beard foundation www.virginiawillis.com

Spicy Pork Shoulder: Recipe Testing for Basic to Brilliant, Y’all

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My next cookbook, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all: Recipes and Recollections of a Southern Culinary Journey is the lead book for Ten Speed for Fall 2011. The concept is much like my first book – simple basic recipes with accessible ingredients. I’ll have the same smattering of stories about Mama, Meme, Martha – my travels around the world and growing up in the South. What does distinguish it from Bon Appétit, Y’all is that each recipe will have a short recipe, presentation tip, or technique that transforms the recipe from Basic to Brilliant – essentially making it more chef-inspired, something that you might have if you came over and had dinner at my house. I’m really excited about the premise and testing is going great.

I’ll be testing this recipe again this weekend, fine-tuning a few things. I really like the direction it’s going. It’s some kind of good. The bourbon is a new addition, previously I used water. The alcohol will really help bring the flavor of the tomatoes to the forefront. I’m also giving it a try with beer.

I may write it up for working on the grill or BBQ, as well. If anyone does that, I’d be curious to hear about it. I think it would be somewhere around 6-7 hours at 220, but I haven’t tested that yet.

So, this recipe for Spicy Pulled Pork Shoulder needs one more round to put it to bed. And, this weekend I’ll also figure out what I want to do to make it brilliant.

I posted on facebook a query to see if anyone wanted to give it a shot, as well. It’s pretty cool, I think to see what a wide variety of people think. Well, my inbox started dinging like a slot machine! So, here’s the recipe and my testing sheet below. If you are interested and want to participate, please give it a try and send me back your notes and comments. Photos are welcome and I’ll be happy to post y’alls notes and pictures.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July.

Bon Appétit, Y’all!
Best VA

VIRGINIA WILLIS TEST SHEET

Tester’s Name
Phone Number
Email address

Date

RECIPE TITLE:
Basic to Brilliant »
Flavor grade A/B/C?

On a scale of 1-10, one being easiest and ten most difficult, how did this recipe rate?
Please make sure to mark all times and what to look for when XYZ is “done”.

From start to finish, how long did it take you to make this recipe?

Was the dish properly seasoned?

Was any portion of the recipe confusing?

Were you unfamiliar with any of the ingredients? If so, which?

Were any details missing?

What did you like least about this recipe?

Other suggestions/comments?

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. (That means I make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.)

Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has made chocolate chip cookies with Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson, foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and beguiled celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton, and Julie Chrisley with her cooking -- but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Virginia is a chef instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen and author of Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South, Lighten Up, Y’all, Bon Appétit, Y’all, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Okra, and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network's Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of "Seven Food Writers You Need to Know." Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit. Learn more about Virginia and follow her traveling exploits at www.virginiawillis.com.

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