To kick off our new blog series, Tasty Tailgating, we got a chance to talk with Matt Moore (BBA ’05) – author, entrepreneur, cook, musician, host, pilot, adventurer, and southern gentleman. His pulled pork stuffed grilled cheese is perfect for a Saturday in Athens. Read on to learn the recipe!
Saturday in Athens . . .
Just the words rolling off my tongue bring a smile to my face. Instantly, I’m transported to a crisp fall morning, the sun gently bathing the hilly traverse of Lumpkin and Broad – smells of smoke and whiskey perfume the air, with a brassy cadence and snare beat easing in to Glory Glory to Ol’ Georgia. As the Widespread Panic boys once said, ain’t life grand?
It’s these days that I set apart from the rest. Time to revel once again in God’s country – Athens, Georgia.
Truth is – such days are hard to come by nowadays. Nashville has been my 15 year-old home since leaving Athens. Though cool (real cool these days), Nashville just ain’t Athens. Nor is it close. Heck, I even got my pilot’s license to shorten the 6 hour drive down to just an hour and a half jump over the mountains.
Problem is, I can’t fit my smoker into my 1974 Piper Cherokee. And for me, a requirement of any great tailgate should involve slowly smoked, fall off the bone, pork butt – or shoulder for those unfamiliar.
For me, watching the Dawgs storm Sanford is just as exciting as my first bite into a Pulled Pork Stuffed Grilled Cheese. Yes I’m eying you – hamburgers, hotdogs, fried chicken, and pimento cheese sandwiches. A pulled pork stuffed grilled cheese means your tailgate is going to be the destination – not just a stop amongst the Saturday journeys. I came across this masterpiece when travelling the South to interview pitmasters for my latest book – The South’s Best Butts; Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection. At Johnson’s Boucainiere in Lafayette, Louisiana – they don’t stop short with just a pork sandwich. Instead, they load a pile of smoked pork on white bread, sandwiched between a few slices of American cheese. Over cast-iron, with a lovely dose of butter, the whole thing melds together into the most perfect tailgate food imaginable. If Athens is God’s country – this sandwich is his repast.
So I say to you all – enjoy a bit more of that Jim in your Coca-Cola, and scarf down a few of these sandwiches so you can cheer on the Red and the Black on this beautiful Saturday.
From near or afar – Go Dawgs, sic ‘em! Matt R. Moore – www.mattrmoore.com
Smoked Pork Butt – the beauty of the pork butt is that it’s ultra-forgiving – even for a BBQ novice. Whether you choose to setup your tailgate the night before and smoke the meat throughout the night, or if you choose to bring a cooked butt (either by cooked by you, or outsourced to your local restaurant!), the delicious yield of pulled pork with fill many-a sandwiches.
1 8 – 10 lb. Pork Shoulder, rinsed and patted dry Creole blend seasoning
- Setup a smoker for indirect cooking, maintaining a temperature of 225 – 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Use wood chips if desired.
- Liberally rub the pork with the Creole seasoning, ensuring an even distribution of the rub all over the cut.
- Place the meat on the smoker and cook, indirect, for 10 – 12 hours, or until an internal temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit is reached.
- Remove the meat from the smoker, discard the fat cap and bone, and pull the pork by hand.
Pulled Pork Stuffed Grilled Cheese – the perfect combination of smoky, cheesy, and delicious. You can prep the pork a few days ahead, or pick it up from a local restaurant. From there, just plop a cast iron skillet on your grill and get to work – trust me, you won’t be able to make them fast enough to keep up with the demand!
- Hamburger Buns
- Pulled Pork (above)
- American Cheese
- Preheat a charcoal or gas grill over medium heat.
- Place a cast-iron skillet on the grate, direct heat. Add a knob of butter, and swirl in pan until butter foams.
- Add hamburger buns, cut-side up, and careful not to over crowd the pan, working two or three sandwiches at a time. Add cheese to both the top and bottom cut sides of the bun.
- Next, add a handful of pulled pork to the bottom of each sandwich. Top sandwich and cook until cheese is melted through – covering grill as necessary. Serve.