Yesterday we invited about 15 friends over for a pork rib-roast cookout.  Along with the rib-roast, we grill-roasted a whole chicken, dug potatoes from the garden for a great two-potato “Roasted Root vegetable Salad” (that picture up there on the top of this blog…that’s another version of the Roasted Root vegetable Salad), an “All the Tomatoes in the Garden” tomato and basil salad, freshly baked sourdough, beer, and whatever the guests wanted to bring over.

The salads were great, the meat even better, and the event rocked with the best of friends!

For the recipes:

Pork Rib Roast

On the day before the event, as early as you feel like doing it, prepare the rib roasts (unless of course you were too lazy and had the butcher prepare it for you) by trimming and scoring the fat, frenching the bones, and tying it together to make a nice bundle of piggy joy.  Next, take a handful of salt, ground pepper, onion and garlic powder and rub it all over that pig package.

Once you’ve done that, find a small sheet pan and rack, put the roast on it and throw it in the fridge (you do have an extra meat fridge for this, right?) for an overnight chill and dehydration.

Roasted Chicken

Do this with the chicken as well. (I’m really not a chicken bigot, it’s just that chicken is so boring at a pork rib-roast!)

Get your sour-dough starter out and make a mother dough. I start with five ounces starter, 15 ounces of flour and 15 ounces of water by weight for a 100% hydration dough.

The day of:

Two-Potato Roasted Root vegetable Salad

(The amount you use is up to the crowd you’re feeding – I’ve made this successfully for myself and upwards to the 15 noted above)

Potatoes, washed and cut into the size of chunks you want to put in your mouth.  Carrots, ditto the potatoes. Onions, ditto the carrots.  I used some cleaned up zucchini as well.

Drizzle these with Olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and throw the pile of veggies into a really hot oven to roast.  Roast until roasted.

For the dressing, I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sherry Vinegar, one tablespoon of mustard, two tablespoons of honey, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix up enough for the amount you’re dressing.

Feel free to change this one up.  In the above picture, you’ll see I used some goat cheese I had on hand and some beets.

All the Tomatoes in the Garden Tomato Salad

Pick, wash and dry, cut up a variety of tomatoes.  Add fresh cucumbers, and thinly sliced onion.  Season with Salt and let rest.  After an hour or two, drain into a saucepan.

Take the juice and heat over medium-low heat to a simmer and reduce to a syrupy mixture.  Taste.  “HOLY SH!! that is some tomatoey good syrup!”. Taste again.

This syrup is the base of the dressing for this salad.  You’ll only need about half of it.  Add Olive Oil, a little Sherry vinegar, and about 1 teaspoon of honey.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk well and dress the salad.  Add the basil and mix again.

Add some cheese of your liking.  Once I used goat cheese and loved it.  The other times I stick with mozzarella for the less adventurous of my friends.

Sourdough Bread

If you’re like me, it took you ten plus years of baking bread, one YouTube video, and an overnight revelation to learn how to make awesomely (yes I mean this) delicious bread.  If not, good for you, you can stop reading.

Take that mother dough, separate out five ounces and bottle it up nice and safe for the next session (refrigerate it too).  For the rest, add enough flour to bring the hydration down to 60 to 65 percent. Add salt, about .25 ounces for this formula. I use a simple formula in Microsoft Excel for this calculation, but you can find a number of online bakers calculators that do the same.

If you’ve read a few other posts, you see this is one of the few times I’m accurate in my recipes.

Knead this until nice and rubber-bandery (the gluten developes).  Cover and set aside for an hour or two.

When you’re ready, form the dough into two rustic loaves, cover and set aside until double.

I always bake my sourdough on a stone in a preheated oven running about 450 to 475 degrees.  It takes about 15 minutes.  I then shut the oven off, slightly prop the door open and let the loaves rest in the hot oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.  (Once I forgot and the house smelled like burned toast.)

The Meat:

Pork Rib Roast and Roasted Chicken

Prepare a grill or two in a way that makes it easy to roast the rib-roast and chicken over indirect heat.  I used two Webers, one for the two pork roasts and one for the chicken.  I heated about 15 coals per side of the grill, added 8 per side more per hour, and achieved a done roast in 1.75 hours (chicken internal temperature of 165 and the pork at 150).

Now, if you’ve made it this far, you’re thinking, “Shit that is a too much work”.  It really isn’t, it’s about 10 to 15 minutes here and there over the two days, maybe 1.5 hours of work overall, but it is WELL WORTH IT!

Have fun and enjoy these recipes.  Eat well.