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Getting ready July 3, 2009

Posted by Peeps in Cooking, Family, Food, Home.

Let me start by saying that while my mother gave me some great tools for living my life, she also gave me a loathing of having people in my home.  Well, not as bad as hers, but I’m just fine with me and Toys and the critters.  Isn’t that enough?

This year, Toys and I decided to invite her family up for Fourth of July.  We had a few reasons.  Mostly because it’s an hour and a half each way to her parent’s and we didn’t feel like driving that much.  And we wanted to show off a little, too.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we like to cook.  And while cooking for a crowd isn’t one of my favorite things, getting a chance to make the in-laws impressed doesn’t happen all that often.

After talking it all out, and figuring logistics, Toys and I figured that two days should do for everything we have in mind.

But first, I have to thank Toys.  It’s been raining here.  A lot.  Way too much.  She got me a canopy to set up above the smoking rig, so that I could stay dry and could get a reasonably accurate temperature reading from the smoker that’s not getting rained on.  She’s wonderful.

Surly Boy and I set the thing up Wednesday evening. It’s seriously helpful.
Anyway, it all starts early Thursday morning.  All the meat had been prepped the night before, so that got pulled out. Photobucket
We’re doing the pulled pork that was so wonderful last year and we also happened to have a couple bone in turkey breasts in the freezer that are practically begging to be eaten.
Those will be going out to spend a few hours in the smoke.  I got the charcoal going while it still wasn’t quite light out.
Once the rig is starting to get hot, the meat all goes on.
Meanwhile, Toys is working on the other long cooking part of this whole deal.  She’s making two batches of her famous baked beans.  Most of the day gets spent checking the smoker and the oven making sure the beans and the meat are doing what they’re supposed to do.  Did I mention that we started before first light?

That’s all part one of what Toys is calling our “T&A” dinner.  Get it?  Butts and breasts?  Yeah, well, she thought it was funny.

Anyway, all the meat will get shredded and sauced and put away.  Dishes will keep getting done until we’re finished.  All of them.  Then it’s time to relax until Friday, when phase two starts.  More side dishes.

I prefer to do pulled pork with a Carolina style vinegar sauce.  You cannot have pulled pork, particularly Carolina pulled pork, without cole slaw.  We found a recipe a few years back for a cole slaw that’s almost exactly like the stuff that KFC sells, which is my absolute favorite.

Another cookout staple is macaroni salad.  Again, a recipe we found a while back is the household staple.  Thank you, Cook’s Illustrated.

Finally, beer would be the ideal thing to consume during this repast, for all kinds of reasons.  But we thought we’d be a little more, I don’t know, interesting.  We’re making a large batch of sangria.  Toys said her parents used to drink the ready-made stuff out of bottles, so they might enjoy ours.  And if not, they’ll be more left over for us.

And we’re doing all this to encourage people to be in our house.  Oh well, the food should be good.

My wife also asked me to include that she’ll be submitting this post to Home Ec 101‘s Fearless Fridays.  After all, what’s more fearless than filling our home with in-laws and children, feeding them all, and trying to send everyone home happy?  😯


1. anne - July 3, 2009

You make it all sound so easy. Don’t make it too good, or the family will want to make it a tradition. Maybe you can make the pillows lumpy, or something?

Peeps - July 4, 2009

Easy? We spent two days cooking. It was exhausting. And no matter how good it turns out, I doubt they’ll want to make it a tradition.

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Peeps, you did a good job of making me feel like I was right there with you getting smoke in my face and slicing slaw. Would have been fun.

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