Sunday, October 4, 2015

Supermoon lunar eclipse

I'm just over a week late on this, but wanted to post some pictures of the supermoon lunar eclipse that happened last Sunday, September 27. It was an historic eventwhich hadn't occurred since I was 2 years oldwith the supermoon coinciding with a lunar eclipse. It was also pretty warm that day in Chicago, which for late September makes it another historic event. :)

Plus we live ~15 minute walk to the lakefront, so it was the perfect time to play around with my new toy tripod! Unfortunately a bunch of really dense clouds came through during the eclipse. But luckily they cleared away with enough time for us to see the blood moon, with the whole crowd of people at the lakefront cheering when the moon came back into view. Plus the clouds made for some really gorgeous photos, so it wasn't so bad after all.

Without further ado... let's check out some photos!

The moon rising above clouds while it was still bright outside

Nerding it up!

Moon appears yellow as it rises higher in the sky

Gorgeous reflections off the lake!

Giant moon!

And then the clouds started to roll in.

Moon is still visible at this point...

...but soon it begins to disappear.


Clouds finally cleared for a moment for us to see the eclipse!!

Hints of red begin as the crescent becomes smaller.

Red moon!

Brightest red I was able to capture, though my long exposure time resulted in a blurry picture
because of how quickly the earth and moon are moving

Red fading as the crescent begins again, this time on the opposite side of the moon

Last photo I took before packing up for home

Yours in appreciating the beauty around,


Cabbage 2 ways - roasted and grilled

Poor cabbage. Roasted and fried Brussels sprouts seem to be all the rage these days, but cabbage will always be its dopey, un-cool older cousin.

I've done what I can to change your views on cabbage in the past (case in point: Thai chicken salad, fish tacos, summertime coleslaw, and this incredible soup), but I'm hoping today will put you all over the edge.

The secret tip to transform your plain old cabbage head into something so tender, so mild and sweet, and so delicious that you'll be shouting its accolades from the rooftop: DRY HEAT. You could somewhat compare it to the difference between steamed and roasted Brussels sprouts. You know how roasting Brussels sprouts brings out this incredible, deep, earthy sweet flavor from the vegetable?!? That's exactly the same thing that happens to cabbage when you expose it to dry heat.

Below I'll share two recipes with you that you've probably never even heard of: the first is oven-roasted cabbage "steaks" and the second is grilled cabbage wedge "salad."

Roasted cabbage steak
So what exactly is cabbage steak? Well, apparently you just cut cabbage in thick rounds and roast it. And then you call it a cabbage steak.

It sounds totally dumb and not at all impressive, but it's incredible. Like I can't even describe how good it is, and how it is completely transformed from any cabbage that you've had before. And as an added bonus the outer leaves get all crispy and sweet. So it's like roasted and fried all at the same time!

Grilled cabbage wedge salad
For this recipe, you simply grill your cabbage until the edges are nice and crispy, and then top it with a simple Asian-inspired salad dressing. It's like a wedge salad. But instead of iceberg lettuce its cabbage, and instead of blue cheese dressing its a lime+fish sauce dressing, and instead of bacon it's sliced green onions. So yea, it's nothing like a wedge salad...except it's shaped like a wedge. :)

And while of course you could simply grill this cabbage and serve it as is, the dressing really took it to another level. You could even go crazy and use this dressing on the oven-roasted cabbage steaks recipe!

So yea, what else can I say except........ CABBAGE!!!!

Yours in hopefully convincing you that you need more cabbage in your life,

Cabbage steaks (aka roasted cabbage slices), from Martha Stewart

1 TBSP plus 2 more TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tsp caraway or fennel seeds, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. 
  2. Place cabbage rounds in a single layer on sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons oil. 
  3. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds, if using.
  4. Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40 to 45 minutes. 
Cabbage wedge salad, adapted from The Kitchn
So I was missing a bunch of the dressing ingredients, but I winged it and used random substitutes and it totally worked! I'll provide the original recipe below, and make notes on what I did differently in case you end up having similar issues.


1/4 cup lime juice (I used 2 TBSP of that fake lime juice [don't judge] and 2 TBSP red-wine vinegar)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, minced (I didn't have any, but next time I'm totally adding this!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (Didn't add it to my dressing, but if using add it a bit at a time, to taste)
1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 head green cabbage, tough outer leaves removed
Canola or grapeseed oil

Green onions, sliced (Since I didn't use cilantro I added green onions instead--best decision ever. Totally made the dressing.)
Lime wedges

  1. Heat a gas or charcoal grill. 
  2. Combine all dressing ingredients into a jar and shake to combine (alternatively, put them all in a small chopper and whiz until combined). 
  3. Cut the cabbage into 8 evenly sized wedges. Do not remove the stalk or inner core or else it will completely fall apart on the grill! Lightly brush the wedges with oil. Place the wedges on the grill and cover. 
  4. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the edges of each layer are blackened and the cabbage is beginning to soften. Flip each wedge over, cover the grill, and cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes on the other side. 
  5. Remove the cabbage when it is beginning to wilt, but is still firm in the middle. (This will also be somewhat a matter of taste; cool longer over indirect heat if you prefer your cabbage more well done) But don't be afraid of those blackened edges; you want a lot of grill and char marks on the cabbage to give it smoky flavor. 
  6. Take the cabbage off the grill and arrange the wedges on a plate. Pour the dressing over top, sprinkle with green onions, and serve immediately, with wedges of lime to garnish.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Peach galette with roasted pecan crust

Though I've only posted 2 galette recipes on this blog (a savory butternut squash one and a sweet blood orange one), I have 7 more posted on Pinterest. Plus I pretty much squeal on the inside whenever I see a picture of one.

I'm kinda obsessed.

There's just something about the rustic nature of it that I love. And the buttery, flaky crust doesn't hurt either. So when I saw this recipe for a white peach galette, and realized that I hadn't eaten a peach ALL SUMMER, this recipe shot up to the top of my list. And then I noticed there were pecans in the crust and game over. I was making this recipe ASAP.

Luckily for you I'm actually sharing this recipe while peaches are still in season. Which means it's time for you to go to the market, buy a few peaches, and make this simple galette.

I won't lie, I had a few issues with the crust (added too much water). But even after "messing it up" the final product was so fabulous, so I'd say this recipe is pretty fool proof!

And you'll notice from the picture above that this galette oozed a bit of it's juices and burnt on my baking sheet. I'll be honest, I was worried while it was baking that the bottom crust would be a soggy mess. But again, no worries!! The galette itself was perfect, and the bottom of the crust was tender and flakyexactly what a pie should be.

Except it didn't taste exactly like pie (in a good way). The pecans in the dough were so unique and added an incredible depth of flavor. Definitely a win in my book, and a recipe I'll be coming back to when I want to add a little "oompf" to my pie game.

The other reason I like this recipe more than a traditional pie was the simplicity of the dish. There aren't a ridiculous amount of spices or sugar in this dessert. It's tender fruit in a flaky, nutty crust with just a touch of sugar. No crazy spices. No complicated techniques. But the final product is so much more than the sum of its parts. The boy felt like it could have used more sugar, but I liked it the way it was. I think a scoop of vanilla ice cream would give it juuuuuust enough sweetness to satisfy everyone.

Plus it comes together in very little time, which isn't true of many dessert recipes. It basically requires you to make dough, let the dough chill, roll it out, top with fruit, and bake!

Dough rolled out, fruit place on top. Make sure you leave a border!
Lovely sliced peaches
Edges sealed up and sprinkled with sugar

Ready for the oven!!

Instagram worthy!
Yours in holding onto summer for as long as she can,

Peach galette with roasted pecan crust, adapted from Apt 2B Baking Co (originally from Bon Appetit)

The dough needs enough time to rest in the fridge, so to make life easier I'd recommend making the dough one day before baking your galette. I've clarified the directions so you don't end up accidentally adding too much liquid to the dough like I did. But if you do accidentally add too much water, just add in more flour until the dough isn't wet anymore, and let it rest in the fridge. Mine was still too wet by the time I baked it, but it came out great! It really is a fool proof crust, so don't be scared!

1/2 cup pecans (I used the roasted & salted pecans from Trader Joes)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt (I didn't add this as my pecans were already salted)
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1" cubes
2-4 TBSP ice water (I needed just over 2 TBSP)

4 medium peaches
1 TBSP brown sugar + 2 TBSP brown sugar (or muscovado)
1 TBSP all purpose flour
pinch salt
1/2 lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
turbinado sugar, to finish

  1. If your pecans are already roasted, skip ahead to step #2. If not... preheat oven to 350°F. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until fragrant and slightly darkened, ~5-7 minutes (more if needed). Set aside to cool.
  2. Place a large sized bowl in the freezer to chill (this is what you will use to mix your dough).
  3. Prepare your dough: Pulse the pecans in a food processor until they are coarse meal. Add flour, sugar, salt, and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until the butter is mostly worked into the dough, with a couple of lima bean and pea-sized pieces remaining. 
  4. Transfer the dough to your chilled bowl, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons ice water. Mix gently, adding more liquid as needed. If your dough is very dry at this point, go ahead and add an extra 1 TBSP of water. Once it's starting to come together (but isn't quite there), add 1 tsp at a time to avoid adding too much liquid. Add just enough water so that the dough easily sticks together when squeezed.
  5. Gently pat the dough into a 6"-diameter disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days). 
  6. To assemble and bake: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. 
  7. Pit and slice the peaches into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.
  8. Roll the dough out to a roughly 12-inch circle, 1/8-1/4-inch thick, and transfer it to the baking sheet. Sprinkle the flour and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar over the top. Arrange the peach slices on top of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Squeeze the lemon over the top. 
  9. Fold the edges of the dough over the fruit and chill the galette until the dough is firm, about 15 to 30 minutes. 
  10. Brush the chilled dough with egg wash, sprinkle with turbinado sugar, and bake the galette until deep golden brown 30-40+ minutes. (I baked mine for over 50 minutes, but I think my oven wasn't quite getting up to 375. Just watch it and bake until the dough is a deep golden brown. Also, don't worry if your galette oozes liquid that ends up burning, it happened to me [see picture above] but my galette came out perfect.)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Waffled hash browns

On a whim, while browsing Amazon, I bought a cookbook called Will it Waffle? Some of the recipes are a bit goofy (doubt I'll be making wontons in my waffle maker) but others are absolute genius, like these waffle hash browns.

You see, if you like things crispy, then the waffle iron just might be the perfect gadget for cooking! The high heat and extra surface area created by those wells means more crispy, crunchy, goodness.

You could practically break the hash browns in half and just eat them straight with your hands! And I loved how easy they were to portion out.

I have yet to try other recipes from this book (the fawaffle [falafel] has gotten incredible reviews, so it's next on my list) but after reading through all the recipes I have to admit that they seem more "legit" than a kitschy book on using your waffle maker. The ingredients and recipes all sound great, they just all use a unique way of cooking.

Yours in always having fun with her cooking,

Waffled Hash Browns, adapted from the book Will It Waffle?
Serves 2 (1 large waffle hash brown)

1 russet (baking) potato, about 10 ounces each, peeled and shredded
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted or baking spray

  1. Preheat waffle iron (Belgian or standard style will both work). If it has temperature controls, set it to medium. 
  2. Squeeze shredded potato with a towel until it’s as dry as possible (hot tip: if you have a potato ricer you can squeeze your shredded potato in that to save your towel).
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine shredded potato, rosemary, salt, and pepper. 
  4. Use baking spray or butter to grease both sides of the waffle iron. If using butter, carefully grease both sides using a silicone brush or paper towel. 
  5. Pile shredded potatoes into waffle iron, over-stuffing it a bit, and close lid. (The pressure of the lid will compress the potatoes and help them emerge as a cohesive, waffled unit.) 
  6. Cook for 2 minutes, then press down on lid to further compress potatoes (be careful: lid may be hot). 
  7. Continue cooking potatoes for 5 minutes longer, then begin checking them: the are ready when potatoes are golden brown all over, about 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Quick pizza dough

There's something so satisfying when making pizza from scratch. It's cheap, delicious, and pretty quick to the throw together. But the biggest problem for me is planning in advance. I've blogged here with 2 different pizza dough recipes, but both require at least a few hours of resting time (regular dough and a no-knead recipe).

So what do you do when your boyfriend wants pizza, as in pizza right now? You make a quick dough that's ready from start to finish in less than 15 minutes.

Who would believe this took 10 minutes to prepare?
I was shocked how good the dough was. I mean I figure it couldn't be bad, but the texture was spot on! Super crusty on the outside and tender on the inside.

See that parchment paper under my pizza? Read my tips below for why I use it.
Then just top with whatever you want. We always have cheese and sauce on hand in the freezer (read my tips below), so we top our pizza with whatever else we have in the fridge or pantry. Green olives are always a go, and we happened to have peperoni this time too for the boy's half.

Want a few more hot tips for making pizza?
  1. Get your pizza stone blazing hot, as in preheat your oven to 475 or 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes (up to an hour is ideal).
  2. Transferring pizza to your hot stone can be a b*tch, and can lead to a few pizza fails. Though I eventually mastered the technique using a pizza peel, I've started using a simple trick: I now simply prepare my pizza on parchment paper, then just slide the parchment paper + pizza directly on my stone. Yes, you can cook the pizza directly on the parchment in the oven! The edges of the paper will get pretty brown (see the picture above), but it doesn't burn. Then you simply grab the paper and slide your pizza back on your pizza peel (or an upside down baking sheet). Make sure though you're using parchment paper (which can withstand up to 500 degrees in the oven) and not waxed paper, which I think starts to melt above 350.
  3. My final tip for always being ready to make pizza on the fly? Make sure to always have some Trader Joes pizza sauce (the one in the refrigerator section with the black plastic lid is my favorite) in your freezer along with a block of mozzarella. Yes, you heard me. FREEZE YOUR CHEESE! Did you know you could do that?!? I had no idea! But we tried it a while back and we found that freezing the mozzarella whole had no effect on the flavor/texture of the cheese. (Note: I haven't tested this with fresh mozzarella, I'm talking about the Americanized block of mozzarella.) And as a bonus, the cheese is a lot easier to shred from the freezer. (Just let it warm up a little bit in the fridge or at room temperature.) Double win!
  4. If you're new to pizza making, check out this blog post for some more details and great photos.
15-minute pizza dough, from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Yield: Makes 1 pretty large pizza or 2 medium pizzas

Check out the original post for tips on making a larger batch of dough

1 cup warm water
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP oil
1 TBSP instant yeast
1 tsp salt
2 to 3 cups all purpose flour (though I haven't tried it, the original post says you can also use a 1:1 ratio of all purpose to whole wheat, just knead it for a few minutes longer)

  1. In a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the water, honey, oil, yeast and salt. 
  2. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The exact flour amount will vary so go by the touch and feel of the dough versus the exact cup measurements in the recipe. The dough should be soft and smooth (not leaving a residue on your fingers but not super stiff, either). 
  3. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes if using all purpose flour, or 5-6 minutes if using whole wheat flour. 
  4. Let the dough rest, covered, for 10 minutes. 
  5. Shape the dough into pizza(s), spread with sauce and toppings, and bake at 475 or 500 degrees on a preheated pizza stone or on a lightly greased baking sheet for 8-12 minutes.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Spinach pies

Growing up we would often have borek at family functions, which is basically fried dough filled with a lightly-seasoned meat filling with onions and parsley. I doubt it's super traditional, but my family always used egg or spring roll wrappers, which makes for an incredibly crispy, hand-held snack!  I could easily eat half a dozen in one sitting...

In addition to the meat-filled ones, my mom often made a vegetarian version with spinach and feta cheese, much like a Greek spinach pie. So when I found myself with leftover egg roll wrappers, I wanted to recreate that delicious childhood snack.

Addictive spinach pies baked in egg roll wrappers
I scoured a few recipes online and from my middle eastern cookbook, and based on my personal taste preferences came up with a recipe that sounded good to me. And if I say so myself, I hit it out of the park on my first attempt!!

I baked these up to make them a bit healthier, which worked out pretty well. They definitely had a crispy bite to them, though in some spots the wrapper had a dry texture. The filling though was perfection.

Baking them was definitely less messy and made them a healthier alternative, though I won't liethey're so much better when they're fried in oil. :) You just cannot replace that uber crispy, cracklin' dough in an oven (though if anyone out there has tips for me, I'm all ears).

And if you're wondering how to roll these suckers up, I've made a handy-dandy GIF tutorial for you!

The first step that I didn't photograph was to cut your wrappers into squares (mine where slightly rectangular, so I cut off ~1/2" to make them square). But don't throw away those scraps! Fry them up in a thin layer of and top with cinnamon sugar for a yummy treat.

A handy tip when working with egg roll wrappers: make sure to always keep them covered with a dish towel, both when they're in the package and after you've filled and rolled them up. The wrapers are like phyllo dough and can dry out very quickly.

Once you're done with each egg roll, place cut side down on a baking sheet (again, keep them covered with a dish towel as you finish the batch).

Yours in re-making foods that bring back the memories,

Spinach pie borek, adapted from my memories of my mom's recipe, a variety of websites, and The Complete Middle East Cookbook
Makes ~12 borek.

Note: A lot of recipes I saw also add parsley to the dill. I didn't try it, as I don't remember my mom doing it that way, but if you have some parsley around I'm sure it'll be delicious as well. Somewhere around 1/4 cup chopped would be good. The egg is optional as some recipes called for it and others didn't, and I can't remember if I included it or not in mine! Pretty sure my mom would always use an egg. :)

1 pound spinach, frozen and thawed
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions, green and white parts (~3-4 scallions)
8 oz feta cheese, ~2 cups crumbled
1/2 oz parmesan, ~1/4 cup shredded
1/3 cup chopped dill (must be fresh, not dried), ~small bunch
1 large egg, lightly beaten (optional)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt

To assemble
egg roll wrappers, cut into squares*
small bowl with water (for sealing the wrappers)

*Mine were a bit rectangular, so after cutting into squares don't throw away that strip of wrapper. Just fry it in a bit of oil and sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar. Best way to use up the leftovers!

  1. If baking your egg rolls, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Squeeze the thawed spinach very well to remove as much moisture as you can. Roughly chop.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl combine all your filling ingredients.
  4. Prepare your egg roll wrappers by cutting them into squares, if needed. Make sure to keep them covered with a dish towel to preven them from drying out.
  5. Now it's time to roll your borek! See my GIF above for a visual on how to wrap. But for a written step by step:
    1. Place wrapper with point facing you (ie, diamond, not a square)
    2. Dip your finger in water and wet all 4 edges of the wrapper (~1/2")
    3. Add 3 TBSP of your filling (1/4 cup) horizontally across the center of wrapper, making sure to not fill all the way to the edge. (A mini scoop works perfect for this job!)
    4. Wrap up the bottom edge of your wrapper and tuck under your filling.
    5. Fold over the left side, then the right side of your wrapper, pressing each side to seal.
    6. Flip your egg roll up once, then once more to finish the wrap. Make sure the roll is properly sealed. (You can dip your finger in water and dampen the flap a bit more if it isn't laying flat.)
  6.  Place seal-side down on a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a dish towel. Repeat until you're done with all the rolls, making sure to keep them covered to prevent them from drying out.
  7. GENEROUSLY grease both sides of your borek with olive oil, and bake (seal-side down) for 10 minutes. Note: I found that I had to brush the borek with oil a few times as they were drying out in the oven instead of getting crispy. I probably could have done this even more than I did.
  8. Flip over to the other side, and bake an additional ~10 minutes.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Indoor smokey pulled pork

Summertime means grilled and smoked foods galore! But what do you do when you don't have a smoker but want some delicious smoked meats? You make this recipe. Which also happens to be (hands down) the best pulled pork I've ever made.

Smokey pulled pork + BBQ sauce + Hawaiian buns
Warning: Drool-worthy photos of meaty goodness to follow. 
You may want to avoid this post if you're a vegetarian. :)

Though the flavors aren't quite as pronounced from what you'd get with a smoker, it's beyond awesome for an oven version, with a mellow smokey flavor. The best part of the meal though was the texture of the pork. It's insanely crispy on the outside, so much so that I was even eating the bits of fat that had that perfect crackly skin. And I'm typically NOT a fan of the fatty bits. But I just couldn't... stop... eating.

It may look hideous but it's delicious! This is half the pork shoulder straight from the oven.
Of course the recipe came from Cooks Illustrated, because they're the only crazy people out there who would brine the pork in liquid smoke, then coat it with even more smokey flavor. Oh, and they also have you cut the pork should in half to create even more surface area to get that crackly skin. But it's worth every single step.

You won't believe how crispy this pork gets!
This isn't a meal I'd make on the regular, but one worth trying at least once this summer. I even went all out and made the BBQ sauce recipe they suggested, though you could easily replace with your favorite brand.

I should note though that the recipe is pretty simple. A brine at the beginning, then just a long trip in the oven. Overall the recipe is pretty hands off until you start shredding the meat. But between the brine and the baking it'll take ~7 hours from start to finish.

Crispy. Crispy. Bits. They make this entire dish!!!!
Then just bring your bowl out to the table along with some BBQ sauce and some Hawaiian sweet rolls and you've got yourself a bona fide summertime meal!

Yours in helping you get your smoke on, even for those of us without fancy smokers,

Indoor smokey pulled pork, adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Serves 6 to 8

Note: Please please PLEASE make sure to wrap your baking sheet completely in foil. Don't do what I did, which was to simply put a layer of foil on the bottom of my baking sheet. As the fat rendered off the pork all the meat juices just seeped underneath the foil and formed a thick burnt crust on the bottom of my entire baking sheet that took days to soak and scrub off. So wrap your ENTIRE baking sheet with at least 1 layer of foil (heavy duty if you have it), making sure that you don't have any overlapping pieces where fat can drip under and create a mess. Then when the pork is done you can simply unwrap your baking sheet and cleanup will be a breeze.


1 cup table salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 TBSP liquid smoke 
1 boneless pork butt (about 5 pounds), cut in half horizontally (to increase the surface area of the meat)

Wet rub
2 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 cup yellow mustard

Dry rub
2 tsp table salt
2 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP ground black pepper
2 TBSP smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce, optional
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup light or mild molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Alternative: If you don't want to make the BBQ sauce from scratch, simply use 2 cups of your favorite sauce thinned with 1/2 cup of the defatted pork cooking liquid from step 7.

  1. FOR BRINING THE PORK: Dissolve salt, sugar, and liquid smoke in 4 quarts cold water in a large container (Note: I used my soup pot). Submerge pork in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. While pork brines, make your "wet rub" by combining mustard and liquid smoke in small bowl; set aside. To make the dry rub combine the black pepper, paprika, sugar, salt, and cayenne in second small bowl; set aside.
  3. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Completely wrap a baking sheet in foil (see note above) and set aside.
  4. PREPARE PORK FOR THE OVEN: Remove pork from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Rub the "wet rub" mustard mixture over the entire surface of each piece of pork. Sprinkle entire surface of each piece with the "dry rub" spice mixture.
  5. Place pork on wire rack set inside foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place piece of parchment paper over pork, then cover with sheet of aluminum foil, sealing edges to prevent moisture from escaping. (Note: covering the pork with parchment and then foil prevents the acidic mustard from eating holes in the foil.)
  6. Roast pork for 3 hours.
  7. Remove pork from oven; remove and discard foil and parchment. Carefully pour off liquid in bottom of baking sheet into fat separator and reserve for sauce.
  8. Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well browned, tender, and internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1½ hours.
  9. Transfer pork to serving dish, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.
  10. FOR THE SAUCE: While pork rests, pour 1/2 cup of defatted cooking liquid from fat separator into medium bowl; whisk in sauce ingredients.
  11. TO SERVE: Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1 cup sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately. 
The shredded and sauced pork can be cooled, tightly covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat it gently before serving.  Read more...