Last summer, I was on hog duty at our annual pig pickin up in Roxboro, North Carolina. I’ve never felt more like a man than at that point. If you’ve listened to our podcast, you’ve heard me talk about my love for Eastern Carolina barbecue. To me, it’s the best and truest form of barbecuing in the U.S. Unfortunately, this is a noon game. I was so excited when I started making this menu because I was going to be able to share experiences growing up at Eastern Carolina pig pickins with y’all. But, alas, I’ll adapt.
Here is my Smoking Musket Tailgate Week 2 Menu:
Pimento Cheese Sausage Dip
This may be a breakfast tailgate, but we’re still going to need a dip. What speaks to me on a breakfast level? Sausage. Pimento cheese is about as Southern as sweet tea and collard greens. This dip combines the spicy sweetness of pimento cheese with the savory sausage for a gooey dip.
Shrimp and Grits Hushpuppies
Hushpuppies themselves are not specific to North Carolina, but they’re one of the many foods that North Carolinians love. You won’t go to a pig pickin or fish fry and not find them. They get their name because they were originally treats for dogs that cooks would make so the dogs wouldn’t go after the prepared food.
A food local to Eastern Carolina is shrimp. Now, good shrimp come from further south than where Greenville is, but you can still find them up and down the coast. This recipe combines both Carolina staples into a delicious bite.
You’ll need to fry these, but you don’t need a deep fryer. A nice sized stock pot of oil on a grill can also work well. Just make sure it’s big enough for about six pups at a time.
We have done tot-chos before, but this way we can incorporate pulled pork BBQ into a breakfast menu (I think). I’ve included a sample recipe, but I’m going to deviate from this a lot. Specifically, I’m changing up the barbecue. Memphis barbecue and Eastern Carolina barbecue share one thing: they use pork. Other than that, they’re vastly different.
Eastern Carolina barbecue is, based on my own research and opinion, the truest form of barbecue in America. It uses the cooking traditions of the area and the Caribbean of a whole hog over an open flame, using lemon and peppers as spices. The tradition continues today at pig pickins all over the coastal plains area of North Carolina, where Greenville and ECU lie.
Though we can’t recreate this entirely for a noon kick (if you do, hit me up, I’ll tell you), we’re going to do what I did in college (in N.C.) and in grad school (at WVU) and use a slow cooker. Obviously, we can’t cook a whole hog in the slow cooker, so just go find a pork shoulder.
I’d suggest rubbing the meat with equal parts brown sugar, salt and pepper and other spices. Then, wrap it in plastic wrap for about an hour. The other option is to put all those spices in the liquid we’re going to use. Make the sauce while your meat and spices get acquainted. Then, but the barbecue in the slow cooker and drizzle some liquid smoke on it, then pour in the sauce.
You’re going to need at least eight hours for this, so plan ahead! You can cook this overnight and shred it at the tailgate in the pot, then serve on top of the tot-chos.
Orange Rum Cake
Anyone who has seen Pirates of the Caribbean knows pirates love rum. We want to make our marauders feel welcome in Morgantown, so let’s offer them something they’re sure to love. I understand rum cake is something that is usually reserved for winter holidays but come on, who needs an excuse to consume rum? Note: this won’t have alcohol effects, so you’ll need more rum for drinking.
Enjoy the noon kickoff! Hopefully, we won’t see too many more of these this season.