Perfect Pulled Pork

During the winter months we just can’t use our smoker ….. too cold, it’s buried under snow and nobody wants to be out there checking the temperature.  I have a perfectly acceptable and delicious slow cooker recipe for pulled pork, but I’ve been looking for one that roasts low and slow in the oven for those crispy bits around the outside.  I found this one on a website:  www.kevinandamanda.com

Pulled pork rice bowl

I know, I know …. pulled pork sammies are the way to go, but we have not been eating a lot of wheat products, so for the second night we had “pulled pork bowls” and you know what???  I liked it even better!

It’s rare that I don’t make any changes, but this was phenomenal just the way it was written, and we all devoured it.

1 4-5 pound pork shoulder (butt) roast

Dry Rub

1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar

Brine Solution

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 cups cold water
3 tbsp dry rub mix
2 bay leaves

Add salt to cold water and stir very well until all the salt is completely dissolved. Then add the brown sugar and dry rub and stir well to combine.

Rinse the pork shoulder in cold water and place in a 2 gallon ziploc bag (or a container big enough so the shoulder is completely covered in brine solution). You can add more water if necessary to completely cover the pork.

And add two dried bay leaves.

And refrigerate for at least 12 hours. 24-36 hours is best. I usually do it about 24 hours. Make sure that however you keep it, either bag or container – that it is completely submerged.

At least 12 hours later…

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. (Yes, 225 degrees, that is not a typo :)) Remove the pork shoulder from the brine solution and place in the roasting pan

Pat the skin dry with paper towels so you’ll get a nice, crisp crust.

Generously, generously, cover the WHOLE thing in your dry rub mix.And massage it into that skin real good. Be sure and get it up under any flaps you may come across.  Make sure the fat layer is on TOP.

Place uncovered in a 225 degree F oven on the middle rack.  This is totally adjustable.  The original recipe had the roast cooking for 13 hours, but I just didn’t have that much time.  I adjusted the temp to 250 for a 4 1/2 pound roast, and it took about 6 hours.

When shoulder has reached 200 degrees, turn off the oven and let the roast rest for about 2 hours before removing from the oven.  Keep the thermometer in the meat, so you can monitor the temperature. If the bottom of the pan is dry (or crusted with dried spices) cover the pan with foil to retain internal moisture of the meat during the resting period. Mine still had a lot of moisture in the bottom, so I didn’t cover mine.

Pulled Pork 1

After a couple hours, when the temperature drops to 170 degrees or slightly lower, remove the shoulder from the oven.

Remove the large sheet of crusted fat on the top. Using two large forks, begin pulling the meat apart. It will fall apart *very* easily and it should not take you long at all to pull apart this whole roast.  If you can stop yourself nibbling while you do this, it will feed quite a crowd!

Pulled Pork

Serve on buns with creamy cole slaw and prepare to be licking your fingers. My recipe for:

Jean’s creamy cole slaw 

2/3  cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1 tsp celery seed

1 tsp sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt & pepper to taste

 

Blend well, and keep tasting – should have a nice balance of sweet and tangy.

 

Smoked beans in electric smoker

Hey, your smoker is going with either your pork or chicken anyway, why not put that extra rack to use?  This recipe came from one of the ladies at my office, Karen Benn, and she adapted it to her smoker.  It is such a hit that the beans were gone before either the pork or chicken …. I know that seems weird, but it’s true!  For vegetarians, leave out the bacon and you have an amazing bean dish even without that bacon ….

beans

Pull out a large fry pan and saute until carmelized:

2 cups chopped white onions

1 pack bacon (partially frozen so you can easily slice it thinly)

Take your time with this step,the richer the color you get on your onions the more flavour your beans will take on.

In a large disposable foil tin, stir in 4 cans of beans.  This is really your own preference, feel free to use any combination of kidney, canelli, black or baked beans.

In a separate bowl stir together:

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dry mustard

Combine beans, carmelized onion and bacon mixture and the seasoning blend.  Stir well, tightly cover with foil (using a sharp knife poke holes in the lid) and smoke in your electric smoker at 275 for about 3 hours.  Yes, they will be runny when they come out, but allow to sit for a few minutes and you won’t believe how quickly they disappear.

 

smoked beans

Jean’s Cole Slaw

This simple coleslaw is great as a side for a variety of summer meals, but as a topping on either pulled pork or pulled chicken it really shines.

Pulled Pork

 

2/3  cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1 tsp celery seed

1 tsp sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt & pepper to taste

 

Blend well, and keep tasting – should have a nice balance of sweet and tangy.

Pulled Pork in the Smoker

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.

Pulled Pork

 

BRINE:

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.

RUB:

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.

Smoker ready pork and chicken

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).

 

 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

We have a smoker, so when time and weather permits, we love to do a pork butt roast in the smoker – but let’s be honest, that doesn’t always work. The whole point of a slow cooker is simplicity, and being able to walk away ….. This recipe allows you to do just that, and still enjoy amazing pulled pork flavour.

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 pound pork butt roast
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar or molasses
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 3″ piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
  • In slow cooker, place sliced onions and garlic.

If the mixture needs to be thinned out a bit, add 1/2 cup of chicken stock.

Combine the dry ingredients, and give the pork a massage with the seasonings .. after all, it isn’t called a rub for nothing!
(If you want to make things really easy in the morning, rub the pork up the night before and allow those seasonings to penetrate the pork)

Place seasoned pork on top of the onion garlic mixture. Stir soy sauce, vinegar, barbecue together (add chicken stock if it needs it) and pour over pork.

Allow pork to cook on high (6-8 hours) or low (8-10 hours). Remove from cooker, and allow to rest.

Use immersion blender and create sauce out of mixture in cooker – reduce to about half.

Shred pork with 2 forks, and return both pork and sauce to cooker.

Serve on fresh buns with a bit of crunchy cole slaw.

I will update with a photo next time I make this …. with our crowd, before I knew it, the serving was happening and there was no opportunity to take that shot!