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THE Dish: Elizabeth Karmel's N.C. pulled pork

(CBS News) Elizabeth Karmel, called the queen of grilling, has made a name for herself as executive chef at Hill Country, one of New York City's best barbecue restaurants, and is founder of the popular website Girls at the Grill.

Karmel, the author of several award-winning cookbooks including "Taming the Flame," joined "CBS This Morning: Saturday" with her ultimate dish - North Carolina pulled pork.

Karmel grew up in North Carolina where she was raised on barbecue. Her cultural passion for barbecue served Karmel well as she played with fire everyday handling marketing public relations efforts and culinary initiatives for a decade before creating Girls at the Grill in 2001, a website where Karmel shares her passion for outdoor cooking with girls (and the occasional guy) everywhere.

Enjoy all our recipes!


North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork Sandwich

This is the recipe that started my love affair with Southern barbecue. Real barbecue is flavored by time and a kiss of wood smoke. Follow the tradition that harkens a slower pace and your patience will be rewarded with rich, succulent and smoky pork.

Grilling Method: Indirect/Low Heat


  • Hickory wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 1 Pork Butt, Boston Butt or untrimmed end-cut pork shoulder roast, 7 to 9 pounds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Lexington-Style BBQ Sauce (see below)
  • North Carolina Coleslaw (see below)
  • 1 package plain white hamburger buns


Prepare either a charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking.

Remove pork from wrapper. Do not trim any excess fat off the meat, this fat will naturally baste the meat and keep it moist during the long cooking time. Brush pork with a thin coating of Olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside on a clean tray until ready to cook.

Before placing the meat on the grill, add soaked wood chips. Place chips directly on white-gray ash briquettes or in the smoking box of your gas grill. If using a charcoal grill, you will need to add charcoal every hour to maintain the heat.

Place pork in the center of the cooking grate fat-side up. Cook slowly for 4 to 6 hours at 300-325F, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork registers 190F-200F. The meat should be very tender and falling apart. If there is a bone in the meat, it will take longer to cook and the bone should come out smooth and clean with no meat clinging to it. (This is the real test for doneness on the barbecue circuit.) Remember, there is no need to turn the meat during the entire cooking time.

Let meat rest for 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Using clean food-service gloves, pull meat from the skin, bones and fat. Set aside any crispy bits (fat) that have been completely rendered and looks almost burned. Working quickly, shred the chunks of meat with two forks by crossing the forks and "pulling" the meat into small pieces from the roast. Alternately, you can chop the meat with a cleaver if you prefer. Chop the reserved crispy bits and mix into the pulled pork. While the meat is still warm, mix with enough Lexington-Style BBQ Sauce (recipe follows) to moisten and season the meat, about 3/4 cup. The recipe can be made in advance up to this point and reheated with about 1/4 cup additional sauce in a double boiler.

Serve sandwich style on a white hamburger bun and top with North Carolina Coleslaw (recipe follows). Serve additional sauce on the side, if desired.

Serves 10

Lexington-Style Vinegar Sauce

Double recipe to make sure you have enough sauce for the pork, the slaw and extra for the table.

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 -1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (the more flakes, the hotter the sauce*)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup


Mix all ingredients together and let sit at least 10 minutes or almost indefinitely in the refrigerator. (*Note, the longer the sauce sits, the hotter it gets since the heat from the red pepper flakes is brought out by the vinegar. Start with 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes and then add more to taste.)

North Carolina Coleslaw:

  • 1 recipe BBQ sauce
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, chopped

Mix sauce and cabbage together until well mixed and not quite wet. Refrigerate. Let sit 2 hours or overnight.

Pastis Shrimp

This is my French-flavored version of peel 'n eat shrimp. The sauce is delicious and warrants a whole baguette just for sopping up! If you prefer to cook this indoors, preheat your oven to 425F.

Grilling Method: Indirect-Medium High


  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for shrimp
  • 1/4 cup Pastis (Ricard, preferably, or Pernod)
  • 8 cloves of fresh garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons fennel or anis seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole green peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon, plus more for serving
  • 3 pounds jumbo shrimp or tiger shrimp in the shells (the bigger, the better)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • Crusty baguette for serving


Whisk together the oil, Pastis, garlic, fennel, peppercorns and tarragon. Toss cleaned and dry shrimp in a bowl with a little oil and the salt. Lay the shrimp in one layer in a shallow gratin dish or casserole (a Pyrex is just fine). Pour the Pastis mixture evenly over the shrimp.

Place the gratin dish in the center of the cooking grate (or in your oven) and cook about 15 minutes or 7 minutes per side, taking the dish out of the grill (or oven) and turning the shrimp in the casserole once halfway through the cooking time.

Take the shrimp out as soon as they are done, when they are pink, their tails are curled and they are just cooked through. You do not want to overcook them. Serve them family style on a table spread with newspapers or something that washes easily-they can get messy! This is the French-flavored version of peel 'n eat shrimp! The sauce is delicious and warrants a whole baguette just for sopping up!!

Serves 3-6, depending on appetite!

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Saffron Aioli

I have always loved asparagus. But the minute I tasted grilled asparagus, it went from a vegetable I liked to one that I was madly in love with. Grilling asparagus transforms It from low-flavor to high-flavor. Dipping the beautifully caramelized grilled asparagus into the potent lemon and garlic aioli makes it the ultimate vegetable experience.

Grilling Method: Direct/ Medium Heat


  • 1 pound fresh asparagus (Look for fat firm stalks with firm deep green or purplish
  • tips. Also check the bottom of the spears. If they are dried up, chances are they
  • have been sitting around for too long.)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (use salt according to taste)


Trim off the tough bottom of the spear by grasping each end and bending it gently until it snaps at its natural point of tenderness-usually two-thirds of the way down the spear. If the spear is less than 6 inches long, chances are it has already been trimmed for you. Alternatively, you can cut the ends off with a knife.

Coat each spear with olive oil by placing clean, dry spears in a re-closable plastic bag, pour in the oil and massage spears to coat each one with oil. Sprinkle with salt and massage again. Leave the asparagus in the bag until ready to cook.

Place spears on the cooking grate crosswise so it won't fall through the grates. Grill for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally to expose all sides to the heat. Asparagus should remain bright green but begin to brown in spots (indicating that its natural sugars are caramelizing) but should not be allowed to char.

Remove from grill and serve immediately--eating spears with your fingers and dipping into the garlic-rich lemon saffron aioli enhances the experience.

Serves 4

Lemon Saffron Aioli:


  • Juice and zest from 1 large lemon about 3 tablespoons
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron stems, crumbled and dissolved in a little lemon juice
  • 6 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped about 1/4 cup
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard, such as Amora
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, plus a little extra if needed
  • 1 cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Make the Aioli:

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine lemon juice, saffron and garlic and pulse until garlic is pureed and saffron is dissolved (about 15 seconds).

Add the mustard and pulse again until combined. Add the egg, egg yolks and lemon zest and process for 10 seconds, (if you are concerned about the raw eggs, use pasteurized eggs). Very slowly add the oil in a trickle through the feeding tube of the food processor until sauce is thick and well combined (emulsified).

As the aioli becomes thicker, the machine sounds more like a purr than a whirr and you know it is done. If you like a firmer texture, add a little more oil, if you like your sauce softer, stop at the 2 1/2 cups.

Add the salt and process until well combined. If the aioli seems like it needs a little salt, resist the urge because the asparagus will more than compensate. Set aside.

Note: You may have some leftover aioli but once you've tasted it, you'll want to slather it on everything from grilled asparagus to a ham sandwich! It will keep for 2 weeks refrigerated.

Serves 4+, with leftovers

Double Cherry Pie with Streusel Topping

This very special pie is made all the better with two kinds of cherries; sweet Bing cherries and sour cherries.

8-or 9-inch Pre-baked pie shell or 8, 3-inch pre-baked pie shells

Cherry Mixture:

  • 1 can sour cherries, drained (15oz)
  • 2 cans Bing cherries, drained (15oz)
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 11/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch of mace

Pre-heat oven to 350 F


In a saucepan, cook half of the cherries with sugar until the sugar is dissolved.

Meanwhile, make a slurry with cornstarch and water and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and let cook about 1-2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, and remaining cherries. Take off the heat and set aside until cool to the touch.

While the filling is cooling, make streusel topping by mixing sugar, butter, flour, salt and spices together with a fork until mixed and crumbly, but not smooth.

Spoon cherry filling into pre-baked pie shell and top with streusel. Bake on a cookie sheet set in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes for a large pie and 15 minutes for a mini pie, or until the topping is browned and the filling is bubbling. Let cool at least an hour to serve warm or refrigerate once the pie is room temperature, and serve cold.

Serves 8

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