Pork-Shoulder Steaks With Hot Pepper Dip
This is pork barbecue as you’ve probably never experienced it, with the shoulder cut crosswise into pencil-thin steaks and grilled directly over hickory embers. Note we're saying grilled, not barbecued (smoked), the way most pork shoulder is cooked in the South. But it’s not complete until it's dipped in a fiery bath of vinegar, melted lard or butter, and cayenne. And no one makes it better than Anita Hamilton Bartlett at R&S Barbecue in Tompkinsville, Ky. To be strictly authentic, you’d grill over a wood fire; barring that, add hickory or other hardwood chunks or chips to your charcoal fire, or place wood chunks under the grate and over the burners of your gas grill. An added advantage: this is “barbecue” you can cook in 15 minutes.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1quart distilled white vinegar
- ½pound salted butter (2 sticks)
- ½pound lard (or butter)
- 2tablespoons kosher salt, or to taste
- 2tablespoons cayenne pepper (3 if you like your dip really fiery)
- 2tablespoons ground black pepper (3 if you like your dip really fiery)
- 1tablespoon yellow mustard (optional)
- 1tablespoon ketchup (optional)
- Vegetable oil, for the grill
- 2pounds bone-in pork-shoulder steaks (3/4-inch thick)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Step 1Make the dip: Place the ingredients in a deep pot along with 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat until the butter and lard are melted, whisking to dissolve the salt, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and gently simmer the sauce until richly flavored, about 15 minutes. Correct the seasoning, adding salt, cayenne or black pepper to taste. Transfer 2 cups of the dip to a baking dish large enough to fit the steaks.
Step 2Grill the pork: Set up your grill for direct grilling (see note below), and heat to high. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean, and oil it with a tightly folded paper towel dipped in vegetable oil.
Step 3Immerse the steaks in the dip in the baking dish, turning with tongs to coat both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the steaks on the grill grate. Grill until browned on both sides and cooked to taste, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium. Baste the steaks with more dip as they grill.
Step 4Dunk the steaks in the pot (not the baking dish) of dip before serving. For extra excitement, ladle more dip into small bowls or cups for serving on the side.