Chris’ Oven Barbecued Pulled Pork
Pulled pork is one of the South’s most popular dishes. However, you don’t have to seek out a North Carolina barbecue joint to enjoy this tender, savory delight. In fact, you don’t even need a barbecue pit. My son Chris created this juicy pulled pork last week for 50 hungry Long Islanders. It disappeared in a flash.
I have cut down his recipe to serve 8. It’s imperative to top a pulled pork sandwich with a tart cole slaw (recipe follows) or cucumber dill pickles or both. And then, what to serve it on? Some prefer a crusty roll, but Chris likes a quality soft bun that will better soak up the barbecue sauce. Some recipes call for braising the pork and basting it from time to time. Chris did neither and the pork came out moist and succulent.
1 pork shoulder, about 6 – 8 lbs.
3 T dark brown sugar
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1 T salt
1 T ground cumin
1 T smoked paprika
1 T freshly ground black pepper
Trim excess fat from pork shoulder. Place pork in a baking dish. Combine sugar, onion and garlic powder, salt, cumin, paprika and black pepper. Rub over pork to coat. Place in refrigerator at least 3 hours. Bring pork to room temperature. Place in a roasting pan fat side up in a 225 degree oven.
Slow cook until meat is fork tender and the temperature is 190-200 degrees. This will take 6 to 7 hours. Let rest. Take 2 forks and pull apart into shreds and place in a bowl.
1 cup ketchup
1 T mustard
2 T molasses
1 cup apple cider
3 T dark brown sugar
½ t crushed red pepper
Combine ingredients in a saucepan and whisk to dissolve sugar. Cook over medium heat until sauce comes to a simmer. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Mix the barbecue sauce into the pork shreds until well coated and serve alongside buns, cole slaw and pickles. Let guests put together their own sandwiches.
In the unlikely event there are leftovers, consider making pork tacos or pork hash.
Chris’ Cole Slaw
Barbecued pulled pork cries out for the cool crunch of cole slaw. Chris’ special combination produces a tangy flavor and a colorful presentation. Be sure to slice the cabbage and fennel as thinly as possible.
1 small head green cabbage
1 small head red cabbage
1 fennel bulb
1/2 Vidalia onion
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T white Balsamic vinegar
1 t celery seeds
1 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
Cut each head of cabbage in half and then in quarters. Cut out the hard core. Slice wedges as thinly as possible and place in a large bowl. Cut fennel bulb in quarters and slice thinly. Set aside fronds for another use. Shred carrots in a food processor using fine disk. Slice onion thinly. Add everything to bowl.
Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, celery seeds, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over slaw and toss. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Toss again every 15 minutes or so to make sure flavors meld and again just before serving.