The star of the supper is, of course, the slowly smoked pork butt and brisket. But every star needs a supporting cast. Once the pork and brisket are in the smoker, they take a lot of time but not much effort. Turn your attention to side dishes that complement the flavors of the meat and complete the meal.
Crunchy, tangy and refreshing -- slaws are a tradition with smoked pork butt and brisket. Dress up a classic coleslaw by adding grated fresh pineapple. Broccoli slaw with sweet raisins and cashews is another option. Raw kale turns into a slaw when you remove the ribs and shred the leaves. Massage a vinegar and oil dressing into the leaves with your fingers to tenderize the kale. The pleasant bitterness of kale goes well with the rich pork. A whole roasted pig is often garnished with an apple in its mouth. Play on that theme by serving an apple and fennel salad.
The juices from the pork mingle deliciously with beans on the dinner plate. Cook the beans in their own pot along side the smoked pork butt and brisket. Baked beans take long, slow cooking -- up to eight hours. Cowboy beans turn up the heat with hot sauce or red pepper flakes. Refried beans really aren't fried twice but they are cooked twice and that's where the refried comes from. Three bean salad has a vinegar dressing that contrasts with the pork butt.
The bacon in hoppin' John salad adds crunch and smoky sweetness to the rice and black-eyed peas. It's traditionally served for good luck on New Year's Day in the South but complements smoked pork butt anytime. The smoothness of the avocado tempers the heat of the poblano peppers as it melts into the dressing in spicy avocado corn salad.
Cool off your guests during a summer supper by offering a cold soup. Chilled soups act as a palate-cleanser between courses. The tomatoes in gazpacho brings out the tomatoes in the sauce used for the smoked port butt and brisket. Melon would almost seem like a dessert but not if you spice it up with jalapenos, cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Swirl a dollop of sour cream through the soup right before serving.
- Down Home; John Hadamuscin
- Special Occasions; John Hadamuscin