So there I was yesterday, in my backyard, smoking 8 lbs of the finest South Carolinian-style pulled pork, thinking about barbecue.
I live in Toronto. "Southern" barbecue has been "in" in Toronto for the last year or two, and a bunch of BBQ restaurants have popped up, accordingly. The worst of them are inedible and intolerable (in point of fact, the week before I'd had the worst brisket and pork I'd ever tasted- bad enough that I sent it back). The best of it is within spitting distance of some of the best BBQ I've tasted in the South- a mighty compliment.
The issue is this, though: it's goddamn expensive.
A pound of pulled pork from one of the better places is $17/lb (in contrast, my 8 pounds of pork cost just under $25 total). Ribs are expensive. Brisket is expensive. Hell, never mind eating out- raw brisket's now at over six bucks a pound, which means a substantial packer'll run you over seventy dollars.
This, to my mind, is insane. Barbecue, like so many of the most magnificent cuisines, has its roots in poverty. Poverty required the use of crappy cuts that the gentry didn't need, want, or like. Poverty required the refinement of new techniques that would transform coarse, fatty, collagen-rich cuts into beautiful, succulent, tender morsels of heaven.
Today, in Toronto, the only affordable traditional barbecue meat is pork shoulder, which I find astounding.
And so we get to my question to the collective.
Let's go beyond the boundaries of traditional Southern barbecue. What other cheap, amazing, undiscovered, yet readily-available cuts are there out in MeatLand that might substitute in for the beautiful cheap cuts of yesteryear? Dark meat turkey? Beef shoulder? Lamb neck?
Opinions, backed with intelligent and insightful evidence, warmly appreciated!
by Hana Asbrink | My latest haul. Welcome to Chow...
by Dan Koday | You ever notice how a great marinade can instantly elevate what otherwise would end up as a pretty...
by Eric Silverstein | By Eric Silverstein Chef Eric Silverstein is the founder and owner of The Peached Tortilla in Austin...
Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.