Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink to highlight America’s iconic BBQ
America’s Independence Day, better known as the Fourth of July, is traditionally a time of outdoor celebrations throughout the country. That celebration often involves outdoor cooking on grills, referred to as a “cookout” in some areas of the United States, but also called simply a “barbecue.”
The word barbecue conjures different ideas depending on where one is in the United States. For many, barbecue could mean All-American hot dogs with regionally popular toppings that include coleslaw, chili, sauerkraut, guacamole, beans, cheese, bacon, jalapeno peppers, onions, tomatoes, sweet pickle relish, ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard.
In places like Wisconsin, a Fourth of July barbecue would likely feature bratwursts, often simmered in beer and then finished off on the grill. In northern Ohio, it could include what is known as a Polish Boy, grilled kielbasa sausage with barbecue sauce. For others, a July Fourth barbecue could center around barbecued chicken slathered in sauce, steaks on the grill, kebabs or grilled fish.
For many, a Fourth of July barbecue has to include hamburgers in all their glory, topped with almost any sort of cheese and other ingredients seemingly only limited by the cook’s imagination.
Although a typical Independence Day barbecue can include a variety of dishes in most areas of the country, there are regions of the United States where the word barbecue means specific meat prepared a specific way. Great pride is taken in each of these forms of barbecue, and while each cook may add a secret ingredient or process to the preparation, there are basic similarities throughout the regions they reign as the true form of barbecue.
In North Carolina, “barbecue” specifically means pork shoulder cooked slowly until the meat almost falls apart. Although different parts of the pork shoulder can be used, the Boston Butt or butt part of the shoulder is preferred, with the blade bone intact. The butt is usually rubbed with dry seasonings, left to set for several hours or overnight, and then slow roasted at a low temperature over indirect heat for 12 to 18 hours as the fat slowly renders. Hickory log coals and or charcoal in combination with hickory wood chunks/chips are the preferred cooking fuel.
Once the meat reaches the desired temperatures, usually 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, the meat is taken off the grill, allowed to cool a bit, and then pulled apart in small strips, which is which is where it gets the name “pulled pork.” The pork is then put on a roll and served as a sandwich.
Although some people might be tempted to put barbecue sauce on pulled pork, in North Carolina, pulled pork is served with a tangy vinegar-based sauce and often accompanied by coleslaw made with vinegar instead of mayonnaise.
Texas is known for its beef, and the iconic barbecue of Texas is beef brisket, which comes from the breast or lower chest of a cow. As with pulled pork, barbecue brisket is seasoned and then traditionally cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time. Some cooks barbecue brisket up to 20 hours until the meat falls apart, while others will cook it for a lesser time so the meat can still be served in slices. The cooked beef is sometimes served on bread to make a sandwich and sometime served on a plate with bread on the side. Some Texans slather the beef in barbecue sauce and others do not.
In St. Louis, barbecue means pork, which can be in the form of pork steaks or pork spare ribs. The latter is trimmed of the riblet bones, seasoned with dry rub, and then slowly cooked over low heat until the meat is very tender. Barbecue sauce is then added at the very end.
To highlight these three types of iconic American barbecue, and the iconic American whiskey, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink will host a Bourbon & BBQ Bash on the lawn of the Camana Bay Crescent on Friday, July 4.
“Summer, barbecue and July 4th all go together,” said Michael’s Genuine Chef Thomas Tennant, who will be in Cayman to cook for the event.
“Bourbon is an American spirit and we’re an America-based restaurant, so we thought we’d put them all together for a classic southern-American-style barbecue, using local ingredients, as we do for our regular menu.”
Bourbon & BBQ Bash
No spirit is more associated with America than bourbon, the most famous of which comes from Kentucky. Produced from at least 51 percent corn and the remainder from grains, the oak-aged spirit has enjoyed a revival in recent years. Sweet and smoky, bourbon can be consumed neat or on the rocks, but it is also widely used in cocktails like an Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour and Mint Julep. For its bourbon and BBQ Bash, Michael’s will feature bourbon-tasting stations offering five different bourbon-based cocktails, as well as wine and beer.
In addition, the featured barbecue menu items will all incorporate bourbon into the recipe in some way, said Tennant. The pulled pork, for example, will incorporate Maker’s Mark Bourbon with local mango and the St. Louis-style ribs will feature a Knob Creek Bourbon glaze. Even the desserts will feature bourbon in items like Basil Hayden bourbon pecan macaroons and Maker’s Mark ice cream and root beer floats.
“The Key lime and bourbon ice pops are really good, too,” said Tennant.
The event, which takes place from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. Friday, will also offer traditional American side dishes like cornbread, Old Bay-seasoned new potatoes and corn chow chow, as well as some unique twists on classics, like cabbage and kale slaw.
For those who don’t eat meat, there will be whole snapper fish with calabaza, quinoa and pickled pearl onions.
Tickets for the event cost $68 inclusive of gratuity and are available at Michael’s Genuine and the West Indian Wine Company.