Chef stays true to red, white and blue
Perfect Dinner Chef John Lane likes to makes red, white and blue foods in honor of Memorial Day. | Tamara Bell~Sun Times Media
Red, White and Blue Pulled Barbecue Pork
From Chef John Lane
10 pounds pork butt (or shoulder), trimmed and cubed 2 cups barbecue sauce ¼ cup barbecue spice ½ cup brown sugar 8 cups water 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon pepper 1 pint blueberries 1 head green cabbage 2 cups blue cheese 1 bunch green onion ½ cup sour cream ½ cup cream 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups barbecue sauce
¼ cup barbecue spice
½ cup brown sugar
8 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 pint blueberries
1 head green cabbage
2 cups blue cheese
1 bunch green onion
½ cup sour cream
½ cup cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
To cook pork: Trim the pork, leaving some fat for flavor, but removing most of it. Cut trimmed pork into 1-inch to 2-inch pieces (cubes). Place trimmed and cubed pork in a deep casserole dish, or slow cooker, and add all the braising ingredients: barbecue sauce, barbecue spice, water, sugar, salt, and pepper.
Cover and cook in an oven for at 325 degrees for 4-5 hours.
While pork is in oven, cook blueberries in small sauce pot, cook five minutes, and then transfer to a blender, purée and set aside.
Drain excess water from cabbage, and place in bowl. Add blue cheese, cream, sour cream, salt, pepper, onion, and toss. Set aside.
Remove pork from oven and allow it to cool. When cool, begin to pull it. Pull all of the meat, and toss it with 2-3 more cups barbecue sauce, coating evenly.
To serve, put pulled pork on a roll, or place (red) top with handful of coleslaw (white) and drizzle with fresh blueberry sauce (blue).
Makes 8-10 servings.
Updated: May 23, 2012 2:06PM
When the American flag flies proudly on days like Memorial Day, Chef John Lane weaves the nation’s favorite color combination into many of the foods he makes.
For his Memorial Day weekend menu at The Perfect Dinner in Oak Park, Lane will make plenty of pies and tarts colored by fresh red raspberries, blueberries and white cream cheese mousse. But he’ll also make something more out of the ordinary for the special day: red, white and blue pulled barbecue pork sandwiches.
“Memorial Day is a super American holiday,” Lane said. “Hard-working people are given a chance to relax and enjoy family, friends, great food and this wonderful country in which we live. It’s absolutely very important to acknowledge the day by making special foods.”
Blueberries bring the blue to Lane’s pork sandwiches. He makes a sauce out of fresh blueberries to drizzle on top of the pork. “While the sauce adds a nice tang to the pork, the natural sweetness of the fruit also clashes very well with the flavor of the barbecue sauce,” Lane said.
He tops the red-colored pork meat with white-colored, blue cheese coleslaw. “The creaminess of the blue cheese with the crunch of the coleslaw is delicious,” he said.
For a red, white and blue dessert, Lane, an Oak Park resident, makes fresh berry pies and tarts. The Perfect Dinner, which offers prepared meals for carry-out and also recently started catering meals, gets berries from Scotch Hill Farm in Brodhead, Wisc.
“The berries are very fresh, hand-picked and taste much better than store-bought,” Lane said.
Memorial Day was inspired by the aftermath of the American Civil War. Communities across the U.S. had annually been honoring fallen Civil War soldiers since the war ended. One of those towns, Waterloo, N.Y., is considered the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
The yearly celebrations in Waterloo and other small towns encouraged a larger, national observance. On May 30, 1868, tens of thousands of fallen Union and Confederate soldiers, many of whom had fought against one another during the war, were honored collectively when their graves were decorated with flowers and U.S. flags at Arlington National Cemetery.
Memorial for all
Decoration Day, as it was originally called, became known as Memorial Day in 1882. After World War I, Memorial Day became a day to remember fallen U.S. soldiers from all wars.
In 1967, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday, allowing average Americans more time to reflect on the sacrifices of U.S. soldiers. The day has also become a time for families to spend together, and much of that time is spent over backyard barbecues.
In honor of Memorial Day, The Perfect Dinner will be closed Monday. Lane will spend the day with his family at their new lake house in Michigan. “I’ll be spending a fun weekend with all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, brother and parents on the lake, having a fantastic barbecue,” he said. “I’ll just enjoy the people I get to spend time with. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Red, White and Blue Fresh Berry Tarts
From Chef John Lane, The Perfect Dinner
2 cups cream cheese 1 cup cream 1 cup powdered sugar 3 tablespoons blueberries 3 tablespoons raspberries 3 tablespoons blackberries ¼ cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cream
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons blueberries
3 tablespoons raspberries
3 tablespoons blackberries
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Slowly add cream and vanilla while mixture is beating at medium speed. Beat until volume has doubled and is nice and light. Set mixture aside.
In small pot on stove, cook berries with ¼ cup sugar for five minutes, until they are broken down and soft. Let berries cool. Once fruit is chilled, strain liquid, and then gently fold berries into cream cheese mousse.
To finish, pipe filling into store-bought or homemade tart or pie shells. Garnish with a few berries and a mint leaf.
Makes two tarts.