Now, more than ever, I wish that I could allow you to taste the foods I write about through your computer screen. The reason? Alex pulled out the smoker again and we tried again with the pork. (You may remember this post in which we documented our first attempt). Well, we refined our technique this time, and the result…
It still took a good 12 hours of cooking time (not to mention the 12 hours of brining). But here are some things we think we did right this time:
– Used a fantastic cut of meat from a fantastic local farm (Boston butt from Babes in the Wood Pork)
– Used a dry rub that included brown sugar (I know this is a post about revealing secrets, but this particular one’s going to have to wait a bit longer while we perfect it just a bit more)
– Started the pork in the smoker, fat side up, for about 7 hours at a relatively constant 250F then transferred to the oven for another 5 hours, thanks to a tip from a reader (thanks, Deena!)
– Let the meat cool down for about 45 minutes before attempting to cut into it
Drool… We didn’t even need the two varieties of BBQ sauce that I had thought to provide (one homemade and one bottled). It just didn’t need sauce. As soon as Alex started shredding it, we were picking up pieces with our fingers and consuming them before they even made it to our plates. See? Look how happy we are:
(I did manage to photograph one plate before we ravenously chowed down in the style that Scott demonstrates above):
So we’ll continue to update you on our progress with the smoker and I’ll wait to share our recipes until we’ve fully maximized their yum factor (though I gotta say, this pork was definitely pushing a 10 for both Alex and me). In the meantime, would you settle for a few of my secrets to a rockin’ strawberry rhubarb pie?
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Yum Factor: Alex – 8.6, Jessalyn – 9
For the all-butter crust:
– 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 sticks unsalted butter
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 3/4 cup ice cold water
Certainly, you could use a pre-made pie crust shell. As Smitten Kitchen explains, people seem to have some innate fear of homemade pie crusts, but it’s really quite simple. Her series of explanatory posts are excellent, and if you’ve never made pie crust before, I would direct you here for instruction. My secret for this pie is the addition of the cinnamon. Subtle, but a total game changer as far as pie crusts go, in my humble opinion.
For the filling:
– 4-5 cups strawberries, sliced
– 2-3 cups rhubarb, diced into 1/2 inch pieces or smaller
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup brown sugar (sometimes I do 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup regular sugar)
– generous spoonful of cornstarch
– juice of one lemon
– pinch of salt
– 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Mix all filling ingredients together.
Let the filling ingredients sit and get all happy happy with each other while you roll out your pie crust for your pie dish. Oh, and preheat the oven to 400F.
Cover with your second pie dough, trim off the excess, and use the extras to try to make cute little pie decorations.
At the very least, slice a couple slashes into the top of the pie for steam to escape. Paint liberally with egg wash (1 egg beaten with a bit of water), place on a baking sheet, and cook at 400F for 20-25 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350F and bake for another 30-45 minutes. The filling should be bubbling and the crust a lovely golden brown.
Did I mention you’ll want to bake the pie on a baking sheet? Preferably one with a lip around the edge? The above photo should tell you why…
You could definitely make this without the rhubarb, just substitute in a few more strawberries. And, as strange a
vegetable? fruit? vegetable that it is, rhubarb adds the perfect amount of tangy bite to this sweet spring pie. I wonder how it was discovered that you can eat the stalks but not the leaves of this plant. You know? I mean, probably by trial and error, for sure, but I would hate to have been the unfortunate one to sample the leaves at the expense of no longer being alive able to taste the rewarding flavors of strawberry rhubarb pie!
Definitely a great dessert to round out a BBQ pork meal. Or, you know, it can be eaten for breakfast the next day (which I can neither confirm nor deny may have happened at our house).
And, if you happen to have a bit of extra pie dough (as I did), form it together in a little mound, wrap it up generously in some plastic wrap and either refrigerate or freeze it and you can use it for smaller projects like this rustic tomato tart:
So, try out a couple of my strawberry rhubarb pie tips and let me know what you think. Or maybe you have a secret ingredient or two of your own? Go ahead and snatch up as many strawberries as you can while they’re still around! And continue letting us know your BBQ/smoker secrets.