Cheap, Sustainable, Delicious: Grilled Pork Shoulder and Slaw

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Ian Knauer finds solace in the perfect sandwich.

Pork and slaw sandwich piled high. (Photo: Ian Knauer)

Ian Knauer worked for ‘Gourmet’ and is the author of the IACP Award–nominated cookbook ‘The Farm.’

You’re probably wondering what happened to me, since I’ve been out of touch for a little while. There was a hurricane, which you probably heard about, and I lost electricity for a whopping eight days. At first it was fun, like camping indoors, but then around day three I got a little stir-crazy. Luckily, I took some precautionary measures that helped. I’d like to share them with you, in case we lose power again. That way you too can at least eat well while waiting in the dark.

At first hint that you might be losing power for eight days:

• Fill the bathtub with water so you can flush the toilet—I can’t stress the importance of this enough, hence, first on the list.

• Stock up on candles and drinking water.

• Have plenty of firewood on hand—for both a fire place if you have one and for cooking if you have a grill.

• Defrost that pork butt you have in the back of your freezer.

• Buy a large head of cabbage and make sure you’ve got oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Now you’re ready for state-of-emergency-style disasters and loss of electrical power.

Once that pork is thawed, you should cook it. Cooked meat lasts a lot longer than raw meat and, it also tastes better. Build a fire in your grill and keep it glowing. There’s a detailed recipe for the pork below, but the reason you’ll want to cook a pork butt is because it’s cheap, delicious, and big enough to sustain you for a week. Oh, and with that cabbage, we’ll make a simple coleslaw for the same reasons, and the slaw doesn’t even need to be cooked.

Now, hunker down with a stack of books and get ready for the worst.

Grilled Pork Shoulder (Serves 2 for a week)

1 (8-pound) bone-in pork butt

8 garlic cloves, cut into slivers

1 tablespoon ground cumin

Fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

2 cups water

Start a fire in the grill and continue to feed it as needed, or, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Stab the pork all over with a pairing knife and stuff the garlic slivers into the stab wounds. Rub the pork all over with the cumin, 2 1/2 tablespoons salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Place the pork in a large roasting pan with water and cover with foil.

Roast the pork until it is very tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Shred and serve.

Red Cabbage Slaw (Makes about 8 cups)

1 pound red cabbage

2 carrots

1 Granny Smith apple

1/2 red onion

2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon caraway seed

1 teaspoon mustard seed

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

11/2 teaspoons sugar

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Thinly slice cabbage, carrots, apple, and onion using a slicer and place in a large bowl with thyme. Stir together oil, vinegar, sugar, caraway, and mustard with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss dressing with vegetable and let stand 30 minutes. Serve with pork.

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