let the liquid slowly simmer off, stirring frequently, until the sauce just barely oozes over the top of your spatula when you press down on the barbeque with it. Remove from heat, and congratulate yourself--youve just made a fine batch of Eastern North Carolina Style Barbeque. Recipe By : Tom Solomon Posted to bbq-digest by "Patrick Lehnherr"
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