After a week off to dig out from under the snow, we are back with a staple that anyone should keep around. Pulled pork. This week I’ll show you how to make it. Then, since you really can’t make a little pulled pork, I’ll show you some creative ways to use it over the next few weeks.
First, you’ll need a pork shoulder. Depending on what you are cooking in, look for a “Boston Butt” between five and ten pounds.
*Brief historical diversion* Although it’s called a Boston Butt, it is actually made from the shoulder of the pig. It gets its name because this method of splitting the shoulder originated in Boston, and the barrels, or casks, that were used to ship them were called butts. Thus, you would ask for a Boston Butt.
Back to reality. I like to cook this on a smoker, but you can turn out some pretty good pulled pork right in your oven. Be prepared to be hungry though, because your house will smell delicious. Wherever you are cooking, you want to stay around 275 or so. When I light the smoker, I like to fill the fuel ring with a mixture of lump charcoal and hickory chunks.
Light a small amout of charcoal in a chimney starter. Dump the lit coals on top. This forces the fire to burn in the opposite direction of the airflow, getting you a long slow burn.
To prepare the shoulder, make sure it is thawed all the way. If you are using a picnic shoulder instead of a Boston Butt, it may have some skin on it. Trim that off. Next, give it a good rinse and pat dry with some paper towels.
Once it’s rinsed and dried, it’s time to add the dry rub. First, rub the meat down with mustard to help the dry rub stick.
Then rub it down generously with your favorite dry seasoning. I like Steven Raichlen’s Basic BBQ Rub.
Leave it on the counter and to keep coming up to room temperature while you bring the BBQ or oven up to temperature. Once the BBQ/Oven comes up to temp, put the shoulder on there and go play a game, play two. You may ask, “How long should I cook it?” Well, it’s done when it’s done. A good guideline 45 minutes per pound. It’s really done when the meat is “probe tender.” If you push a temperature probe into the meat and feel any resistance, it’s not ready yet. Try not to fiddle with. Every time you open the bbq/oven, you change the temperature. Just remember, if you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin’!
You may find that you temp stalls out at some point. If this happens, you have two options. If you like longer games like Fallout and Skyrim, just wait it out. If Halo and COD are more your thing, then you can wrap it in foil to push through the stall.
Once it’s probe tender, remove it from heat and let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes, and then pull it apart and enjoy!
Tune in next week when I’ll show you how to combine this pulled pork with the Tangy Cabbage Salad from a couple weeks ago into a delicious sandwich.