Author Notes: CB Stubblefield -- or Stubbs, as he was known -- was a legendary pitman, and my BBQ hero. I got to know Stubbs briefly in the mid '80s when he was serving BBQ at lunchtime at Antones, a blues bar in Austin. I was a photography intern working at the Austin American Statesman and a staffer, Jay Godwin, took me to lunch to teach me about Texas BBQ. It was a lesson in regional cooking and, for me, the birth of my interest in cooking. I will never forget the taste and flavors that Stubbs himself brought to the table. For a young kid from Indiana, it was an eye-opening experience into the diversity of food in America and the diversity of BBQ. —thirschfeld
Serves 6 to 8
For the Picnic:
- 6 1/2 pounds bone-in picnic shoulder (pork shoulder)
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt plus extra for seasoning
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 cups hickory chips, soaked in water for 24 hours then drained
For the Stubbs Sauce:
- 2 cups Pomi brand strained tomatoes
- 2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- Kosher salt, as needed
- The day before cooking -- or up to three days before -- combine the salt and brown sugar and carefully rub it into the pork picnic. Set the pork onto a cooling rack that fits onto a sheet tray with edges and put it back into the fridge uncovered. If you plan to go longer than a day in the fridge, cover the meat until 24 hours before you plan to put it into the smoker. Soak some hickory chips in water for 24 hours too.
- Set up your smoker for indirect heat. If you need help, there are tons of videos on YouTube to help you get the idea.
- Once your coals are ready, add a third of the hickory chips. Once they begin to smoke, place the pork skin side-up (if it has skin) onto the side of the smoker/grill with no heat. Lower the cover and let the smoking begin. Try not to let the coals heat the interior of the smoker/grill above 200° F. If it does, remove the lid to let out the heat and then replace the lid. Add more chips as needed. Smoke the picnic for anywhere from 40 minutes to 4 hours -- it is up to you.
- You can finish the pork on the grill if you want, or you can place it into a 200?F oven for a total of 10 hours, including the smoke time. So if you smoked the pork for 40 minutes, then you need to slow-roast it in the oven for another 9 hours and 20 minutes; if you smoked it for 4 hours, it will need 6 in the oven. You get what I am saying?
- While the pork is cooking, combine all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Bring it to a bubble over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the sauce meld for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust as needed. Let the sauce thicken till it coats the back of a spoon then remove it from the heat.
- When the pork is done, remove it from the oven. As soon as it is cool enough to handle, use two forks to pull the meat from the bone. Do this on a sheet tray so any juices that run get blended back into the pulled pork. The warmer the pork, the easier it is to shred.
- Blend in enough sauce to wet the pork; or, as I do, serve the sauce on the side so everyone can add it to their liking. Serve as a sandwich or family style, with cornbread, greens, sweet corn, and pickles.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!