Even in seafood-lover’s paradise, reveling in sun, sand and ocean, we crave larger than life cuts of meat. We are both Wisconsinites after all. But honestly how can you turn down* on meat a 9-lb pork roast for less than $9.00?!

We followed the instruction booklet’s recipe for smoked pork butt, increasing the amounts a scoch as our roast was two pounds heavier.

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He rubbed, he massaged, he made sure every last inch of that behemoth was coated in spices. It was meticulous.

Once the smoker was preheated and the aroma of toasty apple chips blew in through the open window, the roast went in. After five hours the roast was wrapped in foil and cooked for another hour [internal temperature 160° F].

P1030535How prehistoric does that look with the massive bone jutting out the end?!

The meat was nothing short of phenomenal. A transformation from something ordinary into something extraordinary. Flavors of the rub and apple smoke penetrated all the way to the innermost pieces of melt-in-your-mouth pork. My favorite bits were those lucky few still clinging to their crispy-chewy skins.

We stood for a while hovering greedily over the still warm hunk of meat – picking off the perfect piece, using it to sop up the pan juices and trying with might to get it to our mouths without losing one drip – as if someone were about to attack with spear, take meat away. Ugh!

It took us a good 20 minutes to shred the entire roast, keeping a couple handfuls of the choicest pieces aside for supper. Three meals barely put a dent in the massive container of pulled pork.

The first night I whipped up a quick compote of charred onion, honey and mustard

to go with pork sandwiches on homemade ciabatta rolls. The sides were apple slices pan-seared in olive oil and roasted balsamic green beans; the wine a heady pinot noir.

A couple days later we made impromptu burritos for lunch when he and his friend came home between meetings on base. Flour tortillas piled high with AL four pepper hot sauce and honey-bathed pulled pork warm from the stove, black beans and homemade salsa leftover from the other morning’s huevos rancheros, charred onion compote and avocado. Black grapes and soda on the side, cookies for dessert. Classic.

Meal three was burritos, part deux – aka el burrito del diablo. I believe we were both in tears and fully flushed the majority of lunch. Once again we reheated a good-sized handful of the pork in a pan with some oil, honey and the AL hot sauce. Sprung from who knows where, we decided to halve the remaining black grapes and lightly sauté those with a spoonful or two of the raspberry pear jalapeño jam, honey and more AL hot sauce. Additional fillings were spinach, sliced cucumber and the last teensy bit of black beans. Luckily we had the [random] forethought to make iced vanilla lattes to drink. In retrospect, we should’ve added cheese.

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Too wonderful to stop eating, even though it was so hot I began having piercing pain in my inner ear. We were a sight.

Now what to do with all that leftover pulled pork? It makes fabulous sandwiches, especially when mixed with a tangy barbecue or hot sauce and topped with coleslaw. Pulled pork also makes a great addition to soup, stew, gumbo or egg scrambles. I’m sure he’ll be creative with the seven odd pounds he has left in the freezer. Although I expect much of it will be used in tacos and burritos…

Charred Onion-Mustard-Honey Compote [serves 2 generously]

Printable recipe.

I oven-roasted instead of grilled the onions. Extras refrigerate very well.

1 whole yellow or white onion [preferably on the sweeter side], skin on

1 T olive oil, plus more for coating onion

1/2 t coarse salt, plus more for onion

freshly ground black pepper

2 t sherry vinegar

2 t honey

1 1/2 t brown or Dijon mustard [grainy would be nice]

1/4 to 1/2 t dried sage [our fresh herbage was minimal – no rosemary; we went with the next most pork-friendly herb]

1/8 to 1/4 t red chilli flakes [we like it hot]

pinch ground white pepper

1 T lemon zest

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Place the onion on a large square of foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over salt and pepper. Wrap the onion completely in the foil and place in a baking dish; bake in preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes; or until very fragrant, wilting and slightly charred. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Once cool, peel and discard outer skin and charred onion layers, leaving only soft inner layers. Thinly slice and transfer to a medium prep bowl. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, vinegar, honey, mustard of choice, dried sage [or other desired herb], chilli flakes, white pepper and lemon zest. Stir until well combined.

Let compote sit at room temperature at least 1 hour before serving.

Adapted from here.

*Most people could probably resist this; he has serious issues with major sales and BOGO, especially on large amounts of meat.

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