Sunday Dinner

There’s nothing better than a good Sunday dinner that takes very little effort. This week we are having Pulled Pork and Baked Beans (plus whatever happens to get added as we go). This menu also means I will likely have plenty of leftovers to get me lunches through the week.

I used the simple method for the pork this time: Put it in the oven and let it cook for 16 hours.

I use the oven method when I am especially lazy (this week). I also make it on the grill with the grill managed to be a smoker. This takes a lot more tending because I am either using the smoke box for heat (and smoke in the first couple of hours) or I am using the gas side. Both need fairly close watching. Both methods make good meat, but each has different flavors. You get the smoke on the grill, of course, and the oven method tends to show more of the rub flavor. The gill method also requires several hours of brining to make sure the meat will be be juicy with the rub flavors throughout where the oven method has somewhat of a braising aspect so the meat is tender and the rub flavors well absorbed without needing a brine.

Using the grill smoke box means using wood and charcoal. Which means checking both that the stuff is burning and that the heat is regulated. Keep a low-but-adequate heat in the 210º-230º range takes some close watching on the grill I have.

Using the gas side of the grill is a bit easier since the fuel is continuously supplied, but it also needs watching because so many thing can cause the temp to fluctuate: outside temp, whether the sun shine on or shade moves over it, how much the wind is blowing, whether fat has dripped on the burners, etc. Also, this Oklahoma Joe grill is very hard to make the gas side go to really low temps. I have to use only one of the three burners, cover most of the fire-holes with foil, and keep the gas as low as possible. I like the grill except for this one thing about controlling for low temperatures.

One day I will get a dedicated smoker and not have to do as much fiddling to keep it cooking right.

With the oven method for the Pulled Pork, I just put it all the fixins in this nice ceramic coated cast iron Dutch Oven Mary got for me and cook it a 225ºF for 12-16 hours with a flip every 4-6 hours. Easy-Peasy.

The baked beans are almost as easy. The beans actually have a little more prep that the pork. Cook down some bacon chunks and an onion, add the seasonings, beans, and stock, get it boiling then put it in the oven for 6-8 hours.

If I can get the pork going fairly early in the morning, I can let it cook during the day and then let the beans cook mostly overnight. If I get the beans in the oven by 10p, I can be able to give them a stir and then set the oven to just turn off after however much time they look like they need to finish. I can do both of them on Saturday while I mostly do other stuff. Sunday dinner then only needs them to be put in a 200ºF oven for an hour to heat up in time for folks to come eat.