As stated a few posts back, I spent the weekend of the 4th upstate at my pal Jared's Rockland County abode for his annual birthday cookout.
Upon arriving in the deep woods where mountain man Jared lives, we immediately hauled ass to the local supermarket and stocked up on food and supplies for the next day's festivities. The usual burgers, hot dogs, Eye-Talian sausages, and nibbles were obtained, and Jared had pre-made two batches of his patented chili, while yours truly set to work on stuffing two five-pound pork shoulders with garlic and seasoning them for what would would become a sixteen-hour, in-oven slow-cook.
BONUS RECIPE SECTION!!!
The process is simplicity itself: poke holes into the meat to accommodate however many garlic cloves you like — crack the garlic open first on a flat surface with the side of a wide knife to smack over it — and once the stuffing is done place the meat into a deep roasting pan. Season as you like, but I recommend salt and pepper, liberal sprinkling with adobo and that orange seasoning in packets that can be found along with Goya products in the "ethnic" food section at the local supermarket, making sure to season both sides, add about an inch of water and then place uncovered in a pre-heated oven at 300 degrees for about two hours. Then take the pork out, add a few shakes of liquid smoke — found in the aisle with the barbecue condiments — then seal the roasting pan with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil and return the meat to the oven. Drop the temperature to about 210 degrees and forget about it for the next fourteen hours. I mean it, just ignore the fuckers. When all is said and done, your pork should look like this:
The meat will be tender like you won't believe, and take care to peel off the skin in one piece if possible (more on that shortly).
With the skin removed, the pork will reveal a glistening layer of artery-clogging tastiness and it's up to you to decide how much fat you want to leave attached when you pull it into a form more conducive to eating in a shredded mound or on a sandwich. As anyone will tell you, the flavor is in the fat, so don't dump too much of it. But then again, if you're gonna eat this stuff you know what you're in for.
Once you've solved your fat issues, use a pair of meat tongs and grab the large bone that's visible in the pork. Grasp the bone firmly and tug; the bone will dislodge with the ease of pulling a finger out of a velvet glove.
Once that's removed, poke around with a fork to locate any remaining smaller bones and gristle and remove that stuff. Then take a sturdy fork like one of those big fuckers some people favor for the grill — I don't because poking meat lets the juices out; only use tongs or spatulas for grilling! — and gently swirl through the meat like you're using a frosting-spreader. The meat will fall apart like magic, and once you've made sure no excess bones or other such crud remains I would advise tasting the pork to determine if it needs any additional seasoning or tarting up. I'd go with some more adobo, salt, pepper, or sage, but only you can know what's best for your by now drooling audience. Serve as is with some sauce of choice — I recommend making some of my patented Barbecue Loooooooooove Sensation sauce — or throw that gorgeousness onto some white bread or a good potato roll and prepare to watch your guests go into spontaneous culinary orgasm.
And as for the previously set-aside skin, put it non-fatty side down onto a baking tray or cookie sheet and hit it with a little adobo and finely ground cayenne pepper. Heat the oven back up to about 300 degrees and put the skin there for about a half hour to forty-five minutes, checking occasionally with a spatula to prevent sticking. When it's crispy enough for your taste, take it out and cut into appropriate sizes for homemade pork rinds, but don't serve them until they've almost at room temperature.
Anyway, back to the narrative.
Along with the pork I also prepped some half-chickens and let them marinate for a couple of hours in lime juice, and as I was doing that the guests began to arrive. The usual suspects made it from various points in New York state and each came bearing food, booze, and prezzies.
I set to work at the grill, this time being able to say a hearty "fuck you" to Matchlight charcoal, that shit what gets chemicals all over food that you're going to serve to innocent people and children, because Jared got his hands on one of those fast-starting coal chimneys I'd heard about.
You stuff the bottom sixth of the tube with balled-up newspaper and then fill the upper portion with your coals. Set the paper alight, let it burn for about fifteen minutes and then you have a decent amount of ready to roll coals which you distribute by grabbing the handle (with a hot-mitt, duh!) and pouring out into your grill. I highly recommend adding one to your arsenal of grilling equipment, to be proudly stashed next to that most important piece of cookout gear, a really stupid hat.
Over the course of the day I got to catch up with many folks I hadn't seen in at least a year, such as Jim Hoston, one of the other crazy Negroes from my years in the Marvel Bullpen.
Jim's an unfairly talented painter and is also funny as a motherfucker; remind me to tell you the story of his impromptu and incongruous tea party during the middle of the work day that caused our boss, Virginia Romita, hilarious and grievous mental confusion.
This assortment of louts all worked at/for Marvel over the years, and of note among them are legendary inker extraordinaire Bob Wiacek (the bespectacled dude in the Astro Boy t-shirt) and Julio "Hershey" Herrera, the guy on one knee who isn't Jared. Julio was a wide-eyed young intern when he landed at Marvel over a decade ago, and the Bullpen was bound and determined to destroy whatever innocence in him that we could, a campaign that has yielded spectacular and endlessly amusing results. Completely unfazable nowadays, Julio's first taste of the sick world of comics was me giving him directions about navigating "the Hershey Highway," a destination that he soon found out wasn't exactly a paradise of dark chocolate confections.
Eddie Murr, Hopewell Junction's answer to the kid from DELIVERANCE.
Eternal Never-Never Land ambassador Eddie Murr was also there in fine form, his sense of whimsy having diminished not one iota over the twenty-one years of our association. Ed is unique in his ability to reduce even the most somber of situations to a level of childish sophomorism that I treasure most dearly, and his ability to make me laugh my ass off has pulled me out of some of my darkest emotional states. Having the guy as a fellow Bullpenner was an epic gut-buster in and of itself, and someday I'll have to give you more Eddie stories than just the one about Chicken Slave .
And lastly — but not leastly — here's Lia the K, who showed up at the ass end of things as nearly everybody had departed for home. I wish she'd been there all day, but it was nice to see her cuddly self even for a few minutes.
And she proves once and for all that chicks really do look cute in horns.
So that's it for this year's Garnerville Getaway! Wish ya coulda been there!