My Beloved Osito,
Week 12 is upon us as The U travels to the state of North Carolina (NC) again to face off with the NC State Wolfpack. Going into the last two games of the season, knowing you don’t have a chance to play for the ACC Championship, can make you think that there is nothing to play for. I hope this mindset is not the case as The U looks to increase their win streak to 3 games and close out the season on a high note, for a change. Realizing that we play a lot of teams from NC, and in an effort to avoid duplicating a meal, I decided on Carolina pulled pork. It was basically my only option, given that their mascot, Mr. and Mrs Wuf was a nonstarter and I needed a break from the sweet potatoes, state veggie, trend, but I’m sure it will be back though.
Admittedly, I did not cook the “game meal” on game day, but on Sunday. I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Air Force lab overseeing testing for one of our experiments. One of the tests was to make one of the cells in the satellite’s battery burn-up to see if the heat would spread and destroy the other cells. This is called thermal runaway and we were going to create this by drilling a screw into one of the battery cells.
The other test was called vibration (vibe) testing. In simple terms we shake the experiment very hard to see if anything breaks. Unexpectedly during this trip, I got some parenting tips. Prior to the start of Vibe Testing, we were delayed for about 10 minutes as one of the Doctors brought his kids in to watch. I thought to myself, how cool is this…not many kids get to see things like this and I need to expose you to things like this. You may like it and you may not, but at least you will know it’s an option because I never thought I would be doing this.
Despite cooking the meal after the fact, the game meal and the actual game were both very similar. The game started off slow, and as a purely defensive battle, as both teams were only able to score 3 points in the first half. For the meal, it was a slow process, since low and slow is the best when cooking pulled pork. I used smoke and indirect heat on the grill. I left the pork on the grill for a few hours as we went to church, but upon our return, things began to pick up pace. The pace picked up for The U as well after they returned from halftime with some much needed offensive adjustments scoring 14 points in the 3rd quarter.
I picked up the pace for the game meal by transferring it from the grill to the pressure cooker. The U completed the game by outscoring NCST 24-10 in the second half on their way to a third straight victory winning 27-13. After removing the pork from the pressure pot and pulling it, Mami voted to have loaded baked potatoes. The meal rated out at a 7 out of 10 because the grilled (baked) potato just wasn’t the best, but the pork was really good. Next week in the regular season finale, The U hosts the Duke Blue Devils.
1. Fully unthaw pork butt and place in a large pan. Pour a bottle of beer into pan
2. With a sharp knife cut small slits (aka season pockets) all around the meat
3. Coat with olive oil, then cover and stuff season pockets with dry rub and minced garlic
4. Let marinate for at least 24 hours turning the butt over half way through the process
1. In a bowl mix brown sugar, Cajun, dried onion flakes,
adobo, parsley, thyme and black pepper
1. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry
2. Lightly coat with soy sauce and add another layer of the dryer rub
1. Soak wood chips (I used cherry wood) according to packet instructions
2. Light the grill using the indirect heat method with fire on opposite side of chimney
3. Place the pan with liquid marinade under the rack where the meat will be placed
1. Place meat on grill for ~5 hours rotating the meat on all sides
2. Make sure to keep the heat going by adding coal and soaked wood chips as needed
– The flames died out a little when we went to church
3. Remove meat and cut into chunks
4. Place meat in pressure cooker with some of the liquid marinade from the pan
5. Place on high ~15mins depending on pressure cooker
– Ensure meat is done and it should easily pull apart
1. Take baking potato and cut a few slits into it and coat with olive oil
2. Place the potato in foil with a slice of butter, salt and pepper and seal completely
3. Cook until soft, turning to ensure even cooking
Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”