During the winter months I resort to using either my oven or my slow cooker for pulled pork …. mainly because we don’t have an outdoor space where we can use our electric smoker and still have it be under cover. Whenever the opportunity is available though, this is the way to go. When I am operating the smoker I like to make good use of that smoke and utilize the space, so I often do a pork roast as well as a chicken. After trial and error, this pulled pork is the best! Pile soft buns with the meat, some creamy cole slaw and a few pickled onions – serve with potato salad and green salad and this meal is a winner.
8 ounces (3/4 cup) molasses
12 ounces pickling salt
2 dried chipotle chiles
2 quarts bottled water
6-8 pound pork shoulder (or Boston Butt as it is known in some areas)
It is best to weigh the salt. Pickling salt, by ounce, is not as “salty” as a table salt by either weight or measuring cup.
1 tsp whole cumin seed
1 tsp whole fennel seed
1 tsp whole coriander
1 tbsp Mexican chile powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp paprika
Using a spice grinder (or mortar & pestle) finely grind the cumin, fennel and coriander seeds. Add the rest of the spice powders and blend well.
Heat ½ of the water, add molasses and salt. Simmer just until the salt has dissolved and stir in the rest of the water along with the chipotle chiles. When mixture has cooled, put in a container suitable to go into your fridge, add in the pork and make sure it is submerged in the liquid, adding more water if necessary in order to cover.
Brine at least 12 hours. Remove from liquid, rinse well and pat dry.
Using kitchen gloves (rub adheres best if you do) vigorously rub the pork with the spices.
Heat your smoker to 250, and place pork on a rack. Start testing the pork for temperature after 7 hours. Once it has reached 190 (yes, I know that seems high) it is done. Here is the key part – tightly bundle the whole thing in a tin foil pack, not allowing any steam to escape and let it sit for at least an hour. This will allow the moisture within the pork to redistribute and make for the most tender, flavourful pork ever!
A simple coleslaw recipe works best for piling on top of the pork – try Jean’s coleslaw on this site, and add a few pickled onions (also on this site).