Adam Perry Lang Still Cooks Serious Barbecue — Part 1
September 30, 2013
When I first met Adam Perry Lang during my first KCBS sanctioned barbecue contest many years ago, I knew that the guy had the right stuff to get real serious on the grill. Today, VIP blogger Larry Gaian of EmbersandFlame.com sits down with Perry Lang to discuss all things barbecue and the re-release of his book, “Serious Barbecue.”
In his introduction, Lang immediately lays out some confrontational assertions: “Barbecue does not just mean the slow-cooked, smoke perfumed meats of the South. It also means the charred, juicy direct-grilled meats . . . what I’ll call ‘Yankee barbecue.’” — Ian Chipman
I am unashamedly a fan of Adam Perry Lang. If there was one person who inspires me the most in my cooking it’s APL. His first book “Serious Barbecue” changed the way I cooked outdoor like no other book, video or other how-to ever did. I learned more about layering flavors from Serious Barbecue than I ever thought possible.
When the book was first released in 2009 I wanted to cook my way from page one through the end, but common sense prevailed and I decided to just read it cover to cover instead. Cooking a recipe now and then from the book when I needed some inspiration. This book still inspires me today.
“I’m always asking myself: Where can I find flavor? Where is no one else looking?” –Adam Perry Lang
Serious Barbecue is a well-known outdoor cooking cookbook among barbecue enthusiasts but after its initial printing it just sort of faded away. The book’s popularity drove prices for used copies well over $100.00 in some cases. The book was re-released this month thanks to APL having the book rights returned to him by the previous publisher. This time around Adam decided to self-publish the book. This should insure enough copies to go around.
I spoke to Adam earlier this week about the re-release of Serious Barbecue and few other changes he has going on. “Look, I’m really proud of the book (Serious Barbeque) and the content is still very relevant,” Adam explained about why he wanted to get the book back out in the public’s eye.
“The publisher wasn’t really keeping up with demand, it got where it was even hard for me to get a copy,” he said. “Contractually, I had the ability to get the book’s rights back so I did. I had the opportunity and privilege to self-publish so that’s what I did,” he continued.
I asked about the differences between Serious Barbecue and his last book Charred and Scruffed. “Serious Barbecue and Charred and Scruffed are similar, they’re both about BBQ, but at the same time they are both very different”, Chef Lang told me. ” People will say ‘one time you say this and another time you say that’ and I tell them there is a time and place for every technique. Sometimes you want to do something harder and other times you to do something bare bones and simple,” he said in explaining the differences between the two books.
“I like helping people understand there is no right or wrong at any given time,” Adam explained about why he likes to teach people about cooking BBQ. “Fire will change based on the environment so you have to be able to adapt. BBQ isn’t like your typical recipes where you can just go in and say ‘this is the best recipe.”
With the re-release of Serious Barbecue Adam Perry Lang will be able to teach another group of backyard barbecue enthusiasts how to put a plate of the best barbecue, whether off the smoker or off the grill, in front of their friends and family. If you didn’t get a copy of Serious Barbecue the first time around now is your chance to order a copy.
Crisp and Unctuous Pork
Author: Reprinted with permission from Serious Barbecue by Adam Perry Lang. Photo by David Loftus.
Recipe Type: Main
Man, do the Brits know how to cook pork! I was strolling through London’s Borough Market, on a tip from my friend and bottomless source of inspiration Jamie Oliver, when I stumbled across a stall that made the most amazing pork belly (which, for anyone who’s skeptical, is just uncured bacon, and who doesn’t love bacon?). So, of course, I got the recipe. And of course, I cook my version on the barbecue. The belly cooks slowly inside a foil packet in its natural juices, so it develops a luscious texture. Then right before it’s done, I unwrap it and crank up the heat to crisp the skin. If you like it sweet, homemade applesauce and a bit of hot English mustard make the flavor explode. It also goes great with a side of Kate with Bacon (page 344). But here’s a warning: Your friends will want to stuff their faces with super-rich slices, so you’ll have to play the parent and offer them just enough.
- One 4-pound piece fresh, uncured, skin-on pork belly
- Marinade –
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled, halved, germ removed, and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced Serrano or other small, hot chile of choice (optional)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, softened
- Glaze –
- ¼ cup bourbon
- ¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes (optional)
- About ⅓ cup canola or vegetable oil
- Finishing Dressing –
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- Kosher salt
- Finely ground coarse black pepper
- Hot English mustard
- 8 sliced Cuban-style rolls, or eight 6-inch pieces of soft, unseeded, Italian bread, split like rolls
- 1 recipe Applesauce (Recipe)
- 1 recipe Dressed Arugula (Recipe)
1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a blender, or in a large bowl using an immersion stick/blender, and blend to combine thoroughly. Place the pork belly in a large re-sealable plastic bag, pour the marinade over the top, squeeze out any excess air from the bag, and close. Roll the bag to evenly coat the pork belly. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or up to 1 day.
2. Preheat an indirect bbq with a drip pan and fruitwood (preferably apple), a ceramic cooker with deflector plate and fruitwood (preferably apple), or a charcoal or gas grill with a box or packet of fruitwood (preferably apple) to 275°F.
3. Place the belly in a baking dish or disposable aluminum pan, preferably a 13 ½ x 9⅝ x 2¾-inch lasagna pan. Pour over the marinade, add the water and the butter, cover the top with heavy-duty aluminum foil, and crimp the edges to tightly seal. Place in the cooker and cook for 5 ½ hours.
4. Remove from the cooker and let rest in the pan, still covered, for 2 hours.
5. Meanwhile, about 30 minutes before the end of the resting period, increase the temperature of the cooker for crisping the skin. If using a ceramic cooker, remove the deflector plate and increase the temperature to 375°F. If using a charcoal or gas grill, increase the temperature of the grate to high. For the glaze, pour the bourbon in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook off the alcohol, being careful of a possible flare-up, 7 to 10 minutes. The strong alcohol smell will subside. Place the remaining glaze ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and pour over the warm bourbon. Close the lid and shake to combine. Set aside. Pour a film of canola oil into a baking dish or disposable pan. Place a grilling basket on the work surface.
6. Carefully remove the belly from the pan and place, skin side down, in the oil. Turn over in the oil. Transfer the belly to the grilling basket and close. Place the basket over the direct heat, skin side down, and cook to crisp the skin, about 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Give the glaze a quick shake to reincorporate any ingredients that may have settled. Remove the belly from the cooker and brush on all sides with the glaze. Place the belly back over the direct heat, skin side up, for about 5 minutes to tighten the glaze. Flip and repeat on the second side, cooking for about 5 minutes.
8. Drizzle the olive oil over the cutting board, followed by the lemon juice. Sprinkle with the chives, salt, and pepper. Carefully, because it will be exceptionally tender, remove the belly from the basket, place on the cutting board, skin side up, and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
9. Sprinkle the belly with salt, pepper, chives, and parsley, and cut the belly in slices (if you have one, an electric knife works well here), dredging in the dressing as it is cut. Spread mustard on the rolls, place a slice on each roll, and top with applesauce and greens.
Tip: Here’s a cool trick. After the belly is all jiggly and tender, I sandwich it in a grill basket. That way, it’s easily moved around and keeps its shape as it crisps.