A do-ahead barbecue feast could mean that you cook – and eat – all the food before the guests arrive.

But seriously, it just means that you prepare all the food the day before the barbecue. And maybe try a bite of everything to make sure it tastes good.

Here’s a great summer barbecue feast featuring pulled-pork sandwiches with maple barbecue sauce, a creamy, tangy coleslaw, and for desert, sweet-tart blueberry cupcakes topped with a lemon glaze.

These recipes are easy to follow, can be made with locally grown ingredients, and, with everything ready to be served (just reheat the pulled pork and slice the buns), you can enjoy some chillin’ time with your friends. For a smoky barbecue atmosphere, toss some wood chips on the grill just before people arrive. (You could even reheat the pot of pulled pork on the grill.)

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Maple Barbecue Sauce

The recipe is from “Saltwater Seasonings: Good Food from Coastal Maine” by Sarah Leah Chase and Jonathan Chase, published by Little, Brown & Co. in 1992.

This is Stewart Blackburn’s recipe for pulled pork, and it calls for his barbecue sauce – originally called ’Stache’s Maple Barbecue Sauce.

Blackburn, Maine’s famous barbecue caterer from Bremen, created a line of grilling sauces and a desert sauce, the famed Death by Chocolate, in the 1980s.

In 2000, Blackburn and his wife Suzanne sold the food business to Jeff and Sarah Johnson, who make the sauces in Gray and bottle them under their Pemberton’s label.

1 5-pound pork butt
2 cups Pemberton’s Maple Barbecue Sauce
1 12-ounce Geary’s Ale (optional)
12 large, fresh bakery hard rolls, split

In a domed cooker, make a fire for cooking with indirect heat according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (I use a Weber charcoal grill.) Roast the pork butt in the cooker with the vents halfway open to achieve an internal temperature of 170 degrees, about 2 hours. Remove the pork from the cooker and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Cut the pork into 2-inch-thick chunks. Place the pork in a large pot or kettle and cover with the barbecue sauce. Simmer over low heat until the pork shreds easily, 30 to 35 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a cup or two of water or a bottle of Geary’s Ale.

Spoon the pork generously onto the bottom halves of the rolls, sandwich together with the top halves, and serve at once.

Makes 12 overflowing sandwiches.

Creamy Coleslaw

The recipe is from “Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style” by Mario Batali, published by NASCAR Publishing in 2006.

Mario Batali’s coleslaw is the perfect side dish to serve with pulled pork sandwiches.

1 pound (about 1/2 medium head) cabbage
1 medium onion, peeled and grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
6 radishes, grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Quarter the cabbage head, trim off the core and remove the outer, dark green leaves. Cut each quarter across into the thinnest strips you can.

Transfer the cabbage to a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, carrot and radishes and toss together.

Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, celery seeds, salt and pepper to taste and gently toss with your hands, making sure the dressing is evenly distributed.

Serve immediately or keep cold in a refrigerator or ice-filled cooler until ready to use, up to 48 hours.

Serves 8.

Lemon-Glazed Blueberry Cupcakes

The recipe is from “Recipes from a Very Small Island” by Linda Greenlaw and her mother, Martha Greenlaw, who both live on Isle au Haut, published by Hyperion in 2005.

Most Mainers know of Linda Greenlaw as the former swordfishing boat captain and author of “The Hungry Ocean,” “The Lobster Chronicles” and “All Fishermen are Liars.” Her newest book, “Seaworthy,” recounts her recent return to swordfishing. You can read more at her website, lindagreenlawbooks.com.

Many of Martha Greenlaw’s recipes are online at Cookstr.com and Plating Up. She likes to serve these cupcakes for dessert after a lobster roll lunch. The tangy, crunchy lemony glaze and fresh, wild Maine blueberries are very tasty after a pulled pork sandwich, too.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries (native low-bush blueberries)
1 cup milk

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter 24 muffin cups or fit tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until granular with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together 2 cups of the flour with the baking powder and salt. Toss the blueberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. On medium speed, add the flour mixture to the egg/sugar mixture, alternating with the milk. Fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest with 3 tablespoons water until smooth. The glaze should be thick but spoonable.

After the cupcakes have baked for 15 minutes, spoon about a tablespoon of glaze over each one. Return to the oven and bake until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately run a small knife around each cupcake to loosen any sticky glaze and unmold onto a wire rack.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Sidebar Elements

Susan Lovell and her husband John, a great cook, live near Pat’s Meat Market & Cafe in Portland, with a hungry Maine coon cat and a poodle who eats cat food. An eighth-generation Mainer, she likes shellfish, steak, baked beans, cole slaw, corn bread, blueberry pie and Moxie. Her great great-grandfather, from Wellfleet, Mass., and his cousin founded Boston’s Union Oyster House and she really likes oysters and Guinness. And Boston cream pie.

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