Labor Day In Kid Speak (the language of children), Memorial Day is good (school’s out; summer’s here) and Labor Day is bad (back to school, summer’s over). Also, in many parts of the country, September is the hottest and stickiest month of the year.
As with many things in American life, the current observance practices of Labor Day differ significantly from what was originally conceived.
This national holiday was launched in 1894 as a means to soothe the unruly temperaments of unionists following the debilitating national railway walkout known as the Pullman Strike.
With the decline of union influence today, Labor Day has been relegated as a day to honor the American worker. It celebrates the social and economic contributions made by the millions of us who toil endlessly to support our families and to put food on the table.
In today’s fast-paced world, the three-day weekend now signals the end of the summer season, the beginning of the school year and is further promoted by massive retail sales campaigns, parades, and, of course, barbecues.
Americans simply never get tired of outdoor grilling. It is in our genetic code to prepare a chunk of meat and lovingly tend it over glowing embers (or sputtering propane).
Since barbecuing is largely a family and friends affair and meant to feed many people, consider tackling a large, bone-in pork shoulder roast for your Labor Day holiday feast. While the shoulder roast doesn’t have the panache of its more elegant cousin, the pork tenderloin, it is often on sale this time of year and can easily feed a crowd. It sounds a little rough; indeed, it does look a little like a dinosaur cut due to its size, but once sliced into steaks by your butcher, it is simple to season, grill, and results in a beautiful, succulently tasty meal. You can have the bone removed, but leaving it in makes a remarkable difference in the flavor.
- 8-9-lb bone-in Pork Shoulder (cut into ¾” steaks by your butcher)
- Garlic-flavored olive oil
- Worchestshire sauce
- Kosher salt
- Freshly-ground black pepper
- Unsalted butter
- Herbes de Provence
- Balsamic Glaze (or any good grilling glaze)
- Rosemary sprigs
- Rub steaks on both sides with extra-virgin olive oil that has been flavored with fresh cloves of garlic.
- Drizzle a bit of Worchestshire sauce on both sides of each steak.
- Salt & pepper the steaks on both sides.
- Melt ½ stick of unsalted butter and ½ cup of the garlic-flavored olive oil. Add a pinch of Herbes de Provence and a splash of Balsamic Glaze and set aside.
- Grill steaks on high to seal in juices. Top with fresh rosemary sprigs. Turn meat, lower temperature and cover grill, letting meat roast slowly, about 30 minutes. You will know when it is done.
- Baste both sides with butter/oil/glaze mixture. Roast an additional 10 minutes. Meat should have a pleasing dark glaze on it by this time.
- Have cutting board ready next to grill. Slice meat into small servings and keep warm on platter.
- Pairing the pork with sides of baked beans and potato salad rounds out this feast nicely.