While it’s true that in Kentucky you grow up eating lots of pork shoulder, the typical preparation would send an Alabama pit boss to the gun cabinet ready to take dead aim at anybody that treated a glorious chunk of pork in such a fashion.
Unlike the Western part of the state, the Cumberland Highlands region of Eastern Kentucky has no real barbecue culture to speak of so when my family put a pork shoulder on to cook it was done like a beef roast. Browned in a pan then placed in a kettle with potatoes, carrots and onions and braised til it was fork tender.
I loved this style til I moved to Birmingham Alabama and started making trips down to Archibald’s barbecue in Northport where you can get the finest pork barbecue ever put out by a restaurant. This recipe is an homage to George Archibald, long time pit boss of Archibald’s in Northport, Alabama. While it probably bears little resemblance to this man’s recipe it still puts out a hunk of meat with a beautifully charred and crunchy hide.
If your pork shoulder comes out even half as good as Mr Archibald’s then you’re a world beater.
1 10 lb Pork Shoulder
Salt, kosher or sea
Hickory wood, dry cured
* Build a good sized fire in your smoker out of hickory wood. I like to use my Weber Kettle as it puts out world class smoked meat
* Let your fire go to embers
* Place your heavily salted and peppered Pork Shoulder on opposite side of smoker from fire
* Open bottom vent and top vent all the way as George cooks his meat at high temperature. He gets a big shoulder or butt off his smoker in about 3 hours so that should tell you how hot he’s cooking
* This is not the typical low and slow style in fashion at many pits around the country. That’s ok, as for this style barbecue, the shoulder ends up with a heavy, crispy crust of the much prized “outside slice” portion of pork
My visits to Archibalds are sorely limited by the fact I live in Central Texas and while Black’s down in Lockhart can approach the greatness of Archibald’s, honestly there is no finer barbecue to be had than in George’s little 6 seater in Northport Alabama.
Bon Appetit Y’all
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