When people think of bbq, they often think of ribs, brisket, beer can chicken, etc. One of my favorites when it comes to bbq is pulled pork which is not to be confused with carnitas (Mexican pulled pork). Eating pulled pork sandwiches with some tangy bbq sauce is just heaven for me. Who doesn't like a pulled pork sandwich?
|Classic BBQ: Pulled Pork Sandwich served with a pickle|
If you don't know, pulled pork usually comes from pork shoulder or pork butt (often called Boston butt). And no, the pork butt is NOT the same as the pig's butt if you were wondering. It's a completely different cut altogether that comes from the upper portion of the shoulder. It's an inexpensive cut, but when cooked properly (usually low and slow), it can turn out to be quite flavorful, tasty, and tender. I ended up using a three pound boneless pork shoulder when making this recipe. I think 3 pounds is considered small when it comes to pork shoulders, but I would definitely use a bigger cut anytime I had to make this for a party or family get together.
|Pork after being pulled and ready to be eaten.|
I do like adding sliced pickles to the pulled pork sandwich or eating a pickle on the side with the sandwich. I also like coleslaw in my sandwich or at least some cornbread, baked beans, mac & cheese, or collared greens on the side. I find the crunch from the cabbage to be a nice contrast to the tenderness of the pork. I usually just buy coleslaw from the store deli if I'm making pulled pork sandwiches since I haven't found a good slaw recipe that works for me unless there's someone out there that has a good recommendation. Anyone know of a good coleslaw recipe? Anyone? Bueller? Lastly, bread selection is key to a good pulled pork sandwich. I've tried hamburger buns, brioche buns, and sliced bread (I prefer wheat bread over white bread though) which work well. I don't like the hard, crusty breads like ciabatta because it's too heavy/doughy and I like a softer bread for a pulled pork sandwich. I do, however, like using King's Hawaiian bread rolls for pulled pork sliders. I find that King's Hawaiian rolls have a sweet flavor that really complements the bbq sauce. These sliders work well for tailgating if you prepare the meat the night before the big game. Basically, just choose a bread that you like and whichever bread you do choose, toast it on the side where it was cut if using a roll or hamburger bun. I like bread toasted in this fashion - it's toasted on the side where the pork is and it is still soft on the other.
- Sometimes I don't bother making the homemade barbecue sauce if I'm short on time. I end up using Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce instead.
- I like using King's Hawaiian rolls to make pulled pork sliders.
- I used another recipe for the gravy since it has been in the family for decades.
- I like using Tapatio hot sauce.
America's Test Kitchen - season 11, episode 11, Southern Fare: Reinvented
serves 6 to 8
1 boneless pork butt (about 5 lbs), cut in half horizontally
.5 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 cup plus 2 tsp table salt
.25 cup yellow mustard
3 tbsp plus 2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp ground black pepper
Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce
.25 cup light or mild molasses
1.5 cups ketchup
1 tbsp hot sauce [I like using Tapatio hot sauce]
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
.5 tsp ground black pepper
.5 tsp table salt
1. FOR THE PORK: Dissolve 3 tbsp liquid smoke, .5 cup sugar, and 1 cup salt in 4 quarts cold water in a large container. Submerge pork in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hrs.
2. While pork brines, combine remaining 2 tsp liquid smoke and mustard in small bowl; set aside. Combine paprika, black pepper, cayenne, remaining 2 tsp salt, and remaining 2 tbsp sugar in second small bowl; set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
3. Remove pork from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Rub mustard mixture over entire surface of each piece of pork. Sprinkle entire surface of each piece with spice mixture. Place pork on wire rack set inside foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place piece of parchment paper over pork, then cover with sheet of aluminum foil, sealing edges to prevent moisture from escaping. Roast pork for 3 hrs.
4. Remove pork from oven; remove and discard parchment and foil. Carefully pour off liquid in bottom of baking sheet into fat separator and reserve for sauce. Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well browned, tender, and internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1.5 hrs. Transfer pork to serving dish, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 mins.
5. FOR THE SAUCE: While pork rests, pour .5 cup of defatted cooking liquid from fat separator into medium bowl; whisk in sauce ingredients.
6. TO SERVE: Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1 cup sauce and season with pepper and salt. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.
|Video: America's Test Kitchen Indoor Pulled Pork|