Barbecue Without the Smoke

Does Slow Cooked mean Barbecue?

I really can’t get excited about smoking some pork for hours over hickory coals, when one the best pit barbecue joints around is a few miles away from me (the Top Hat in Blount Springs, AL), and they sell the stuff expertly cooked by the pound. This may be sacrilege, as I live in the state with the most barbecue joints per capita in the country, and we have manifold styles of barbecue, but I make mine without smoke.

How can that be done? I stole a method from the great chef Rick Bayless, who in turn stole it from some cooks in Mexico. I believe composer Igor Stravinsky said, “Good composers imitate; great composers steal.” Same thing with cooks.

The technique is essentially to boil dry a big piece of pork two or three times, and to let it fry in its own fat the same number of times. Fill up your pot with water up to the top of the piece of pork, and just let it bubble. It takes anywhere from two to four hours to do this, so this is really slow cooking. The result is some fabulously tender meat. Just don’t forget the salt. Maybe it should be called Neo-barbecue.