Monday, June 19, 2006


The well-publicized writing funk in which I’ve been wallowing lately had finally reached the limit of my tolerance.

I therefore decided that strong medicine was needed, and there was only one doctor that could administer it: Dr. Salivator.

So I walked to my local butcher with a photocopied USDA pig diagram in hand, slapped it onto the counter, pointed at the pig’s upper shoulder and barked, “Me want pork butt!”

And that’s what I got. A six and a half pound hunka pork butt.

I woke up on Sunday morning at 6:15am to start my journey to BBQ heaven. say that I “woke up” might not be entirely accurate. I was indeed moving around the kitchen, but in a glazed, autopilot mode—much as if one of those zombies from “Night of the Living Dead” had gotten a part-time job at Burger King. I had obviously made a strategic error when deciding to pop “A Clockwork Orange” into the DVD player at 11.45pm the night before.

At 7am, I fired-up The Salivator while simultaneously removing the butt from its sugar/salt-water brine, slathering it with yellow mustard, and dusting it with a heavy layer of spice rub.

At 7:30am, I placed my brined, slathered and well-spiced butt onto The Salivator. And then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then, at 6:30pm (that’s right...eleven hours later), the bell on my digital probe meat thermometer went off. The butt had finally reached an internal temperature of 198ºF. Mission accomplished! And it was accomplished a full three hours earlier than I expected!

I wrapped the smoky, bark-encrusted butt in heavy-duty foil and placed it into an insulated cooler. An hour later I removed and unwrapped it. It was now time to [ahem, ahem]...pull some pork.

[Can’t you just hear Beavis and Butthead saying, “Huh huh...he said he’s pulling his pork...huh, huh.”]

I used two large forks to “pull” 6.5 pounds of smoked pork butt into shreds. I gave half the booty to my Q-deprived, Pittsburgh-born neighbors...and kept the rest for myself.

C’mon! You didn’t really expect me to eat 6.5 pounds of pig by myself, did you?

I piled a mountain of pork shreds onto a sesame seed bun, doused it with a heavy dose of fire-breathing Carolina Red Sauce, and then...behaved as if I were the fruit of a coital relationship between Dom DeLuise and Pac-Mac.

And what was my verdict?

Well..let’s just say that for a couple hours during a Sunday night in June 2006, I had the best butt in all of Spain.


At 7:58 PM, Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Now I know why it's called "The salivator"...I need to wipe my laptop off. I'm hungry now. Got any leftovers?? Send a doggy-bag to Switzerland... Pleeeease!!!

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

As a matter of fact, I have enough leftovers to feed all of Switzerland.

But c'mon...wouldn't it be more fun for you and Orangie to come here to eat?

At 11:04 PM, Blogger christina said...

If a big hunk of pork is what it takes to get you out of your writing slump, then I'm all for it! Who knew smoked meat could be so entertaining?

That looks fabulous, as usual and I bet I'm even hungrier than C Swiss. Still waiting for someone to invent scratch and sniff blogging. Or maybe not.

At 11:09 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...


It's ironic that you're lamenting the lack of scratch and sniff blogging on a post entitled "May I Show You My Butt?"

BTW...your sushi photo made me pretty hungry, as well. Both sushi and pulled pork taste great. But I feel a lot healthier after a shameless sushi binge.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Wow, that must have been one BIG butt! Uhm. Is that an official invitation?? Maybe we'll take you up on it :)

At 12:00 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

Ummm Sal, Ryan Air has really cheap flights ... an invite might have been nice, a thought that seems to be a somewhat collective thought if the comments section is to be believed.

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your BBQ made me so hungry for pulled pork last night I had to have it for dinner. Now, being in South Bend that was no easy task, but I was sucessful. It was not as good as yours or your brothers, but it served the need.

Big Mamma's Subordinate

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Ladies and gentlemen, meet my father (i.e., Big Mamma's Subordinate).

Dad--For a family of upstate NY Italians, the culture of hillbilly gastronomy seems to have gained a foothold. I guess a passion for smoked meats might be genetic, after all.

I'm not surprized that you found authentic Q in South Bend. Indiana seems like a sufficiently rural place (based on the stories that Angie keeps sending me) to sustain a culture of Q. Just don't over-do it. You've got to watch that cholesterol. At the very least, drink some wine with your pulled pork.

I'll bring my recipes file with me on my next trip home.


At 3:25 PM, Blogger christina said...

OK, let's make that selective scratch and sniff blogging. Otherwise...ewww.

That sushi looked good but was not the best I've had (outside a Japanese restaurant, I mean). Kind of bland. We sometimes buy large boxes of deep frozen sushi made in China(!)and it's suprisingly tasty.

And yes, the next time you do this you need to tell everyone a few days ahead of time so we can all get over there and share the love. And the calories.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger euro-trac said...

There's nothing like a good smoke and a nice butt!

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Trac: You crack me up, girl.

As for the rest of you, why are you waiting for an invitation? Angie is coming to visit, and she didn't need an invitation. Just drop by, and we'll BBQ a goat.

Which brings me back to the topic of the Pan-European Expat Bloggers Convention. I stand by my conviction that somebody (other than me, of course) needs to organize this event. I'll even buy a plane ticket for The Salivator and bring her along, too.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

You had me at pork butt.....

By the time I finished reading this pork, I was drooling. I would hop on the next flight to Spain if I thought there might be left overs. Still waiting to see a mouth watering picture of the final product....


At 7:45 AM, Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

There seems to have been a slight Freudian slip. I wanted to say "By the time I finished reading this post" NOT pork! hehehehehe!

At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Ryan Opaz said...

I've been in Spain for a year and a half, and I miss smoked BBQ more than anything. I live in madird, and have no place to smoke, though I do now I have a place to grill. Back in MN I used to smoke something once a week. Oh how I drool and dream of moist, smokey, butt! Thanks for the memories!


At 10:28 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

C-Rae: I guess good Q in Italy is as rare as good Q in Spain. I feel your pain, chica. Those Europeans who claim the US has no cuisine of its own need to spend some time in North Carolina.

Ryan: I feel your pain, chico. But...if you have access to a grill (whether carbon or butano) and an oven, you can make a passable pulled pork. You won't get that crunchy bark, but passable Q is better than no Q at all. Let me know if you want the details.

At 10:53 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

Nah, you organise the pan European thing Sal ... you have the Salivator, you have Spain, I'll bring Belgian beer but have a need for Spanish red ... as long as that's clear from the get go.

Okay guys, does everyone agree (writes the kiwi, going out on a limb) Sal's bar for a get-together?

At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Ryan Opaz said...

I've pulled it off a few times, the thing I miss is sitting in my lawn, reading a book, sipping some wine, and letting it smoke all day. Day off='ed smoking all day long...

I do plan to do some psuedo in the coming weeks with a friends grill, but it won't be the same.

At 12:48 AM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Ryan: You can always just do what I did. By a WSM in the US, and either bring it home on your next flight or mail it at great expense. The damn thing will last twenty years if you take good care of it, so the amortization isn't too painful.

Lady Di: I know, I know...I am the logical person to organize this thing, because I'm the one living in the cheap, sunny nation that everyone wants to visit. But that's a lot of responsibility to heap onto a dude with a history of avoiding responsibilities that don't come with stock options and a company car. Still, I don't rule it out. But...

At 10:25 AM, Blogger woman wandering said...

Well Sal, writes Di earnestly twinkling with laughter, this avoidance of responsibility makes you the ideal party host.

You won't stress about it ... meanwhile we'll arrive from all over, eat drink and be merry, and possibly clean up after doing so.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger tatiana said...

Mmmm. Nothing like a hot piece of ass (so I am told by my male friends!)- This looks and sounds divine. Where can I find some that looks as good as yours here in Chicago I wonder...... and, how nice of you to offer 1/2 up to you your pals next door.

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...


If you're looking to sink your teeth into a nice butt, try Smoke Daddy at 1804 W Division St. It was my favorite Q joint when I lived in Chicago. I haven't been there lately, but in the past I found it best to go for lunch because dinner time was urually packed.


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