Crafting Hospitality

Last night as I was pulling the pork apart, I was reminded of my soon to be brother-in-law's art show back in August. You see, if you've ever met Bob without a long sleeve shirt on or a jacket, you are sure to notice the tatoo of a pig on his forearm. It's quite catching and then a conversation into the land of pork and all things so wonderful around this magnificent of animals comes protruding forth. Bob is marrying my sister-in-law Amber(Ben's sister) and I can wholeheartedly say how much we all love him and are very thankful he is joining the family. Not only can we talk food shop, but he knows a thing or two about pottery & ceramics.

It was in August that he had his senior project (via art show)/presentation, where he spoke briefly about his ceramic creations, we toured his exhibit, we ate his pulled pork (that he smoked), drank bourbon & whiskey, and had a wonderful time in doing it. What struck me most (that I have yet to encapsulate until now) on that idyllic Seattle summer evening was what Bob spoke about in regards to his work. He said (paraphrasing) that he viewed his pottery as a form of hospitality. He chooses to create cups, bowls, decanters--some of the more practical items with clay, in order to serve the food he loves (pulled pork, bourbon, waffles for post-Christmas breakfast) for people he loves.

It is through his passion of creating, molding, glazing & firing clay with his hands that he is creating unique forms of hospitality. We as the recipients get a taste of appreciation eating and drinking off these tangible pottery pieces. Bob delivers a bit of his passion & hard work (all forms of hospitable acts) to us. So if you're one of those people wondering "how in the world can I deliver a bit of hospitality?" I would suggest making a special meal that took a bit more time for your family or guests, pulling out the nicer dinnerware just because, or even lighting candles to communicate that we can intertwine ordinary & sacred time together. Seeing that we take the time to give attention to details occasionally throughout our week.

So, if you're up for could make this indoor pulled pork. I'm telling you right now that it takes time, but the end result is full reward. When I was pregnant with my youngest I got addicted to pulled pork sandwiches. And ya know that craving has yet to leave my system and I have yet to find a place in Bellingham that satisfies what I'm looking for. However, after eating this last night, I feel like I've found it. I was in line at the grocery store and I saw the Cooks Illustrated magazine with the words 'Indoor Pulled Pork' and knew I had to buy it, because I don't have a smoker and C.I. rarely fails me. Well, after a total of 6 1/2 to 7 hours I finally got rewarded for my hard work (more like my patience). This would fall under the category of a comfort yet special dinner with a touch of Southern goodness.

Indoor Pulled Pork (printable recipe)

I think pulled pork topped with slaw is not only quintessential, but essential. These two have a symbiotic relationship, so don't forget to top it with slaw. I used pork shoulder rather than pork butt and chose the Lexington Vinegar Sauce mainly because I had all the ingredients for it versus the other two options. I would wager to say that you wouldn't be able to tell that this was cooked without the use of a smoker.


1 cup plus 2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tb sugar
3 Tb plus 2 tsp liquid smoke
1 boneless pork butt (5 lbs), cut in half horizontally or pork shoulder strips
1/4 cup yellow mustard
2 Tb ground black pepper
2 Tb smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Lexington Vinegar Barbecue Sauce

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 Tb sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

  1. FOR THE PORK: Dissolve 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons liquid smoke in 4 quarts cold water in large container.  Submerge pork in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

  2. While the pork brines, combine mustard and remaining 2 teaspoons liquid smoke in small bowl; set aside.  Combine black pepper, paprika, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and cayenne in second small bowl; set aside.  Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

  3. Remove pork from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Rub mustard mixture over entire surface of each piece of pork.  Sprinkle entire surface of each piece with spice mixture.  Place pork on wire rack set inside foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Place piece of parchment paper over pork, then cover with sheet of aluminum foil, sealing edges to prevent moisture from escaping.  Roast pork for 3 hours.

  4. Remove pork from oven; remove and discard foil and parchment.  Carefully pour off liquid in bottom of baking sheet into a fat separator (or a big enough bowl and use a baster to get the liquid below the fat) and reserve for sauce.  Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well browned, tender, and internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours.  Transfer pork to serving dish, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.

  5. FOR THE SAUCE: While pork rests, pour 1/2 cup of defatted cooking liquid from fat separator (or from baster) into medium bowl; whisk into sauce ingredients.

  6. Shred pork either with your hands or with two forks into bite-sized pieces.  Toss with sauce and serve on warm rolls topped with coleslaw.

Making the Lexington Vinegar Barbecue Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with 1/2 cup of defatted cooking liquid and whisk to combine.

Easy Coleslaw:

1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced with chef knife

1 peeled carrot, grated

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/8 cup (2 Tb) buttermilk

2-3 Tb honey

1 Tb dijon mustard

splash of apple cider vinegar, regular vinegar, or lemon (basically you need an acid)

salt to taste

Mix all the dressing ingredients together and taste.  If it tastes too much like mayo, then add a bit more honey, vinegar & salt.  Dump on the sliced cabbage and grated carrot and toss.