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Three score and ten or more

Saturday, June 24, 2006

More funeral stuff

More funeral stuff.

I don’t know why I said “more”, since I haven’t finished my report on the funeral of my wife’s uncle in Idaho, but, just reading the obituaries I found another friend gone, though we were not as close to her as we have been to her children and grandchildren. Her daughter was a very good friend, and three of her grandchildren were almost like adopted kids. My wife established the program for the “gifted and talented” in Effingham County , GA, and began as an itinerant teacher working with middle school children. As the program developed she narrowed her personal focus to fewer schools each year (other teachers took up the slack), and ended up teaching A/P English in the high school. By the luck of the draw, a couple of my friend’s grandchildren studied with my wife through seven grades (until she shipped the oldest one off to Harvard).. This “viewing” (southern term) was a sad thing as we honored my friend, who had passed away from uterine cancer, but it was also a joyous reunion with folks who had grown up and moved away, and had children, and who had gradually become memories on Christmas Cards. As some of us began to exchange thoughts we more or less came to the conclusion that the folks in our church congregation and the congregation forty miles south where my friend had spent her last months had dropped the ball, each expecting the other to provide the “after funeral meal for the family”. As a result, some of us “picked up the ball and ran”, which means that if we were wrong and nobody dropped the ball in the first place there will now be enough food tomorrow afternoon to feed most of the county.

My contribution is to prepare a “Boston Butt”. I will have to confess that I don’t need much of an excuse to roast pork.. In fact, I decided that as long as I was doing a Boston Butt for the family, I would, at the same time, roast an uncured “front leg” (I can’t remember the term and am too darn lazy to get up and check).

I don’t know how other folks do this, but I know my process and I love it, my family loves it, neighbors who drop in because they smelled it love it. My process (adapted from one I picked up from Susanna Sommers diet cook book for heavens sake) works thus.

Take the piece of pork (Boston Butt or front shank) and score it crosswise top and bottom. Hand rub a bunch (don’t you like precise directions) of extra virgin olive oil into the whole thing. Next, douse with lemon pepper and re-rub it. The next application used to be a proprietary mixture of spices but I have settled for Tone’s spicy Italian seasoning. I rub in about an eighth of a cup (or more, till it looks right) then finish the pre-seasoning with two or three tablespoons of Cajun gunpowder (recipe in the archives of this blog.) Today, on a whim I also rubbed in Fresh Basil and chopped chives, because they were handy. Use a roasting pan that has space on the sides so that dripping is in the pan, not in the oven, and use a rack. Put the piece of meat (In todays case, both of them) in the rack. Preheat the oven to 500%, and when it is hot, put the meat in on a low shelf of the oven. Heat at 500% for one half hour, then lower the heat to 225 (If I have lots of time, sometimes to just over 200) and walk away from it for a couple of hours.

After about two hours at 225, paint the top surface of the meat with your own favorite barbeque sauce (I don’t give out my recipe or brands), then let the thing roast for about 8 to ten hours. (the length of time depends on whether you prfer slices of meat or pulled off strips of meat, resembling what, in this neighborhood, is called pulled barbeque. One of the best parts, on the leg piece which has “real pork skin” is the little diamonds of crispy skin on the top (No relationship to “pork rinds” from a store). Then you work your way down into the meat, slicing, if that’s your thing, or just ripping and rending with a fork (My thing). The addition of more barbeque sauce after it is on the plate is optional.

I should have taken a picture of the things before they went in the oven. I will try to take a picture of the finished goods in the morning.


At 7:29 AM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

"One of the best parts, on the leg piece which has “real pork skin” is the little diamonds of crispy skin on the top..."

That's what my dad used to "crackling" when he roasted a leg of pork. I have never succeeded at it maybe because I didn't roast it long enough. Two hours and then another ten? I'll try that but uncured pork legs are hard to come by here.


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