Friday, September 23, 2011

Spicy Pulled Pork

I went out of my comfort zone today. I cooked. Not baked, or even grilled. I Cooked, and it was something that required more effort than dousing it in some olive oil and throwing it on a pan. I brined, rubbed, roasted, shredded and assembled, over the course of 20 plus hours. With a meat thermometer. And only one meltdown.
I'm quite proud of myself.

Because baking is easy. You just follow directions, maybe tweak one or two details, throw a pan full of sweets into the oven and the result is almost always delicious. But with cooking, there are so many steps. So many places to go wrong. And you have to actually touch raw meat. Shiver.

So, I tried this elaborate recipe. And lo and behold, it worked! Moral of the story: cook more. Next I'll tackle roasting a chicken, maybe boning a duck. Julia Child, watch out.

{Spicy Pulled Pork} Adapted from Kate Coghlan and Kevin & Amanda

What you'll need:
1 large Boston Butt (bone in, layer of fat on top)- mine was 7 pounds
Large roasting pan (should be at least an inch or more space around the pork and 3 inch sides)
Meat thermometer
Large container, for brining

Dry rub and brine
Favorite BBQ sauce (my recipe here)
Cabbage slaw

Dry Rub
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp ground pepper
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbsp ground red pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix well. Store in airtight container.

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 quarts cold water
3 Tbsp dry rub mix
2 bay leaves

Combine salt and cold water and stir until salt is completely dissolved.
Stir in the brown sugar and dry rub.


Rinse the Boston Butt (I just love calling it that) and place in a large container, pour in the brine solution until the shoulder is completely covered. By the way, the brine softens the meat while moisturizing the meat for a long cooking process. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, overnight works perfectly. Then, in the morning, remove the Butt from the brine, pat dry with paper towels, place in a baking pan and sprinkle dry rub onto the surface of the Butt and massage in so it coats every surface on all sides. Make sure the fat layer on the shoulder is facing up before cooking! Place baking pan uncovered in a 225 degree oven on the middle rack. Insert a meat thermometer into the center or thickest part of the shoulder, but not touching the bone. Monitor the temperature throughout cooking. Don't take it out until the center temperature reaches 200 degrees. When the Butt has reached 200 degrees, turn off the oven and let the roast cool for a couple of hours before removing from the oven. If the bottom of the pan is dry (or crusted with dried spices) then cover the pan with foil to retain internal moisture of the meat during the cooling period. When the temperature drops to 170 degrees or slightly lower, remove from oven. Place on a large cutting board, and remove the large sheet of crusted fat on the top and pull the meat apart with two forks.

Now for the fun part. Pile the meat high on some awesome buns, then douse in my Sweet BBQ sauce and top with purple cabbage slaw (recipe to follow). Then dig in! Be prepared for dripping fingers, burning lips and a saucy face. These pulled pork sandwiches have a lovely kick to them. Enjoy!

  {Red Cabbage Slaw}

I hate mayo. Detest it. But these sandwiches scream for the crunch of slaw. Pretty, tasty slaw too.

Simply throw together 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 2 tsp sugar, 1/4 small onion, 1 TB mustard and a head of shredded red cabbage. Stir and store in the refrigerator.

So here goes: 

Spicy pulled pork.
Sweet BBQ sauce

Now chow down, with plenty of napkins and water handy. You'll notice I have no photos of the actual assembled sandwiches. That's because after smelling the awesome aroma of slow-roasting pork for half the day, we ate them all before I had a chance to grab my camera!

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to try this recipe! Spicy Pulled up Pork --- ready to spice up your day!