Have you ever eaten so much meat that you feeling like you’re hallucinating? Some call it having “meat sweats” or a “meat high,” others know it simply as a food coma. Check all of the above, because you’re in for a long evening of lying down and blissfully patting your belly after this meal.
Memphis Blues Barbeque House is a special place for me, with two tiny locations tucked away in Vancouver, and several more across the Prairies. It’s as close to jaw-dropping-amazing Southern BBQ as most of us can get up here without hopping on a plane. Everything from their ribs and fries to pulled pork and cornbread are crazy delicious. Get ready, this is going to be a long one.
Luckily for us, in 2008 owners George Siu and Park Heffelfinger put out a cookbook featuring some of their best recipes. While it’s (understandably) not the same experience as eating at their restaurant, it’s pretty damn close. Spend a Saturday or Sunday slow-roasting and invite at least four people to join. The amount of meat you end up with is shocking, and though you will want to hoard it, I recommend sharing the wealth. After all, you may need someone to carry you to the couch for a nap afterwards.
This takes at least five hours to roast, but it’s well worth the wait. And don’t let the laundry list of ingredients scare you; it mostly consists of things many of us have on hand. If you don’t want to make 4 cups worth, just sprinkle the meat liberally with the ingredients. Coleslaw is a common pairing, but I can’t think of many people who actually like the stuff, so I suggest making a roasted garlic and herb mayo to spread on the bun before topping with meat and sauce. Recipe at the bottom.
You might be wondering when I made each part of the meal—here is an easy breakdown:
- Roast garlic and squash first, then reduce heat and place meat in the oven.
- After 3 1/2 hours make BBQ sauce. While sauce simmers, make mayo.
- Sauté squash 10 mins before eating.
That’s it! Or feel free to make the sauce, mayo and squash the day before.
A quick mention: although I don’t have a slow cooker, I am positive this roast would be perfect for one. Just adjust cooking time as necessary. Now eat!
Memphis Blues Oven-Roasted Pulled Pork
Adapted from Memphis Blues Barbeque House: Bringin’ Southern BBQ Home
Author’s note: Pick a pork shoulder that’s not too lean, because you will render the fat through the lean meat during the long roasting time. You’ll lose up to 30% of the raw weight when it’s done. Even in the oven, expect about 5–5½ hours of cooking time. It’s slow food—don’t rush it!
4 lb (2 kg) boneless pork shoulder, picnic shoulder or pork butt with a fat cap
¼ cup All-Purpose Dry Rub (see below)
- Preheat oven to 300ºF (150ºC). Rub the pork shoulder liberally with the All-Purpose Dry Rub. Place the shoulder in a roasting pan, fat cap up, and cook in the preheated oven for 3.5 hours.
- Remove from the oven, cover with tinfoil, and cook for another 1.5 hours to 2 hours. To know when it’s done, test it by pushing down on the pork shoulder. It should feel tender and ready to fall apart, if it’s still too firm, cook for another 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and remove the tinfoil. Use two forks to separate the pork while it rests in the roasting pan. There will be natural juices and drippings that you can incorporate back into the pulled pork. Just massage them in with your hands (clean, of course!). This will add extra flavour and keep it nice and moist. Serve on a bun, with a salad, or as a meal. Serve with Memphis Blues Classic Barbecue Sauce (recipe below).
Memphis Blues All Purpose Dry Rub
Makes 4 cups
1 cup dried parsley
1 cup sugar
1 cup Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (available everywhere)
3 tbsp. ground black pepper
3 tbsp. garlic powder
3 tbsp. onion powder
3 tbsp. dried oregano
3 tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tbsp. mild mustard powder (* Do NOT use Keen’s)
1 tbsp. celery salt
pinch cayenne pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly so there are no clumps.
- Store in an airtight container in the cupboard up to 6 months. Use on pork, chicken, turkey or fish.
Memphis Blues Classic Barbecue Sauce
Makes 2 cups (Note: the original recipe makes one cup, but it is not nearly enough for this recipe; I’ve doubled all measurements.)
4 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. dark brown or demerara sugar
2 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp. white vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. yellow mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
couple dashes Louisiana-style hot sauce
2 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 cup water
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Whisk thoroughly or combine with a hand-held blender to ensure there are no lumps. Simmer over low heat while stirring frequently for 1 hour (this pasteurizes the sauce). Cool for at least 1 hour before transferring to an airtight container for storage. Store for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.
1 garlic bulb, the skin tightly wrapped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste
- Place garlic in the cup of a muffin tin, drizzle with oil and cover garlic bulb tightly with tinfoil.
- Bake at 350°F for 30–35 minutes or until garlic is soft and golden. Remove tinfoil and cool to room temperature.
- Place garlic mixture, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce in container of blender/food processor, or mix very well by hand. Process/mix until smooth.
- Add mayonnaise and remaining ingredients; process/mix until smooth.
Sautéed Spaghetti Squash
Adapted from the Steamy Kitchen
1 small spaghetti squash
2 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup finely minced parsley
1/4 cup finely minced basil
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Pierce squash a few times with sharp paring knife, skewer or meat thermometer (hey, use what you’ve got!) to let steam escape. Bake spaghetti squash for 60 minutes, or until a knife pierces easily through skin with little resistance. Let squash cool for 10 minutes.
- Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Use a fork to remove and discard the seeds. Continue using fork to scrape the squash to get long strands. If the squash seem difficult to scrape, return the squash to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Heat a large sauté pan with the butter and the garlic over medium-low heat. When garlic becomes fragrant, add parsley, salt and spaghetti squash strands. Toss well. The spaghetti squash should have a slight crunch (i.e. not mushy)—but if you like it softer, cover the pan and cook 2 more minutes.