Super Bowl Dishes- Pulled Pork

There are so many ways to build a yummy pulled pork meal or sandwich.This recipe will serve about 10,  reduce the ingredients for smaller portions, or freeze cooked batches into serving size.

You need a big hunk of pork, apple cider vinegar,spices & time and patience, a minimum of 4 hours.  It’s yum. You need 1 pork shoulder about 8 lbs, pork butt or pork roast. Center cut pork roast is too lean. For quicker cooking you can use  pre-cut ‘country style’ ribs.Country style ribs are the blade end of a pork loin, halved crosswise then sawed into 1″ or greater strips. They will appear 1″ x 6″ long and have a good lean to fat ratio to create tenderness.  A piece of pork with a  fatty appearance will make  tender, moist pulled pork. If you can get your butcher to butterfly or bone, a bone in piece is preferred. The first stage of cooking is roasting and caramelizing bone in meats that will develop a richer taste.

  • Pork, bone in preferred, cut into large 6″ chunks or Butterflied
  • 1-2 quarts Chicken Stock or bouillon made from  cubes or powder
  • 2-3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup each mirapoix- diced Carrots, Onions & Celery
  • 2 tablespoons  vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Green, or Variety Peppers cut into strips.  Jalapeno optional
  • 2 tablespoons Salt, 1 tablespoon Pepper & these spices: 2 tablespoons Chili Powder, 1 tablespoon each Cumin, Oregano, Garlic powder-optional, Pepper flakes-optional.  OR if You have Adobo Brand Spice Mix, Use 4 tablespoons plus Cumin and Chili powder Only
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • Condiments optional, BBQ sauce, Bread & Butter Pickles, Spicy mustard.
  • Slider Rolls or Corn Bread

Mix Thoroughly all dry ingredients, Sugar, Salt, pepper and spices. I do taste mixture to see if it needs a little something. DO NOT add extra salt at this time, you can always salt later, chicken broth will also add salt.

Rub mixture into all surfaces of the meat,  The more surface areas exposed and spiced the better the depth of flavor. Let set for an hour or more as a dry marinade in the fridge. Overnight is better.

Preheat oven to 350, If you have a convection use the fan feature. You can also grill in a BBQ on indirect heat. In large open pan roast or indirect BBQ for at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn frequently to allow all sides to brown. If you want to omit the sugar due to dietary concerns, the fat will still allow the meat to caramelize without it. The roasting and then simmering method with spices and vinegar produces, the savory, sweet, spicy, yummy taste they call Umami.

While meat is roasting saute the mirapoix mixture in the vegetable oil,  allowing a light caramelization,  the vegetables do not need to be cooked until soft.

In a large dutch oven, stock pot or crock pot, place cooked vegetables. Add 3 cups of stock and one cup of cider vinegar. Remove meat from oven, place cooked meat into stock pot. Deglaze the pan (add 1 cup of stock to pan), scrape all bits of browned pieces and spices into the liquid, pour all of the liquid into the pot with the meat. Add Green pepper mixture.

Add a combination of Vinegar &  remaining stock to completely cover the meat. Ratio should be 1 part vinegar to 3 parts stock. 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup ratio.

Stove-top, simmer meat on low for 2-3 hours until fork tender. Set crock pot on low for about 6 hours. You can use a pressure cooker for 30-45 minutes to accomplish the same. Do not completely submerge in liquid. Fill liquid to 1/3 full only. When pressure cooking check  half way through to make sure all liquid has not been dissipated.

After meat is tender, it should shred when touched with a fork. Remove all pork to a platter. Strain leftover liquid, and reserve, this will be your liquid to keep your pork moist. Liquid can also be used on the side as a mopping sauce. The liquid may be fatty, skim fat from top as it rises.

Pull pork apart with two forks to shred. Remove all bones and fat and discard. Place shredded pork into a foil tray for warming or back into crock pot. When pork is finished, add only enough of the reserved liquid to moisten the pork. It should not be soupy. Keep heated until serving, or refrigerate and reheat before serving.  Cooked meat can also be frozen.

Serve as a main meat with cornbread or as sandwich/sliders. Reserved liquid can also be used southern-style as a side mopping sauce. Add your favorite BBQ sauce or spicy mustard as condiments.  Butter pickles also adds a nice twist. For those with needing a gluten free option, serve with Gluten Free Cornbread, or Breads. Udi’s make a great selection of bread and rolls. Homemade Cornbread or muffins is pretty easy.

You can cook with an oven only method without  liquids if you prefer. LEAVE WHOLE. Roast or indirect BBQ for 3 1/2-4  hours as a whole pork shoulder or butt @ 275 degrees. Remove, wrap completely with foil for 1 hour after cooking. Set on counter to cool. After an hour the meat will still be warm to hot, shred and remove all fat and bone before serving. De-glazing the pan with chicken stock and little vingar will give you a bit of liquid to keep the meat moist. It will be a bit drier, but tasty.