When we went to the shore two weeks ago, I naturally took charge of the cooking. I also recognized my responsibility to my wife, children, mother, brother's family, (and myself) to take care of other vacation needs. And I mean basic vacation needs. One need: to relax and have a good time.
Strange as it may seem, it has been harder in the past for me to chill out than to feed a dozen people. But part of the human condition is the ability to adapt, so I did a few things differently this year. I made Thich Nhat Hanh not Gordon Ramsay my guide in the kitchen, and instead of yelling, I changed my approach.
For example, I made a mystery slow-roasted pork shoulder. The mystery was what was in the rub. For last year's trip to the beach I had prepared a spice rub for two pork shoulders. That year, I only made one, and, so, I had a perfectly mixed batch of spices left over in my cupboard. I grabbed that bag while packing, and thought: one meal ready!
This year, the night before I wanted to eat, I slathered that rub over a pair of smallish organic pork shoulders and--in keeping with my desire to help myself and others by relaxing and enjoying the moment--the next day I put the meat in a 250 degree oven at 10:00 in the morning, and I went swimming. I walked on the beach. I drew some pictures. I took a nap. I laughed with my girls. Then, at the end of the day, at 6:00, I took the meat out of the oven and we made pork tacos. All it needed was a touch of lime and it was perfect. The meat was falling-apart tender, and everything was easy and good. We were happy.
Easiest Pork Shoulder Ever
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons mild chili powder, like ancho or New Mexico
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 or 2 pork shoulder, totaling about 6 pounds
- 3 or 4 limes, cut into pieces
The morning of the meal, heat an oven to 250 degrees, and place the meat on a foil-lined roasting pan that has a lip or raised edge.
Cook the meat for eight hours, until it is super tender.
To serve, cut the meat (it should fall apart) and eat with soft-corn tortillas and a touch of lime juice.