Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pulling pork butts

I really should not be allowed to step foot into grocery stores. I walk in needing a few items and walk out carrying two huge bags filled to the brim. This happened last week. I decided it was about time to use the Le Creuset the people-who-keep-me-sane-at-work got me for my "going-away" to Paris gift. And what better way to do so than to make pulled pork?! MMMMM.

And so I walked out of Whole Foods with the two bags (helped by JP, of course) that contained, among other things, the chicken and the ricotta and the lettuce and the tomatoes for the stuffed chicken breast dinner, italian sausage for my upcoming lasagna rolls, apples (on sale, can't pass it up!), pineapple (just because), some other things, and a 2.5lb pork butt. It's not really the butt, it's the shoulder. 

And as I usually do with non-baked goods recipes, I decided to research. How does one go about making pulled pork in a dutch oven? My favorite pulled pork of all time is Big Bob Gibson's (I don't know how Chris Lilly = Big Bob) pulled pork sandwiches that we had at the Big Apple BBQ for two years in a row. Best thing about the whole food fest. So I used Chris Lilly's dry rub and since I didn't have anything to inject the pork with, I just poured some apple juice down the sides of the Le Creuset. Into the oven at 225F for 4 1/2 hours. I was pulling the pork at 2:30am. And reheated it the next day for dinner (after we went to an all-you can drink brunch at Mercadito for $21, which was pretty gosh darn AWESOME and resulted in a very happy JP + PG running around Paragon finding me ski pants, for reasons we shall not mention but might involve having 5+ drinks). 

Pulled Pork (loosely adapted from Chris Lilly)

2 1/2 lb pork butt (also called shoulder or boston butt)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup smoked paprika
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup apple juice
Hot sauce (optional)
Brioche, white bread, parker house rolls, or whatever vehicle you want for the pork

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix the all the dry ingredients together (add more heat / sweetness if you want). Rub the pork butt with the spice mixture so it has a very thick coating (use all of it!) and pat down to adhere. Place in dutch oven with the fat side up. Pour apple juice down the sides of the pan, making sure not to get it onto the top or sides of the pork. Cover with the lid and put in to oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 225F and let it be, undisturbed, for 4 1/2 hours. 

Remove the pork butt from the oven and shred the meat on a cutting board using two forks. I like to get rid of as much of the fat on the meat as possible, so I just throw those parts out. Put the shredded pork into a bowl and add the liquid thats in the dutch oven by the 1/4 cup until the pork has a moist consistency. Season with more salt to taste and add a few squirts of hot sauce (optional but it can be sriracha, cholula, tabasco, whatever you have on hand...I used chimay habanero salsa). Serve between slices of white bread, brioche or parker house rolls.

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