Slow-cooked (outdoors or indoors) pork shoulder.
Slow-cooked (outdoors or indoors) pork shoulder. Credit Paola & Murray for The New York Times. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Rebecca Bartoshesky.
By Sam Sifton
Good morning. Our Gabrielle Hamilton makes a powerful argument for cooking a pork shoulder on an outdoor grill this weekend, even if — and perhaps especially if — the glass is at zero and there’s snow underfoot.
“Maybe I can persuade you to recall the miseries of grilling on oppressive thick August afternoons,” she wrote in her “Eat” columnfor The Times. “The sweat that trickles down the backs of your knees when you stand over that kettle of white hot coals. The way the humidity hangs so heavily that the smoke can’t plume or swirl away and instead attaches itself to you, stinging your eyes — and everyone else’s too. The scorching of your palms and knuckles when you baste the chicken even with the longest-handled brush you have.”
And so: a pork shoulder rubbed with chile paste (above) cooked beneath the dome of a grill fueled by wood, in the still of the winter cold. It’s a Frost poem about barbecue, a thing to make alone, for others, simply because that is how it is done best. And wouldn’t that be great?
I recommend accompaniments to GH’s food at my peril. Once I told her my idea for grinding up popcorn spiced with chile oil and using it to top something else — a piece of fried fish? She stared at me for a moment to see if I was joking, and then a few more after that in the way of discipline, which left me quiet for a day.
Nevertheless! I do love smoky pork with this hot Mexican-style coleslaw, with charred cabbage and crema.
Back inside, I’d like a sour-cream coffee cake on Sunday morning, I think. (You might prefer a breakfast salad, after all that pork.) I’d like a tuna club sandwich for lunch, in the style of the old-school Union Square Cafe. And, for dinner, I’m thinking moo shu pork with a side dish of smashed cucumbers. Those all seem like a good way to spend the day, indoors.
It’d be neat, while you’re in the kitchen, to cook a little in advance of next week’s needs. Some bone broth from the pressure cooker for a breakfast treat, winter’s kombucha, silky and strong? You could make a black bean and chorizo casserole that’ll pick up flavor in the fridge, so you can luxuriate in it on Tuesday or Wednesday night. It’s always a good time to make Dorie Greenspan’s lemon-spice visiting cake, for breakfasting, for snacking, for eating after dinner.
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Now, it’s a far cry from pastured lamb and CBD-infused balsamic vinegar, but I loved Krista Tippett’s 2015 interview with the poet Mary Oliver, which she brought back to the radio in the wake of Oliver’s death on Jan. 17. Please give that a listen.
By allowing food to rotate over the coals, from hot to cold zones, the TurboGrill not only keeps your food from burning, it allows food to cook very evenly and retain more moisture; creating a very succulent; crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, results.