Every family has their own favorite barbecue recipes. Some love barbecued chicken, others make world-class pork ribs. There are fantastic homemade BBQ sauce recipes, and secret family recipes for the best barbecue methods.
This recipe isn't a traditional barbecue recipe, but it is a family favorite in my house. You should be prepared because this recipe requires a certain amount of preparation, and time. However, the results are delicious and perfect for a nice outdoor summer meal.
Banana Leaf Pork
For this recipe you will need to find banana leaves, which are generally not available at your local grocery store, but can be found at your local Asian market. This recipe is also best made on a charcoal grill, but a gas grill can also be substituted.
You will need:
4 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
5lb boneless pork butt
3-4 medium banana leaves, these two leaves need to be large enough to completely seal the meat
A few cups of wood chips, soaked and sealed in a foil package
Start by removing any twine or netting from your piece of meat. Using a towel pat the meat until it is dry. Next combine the salt and brown sugar thoroughly and use as a rub on your pork. The rub should evenly coat your meat, but you don't have to use all of the rub, just enough to evenly coat your meat.
Next, wrap your pork in the banana leaves. When you buy the leaves they will be probably be frozen and folded in a package. Start by carefully unwrapping the leaves, trying not to tear them. Wash the leaves thoroughly, since they may be dirty. You can try to used just two banana leaves to wrap the pork, but you may need to use additional leaves. Place one leaf on the counter, then place the second leave over the first to create a cross. Put the prepped meat in the center of the leaves. Fold the leaves around the meat, making sure that the package doesn't have any leaks or holes. Use the twine to tie the package securely. You will want to wrap the twine around the banana leaf package around several times horizontally and vertically, then tie with a secure knot. Once your meat is wrapped in the banana leaves, allow the meat to rest for an hour or two.
As your meat is resting you will want to prepare the grill. Start with the bottom vents about halfway open, then light about 80 briquettes. You should allow the coals to burn for about 20 minutes, or until the briquettes have started to get a layer of grey ash. Once the briquettes are ready, pile all of them on one side of the grill. Now finish the pile by putting your packet of wood chips on top. Put the grate over the chips and finish by putting the lid on with the vent halfway open, like the bottom. Allow the barbecue to heat the grate and the wood chips. You won't want to put your meat on the grill until the wood chips have started to smoke.
When the grate and chips are hot, clean the grate and lightly oil. Place your banana leaf wrapped meat on the opposite side of the grill from the coals. Cover again and cook for approximately two hours. This recipes requires that you finish the recipe in your oven, preheated to 325 degrees. You will know that your pork is done and delicious when a fork inserted through the banana leaves can be easily removed, this should take about 2 hours or a bit more.
Once your pork is tender and done cooking, remove from the heat and let it cool in the leaves for at least half an hour. Then, unwrap your pork and serve shredded with fresh fruit salsa and tortillas.