Who says you need to head south for the best tasting BBQ pork and peaches? It is easy to bring the tastes of southern cooking north. These recipes highlight the summer taste of seasoned meat and sweet peaches.
    My mom and nieces arrived a couple of days early for Michael and Sara’s wedding to help me prepare for the groom’s dinner we were hosting at the farm Friday night. I was excited to be cooking for a large group of family and new friends, but I am not crazy. I wanted to enjoy the evening, too. I made things simple and prepared the meat the week before. All we needed to do was pull the cooked meat out of the freezer and plop it into the roasting pans with some extra liquids to heat up and eat. I could not believe how easy it is to make pulled pork and how well it freezes for later meals. By using the crock pot, you do not even have to heat up the house on these warm summer days. Do not forget the BBQ sauce to top off the meat. Grandma Green’s BBQ Sauce is out of this world.
    If you have some tough cuts of beef and want to grill, try this marinade recipe. The acid will help break down the meat and make it a bit easier to chew while enhancing the flavor. The longer the meat sits in the marinade the better. I have left it sit overnight before, and it still works great.
    Fresh peaches from down south are starting to make their way north to central Minnesota. This means I can start to restock my cold storage with canned peaches and peach jam. It may seem like quite a bit of work, but it is so worth the effort. My favorite is old fashioned peach jam. A sweet taste of summer during the depths of winter cold. My favorite recipe book in the summer is, “A Guide to Home Canning, Freezing and Dehydration.” It has answers, tips and recipes on how to store a bountiful summer garden. I have included the canned sliced peach recipe I love to put up, too.

Pulled pork
2 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. mustard powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
4-pound pork roast (shoulder cuts are best)
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
    Mix dry ingredients. Rub pork. Put in crock pot with fat side up. Whisk remaining ingredients. Pour one-third into a jar and put in refrigerator for later use. Pour 1 cup water or pineapple juice and remaining sauce in cooker. Cover. Cook 8 hours on low or 190 degrees. Remove meat from crock pot and let rest and cool for 20 minutes. Shred meat and return to pot with liquid. Serve on buns or tortilla shells. Freezes well.

Grandma Green’s BBQ sauce
2 cups ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Worchester sauce
1 cup BBQ Sauce
1 tsp. mustard
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. liquid smoke
    Mix and heat over low heat or in a crock pot.

Beef marinade
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. basil
1 1/2 Tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. pepper
    Mix in a 2-cup measuring cup. Put meat in a Ziploc bag. Pour marinade over meat and squeeze out air. Put in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Discard marinade. Pat steaks dry and grill.

Old fashioned peach jam
7 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups sugar
    Coat peaches with lemon juice. Sprinkle sugar over peaches. Do not stir. Sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Pour mixture into heavy bottomed pan. Bring to vigorous boil. Mash down peaches. Stir with wooden spoon till cooks down, about 30 minutes. Pour into hot jars with 1/4-inch headspace. Hot water bath 10 minutes, or pour into jars, cool on counter for 24 hours then freeze if you do not eat first.

Canned sliced peaches
2-3 pounds peaches per quart
Stay Fresh (prevents darkening of peaches and apples)
    Make a light syrup. Mix in heavy pot: 1 1/4 cups sugar and 5 1/2 cups water. Stir to dissolve sugar and keep hot. Yields 6 cups syrup or about enough syrup for two jars of peaches. I generally make four batches at once (5 cups sugar and 22 cups water) in my stock pot.
    Wash peaches; dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds; immediately dip peaches in cold water. Slip off peel. Cut in half; remove pit and scrape cavity to remove red fibers. Cut into slices. Treat to prevent darkening. Pack peaches into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over peaches, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece lids. Process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes in a boiling water canner.
    Natalie, Mark and his brother Al, farm together near Rice, Minn. They milk 100 registered Holsteins under the RALMA prefix. Their four children are grown up and all involved in agriculture with hopes of someone returning to the farm. For questions or comments, please e-mail Natalie at mnschmitt@jetup.net.