Sunday, April 18, 2010

Indoor Pulled Pork with Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce

At 8:30 AM on Saturday, while most normal people were sleeping or eating breakfast, John and I headed to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for our weekend food project of pulled pork. ("indoor" pulled pork, as we live in an apartment with no outdoor space). I sent John to the meat section while I groggily staggered up to the coffee bar for my caffeine fix. A few minutes later, John comes waltzing over, clearly pleased with the giant pork butt he picked out. We wandered around for about 10 more minutes looking for Liquid Smoke, finally found it by the barbecue sauce, then we checked out. And yes, we cracked inappropriate jokes about pork butt all the way home (Hahaha... "cracked"! See what I did there?). We're mature.

I call this a project because it took all day to make. Granted, most of the day,  the pork is spent either brining or cooking, so it does not require constant attention. And at the end of the day, every last minute was worth it. We could barely muster any coherent sentences as we took our first bites: "MMM. So... mmm... wow... mmm... ohmygosh... tastymmmyummm." There are so many layers of flavor: the brine infuses the meat with the liquid smoke flavor, the spice rub adds a little kick, and the homemade barbecue sauce was just ridiculously good (you mix in some of the pork cooking liquid, which I think is the key ingredient here).

This makes a lot, but a quick Google search told us that pulled pork freezes well, so you don't necessarily need to have a big crowd to help you eat it. Serve on rolls to make sandwiches, or just eat it straight up.

Indoor Pulled Pork with Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce
from Cook's Illustrated

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. Instead of the sauce recipe here, you can use 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce thinned with ½ cup of the defatted pork cooking liquid in step 5. The shredded and sauced pork can be cooled, tightly covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat it gently before serving.

1 cup plus 2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 boneless pork butt (about 5 pounds), cut in half horizontally (see step by step below)
1/4 cup yellow mustard
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons smoked paprika (see note)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

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

1. FOR THE PORK: 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.
 2. 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 in second small bowl; set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

3. 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 piece of parchment paper over pork, then cover with sheet of aluminum foil, sealing edges to prevent moisture from escaping. Roast pork for 3 hours.
 4. Remove pork from oven; remove and discard foil and parchment. Carefully pour off liquid in bottom of baking sheet into fat separator and reserve for sauce. Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well browned, tender, and internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1½ hours. Transfer pork to serving dish, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.

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

6. TO SERVE: Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1 cup sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.
 Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Download a printable recipe.


Memória said...

What a great story of how you all made this delicious-looking pork! I would be making jokes about the pork butt, too! It is great to have a sense of humor about such things haha. I am going to bookmark this recipe and make it very soon. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe with helpful tips.

Spice Rack said...

Sweet paprika looks good. Thank you for sharing the steps. I'm a frustrated cook but this time I'm going to nailed that recipe using the ingredients on my Spice rack.

Jess said...

We loved this too! I tried it again with the other two sauces (lexington vinegar and south carolina mustard) but this original one was definitely our favorite sauce. This is sooooooooooo yummy and will definitely be a repeat recipe in our house!!!

Snipejaeg said...

Greeat read thanks