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Recipe Monday: My Awesome Pulled Pork

July 23, 2012
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Over the Fourth of July holiday, I was craving barbeque, but not the barbeque you find from most take away joints or in the prepared food section of the market. I wanted like… slow-cooked Carolina barbeque that was lightly spiced and coated in a sweet-hot vinegar sauce. This meant I had to create what I wanted. So, the husband-thing went to the market, picked up a 6lb bone-in pork shoulder roast, and I went to town. The results were amazing. Not a bit left over. In fact, the following weekend, the husband-thing fetched 20lbs worth of bone-in shoulder roasts so I could do it again and have plenty stocked up in the freezer for quick meals. 😀

I’m going to share with you my rub, my cooking method, and my sauce. It’s absolutely delicious and hit the spot for us.

Meat
5-7lb bone-in pork shoulder roast
¼ C apple cider vinegar
¼ C water

Rub
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP onion powder
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP black pepper
1 TBSP paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2C brown sugar

Sauce
¼ C reserved rub spice
¼ C apple cider vinegar
¼ C dill pickle juice
¼ C tomato sauce
½ C apple juice
4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ TBSP honey
1 TBSP whiskey (I prefer Jack Daniels)

Preheat the oven to 300F. I highly suggest investing in an oven thermometer. Husband-thing knows I’ve been after one for years, and he finally surprised me with one recently. Discovered my oven runs about 25F hotter than I set it, so this is an invaluable tool.

While your oven is preheating, make your spice rub. Dump everything into a bowl, mix it thoroughly, and reserve ¼ C of the mixture. With your pork roast in the pan you plan to cook it in, dump the rub on. Massage it in. Make sure every nook and cranny is spiced, and then set the roast in the pan with the fat side up. This is very important as it’s the fat that helps keep the roast moist. Add your ¼ C vinegar and ¼ C water to the pan, cover it with aluminum foil. Stash it in the oven for 6-12 hours, basting it every couple of hours until the meat falls off the bone. I test this by stabbing it with a fork and giving a little twist. The meat should pull easily.
Pull it out of the oven and let it cool. You don’t want to handle 300F meat, trust me.

As for the sauce, bang everything into a pot. Heat on moderate heat until it boils. Only let it boil a couple of minutes (to help burn off some of the alcohol bite from the whiskey), and then strain it through a sieve double-lined with paper toweling. Be patient with this. You want to remove all the particulates so this is a thin, flavorful sauce. Toss away the paper towels full of apple pulp and spices. Here is where you need to taste the sauce. TASTE YOUR FOOD. 🙂

Is it too spicy? Too sweet? Not tart enough? Adjust here with vinegar, apple juice, honey, brown sugar until you get just the right taste for you and your family. This should make enough sauce to soak your pulled pork with some left over for saucing buns or what have you.

Once the pork is cool, don some gloves and get pulling. I tend to be really picky, discarding ALL fat. Add the sauce to the pulled pork, toss it around, and viola! Awesome pulled pork with sweet Carolina barbeque sauce. It’s really disgustingly good. 😉

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