Monday, November 10, 2008

Pulled Pork

So, it has been awhile since my last post...sorry for all of my faithful readers.  I have been doing a lot in the kitchen though.  A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of catering a rehearsal dinner for Lynsey's cousin Nathan.  Nathan's mom was originally going to make the meal herself, but much to my benefit, the father of the groom convinced Nathan's mom that she should not have to stress about that meal, that she would have enough things to worry about.  Which is where I come in.  They asked me to make a meal consisting of pulled pork, green beans, corn, roasted potatoes, apple crisp, and pumpkin bars.  So this particular entry is devoted to the pulled pork.  It is something that I make a lot of at work, and it is great for the family as well.  Everyone seems to love pulled pork and it is easier to do than you might think.  The hardest part is the waiting.

First let me say before going on, that the best way to do this is with a smoker.  However, not everyone has a smoker, or in my case a smoker big enough to do a case of butts.  "Butts?"  ( I will get to that later).  Do not worry if you don't have a smoker.  While smoking is an art form and a skill that all backyard bbq'rs long to have, in this case it might not be as important as you think.  Allow me to let you in on a little secret.  9.9 out of 10 people wont know if the pork was smoked or not.  Sad isn't it, but probably true.  So if you like most other people can't tell if it was smoked or you just don't have a smoker to do the quantity that you need (like me) you can do them in the oven.  

Ok first, start with a pork butt.  It isn't actually the butt of a pig.  It is the butt end of the shoulder.  Sometimes you will here them referred to as Boston Butts, this is the same thing.  I prefer bone-in butts as opposed to bone-out.  The down side to this is that you have to pay money for a bone that you won't eat, but it acts like a perfect thermometer to let you know when the pork is done, and I am sure that it adds some flavor....maybe not but I still like it.

Ok so you have your butt on the counter (sounds funny huh) and you are ready to cook it.  First let me tell you that if you are wanting it for dinner you may want to start about 6-8 hours before dinner time.  But time aside this is how I prep my butt before cooking it.  

First, rub the butt (ha ha, I am like a little kid when I say that).  I like to use a rub of season salt, coriander, garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper and onion.  I will leave the ratios a secret.  Put a generous amount all over the meat, when you are done rubbing it will look something like this.

Place the butts in a roasting pan, cover and bake in an oven at 350 for about 6 to 8 hours.  Honestly when I am cooking these, I am usually cooking a whole ovens worth so it might take less time if you only have one butt in the oven.  At 6 hours pull out the meat, and tongs or with something to protect your hand grab the bone a
nd try to pull it out.  If it pulls out easily it is done.  If it doesn't want to come loose, give it some more time.  But when the bone comes out, it is done.  At this point, cover it loosely and let it sit for about another hour.  The butts will look something like this after they come out of the oven.

After they have set for awhile, it is time to pull it.  The best thing to use for this process, your hands.  Just dig in, separate out the fat, be careful, because it will still be pretty hot.  When you are done pulling you are ready to eat.  Sit down with your favorite bbq sauce and some friends and enjoy some good pork.

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