Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dry and Wet "Lemonade" Marinade for Pork

I love to smoke things in the summer. No, not those kind of things, silly. Meat. Large pieces of tasty meat, slowly smoked over mesquite or applewood and eaten a variety of ways. Pork is one of the easiest types of meat to smoke, as it is quite forgiving to overcooking.

I originally meant to make smoked pork shoulder this weekend for "North Carolina" style pulled pork sandwiches. However, my friends at Ottomanelli's told me that the meat I ordered had a bit of a funny smell, and suggested a substitute. We decided on a pork loin with the bone still on. I sort of envisioned it as "giant ribs."

Because pork loin is a better cut of meat than shoulder, I wanted to serve it as a chop. Pulled pork is pulled because the meat looks better this way than sliced! I like a lemon flavor with light meats such as pork, so decided to make a lemon based marinade. Also, because smoking is done at such low heat, sugar doesn't burn and it is easy to give a "glazed" look to foods prepared this way.

So I mixed the following:

Juice of 3 lemons
2 cups vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt

and decided to call it "strong lemonade marinade" as "hard" lemonade was already taken by Mike.

I rubbed the pork prior to cooking with a mixture of 1:1 salt/sugar (and a little pepper, too). I then put it, tied as if it were a roast, in the smoker at about 200 degrees and left it alone for several hours. Then I brushed on the cooking marinade every hour and a half or so. The pork was 150 degrees when I removed it from the smoker and it was fabulous: both in taste and texture. When cut, the meat looks like a pork chop. The total cooking time was about 6 hours, although this can vary greatly!

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