How to make pulled pork
A few years ago I discover the pleasure of pulled pork. In his book “How to grill” Steven Raichlen describes pulled pork as one key part of the Holy Trinity of American barbecue culture. He traces the origin to the Carolinas, where smoking pork shoulder is considered soulful. The hallmark of smoked pork is the reddish layer created just below the surface of the meat. Steven Raichlen describes this smoke ring as the signature of a “master pit boss”. The recipe described below is from his book “How to grill”. Do not be deterred by how long it takes to cook the meat, the process requires little supervision
North Carolina Pulled Pork
· 5 to 7 pounds pork shoulder, bone-in preferably. The shoulder has the right amount of fat to achieve the desire result, not compromise allowed here.
· 3 to 4 tablespoons of Basic Barbecue Rub (see below).
For the mop sauce:
· 1 cup of cider vinegar
· 1 small onion, thinly sliced
· 1 to 2 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
· 1 tablespoon of coarse salt
· 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
· 1 teaspoon of black pepper
· 1 teaspoon of hot red pepper flake
· 3 cups of North Carolina Vinegar Sauce (see below)
· 10 to 12 hamburger buns ( my next posting will feature a homemade recipe, well worth the effort)
North Carolina Vinegar Sauce:
· 2 cups of cider vinegar
· 3 tablespoons of ketchup
· 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
· 4 teaspoons of coarse salt
· 1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
· 1 to 2 teaspoon of hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste
· 1 to 2 teaspoons of black pepper.
Combine all the ingredients in a nonreactive mixing bowl and wisk until the salt and brown sugar have dissolved. Taste for seasoning, adding hot pepper flakes as necessary. Sauce will keep in refrigerator for months.
Basic Barbecue Rub
· 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
· ¼ cup sweet paprika
· 3 tablespoons black pepper
· 3 tablespoons of coarse salt
· 1 tablespoon hickory-smoked salt or more coarse salt
· 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
· 2 teaspoons of onion powder
· 2 teaspoon of celery seeds
· 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to mix. Store the rub in an airtight jar away from heat or light; it will keep of at least 6 months.
Setting up the grill
1. To set up a charcoal grill for smoking, first light the coal in a chimney starter
2. Place a drip pan in the center of the grill and divide the coals evenly on either side of it.
3. Place 1/3 of drained wood chips on each mound of coals (wood chips should be soaked for 30 minutes in warm water).
I personally use a gas grill and it works very well. The only challenge is to light up the wood chips. I found what works best to use foil pouch poked heavily with hole. Put the chips as close to the flame as possible. If you are lucky you may have a smoke drawer on your unit.
Preparing the meat
Sprinkle the rub over the pork and massage it into the meat with your fingers. Place is on the grill now or let it cure for up to 24 hours. Place the meat of the grill, bear in mind that we are trying to achieve indirect heat.
Cooking the meat:
The meat will take from 4 to 6 hours. The meat is ready when the internal temperature reaches 195 °, no compromise here. Cook the meat covered, maintain the grill’s temperature at no more than 275°. The meat will develop a dark crusty exterior. During cooking “Mop” (baste) the pork with the mop sauce every hour, this will help preserve moisture and flavor the meat. The more you baste the most it tastes. Let me stress again to use indirect heat while cooking.
“Pulling the pork”
“Pulling” the pork is best and easiest when still hot, use gloves if needed. I made it this weekend and the meat was so tender that I simply used the flat side of a chef’s knife. I couldn’t believe how easily it came apart. When “pulling” is completed, spoon some of the vinegar sauce over it and spoon some of the mixture. To serve mound pork on a bun and top with coleslaw, serve any remaining vinegar sauce on the side.