Suppose you´re facing the task of feeding a lot of people, but you´re short on time and low on cash. With this recipe you´ll have no worries, and everyone´ll love the moist, melt-in-your-mouth meat, with bits of tangy, crispy skin to please the palate!
(adapted from Gretchen´s and Mean Chef’s recipes)
1 whole pork butt, bone-in
for the dry rub
1/8 cup black pepper
1/4 cup paprika (I used smoked paprika)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix all the ingredients (except the meat) in a bowl to prepare the dry rub (it´s a good idea to wear gloves).
Rub the pork all over with half of the dry rub, then place it in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. In the morning remove the pork from the bag and cover it with the rest of the spice mixture. If possible, let it sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, if not just place it in a 275F oven, uncovered on a rack in a roasting pan.
Roast until tender, almost falling apart. Depending on the size, it will take 7 – 9 hours. Longer will not hurt it; the desired internal temperature is 200F.
Pull the pork into pieces with forks, allowing some bits to fall on the floor to the delight of your dogs.
Serve the meat over sandwich buns with the sauce of your choice, or follow my “Brazilian variation”: transfer the pulled meat to a clean baking dish. Add 1 cup of water to the roasting pan and place it over the stove-top burner on medium heat to dissolve the bits of pork goodness that stuck to it during the long, slow roasting. Strain it over a pyrex cup and allow the fat to rise to the top, then discard it. Use the liquid to moisten the pulled meat, squeeze fresh lemon juice all over, cover with aluminum foil and place in a 350F oven for 20 minutes before serving over rice and beans. (You can leave it in the oven for longer, it only gets better).
This recipe fits quite well in the ¨Perfect Sunday Dinner¨ category…
Comments: If you google “Gretchen’s pulled pork”, you´ll notice that this recipe has been around the internet for many many years. When I first printed it and tried it, I had no idea that one day I would meet the famous Gretchen in person – and in Paris of all places, in 2002! My favorite variation on Gretchen’s recipe comes from the amazing former caterer “Mean Chef“. Oddly enough, I also had the pleasure of meeting him and his lovely wife during their recent visit to our neck of the woods. Mean, he´s not, but his dry rub mixture sure makes a mean pulled pork… give it a try!
The ideal piece of meat for pulled pork is a bone-in pork butt, which, contrary to popular belief, does NOT come from the rear end of the pig, but from the shoulder. Isn’t English an interesting language? 😉 You can also use a picnic roast, which comes from the same region, but has a different shape. You can read about pork meat nomenclature by clicking here.
Place it in a 275 F oven….
And simply forget about it for 8 hours. I usually place it in the oven before going to sleep, and awaken to the sounds of whimpering dogs. But, if I’m preparing it during the weekend, I’ll start it early in the morning…
Once the meat is ready it just falls apart…
In my Brazilian variation, I like to serve it without any sauce, alongside white rice and beans. Some people, though – might still find ways to showcase a little pulled pork sandwich with their dinner… 😉
Pulled pork is normally served with either a tomato-based barbecue sauce, or a vinegar sauce, depending on the region. In Brazil they tend to favor preparations in which the flavor of the meat is not masked by sauces or too many spices.
If you want to serve sauce with your pulled pork, this is a nice option. It comes from the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine:
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
3 T dark brown sugar
2 t smoked paprika
1 t chili powder
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Boil for 5 minutes.