Main Attraction, Pork

Beggarow Barbecue Pork

My Grandmother Osburn is a fabulous cook, but that’s not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of her.  I think of Beggarow, her home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, an ancient house and acreage steeped in family lore and memories.

I think of the smell of the box wood hedge in the hot sun.  The creek full of crayfish.  The rooms full of treasured family artifacts, each with its own story.  The coolness of a house built of thick stone walls and plaster hundreds of years before air conditioning was invented.  The gardens where we learned the three distinct shapes of sassafras leaves and how to tell when a raspberry was truly ripe.  The long-unused root cellar built into a hill across the road where we once found a perfectly preserved rabbit skeleton.

Grandmother shared the house with my Grandfather, a man who I think of every time I ladle soup into storage containers at the restaurant.  Again I am a little girl at the old kitchen table surrounded by every container he can find, pouring water as he patiently explains volume in his slow breathy voice.  I know without looking that the corners of his mouth are turned up with amusement as I try to guess which jar will hold the liquid in my glass perfectly.

But back to the fabulous cook part.  My Grandmother snipped recipes from magazines and newspapers and had a huge collection of cards containing handwritten recipes passed down the generations.  She fried scrapple and new potatoes on an old gas stove.  She snipped herbs from her garden to make a sauce for her poached salmon and brewed iced tea to drink on the creeping-thyme-perfumed terrace.  At her table I learned to love asparagus and wilted lettuce salad and potato chips fried in lard. My grandparents ate their most elaborate meal at lunch and then had something simple for supper, which I found tremendously exotic.

A few years ago our extended family met at Beggarow for one last time.  My sister and I volunteered to cook a celebratory meal and searched through Grandmother’s recipes for something to please a crowd.  This pork, cooked until fall-apart-tender, was so well received by our family that we started making it into Pulled Pork Sandwiches for the Cafe.  I recommend a heaping pile of coleslaw and potato chips on the side, preferably the kind fried in lard!

The Pork Roast after its Spice Massage

Beggarow Barbecue Pork

3 lb. Rolled Boneless Pork Shoulder

The Rub:
2 tablespoons Paprika (smoked if you can find it)
¼ C. Sugar
½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 tablespoon Salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground toasted Cumin
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground Black Pepper

The Baste:
½ C. Apple Cider Vinegar
½ C. Apple Cider or 1 T. Maple Syrup

The Sauce:

All Ready to Pull!

Drippings from the pork
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1 ½ teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Dry Mustard or 1 tablespoon Dijon-style Mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 clove Garlic, minced

Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl.  Place the pork in a roasting pan and rub all over with the mixture, and sprinkle any remaining into the pan. Place in a 300° oven and roast until the center of the meat reaches 180°, about three to four hours. Every hour, or when you think of it, baste with the cider and vinegar mixed together. Let the meat rest until cool enough to handle, pour off the drippings and then shred the meat with two forks or your hands. Mix the sauce ingredients up, add the drippings and combine with the meat.