Did you miss me? I knew it. We got that kinda relationship where sure I’m gone for a few weeks…months… but I can come back and we’ll pick up where we left off. A little wine, a little cheese, a little pulled pork. Oh yeah it’s like that. So what have you been up to while I was away? Uh-huh…uh-huh…awesome. Me? Oh yeah I got married and moved into a new house. So yeah I got that going on. What’s that? You want to know what we’re canning this week? Sorry but nothing. All of that equipment is still boxed and I don’t quite have the room for it yet. But don’t leave I got a little something to keep you here.
If you follow our Facebook page you know that I was looking for ideas last week for something a little different. Something maybe you wanted to see made or see me attempt. Well Rich Cantagallo made a suggestion and it clicked with me. So here we are with a recipe for pulled pork. I’m not giving the details here just the basics and I am going to let you run with it.
The first thing I did was look up a few ways to make pulled pork. For me a smoker wasn’t an option so oven roasted was going to have to do the trick. I had also seen a few people brine the pork before putting it in the oven and that just sounded like something that could only be good so I went that route also. Next up was what kind of rub did I want. I know spicy doesn’t always go over well with the wife so I decided on a rub that was roughly thirty percent spices and seventy percent brown sugar. While deciding on the spices I did opt to go with throwing in some smoked salt to try and give the pork a little of a smoky taste to make up for being put in the oven. So that was decided but what to do after it was cooked and pulled? I went with a Memphis BBQ sauce since I enjoy the tomato based sauces and coleslaw for a traditional pulled pork sandwich. You can make this just go pork and bun and call it a day though if you want.
I’m keeping this light on the details when it comes to the instructions since it’s a time consuming but very straightforward process. First thing first is get a deep container to contain your pork shoulder and brine mixture. If possible cover the shoulder. If you don’t have a container to accommodate that, like I didn’t, don’t stress too much just get it as covered as possible. Unpack your pork shoulder and give it a quick rinse with cold tap water. Place it in the container fat side up and pour in your previously mixed brine. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the fridge to sit over night.
Set your alarm early if you want to eat your pulled pork same day because this is one long cook time. Remove your shoulder from the brine and rinse it off before placing in a foil baking pan fat side up. Since I wasn’t smoking I rubbed a little liquid smoke over the top of the fat before applying a very liberal layer of dry rub. Your rub should be nice and thick as it will be flavoring the juices as the fat melts during the baking. Now place into the oven at 250 degrees. You are cooking until the pork shoulder has an internal temperature of between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. For an eight pound shoulder this will take roughly 8-9 hours. Resist the urge to add any liquids to the pan, after a few hours the juices will start to accumulate in the bottom and will be better than anything you could have added.
Once you have reached the desired internal temp turn off the oven and leave the shoulder in for one to two hours to rest. Use this down time to throw together your cole slaw, make some corn on the cob etc… Remove from the oven and use whatever method you wish to shred your pork. I used the two fork method to remove the fat and shred but a set of gloves for handling meat work great also. At this stage you don’t need any more help from me. You just need to dig in and work through the feelings of ecstasy while remembering to breath, chew and swallow. Fair warning posting pictures online of this while making it may result in unannounced “Just happened to be in the neighborhood” guests and spontaneous reconnections with friends you haven’t heard from in ages. You’ve been warned.
What’s in the brine:
½ cup Sea Salt
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup Brown sugar
5 Tablespoons dry rub
2 bay leaves
Pour the above mix over your pork shoulder and then proceed to add water to your container until the shoulder is as covered as possible. This should roughly be 1-2 quarts of water. If you require significantly more water then add more salt figure ¼ cup more salt per 1 quart of water.
This one is a rough estimate adjust flavors to taste
1 Tbsp. each
Chili powder (good stuff people don’t cheap out)
Fresh cracked pepper
½ to 1 cup give or take of brown sugar (depends on how sweet you want it and how much rub you need, adjust other spices accordingly if you feel it has become too sweet)