Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pulled Pork

Mostly, I just felt like using the slow cooker.  That, and I needed to spend the day away from the house in order to get these papers graded.  It's amazing the number of things that can distract me from grading papers.


Let's talk pulled pork though, shall we?  Pulled pork has as many advantages as there are recipes to make it.  Advantages to pulled pork are that it's great food for a crowd (just double your recipe.  Triple it, even.  Or you could literally go whole hog).  It takes all day to cook, but it's one you can walk away from if you have a slow cooker but it's more traditional if you smoke the meat outdoors.  And it is oh so tasty.


Recipes for pulled pork are just as various.  People get rather emotional about this subject.  Now some people swear by dry rubs.  Others swear by brining the pig.  However, I married a former-Kansan, and that means BBQ is almost always wet.  What's the difference?  Well Memphis BBQ uses a dry spice rub before hand--usually cumin, garlic, paprika, sugar, salt, you name it.  But Kansas City (and those good folks from North Carolina) like their barbecue with sauce, with even more sauce on the side.  But once you start talking sauce, then the sparks start to fly.  Now Eastern North Carolinans like their sauce to be more vinegar than tomato and molasses, which Kansans prefer.  Western North Carolinans add some tomatoes to that vinegar concoction.  South Carolinans prefer a mustard-based sauce.   Confused?  Well, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia all have their own versions of the sauce, too.  Then, to boot, you have to decide, will it be pulled pork or chopped pork?  Will it be with cole slaw on top or alongside hush puppies, potato chips, cornbread, beans, or hash?

I throw my hands up.

I am a transplanted Mid-westerner in the West.

I am making pulled pork in a slow cooker, damnit, slathering it with a molasses- and tomato-based sauce, and calling it good.  I leave it up to you to determine your regional affiliation. On a side note, I got my emo on by going to see Bright Eyes at the Fox yesterday.  What am I doing pretending to make any sort of authentic pulled pork?



One Year Ago: Olive Paste and Blue Cheese Canape/ Creamed Blue Cheese with Brandy


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Pulled Pork
Adapted from  Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking

Yield:
4 servings

Ingredients:  
1 boneless pork shoulder roast (3 lbs)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups barbecue sauce (homemade or bottled), plus more for serving
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/4 cup honey
Soft sandwich rolls, split and toasted

Instructions:
1.  In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil.  Add the pork and cook, turning frequently, until browned on all sides, about 10  minutes.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

2.  Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan.  Add the onion and saute over medium-high heat until softened, 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the broth and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3.  Transfer the pork to a slow cooker and add the broth mixture.  Cover and cook until pork is very tender, 8-10 hours on the low-heat setting.  Transfer the pork to a platter and let cool.  Cut away the strings and pull the pork into shreds, removing all the fat and gristle.  Return the pork to the cooker.  Add the 2 cups barbecue sauce, the mustard, the honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Stir well, set the temperature to high, and cook, uncovered, and stirring frequently,until the flavors are well blended and the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.

4.  Serve the pork on the rolls with additional barbecue sauce.

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