Sunday, September 6, 2009

Backyard BBQ party for the neighborhood - 55 people showed up

Well, my big day came and went. It was terrific fun, LOTS of food was served, we got to know our neighbors a little better and a good time was had by all. I will have a lot to blog about in the next few days. I made one of these Pork Shoulders (Boston Butts) using a Steven Raichlen recipe that I will blog about. I also made small changes in each of the other 4 butts as an experiment. I Injected a couple, I mopped a couple, I used two different rubs. So I will be blogging about the subtle differences. But, that's a blog for another day...

Today's blog is about the party. If you have not been following my blog for the last few days, I hosted a party. A big Party! My wife and I have lived in this house for 8 years. About 4 years ago the "cop who lives on the corner" (that's what everyone in the neighborhood calls him) hosted a block party for everyone. Ever since then, I have wanted to , but just never got around to it. So, this year, the decision was made, and we did it. Invitations went out, and about 1 out of 4 responded positively. It was a holiday weekend, and many had plans. A few we never heard from, but I figured this was a nice response. Our usual friends in the neighborhood came, as well as a bunch we knew nodingly, plus another dozen we had never met.

Smoker was full, 35 pounds of Pork! I started at 8 pm the night before, mopped each hour for the first 6 (only two of the butts were mopped, the other two I injected, I will blog the difference another day, so I am digressing, back to the party prep...

After 12 hours at 225 degrees, and another few mopping sessions, I checked temperature of the meat. The two shoulders on the outside had reached 180 degrees, while the two inside ones were at 160. This could be due to the convection nature of my smoker, or the fact that the two outside were slightly smaller. At any rate, I took the two at 180 and foil wrapped them. Commonly called the Texas Cheat or the Texas Crutch, it is a way to store your meat til serving time, it also adds some flavor (the honey), it also lets the cooking process even out, as it continues to cook for several hours, bringing the internal temperature to almost 200 by serving time! I will do a blog this week explaining the Texas crutch, so I am digressing...Back to the party prep...

I had to use my rarely used two layer grate in order to cook a pork loin (lower level level between the two bean dishes), the previously mentioned Baked (smoked) beans and the two butts that had not reached temperature yet. But, my smoker is big enough to feed 12 on one level, I figured cooking on two levels for a few hours in order to feed 50 plus was still pretty respectable.
Meanwhile, inside the womenfolk were making desserts. My neighbor Herme (no good deed goes unpunished, Herme is the friend I tossed the formal birthday party for a few weeks ago (see that blog by clicking HERE), agreed to help my wife with a few of the advance details.
Little mini cupcakes was my wife's contribution, one or two bites and they are gone. a great thing for a large event. Sometimes people are reluctant to get w large dessert, but bite size things move (and they did. She made 60, and they are all gone).

Party started at 4 PM. By about 4:15, we had a crowd of 40 people, so I started pulling my pork. It took just 30 seconds before the process was so fascinating I was able to palm it off on my buddy Jim. I felt a little like Tom Sawyer painting the fence, but i convince him how much fun it was. But even more fun was eating. juicy tender, flavorful... and look at that bark


Imagine this on a bun with Cole slaw and BBQ sauce...
And Beans, and a hot dog... and a strawberry Margarita (to hell with bringing a side dish, bring the people what they really want (I love my neighbors, man)).
Lines were formed, but they moved quickly...
Meanwhile, guys talk about fire... grunt grunt grunt
Nearly had a Dick Van Dyke moment (A three's Company moment for younger readers)... when the neighbors beautiful dog smelled the food and jumped his fence.
Some folks sat at tables, some in chairs,
Some stood and bitched about their husbands (does this happen at every party???).
Some invented their own fun...
Some risked life and limb...
At one point, the inevitable "teaching the old guy how to hula hoop" happened.
And the macho guys compared knee surgery scars (1o more years before we compare gall bladder scars)... One was even from football.
But, bottom line. a GREAT time was had by all, get to know your neighbors... They are fabulous fun...
And when the dust settled, we dwindled down to the fun dozen or so people and settled around our firepit. The temps got a little chilly around 11 PM, so I broke out my snuggly. Sure, some laughed, but when I brought out lap robes for the others, I was the only one who could drink a beer without exposing my arm to the cold.

One last note... My fellow blogger, Girlichef, was asked to use her powers for weather control once again. Earlier this year, I had asked her to pray for rain so that I could cook inside... read that story HERE. It did indeed rain. This week, there was a 60% chance of rain for my big day. I asked Girlichef to once again interfere with the will of God (or the weather forecasters), and sure enough...

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Girlichef once again moves a step higher on the Deity scale. I wonder if her powers are limited to controlling the weather in Kansas only or stretches into the entire Midwest... HMMM


  1. I was really glad to see that the weather stayed nice for your holiday neighborhood BBQ. I am glad GIrlichef could communicate with the weather Gods! I have to remember that for our next adventure :-)

    The party looks like a smashing success! The meat looks fabulous! My husband would have so stood by the fire with you (grunt, grunt) mopping the meat!

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful day with us.

  2. Looks like an AWESOME party. I wish I could have been there too! I can only imagine how great that pulled pork tasted. Yum!

  3. Beautiful, beautiful! I knew your party would be a hit!

    word verification = ration

  4. What a great party! Sounds like the best one so far. I couldn't help but laugh at some of the pics. Fun post!

  5. I wish I lived in your neighborhood!

  6. Gosh, those butts look divine!! ( I mean the pork shoulders)

  7. Terrific pictures of everyone enjoying themselves. It looks like a party that will be long remembered and spoken of. You have it all over anyone else, I'd say. Of course I was laughing out loud at your comments about comparing knee scars and fire starting.

    That Girlichef. She is just amazing!

  8. It looks amazing! Fantastic food. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  9. Thinking about the number of people who showed up for this backyard BBQ party, I can't imagine how many pounds of meat were served to all of them throughout that fun-filled event you've hosted. and I'm sure after that, you've gotten to know more, and be pretty familiar with some of them!