My New Year’s Day Menu

I was watching Anthony Bourdain “Parts Unknown-Sicily” the other night, and was amazed at how similar the scene where they slaughtered the pig and then prepared the meat was to the time-honored Eastern North Carolina tradition of “hog killin” on New Year’s Day. I am not planning to slaughter any hogs in the back yard tomorrow, but will have a traditional menu going.

  • Pork Shoulder, cooked low and slow on the grill. I am cooking a relatively small one tomorrow (6 lbs), and will do it with a 3 gas burner with the meat over a burner that is off, and the one furthest from the meat on high and the middle one on low. Aiming for ~225 degrees for around 6 hours. It is better with charcoal, and even better with dried oak wood (I am not a fan of mesquite), but lots more work.
  • Rub for the shoulder. I am constantly tweaking my recipe and rubbed the shoulder with the following about 24 hours before I will put it on the grill. One quarter cup of brown sugar; 3 Tablespoons of Cayenne pepper; 3 Tablespoons of crushed red pepper; 2 tablespoons salt; 1 tablespoon cumin; 1 tablespoon sage. 2 tablespoons minced garlic. Mix it all together by hand and then rub it on the meat side (I only salt lightly the fat side). Then put the meat in the fridge in a pan covered by foil.
  • Sauce for cooking. The following sauce is applied during cooking ~ every hour. The main reason is to cool the meat during cooking and to keep it from drying out. This sauce is also good on cooked meat, but others like other finishing sauces. To each his own. Cooking sauce: Apple Cider vinegar, with cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper and minced garlic. Quantities to taste. Bring the ingredients to a boil in a pot for 5 minutes and then turn it off covered. Bottle it to save. Note: this will be like tear gas if you bring it to a boil it in your house, so do it on a grill or otherwise outside. You can just add these ingredients sans boiling, but the cooking fuses them.
  • Collards (cooked on the back porch because the smell they make in the house is well, distinctive, shall we say). I have cooked them once in the house in 21.5 years of marriage (emphasis on once). Today I am slow boiling a ham hock all day and will then cook the collards in the morning in the pot liquor. You bring collards to a boil and hold there for around 15 minutes, then put the top on the pot and turn them off and let them sit for about an hour. I like them fairly chunky (some put them into food processor, but too mushy for me).
  • Black eyed peas are soaking and will do so overnight. Then bring to a boil and simmer around 1 hour. Serve with chopped red onions and fresh jalapenos.
  • Cornbread. A twist I like is to add a can of corn to two packages of mix, with 2 tablespoons of sugar added in. It will take a bit longer to cook with the corn it, but it is worth it.
  • Baked sweet potatoes served with butter and cinnamon for dessert.

Best wishes for a prosperous New Year.

cross posted at freeforall

Author: Don Taylor

Don Taylor is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at Duke University, where his teaching and research focuses on health policy, with a focus on Medicare generally, and on hospice and palliative care, specifically. He increasingly works at the intersection of health policy and the federal budget. Past research topics have included health workforce and the economics of smoking. He began blogging in June 2009 and wrote columns on health reform for the Raleigh, (N.C.) News and Observer. He blogged at The Incidental Economist from March 2011 to March 2012. He is the author of a book, Balancing the Budget is a Progressive Priority that will be published by Springer in May 2012.

12 thoughts on “My New Year’s Day Menu”

  1. May I recommend not adding sugar to cornbread and not using the corn muffin or “cornbread mix” in the boxes. That is not southern cornbread.

    Instead, just get “self-rising corn meal mix” (Marth White brand is good). To about a cup or two of mix, add buttermilk (also can use milk soured with vinegar) til batter is consistency of a little thicker than for pancakes, then add a beaten egg or two for richness, and a glug of olive oil.

    Heat some more olive oil in an iron skillet on the stove over medium heat, while heating oven to 325. When oil is wavy hot, pour the mix all at once into the skillet, then remove from heat and bake in oven (flip it over when done underneath and bake til top is lightly browned).

    This is real cornbread. There are variations on it, but they all vary around this general theme. Cornbread inthe south is not baked in a cake pan and it never has sugar in it.

    1. This is something I’ve never understood. I’ve seen it endlessly asserted that southern cooks never, ever, put sugar in cornbread. Why is that, when they seem to put sugar in everything else?

  2. Ps you can add canned corn, kernel or creamed but be sure to keep the batter consistency similar to above

  3. Enjoy, and best wishes for 2014.
    I’m in England, but brought a proper Spanish ham with me to eat over a month and share with family and friends- iberico de cebo, made from the right king of pig fed on acorns in outdoor pens: the second grade below only bellota, where the same sort of pigs get their acorns picturesquely under the live oaks.

  4. Smoked pork shoulder is a lovely thing (forgive me, Rabbi), and six hours, at least, seems about right. I’m with you on mesquite, but periodically throwing soaked hickory chips on the charcoal is essential, IMO.

    1. Before eating the smoked pork shoulder, bow in the general direction of China. Ye shall be shriven.

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