Posted 09 November 2003 - 07:42 AM
First, welcome Sidratha!!
As far as "recipes" for NC barbecue are concerned, there's really not much to do. I am in the early stages of putting together an eGCI course on a pig pickin', but let me cut to the chase: to do eastern style barbecue, you need a whole hog that you have salted (or brined -- good luck with that!). You need to slow cook it over hardwood -- it's not just smoked, you actually want a bit of heat under the pig that cooks the beast. Keep temperature as close to 225F as you can. You need to crisp the skin. Then chop the meat, making sure you cut in some crispy skin, some of the non-skin crispies. Add a touch of sauce, which is really just apple cider vinegar, red pepper, and a bit of sugar. I put some other stuff in my sauce (e.g., orange rind), but that's just an idiosyncratic thing to do to make it sound as if my sauce is truly original. That's it.
For the western or Lexington style barbecue, use shoulders. Again, slow cook OVER hardwood. The difference is that this meat will be much more uniform in consistency and the smoke flavor is generally more pronounced simply because you're dealing with a smaller cut of meat. This is also chopped and sauced, but the western style sauce has some ketchup added to it, along with more sugar. I like brown sugar, simply because it has a bit more of that caramel flavor. In the end, though, this sauce is a heck of a lot more similar to eastern style sauce than it is different. It's mostly vinegar, with just a broader assortment of flavors.
I ultimately prefer eastern style simply because it represents all that is good in pork. Brown and white meat, skin, a bit of fat. The sauce is hardly noticeable if done right. Screw it up, and it's mediocre. Get it right, and it's heavenly. Screw up western style, and the smoke will cover up some of the problems. Get it right, and it's also fantastic, but you don't taste the pork as well as you do with eastern style. I'll take either style any day of the week.