Pork Summit 2013

From indigenous barbecue and fresh sausage making to pairing whole hog market basket exercise, the 3rd annual Pork Summit was a feast for mind and stomach.


The National Pork Board hosted the 2013 Pork Summit April 26-28 at the Culinary Institute of America’s (CIA) Greystone Campus in St. Helena, CA. State and regional Taste of Elegance winners won a trip to this exclusive, educational weekend to rub elbows with the foodservice industry’s top media editors, CIA instructors, acclaimed chefs and wine experts.

Indigenous Barbecue

The National Pork Board’s Director of Foodservice Marketing Stephen Gerike kicked off the event with the introduction of CIA Chef-Instructor Tucker Bunch and four featured chefs who presented their takes on regional barbecue.

The “locavore” movement tends to concern farmer’s markets and regionally grown, raised and distributed foods, and the presentation showed how barbecue fits into that equation. Barbecue is legendary for being the subject of contentious debate, but Gerike and Bunch challenged the presenting chefs and Summit attendees to redefine barbecue from their area. Using historical research about native cooking techniques and platforms (e.g. wood-fueled smokers or buried in pits) and local flavorings and foods, the chefs developed their own indigenous barbecue versions using pork shoulders and local seasonings, sauces and rubs, brines, cooking methods and finishing touches – no ketchup or vinegar in sight.

Stephen Barber, executive chef at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch in Napa Valley, was challenged to define “Northern California barbecue,” an area not known for that style of cooking. After extensive study of native cooking techniques, Barber found that people in California historically cooked for large groups using the abundance of produce in the area. To create his barbecue, Barber brined pork shoulders in sea water, local honey and laurel leaves, wrapped them in fig leaves, and buried them under fennel branches and hay in a pit of madrone wood. He served the pork with a sweet and spicy blackberry sauce with New Mexican chili and bronze fennel with Santa Maria piquinto beans.


John Fink, chef/owner of The Whole Beast in San Francisco, focused on Mid-Atlantic barbecue to represent his roots. “Barbecue for Virginians became a social gathering because they liked to party,” he said. “There was a lot of hard cider, politicians, dancing and cooking of the whole animal because it was something they couldn’t duplicate at home.” Fink’s rendition resulted in cider-brined pork cooked in an impressive, hand-constructed chimney oven using 370 bricks. He used applewood logs for heat and fresh green applewood stems and leaves as a smoke source. “I used oven bricks instead of traditional red bricks so the chimney would retain its heat,” he said. Starting with a solid foundation of cinder blocks and more bricks spaced wide and deep-set in the sand, it took two people three hours to build the roughly five-foot-tall chimney oven for the live barbecue event later that evening. After brining the pork shoulder in hard apple cider, covering it with mustard and applesauce and cooking it for about 11 to 12 hours, Fink served the final dish with apple gastrique and corn bread.

Chef-educator, author and recipe developer Robert Danhi of Chef Danhi & Co. showcased Southeast Asian barbecue using a coconut shell brine and seasoning rub including spices like turmeric, galangal, Thai bird chilies and lemongrass. Danhi built his own rotisserie, modeled after those used in Southeast Asian street cooking. He used chunks of mangrove charcoal that he brought back from a recent trip to Malaysia as his heat source and added smokiness by trapping the smoke from coconut shells tossed into the fire. For a true taste of Southeast Asia, he served his barbecue pork with coconut long beans, chilies, garlic and tomato sambal.

Taylor Bowen-Ricketts of Delta Bistro in Greenwood, Miss. and a native of the deep South recreated her barbecue according to the “hot, flat, humid and slow lifestyle that goes hand in hand with slow-cooking,” she said. Taking influence from the area’s Mexican culture, her barbecue was a butterflied and moonshine-brined pork covered with chipotle-cayenne-cumin-spiked sweet potato mole wet rub with Southern scuppernong jelly made from sweet muscadine grapes. The pork was hot-smoked with pecan wood, pit-grilled and served with a black strap molasses “mop,” a slaw made from pickled kudzu (a prolific southern weed) and plenty of good old-fashioned blues music.


Live Barbecue Dinner at Farmstead

After the demonstrations, Chef Stephen Barber invited guests to his indoor-outdoor restaurant Farmstead for a viewing and a taste of the four indigenous barbecue versions in action.

Chef Fink stood by his tower-like chimney, Chef Danhi kept busy at the rotisserie and Bowen-Rickets at her pecan pit, while Barber and two chefs dug his roasted pork shoulders out of the ground. Like a scene out of a farm wedding amidst a setting orange sun and rising blue moon, guests sat at long communal tables in the grassy outdoor space to feast on the featured barbecue dishes and accompanying sauces and sides.

Pork 101

Saturday’s events kicked off with a Pork 101 class taught by Gerike, who once spent two weeks learning animal butchery at Texas A&M and raises his own hogs on his Maryland farm. Attendees learned about the pork industry from farm to fork, including the many breeds of pigs, production practices, animal care, meat quality and the science of converting muscle into meat, followed by a pork quality demonstration and tasting. He taught the chefs how to recognize positive quality attributes in fresh pork and the importance of selecting quality raw materials when cooking pork. He also presented an overview and demonstration of the chops that can come from one pork loin and the new USDA-approved names that go with them.

After Gerike’s presentation, CIA Chef-Instructor Bill Briwa taught a segment on the art and science of brining and curing, then treated guests to a lunch of porchetta di testa that he prepared earlier in the CIA’s teaching kitchen.

Pork Cooking Methods by CIA Chef-Instructors Bill Briwa and Lars Kronmark

Chef Briwa started the pork cooking method demos with a remake of veal tonnato using brined, slow-roasted pork and the traditional tuna topper.

Chef Kronmark demonstrated a Denmark-style pressed pork belly sandwich called rullepølse, layered with rillettes, cucumber relish, fresh grated horseradish, sprouts and a remoulade made with celery root and apple. For extra flavor, Kronmark rubbed the pork belly with allspice, cloves, juniper berries and lovage, a local California herb similar to parsley. He rolled, tied and simmered the meat for up to 2 hours before cooling and slicing thin on rye bread.


Sausage Making with Sausage Craft’s Chris Mattera

Chris Mattera of Sausage Craft in Richmond, Va. demonstrated his sausage-making prowess, followed by a sampling of his featured favorites. Mattera also showed a video of his sausage “factory,” which – despite its small size – sells 2,000 pounds of sausage a week to local restaurants and businesses as well as online.

An English major-turned-chef, Mattera learned the art of encased meats while studying and working in Italy. He stressed the importance of temperature control, balanced grinding and gentle mixing (or rather, folding) of the ingredients before stuffing the casings.

“Sausage is a ratio game,” he said. “There are a few fundamental rules.” Mattera uses a precise, balanced recipe for his basic Italian sausage, but beyond that, the opportunities for creativity abound – Sausage Craft has about 20 different versions. Mattera’s Saturday Night sausage, a chopped version made with beer and Sriracha, was a crowd favorite.


Utilizing the Whole Hog with Chris Cosentino

Known for his fearless, waste-conscious, cost-effective and über-creative use of all parts of the pig, Chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco demonstrated his technique for breaking down a pig’s head and offered ideas of what to do with each piece. Standing before a head with eyes, ears and all, Cosentino – armed with sharp knives and a saw – moved step-by-step through building Incanto’s “Pig’s Head for Two,” displaying each element of the dish on a wood chopping board carved with the name of his restaurant. Fun fact: the chefs wear thick, striped aprons that are tough enough to stand up to a knife if there’s a slip during butchering.

From braised, roasted and spice-rubbed pork jowl pastrami to fried pig ears, beet-pickled tongue, pork jus-simmered snout and fried head cakes with brainnaise (yes, that’s mayonnaise made with brain), Cosentino showed the possibilities are boundless when it comes to working with whole pigs – and by using the whole animal, chefs and operators can create an endless array of dishes. The celebrity chef and winner of Season 4 of “Top Chef Masters” even saved the leftover bones and scraps for a pork demi-glace, and the pig’s soft palette at the roof of the mouth, commonly used in Chinese cooking, was braised and sliced into a fresh radish green and herb salad.

“When you travel out of the country you realize how much we throw away. It really changes the way you run your restaurant,” said Cosentino, the creator of OffalGood.com, an educational website and online guide for offal cooking enthusiasts, and author of the recently released Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal, which he signed for guests at the summit. “It’s not fear factor at my restaurant – it’s just an option. You don’t have to yell at anyone to eat a carrot but sometimes you have to ‘yell at people’ to get them to eat cuts of meat they don’t recognize. In the end, though, those new tastes and textures become new and exciting taste memories.”


Wine & Food Pairing

At the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies, wine expert and owner of Tannin Management Rebecca Chapa and CIA Chef-Instructor Bill Briwa led a wine and pork pairing seminar featuring wines from local Napa Valley Vintners. Chapa gave a detailed overview of Napa Valley wine production and the diverse terroir of the heavily volcanic soil area. Briwa continued the class with a wine evaluation and food pairing sensory exercise. Using plain, unsalted roasted pork loin as the base, students were instructed to first sip the wines, then pair the pork with available additions, like cheese, herbs, sea salt and olive oil to see the wine’s effect on the food. The takeaway lesson: start with the wine first, then bring up the acidity, salt or fat in the food to balance with the high or low pH of the wine. After class, the CIA opened its terrace for a reception overlooking the beautiful vineyards and expansive herb garden below. The reception featured Napa wines from the afternoon presentation: Girard Sauvignon Blanc, Frog’s Leap Chardonnay, Matthiasson Rose, Elizabeth Rose Pinot Noir, Cochon Syrah Phoenix and Faust Cabernet Sauvignon.


Market Basket Competition

Sunday was a day in the kitchen. After breakfast at the CIA, Gerike and Cosentino led a half-hog butchering demonstration. Gerike broke his half down according to the common breaks used in foodservice following the Institutional Meat Purchaser Specifications. Cosentino broke his down to best utilize the animal’s parts in his independent restaurant. The banter between Gerike and Cosentino kept the attendees laughing. After the butchering demo, guests were grouped into teams led by one of the presenting chefs and tasked with developing a menu of a shareable starter, an original sandwich, and a shareable entrée for two using half a hog and whatever fresh vegetables, herbs, seasonings and other foods they chose. One of the dishes had to feature a fresh sausage. With three hours to cook, seasoned chefs and editors alike worked together to prepare and present platters of their creations for the day’s lunch.

After a long day in the kitchen, guests were free to explore Napa Valley and nearby Yountville Sunday evening before returning home the next day.

The Takeaway

Education is the goal of the Pork Summit, and chefs and editors emerged with a deeper understanding of all things pork. From indigenous barbecue and animal welfare to butchering and fresh sausage making, attendees left with professional knowledge and relationships they will use throughout their careers – and some delicious memories as well!

A Conversation With Tucker Bunch

Tucker BunchGrowing up in Louisiana, CIA Chef-Instructor Tucker Bunch was raised on BBQ. After moving to California, he began to question what defines good, local BBQ.

Barbecue isn’t solely the domain of the South. CIA Chef-Instructor Tucker Bunch believes that tender, delicious barbecue pork is possible from every region – as long as chefs use local ingredients to make it distinctly their own.

As a kid in Louisiana, good barbecue was second nature to Bunch. After graduating culinary school and working in several Houston kitchens, including as chief operations officer and executive chef for Cresecent City Beignets and as the research and development chef for Joe’s Crab Shack, Bunch moved to California to teach at CIA-Graystone. The concept of indigenous barbecue is one Bunch has been developing since he left the South, and he asked the chefs at Pork Summit 2013 to weigh in.

We caught up with Tucker post-Summit to learn more about what makes local barbecue so great.

NPB: What inspired you to get involved in the culinary arts and how did you decide to become a Chef-Instructor at the Culinary Institute of America?

Chef: I was raised in Louisiana, with food at the center of every family and social encounter. This didn’t seem noteworthy as a child, but I realized not everyone shared this worldview when I went to college. After a number of “unproductive” semesters, I was called home and brought to task over my failing formal education. I chose to attend culinary school without knowing much about the industry, but with confidence that I would always be fascinated by it. I worked in just about every segment of foodservice, but mostly fine dining, and I eventually opened my own restaurant that harkened back to the foods I grew up with in Louisiana. After the sale of my business and being a new parent, I was looking for a new and more stable career. Teaching offered that opportunity. What I didn’t anticipate was just how deeply fascinating the world of food is at the academic level. “Geeked” works better to describe the preoccupation with food that I share with my peers and my students. That first hunch about the industry always being fascinating is more true now than it was when I was in college.

NPB: In general, what is your food philosophy? What is it in regards to barbecue?

Chef: My personal food philosophy has been most strongly shaped by travel – to Italy in particular – and I have a Southerner’s appreciation for spice, sweet-sour and stews. I cook simple food; dishes that rely on a minimum number of ingredients cooked with good technique, restraint, and a sense of balance. With regards to barbeque, I’m at a crossroads. I grew up on Memphis-style sweet and sticky and that’s what tastes correct to me. Over the last two years, Stephen Gerike and I have been formulating a new framework for barbeque, one that’s less of tradition and more about fitting into the framework of my personal food philosophy and the notion of what’s local, seasonal and reflective of my community.

NPB: How has your Southern upbringing affected your love of barbecue? Chef: It’s a birthright. I never gave it any consideration until I moved to California and was confronted with the absence of good barbeque options. NPB: What’s the most vivid barbecue memory you have from growing up?

Chef: Barbeque was something we went out for, rather than something my family cooked. We understood that the people behind the counter knew things about barbeque that we did not. Those skills were passed from person to person, not learned in books. Those old men were masters of their craft and anything we might attempt would be a distant second. We always went to the best in town and almost always took it home to eat. It came wrapped in white butchers paper; sliced pork, garlic sausages and ribs. Sauce was tomato-based, sweet and sour, with distinct Louisiana-style garlic and cayenne notes. Sides consisted of densely seasoned baked beans, slaw, potato salad, and cheap white burger buns. Everything was sweet. I remember the warmth of the wrapping paper, the opening and the escape of steam and the aroma of smoke.


NPB: You now live in Northern California. What type of barbecue are you finding and how is it different from other regions?

Chef: The few barbeque joints in Northern California that I have visited tend to suffer by comparison. Most are copying the style of some other place and are doing a middling job of it. The meat is consistently dry and overcooked. Tri-tip, a cut of meat that’s frequently marketed as “barbeque”, doesn’t really qualify. First, it’s grilled and second, it’s beef. As a chef who teaches butchery, I can think of a number of cuts of meat more suitable to grill, or even to barbeque. I’ve never found an appreciation for it. Sorry, California.

NPB: Can you tell us a little about the history of barbecue and its American roots?

Chef: Barbeque, the word and the cooking technique, are a loan from the aboriginal people of the Caribbean islands. The first mention dates to the mid 1600s. Meaning “sacred fire pit,” the word describes a grill for cooking meat consisting of a green wood platform propped up on sticks with a low fire beneath. I imagine this form of cooking suited early European explorers and settlers – easy, transportable and well-suited to primitive conditions. The first recognizable “barbeques” appeared in the Carolinas in the early 1800s as church picnics and political rallies. Pork, slowly cooked over an outdoor fire, provided a feasible and economical means to feed a large number of people. Pork, apple cider vinegar and hickory were all cheap local resources that tasted great together.

NPB: There are many styles of barbeque in the US and they all compete for the title of best barbeque. What style is your favorite?

Chef: I’d point back to Louisiana, but it’s been so long since I’ve lived there it’s more of a memory. Louisiana-style would be closest to Memphis, but a little different. The styles are a way for people from elsewhere to categorize regional similarities, but they don’t take into account the differences within a region. So if you insist, Memphis, but I dislike those broad generalizations more and more these days.


NPB: In your opinion, how do different cultures and immigrant populations influence the barbeque of a region?

Chef: Every pitmaster has cultural bias that slips into the flavor profile of their food. Move to a different region and those influences impress themselves differently. I see barbeque in its earliest and most primitive form on the Eastern seaboard as being the product of English sensibilities; a larger version of the Sunday roast. The ubiquitous banana pudding is simply an Americanized trifle. Beverage of choice? Tea! The flavors of Louisiana food were shaped by the French, Spanish, African and Caribbean cultures that populated the state, thus tomato, garlic, paprika, cayenne and allspice. Generally, barbeque sauces are sweeter the farther west you go. Sweet barbeque in the Mississippi river basin was likely the result of sugar and molasses being local resources from Louisiana. Sugar was cheaper, and used in greater quantity.

NPB: Why do you think pork is so often the protein of choice for barbeque? Is there any historical reason?

Chef: I’d point to its expense, or lack thereof. Swine have large litters and reach maturity within months. They are well suited to the weather of the American South. Pork could be raised in pens and fed table scraps, or grazed on pasture, or even allowed to range freely, harvested as occasion or need dictated. Most importantly, due to its fat content and the structure of its protein, pork is uniquely suited to barbecue. It’s tasty and was appreciated by nearly everyone. During the time that barbeque first appeared, beef was not yet a large industry. In the early 1800s, most cattle were beasts of burden and beef didn’t appear as frequently on the Southern American table.

NPB: At the Pork Summit in St. Helena, CA, you presented the concept of indigenous barbecue to the chefs and then posed the question, “What would barbecue look like if it were allowed to be shaped by your region and sense of place?” What inspired this idea and why do you believe it is so important to deconstruct barbecue as we know it?

Chef: As exemplified by modern chefs such as Adam Perry Lang, the skill of old pitmasters has been decoded. It can be possessed by any cook interested enough to pursue the craft. If the unique styles of barbeque that exist in the South are to be respected, I don’t see the value of having a chef in California, New York, Arizona or South Dakota copy the food style of some other region. If a chef doesn’t own the style of food they cook, they don’t invest in it as deeply as if it was their own creation. What I also see are barbeque joints all over the West phoning it in. It’s not their style, so why do they care to do it well, or badly, and who would know enough to criticize? The take away isn’t that with diligent study you can cook North Carolina-style barbeque better than they do in North Carolina. The takeaway should be that you have the skills to make whatever kind of barbeque you want, and that its creation should be influenced by the same forces that shaped the styles we know and appreciate. Make it yours, and make it local.


NPB: How would you recommend approaching the concept of localizing barbeque? What needs to be taken into consideration?

Chef: When Stephen and I dug deeply into what defined existing styles, we were constantly reminded of how local barbeque was. With that knowledge in mind we formulated the following framework:

  • Local Hogs:
    • What breeds would thrive in your area?
    • What would they be eating and how would that effect fat development and flavor?
    • Would they be market weight or feeder pigs?
  • Local Fuel
    • What aromatic hard wood, fruit wood or nut woods are indigenous or abundant in your region?
    • Would the fire source be split wood or charcoal?
    • Would you use one wood for heat and another for its smoke quality?
    • Would the wood be seasoned (dried) or green?
  • Local Resources
    • Where does the salt come from for your dry seasoning? Sea or salt mine, coarse of fine?
    • What type of pepper would you use for heat?
    • What aromatics would be used? – onion, garlic, spices, etc.?
    • What source of sweet? – cane, palm, honey, molasses?
    • What sour? – vinegar, sumac, citrus?
  • Local Cultural Influences
    • What cultures would influence the flavors and ingredients of the sauces, condiments, sides, and beverages that would accompany the meal?
    • Spice? What kinds and how spicy?
  • How sour?
    • Would sweet be used sparingly or with abandon?
    • What sides complete the meal?
    • What indigenous ingredients might be used?
    • What equipment?


NPB: At Pork Summit, four different chefs presented their indigenous barbequed pork shoulder. Was there any approach that stood out in your mind?

Chef: Stephen Barber’s use of fennel tops, hay and buried pit cooking. It was totally different to what I might have envisioned as Napa Valley barbeque, but in keeping and deeply resonant.

NPB: Are there specific resources you would recommend for a chef looking to explore their own style of regional barbeque?

Chef: No specific resources are needed, save for imagination and perhaps a trip to the library. Imagine the challenges and opportunities present a century ago when people endeavored to feed themselves. Don’t burden yourself with preconceived ideas of what barbeque is supposed to be. Talk to your neighbors, friends and peers that are lifelong residents of your area. Don’t ask them what kind of barbeque they like, but rather, discuss the history, ingredients, cultures, and resources that define the region. Weave those ingredients and resources into the framework above. Try it out without fear of failure. If the result is not as tasty as you’d hoped, learn from it. You spent $30 and a pleasant weekend pursuing your craft. There’s no failure in that. Do it again. Keep working on it until it’s tasty and representative of you and your region. Make it yours, and make it local.

NPB: What are your top five favorite pork dishes in the Napa Valley and where are they?

Chef: One dish looms so large as to blot out the memory of all others – the Lucky Pig by Chef Brandon Sharp, of Solbar at Solage Calistoga.


Northern Cali BBQ

Chef Stephen Barber uses local chiles, juniper berries, fennel and fig leaves for tender barbecued pork shoulder that’s distinctly Californian.


5 Duroc bone-in pork shoulder,
10 dried New Mexican chiles, toasted and ground
100 fig leaves,
25 fennel branches,
Hay, as needed
1/4 cord Madrone wood,
1/4 cord oak wood,
Shovel, on hand
20 bricks, or river rocks

Pork Butt Brine:

3 gallons of sea water, reduced to 2 gallons
6 bay leaves,
1/2 cup honey,
2 TBL juniper berries, California

Blackberry and Fig BBQ Sauce:

3 cups blackberry vinegar,
8 oz wt dried mission figs,
6 oz wt blackberries, ripe
20 grams dried New Mexican chiles, roughly 6
3 cups of sea water,
3/4 cup honey,
4 wild onions


Pork Butt Brine Preparation:

  1.  Reduce 3 gallons of seawater to 2 gallons to adjust the salinity to roughly 7%
  2. While the water is still warm, stir in the remaining ingredients and cool
  3. Pour over pork butts and brine for 24 hours
Blackberry and Fig BBQ Sauce Preparation:
  1.  Combine all ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes
  2. Blend or run through food mill
Barbecue Process:
  1. Light large fire with ½ the Madrone wood and ½ of the oak wood
  2. Dig pit in ground – 2 feet wide, 5 feet long and 3 feet deep. Line with bricks or river rocks
  3. Soak the hay in water


  1. Remove butts from brine and dry with towel
  2. Grind the 10 New Mexican chilies and season butts
  3. Place butts on hot grill to get a little color and caramelize
  4. Lay out fig leaves so they make a nice, thick sheet and roll the pork butt so that its completely covered. Secure with bailing wire


  1. Shovel coals that have gathered over the last 2 hours and place in pit.
  2. Throw a few more pieces of wood on and allow to burn down half way. This should take about 45 minutes. By this time the bricks and ground around should be good and hot
  3. Remove about half of the coals and pile next to the pit
  4. Working quickly,
    • Place a bed of fennel branches in the bottom of the pit.
    • Follow this with a layer of wet hay.
    • Place the fig wrapped pork shoulder on the hay.
    • Follow this with another layer of hay on top of the butts.
    • Place another layer of fennel branches on top of the hay.
    • Cover with dirt until the hole is level with the ground.
    •  Place remaining coals on top of dirt
    • Throw 5 to 7 logs on coals
  5. Now you’re ready to walk away. You will want to keep those coals going on top. This will require the fire to be tended every hour or so
  6. The butts will be ready in roughly 8 hours. The internal temperature should be around 190


  1. Remove butts from the ground and allow let rest for 20 minutes
  2. Pull and serve with BBQ sauce

Southern-Style BBQ

Taylor Bowen-Ricketts of Delta Bistro in Greenwood, MS barbecues moonshine-brined pork with a chipotle-cayenne-cumin-spiked sweet potato mole.


1 blade pork roast, (pork butt)


2 quarts water,
1/4 cup corn liquor, (moonshine)
3/4 cup Blue Lake Honey,
1/2 cup salt,


4 quarts water,
1 ham bone,
2 carrots, rough chop
3 onions, rough chop
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, fresh

Mole Rub:

1 cup cocoa,
1 cup pecans,
8 oz wt Scumpernong jelly,
16 oz wt fig preserves,
16 oz wt sweet potato butter,
2 onions,
1 cup garlic, peeled
1/4 cup chipotle chiles,
2 TBL cayenne,
1 teaspoon cumin,
1 teaspoon cinnamon,
1/2 teaspoon allspice,


1 cup apple cider vinegar,
3/4 cup malt vinegar,
1/2 cup rice vinegar,
2 cups molasses, blackstrap
3/4 cup brown sugar,
3 TBL garlic, pureed
1 pound butter,
1 teaspoon ginger, fresh ground
1 teaspoon cloves, fresh ground
1 TBL plus 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper,
3 TBL ancho chiles, chopped
1 TBL dry mustard,
3 TBL salt,
2 teaspoons black pepper, fresh ground
1/2 onion, juiced
2 jalapeno chile, fresh
3 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
4 sardines



  1. Debone butt, roast bone and reserve for broth
  2. Cut butt in a spiral formation ending in a long, wide “hanger steak” looking piece of meat.
  3. Brine meat and cure for 24 hours
  4. With roasted bone, combine broth ingredients and simmer for one hour and strain
  5. Combine all ingredients of the mole and process into a thick paste
  6. Remove pork butt from brine, smother with mole’ and smoke for 3 hours at 250 degrees F (approx.)
  7. Combine
  8. Pull from smoker and transfer to grill. Cook till colored and tender, marinating with broth and mop.
  9. Eat!

Serve with warm pickled kudzu and pork tamales.

Balinese BBQ

Robert Danhi of Chef Danhi & Co. showcased Southeast Asian barbecue using a coconut shell brine and a spice rub with turmeric, galangal, and Thai bird chilies.


2 whole pork shoulder, bone-removed and butterflied
20-30 pounds Indonesian Mangrove Charcoal,
Coconut Brine:
3 mature coconuts, whole
3 cups coconut water, (if there is not enough add water as needed)
5 oz wt sea salt,
5 oz wt sugar,
Spice Paste:
10 shallots, roughly chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
2 inches fresh ginger root, thinly sliced against fibers
2 inches galangal, thinly sliced against fibers
2 inches turmeric, fresh, chopped or ½ tsp. dried turmeric powder
6-10 red Thai bird chiles, chopped
3 long red chiles, chopped
14 stalks lemon grass, trimmed, very thinly sliced
10 Kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
5 candlenuts, crushed
1 TBL cumin seed, toasted deep brown, ground coarsely
1 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted, ground
2 teaspoons white peppercorns, ground coarsely
5 Balinese long pepper “corns”, ground
1 TBL Indonesian shrimp paste ‘Trassi”, roasted (Substitute Malaysian belacan)
1 1/2 TBL sea salt,
1/4 cup Indonesian palm sugar “Gula Jawa”, grated
Basting Oil:
1 inch turmeric, fresh or ¼ tsp. dried turmeric powder
1/4 cup coconut oil,
Coconut Long Beans:
1/2 cup coconut oil,
8 shallots, sliced thinly
20 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1/4 cup fresh ginger root, minced
4-6 long red chiles, minced
1 TBL black pepper,
2 quarts long beans, cut into ½” pieces
1/2 cup water,
1 teaspoon sea salt,
3 cups coconut, fresh grated–stirring constantly, over medium heat, dry roast in wok or oven until about 25-50% is golden brown
Tomato Sambal:
40 dried long red chiles, seeded, soaked, drained
24 shallots, chopped
16 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil,
2 teaspoon sea salt,
1/4 cup dark brown palm sugar “Gula Jawa”, grated
4 cups tomatoes, small, diced
1 cup water


  1. 24 hour Brine: Crack coconuts over a large bowl using the back of a cleaver or heavy chefs knife, making sure to save water for brine!! Remove meat removed for side dish and save cracked hard shells to be used for the smoking. Remove meat from shells and save for Coconut Long Bean Recipe and the shells for smoking the pork. Combine 1 cup of coconut water with salt and sugar and bring to a boil for 1 minute to dissolve. Cool to room temperature and add the remaining coconut water.
  2. Spice Paste Stuffed Pork: Grind all the spice rub ingredients until a semi-fine paste. Massage paste into inside surfaces very well. Fold it back up and tie it tight.
  3. Brining: Transfer pork shoulders into 1 or 2 bags, fill with brine and vacuum seal and brine for about 18-24 hours.
  4. Preparing Barbeque: Start about 5 lbs of solid wood charcoal. Adjust rod/skewer to about 24 inches above coals.
  5. Skewering and Roasting:
    • Basting Oil: Combine turmeric and coconut oil and puree until fine (or use mortar and pestle to make turmeric a paste then add oil).
    • Securing Pork: Remove pork from brine, rinse briefly, pat dry. Secure on rotisserie rod/skewer. Place on rotisserie, adjust motor to a constant slow rotation.
    • Cooking Process
      • Every 30-60 minutes: Lightly baste the pork with coconut oil until it’s used up.
      • Every 30-60 minutes: Add a coconut shell to outlying charcoals to create smoke.
      • As Needed: Add coals, keep them away from directly under the pork and control air flow to try to maintain a 200-250°F (95-20°C)
      • Try To: Keep all sides mostly covered, as to hold in smoke and keep an even heat.
      • Cooking Time: 7-9 hours dependent on consistency of heat. Fork inserted should be able to easily flake meat and outside should be a deep brown color.
    • Rest and Slice: Remove from rotisserie, do not remove rod, cover loosely with foil and rest 45 minutes at warm room temperature. Remove skewer/rod, remove all string and slice as needed.

Coconut Long Beans Preparation:

  1. Heat oil in wok or other large pan, stir fry sliced shallots until begin to brown, add garlic slices and continue until garlic become golden brown. Add ginger, chilies and pepper. And cook for additional 30 seconds.
  2. Add beans, water and salt and cook through, fold in coconut. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Tomato Sambal Preparation:

  1. Grind chilies, shallots, garlic, into a smooth paste. Heat oil over medium heat, add paste and fry over oil begins to separates from puree.
  2. Lower heat, add shrimp paste, salt, palm sugar, tomatoes and water and bring up to boil. Continue to simmer over medium heat stirring often until oil separates again, sambal become darker and raw tomato aroma has subsided.
  3. Cool to room temperature.

My lifelong quest to taste noteworthy versions of whole roasted pigs has taken me to Bali several times – specifically to Ubud and Ibu Oka restaurant has mastered this craft of Babi Guling. The Pork Summit 2013 Indigenous Barbeque Challenge inspired me to use this traditional whole hog preparation and transform it into a shoulder only version that utilizes the whole coconut for the brine, smoke and side dish! Mangrove Tree Charcoal…well, I brought it back in my suitcase from just down the street from my house in Malaysia, where they roast whole chicken wings with their smoky goodness.

Mid Atlantic BBQ

John Fink, chef/owner of The Whole Beast in San Francisco, focused on Mid-Atlantic barbecue to represent his roots.


6 each pork shoulder,

Pork Brine:

1 gallon apple cider,
3 each 24 fl oz bottles hard cider,
12 each tart green apples, (gala, Macintosh, crab)
1 quart apple cider vinegar,
3 cups sea salt,
1 cup caraway seed,
1 cup black pepper,

Apple Sauce/Wet Rub:

24 each tart green apples, reserve peels and cores
1 quart apple cider,
as needed water,
as needed demerara sugar, (crystalized sugar cane juice)

Dry Rub:

2 cups sea salt,
1 cup black pepper,
1 cup dried fish pepper,
1 cup caraway seed,
1 cup sugar,

Apple Cider Gastrique:

1 gallon apple cider,
1 quart apple cider vinegar,
3 cups sugar,

Braised Sauerkraut:

2 cups cider vinegar,
1 quart water,
1/2 cup caraway seed,
1 case green cabbage, shrededd
1/4 cup sea salt,
2 cups apple juice,


8 cups cornmeal,
8 cups wheat flour,
3 cups butter, melted
16 each eggs, separate whites and yolks, whipped
1 cup lard, melted
2 quarts buttermilk,
as needed water,
to taste salt



  1. Brine pork for 1-2 days
  2. Remove pork and let dry overnight
  3. Rub pork with dry rub and then a small amount of the apple sauce (holding some back for a side dish)
  4. Hot smoke the pork shoulder in a chimney with Green Applewood (soaked) until tender, roughly seven to eight hours


  1. Make applesauce by combining all ingredients and reducing until apples are tender
  2. Make simple syrup with peels and corns, strain
  3. Put apples through food mill and season to taste, use apple simple syrup to season if necessary

Dry Rub:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a spice blender and process until fine ground

Apple Gastrique:

  1. Reduce cider and vinegar together until a medium to thick nappe

Braised Sauerkraut:

  1. In a tilt skillet toast caraway seeds using apple vinegar until fragrant
  2. Add remaining ingredients and cook until cabbage is tender
  3. Season to taste


  1. Combine dry ingredients
  2. Combine water, melted lard, yolks
  3. Whip egg whites until foamy
  4. Fold in ingredients
  5. Let rest overnight
  6. Bake until golden brown at 400 degrees F

Serve with apple gastrique, applesauce, braised sauerkraut and unleavened cornbread.

Image Gallery

Images from the 2013 Pork Summit