The Garbarator – Food with a Side of Football
“The Slow Roast”
I like to eat. I know, congratulations, I’m like most people. But being Southern, I grew up picky. But not normal picky. I hated olives, but loved pork rinds. Fruit, what was that, but give me some chicken livers, you better get out of my way. (Please KFC, bring those back). I liked and like good ol’ southern food. And my grandmother (we called her nanny and she’s still killing Sunday lunch!) was the epicenter for a lot of that good cooking.
Food and football are actually connected because of my nanny’s cooking. During football season, it was always the same ritual. Go to church, go to nanny’s, shoot the breeze while lunch was wrapped up and then plop down in front of the old school floor model TV to watch the first half of the football game on CBS. It had to be CBS, by the way, because my dad loved Pat Summerall and John Madden.
Although I was a skinny stick, I could eat — a lot. I got the nickname “Garbarator” sometime in middle school because I would eat my lunch and half of my best friend’s lunch as well. I plan to use this weekly post to talk about cooking and eating fine southern food and a little football. But mostly food — ergo the column title, “The Garbarator”. So the theme for today, as you can tell from the header, is “the slow roast.”
A buddy of mine bought a place a couple years back on the first floor of a building. This let him buy the holy grail in and around NYC—a grill. But not just any grill, a grill with a smoker. At first, I was a little suspect. I was used to big smokers that packed a lot of chips and a lot of flavor. I thought it would be good but maybe not up to my own snobbish flavor standards I thought you could get from a good long, slow burn. I was wrong. Way wrong. Unfortunately, I don’t have a back yard—or a grill. Thinking about summer right around the corner, I decided to do a poor man’s slow roast — the crock pot.
I think the two most important parts to a successful shoulder in a crock pot are the rub and the heat. For the rub, I like it spicy. I usually go 3 parts chili powder, 2 parts cayenne pepper, ½ part curry, ½ part cumin, ½ part garlic powder and ½ part onion powder, salt and pepper. I go little on the onion and garlic powder because I throw in an onion, vidalla (I like the sweet with the spicy) and 6 cloves of garlic in the bottom of the crock pot. Put that delicious rub all over. It might be mental but I really like for my rub to sit on the shoulder overnight before I cook it. I just think it tastes better. For the broth I use a beer/beef broth mixture. It’s about half and half, unless I’ve been drinking first, then it’s more like ¾ beer, ¼ beef stock. I like using IPA’s over stouts for this, preferably Bass Ale. Just a flavor preference. You can get too hoppy so watch out.
I’m a 10-12 hour cooker guy. What I like to do is start cooking it around midnight so it’s ready the next day for some football. Just turn it on low and let it go. That’s the magic of a crock pot. Then pull that beautiful meat apart and enjoy!
I hope you guys try this, it’s really super simple. Trust.
Speaking of slow roasting, I have to admit, I’m a little perplexed about the uproar surrounding the National Guard paying NFL teams for advertisements. Should a billion dollar business do this for free? I don’t think so. It is a business after all. So is the problem that the NFL was being paid to make tributes that looked like it came from the kindness of their heart? Big deal. What if you had known that the National Guard was paying for an NFL team to salute a brave hero? Would you think less of the person they were honoring if you knew before? I wouldn’t. I’m sure there would be some rumblings, because it’s the NFL but really people, it’s a business. It should be really clear to everyone that the NFL is a business and businesses do not make money by giving away free things, especially to the government. So please, no high-horse crap here.
But also, let’s hope the NFL won’t stop doing this. With Congress now involved I expect this will take a lot longer than deflate-gate to get to the bottom of this issue. Nothing like a slow, low burning story in the NFL.
Talk to you guys next week. I’ll take any suggestions on things you want cooked. Thinking about hitting up ribs next but happy to pivot.
But seriously, who doesn’t like ribs?
By Jason Johnson