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Barbecue Secrets

John W. Pinkerton


It's not always the large things in life we value the most.

My brother-in-law gave me the secret of barbecuing. It was a sop.  For the uninformed, a sop is the solution we place meat into in order to prepare it to cook.

The most basic ingredients are vinegar and water in a 2 to 1 ratio.  The water is included for bulk.  To this mixture is added a lot of salt and pepper. Then bay leaves, cut up onions, and slices of lemon are added.

To the cuts of meat are added a lot of salt and pepper rubbed in and then beat furiously with a meat mallet.

The meat is placed in a pot containing the sop and left overnight in a refrigerator.  Because of the vinegar, I really doubt that refrigeration is necessary.

I always bought inch and half Boston butt, not the best cut, also called pork butt, from one of the local butchers.  I used pork butt because it was a less expensive piece of meat.   By the way, the local butchers disappeared years ago.

The next day, the meat is barbecued.  I always used charcoal.  If you've never barbecued, first get a nice even fire started, place the meat on the grill, and keep an eye on it turning it occasionally.  This ain't brain surgery, and after about an hour and a half, the meat should be ready to serve.

I had a flimsy metal barbecue pit back when I was practicing the art.  It finally fell apart, and I think this was the end of my barbecuing times.  Linda, bless her heart, bought me another pit, but I never used it.  I don't know if I still have it.

Occasionally I think of my barbecue era and wonder how a nice piece of beef steak would taste if I gave it my sop treatment.

I often barbecued pork butt for my parents on weekends and anyone else who seemed interested.  Linda and I sponsored the Beta Club at school.  The Beta Club was an honor organization.  The kids were good, and I occasionally barbecued for them.

By the way, I have one more secret to share with you about successful barbecuing:  make the guests wait so long for the finished product that they’re dizzy with hunger when it’s served.  I learned this from an in-law years and years ago---not much of a cook but his timing was impeccable.

All in all, I enjoyed my barbecue experience, but I doubt I'll ever do it again.