Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Indoor Pulled Pork Barbecue Recipe

indoor pulled pork barbecue

Pulled pork barbecue with vinegar sauce is one of my favorite foods, and evokes images of sultry, humid, North Carolina days, kudzu coiling around tree branches, and bottomless glasses of sweet iced tea. But pulled pork barbecue in the middle of winter? Indoors? Yes, you can.

All you need is this Cook’s Illustrated recipe, a nice five pound boneless pork shoulder (mine came from Aberdeen Hill Farms via my food coop), some spices, and a little bit of time. After the success of the trial run, this is a recipe I’ll now make in larger quantities to relive Southern memories with college friends, and to introduce barbecue neophytes to the porky umami deliciousness that is this easy, smoky barbecue, and not that far from the barbecue I used to devour at Allen and Son Barbecue in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

In three short months I have to pull on a very attractive flesh colored unitard, and dance around onstage again in Boris Charmatz’s 50 Years of Dance when the piece tours to Amsterdam and Berlin. Eating fatty bbq and looking good in a flesh colored unitard is an oxymoron, but the aroma of smoky paprika mingling with this slow-roasted pork shoulder banished all skinny thoughts of salads, dance class, and the stationary bike. Winter’s for indulging, and we are in the thick of it.

I made an improvised version of coleslaw to go with the pork, and in addition to cabbage, I added a few chopped raw collard greens, blood oranges, and mixed them together with some homemade mayonnaise (next week's blog entry, this slaw). I don’t like coleslaw as a condiment to my sandwich, as some Southerners do, but on the side it provided a nice crunchy counter to the richness of the pork, and the blood oranges, while adding some bright color, also sweetly balanced out the vinegar present both in the sauce for the pork, and in the slaw. Sunday Southern brunch in my Brooklyn apartment. Who knew? Next time I'm making hush puppies, too; flesh colored unitard be damned.

Indoor Pulled Pork Barbecue Recipe

from Cook's Illustrated Magazine Jan/Feb 2010

Note from Banu: I made a version of the Lexington, NC vinegar sauce (listed among others, below) with only two tablespoons of ketchup and a splash of Tabasco, some minced garlic, and a little onion juice for more flavor. I also made a sauce with no tomato product at all, Eastern Carolina style, containing, simply, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, and some of the defatted juices leftover from cooking the pork. I actually preferred the first sauce I made (sorry Eastern North Carolinians!), as the vinegar was tamed by a bit of sugar and a little water, and I didn’t mind a little ketchup in the sauce for color. In any case, a vinegar based sauce is the way to go with pork; they are a perfect match.

Note: Sweet paprika may be substituted for smoked paprika. Covering the pork with parchment and then foil prevents the acidic mustard from eating holes in the foil. Serve the pork on hamburger rolls with pickle chips and thinly sliced onion. Alternatively, use 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce thinned with 1/2 cup of the defatted pork cooking liquid. The shredded and sauced pork can be cooled, tightly covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat it gently before serving.

serves 6-8

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons table salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 boneless pork butt (aka pork shoulder, about 5 lbs), cut in half horizontally
1/4 cup yellow mustard
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons smoked paprika (you can substitute sweet)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Dissolve 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons liquid smoke in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge pork in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

While pork brines, combine mustard and remaining 2 teaspoons liquid smoke in small bowl; set aside. Combine black pepper, paprika, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and cayenne pepper in second small bowl; set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

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 sheet of parchment paper over pork, then cover with aluminum foil, sealing edges to prevent moisture from escaping. Roast pork for 3 hours.

Remove pork from oven; remove and discard foil and parchment. Carefully pour off liquid in bottom of baking sheet into a fat separator (or spoon off the fat with a ladle until a light film remains, and then gently use a paper towel to soak up the remaining fat from the surface of the pan juices) and reserve the pan juices for the sauce. Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well browned, tender, and internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer pork to serving dish; tent loosely with foil, and rest for 20 minutes.

To serve: Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces. Toss with one cup sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Lexington Vinegar Barbecue Sauce

1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketcup

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl with 1/2 cup defatted cooking liquid and whisk to combine.

South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce

1 cup yellow mustard

1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl with 1/2 cup defatted cooking liquid and whisk to combine.

Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup light or mild molasses

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

While pork rests, pour 1/2 cup of defatted cooking liquid from fat separator into medium bowl; whisk in sauce ingredients.

Pulled Pork Bbq on FoodistaPulled Pork Bbq


Michelle J said...

You're right - that unitard is pretty fly! lol

I am sooooo making this pork. YUM! Thanks again for sharing another of your incredible recipes. :)

Chef E said...

Your description right down to kudzu is brilliant...and this sandwich is brilliant!

Bo said...

Now this is the kind of food I like...throw some hush puppies on the plate and I'd be in heaven...I sure am glad I don't have to wear a unitard...cause after a meal like this I would have to unbutton my pants.

Hathor's Bath said...

I was trying to think of something intelligent to add here and only came up with OM NOM NOM NOM.

I don't eat much pork (unless it's my summertime ribs, mmmm riiiiiiiibs), but I am tempted to try this. Cheers for sharing!

Blogging To A Better Bonnie said...

I hadn't read word one of your post and I was already craving a pulled pork sandwich... at 6:45am! That photo is fantastic! I can't wait to try this recipe... or at least find someone to make it for me during out kitchen renovations.
Flesh colored unitard, be damned! ;-)

powderate said...

This sandwich is gold medal!

Fritz Bogott said...

Right on! I'm going to make some callaloo to go with that.

I think I should include the phrase "flesh-colored unitard" in my next horror story. Don't they mean "Stepford-skin unitard?"

Richard said...

What I wouldn't give for a summer day right now!

Dylan said...

I'd like to personally thank you for posting this on Ash Wednesday; I was sitting there in class, staring at hunger, knowing I can't have this, or even the thought of it, for at least 12 hours. But wow. Not going to lie, I may try this Saturday. I might go insane if I don't!

Great stuff again Banu!

natural selection said...

What a sandwich, I knew you were special you are indeed a high priestess,with this sandwich you bring balance.LOL

What a creation very nice you have outdone yourself!
Thank you!

Sir Thomas AKA (Winters Reaper) said...

omg yes yes yes... I go to a place called fuzzies in madison NC..
the best

and i cannot believe the northern peps dont know about vingar sauce...


natural selection said...

Hey Babu come on over I made barley!

Tau-Mu said...

Yummo, I love pulled pork sandwiches! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

PFx said...

arrrghh I shouldn't have stumble on this blog.... You got me craved up now... noooo...

eats grass said...

Firstly, your photos are MAGNIFICENT!
And secondly, I am impressed with your willingness to wear a flesh colored unitard (super fierce dancers body or not, that's intense!)
Thirdly all of these recipes will be used by moi. Thanks for such a new awesome blog for me to follow!~

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I have tested that pulled pork recipe and I love it! Your sandwich looks so scrumptious!



Banu said...

I'm so happy all of you appreciate this post, and Rosa's Yummy Yums -- I'm glad that you loved it when you made it. It's a keeper, this recipe, and for more than simply waving away the winter blues.

Alisa said...

Wow!I love how delicious this one looks, if you won't mind, I'd love to guide foodista readers to your site.Just add your choice of Foodista widget at the end of this blog post and it's good to go.Thanks!

Kari said...

Just a word of advice to those who don't like their barbecue "spicy" hot - the "sweet and tangy" sauce should actually be named "sweet and spicy" thanks to the addition of 1 tablespoon of hot sauce. Just leave it out if you don't like/can't handle the heat (like me - I have a very tender tongue, so even though I actually LIKE hot things, I can't manage them! said...

I love pork and the sandrich is great. Thanks for the recipes. Come share some of my barbecue rib recipes.

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