Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: Family reunion filled with food, fun

My son, David, his girlfriend, Casey, and I traveled to Pittsburgh, Pa., for the long Labor Day weekend. I know you're thinking, "Pittsburgh?!" I've never in my life said, "Gee, I'd really like to visit the city of Pittsburgh." So, what was the attraction? A reunion of my late husband's side of the family at his oldest nephew's home, just north of the city.

The three of us flew in early Friday morning, which left most of the day to explore Pittsburgh. I wanted to ride the Duquense Incline, a funicular, built in 1877, that connects the area of Pittsburgh along the rivers with the neighborhoods at the top of what is now known as Mount Washington. My older readers may remember in the 1983 movie "Flashdance," Jennifer Beals rode it up the mountain to visit her elderly German friend. Part of me hoped I would get on, ride to the top and emerge looking as fantastic as she did — and have Michael Nouri (her love interest in the movie) waiting for me. No luck on either score, but the view of Pittsburgh from the summit was spectacular.

David wanted to eat at a restaurant — Emporio: A Meatball Joint — he had seen on a Food Network show. You choose whether you want your meatballs (four of them) in a bowl, on a panini or in a grinder. Next your choose the type of meatball you want — classic beef, spicy pork, chicken or vegetarian (vegetarian meatballs?). Then you choose one of 10 sauces and decide, in the case of a bowl of meatballs, what you want them with — pasta, tomato risotto, parmesan-herb french fries, green beans and almonds, crispy parmesan brussels, mashed potatoes, buttered sp tzle, tater tots, pasta salad or mac and cheese.Whoa, too many choices! And oh, so good ...

The family reunion was a big hit, thanks to my nephew, Peter Button, and his wife, Lisa, who opened their home to 20 to 25 people. Seeing everyone again after 10 or more years and meeting all the grandnieces and grandnephews — and even the first great-grandnephew — was amazing. And the food! My sister-in-law's cheesecake and lemon blueberry cake, my niece's West Virginia pepperoni rolls (more about them in the future), and Peter's spaghetti dinner with homemade meatballs on Saturday and his pulled pork on Sunday. I came home six pounds heavier. Not good ...

Peter Button's sriracha pulled pork

12 to 15 pounds boneless or bone-in pork shoulder. Trim fat cap from the top as much as possible. This will eliminate a greasy finished product. Use a large roasting pan and metal grate to keep the shoulder elevated from lying in the grease during cooking. Dry rub 24 hours in advance of cooking. You can use any flavors you like. I have a sriracha/garlic blend that is very flavorful and adds some color. Liberally apply the dry rub and wrap the entire roast in foil.

Place on the baking rack in the roasting pan and cook at 225 degrees for approximately 10 hours. At this point, remove the foil from the top of the meat and finish at 325 degrees for one hour. Meat should be cooked to at least 160 degrees to ensure safety. Also, if using a bone-in roast, the bone will pull out cleanly when done. Let roast sit for roughly 15-30 minutes prior to pulling. Use the BBQ sauce of your choice and enjoy on bread of choice. (I suggest a coleslaw as a side, as well. — Peter)

Sriracha rub

Combine dry siracha powder, garlic powder equal parts. Add onion powder, small bit of cumin, cayenne pepper to level of heat desired, chili powder and black pepper. Again all based on personal preference.


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