Thursday, January 27, 2011

Indoor Pulled Pork

Fun fact about me: I love barbecue.  I don't love TO BBQ, I just enjoy eating it.  I don't know where this came from, but really who doesn't love smoked meats?  And in keeping with the spirit of being a giver (because that's what I am you know, A GIVER), I am going to share with you an E-A-S-Y recipe for delightful pulled pork.

BBQ purists, beware.... I didn't say this was authentic, or slow-roasted, or Memphis-style, or any other particular barbecue adjective.  It IS easy, tasty, and my kids eat it.

Indoor Pulled Pork
from Cook's Illustrated

1 cup plus 2tsp Salt
1/2 cup plus 2TBS Sugar
3TBS plus 2tsp Liquid Smoke
1 boneless Pork Butt (about 5lbs), cut in half horizontally
1/4 cup Yellow Mustard
2TBS ground Black Pepper
2TBS Smoked Paprika
1tsp Cayenne Pepper


  1. Dissolve 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3TBS liquid smoke in 4 quarts cold water in large container.  Submerge pork in brine, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate fro 2 hours. 
  2. While pork brines, combine mustard and remaining 2tsp liquid smoke in a small bowl; set aside.  Combine black pepper, paprika, remaining 2TBS sugar, remaining 2tsp salt, and cayenne in second small bowl; set aside.  Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. 
  3. Remove pork from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Rub mustard mixture over entire surface of each piece of pork.  Sprinkle entire surface of each piece with spice mixture.  Place pork on wire rack set inside foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Place piece of parchment paper over pork, then cover with aluminum foil, sealing edges to prevent moisture from escaping.  Roast pork for 3 hours.  
  4. Remove pork from oven; remove & discard foil & parchment.  Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well-browned, tender, and internal temperature reaches 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (about 1 1/2 hours).  Transfer pork to serving dish, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.  
  5. Using two forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces.  If desired, toss with BBQ sauce and season with salt & pepper.  
Chef's notes:  
  • I buy pork butt at Costco.  Yes, you buy 15 lbs. of it, but it's boneless, and the cost comes out to about $5/ meal.  
  • I have used all yellow mustard, and a mix of yellow and Dijon.  Equally good.  
  • The spice mix is H-O-T.  I backed off everything, especially the black pepper, & was much happier with the outcome.  
  • Once you uncover the meat to finish cooking it, watch carefully.  I only roasted it for another half hour & it was perfect - moist, tender, and so flavorful.  When I cooked it for the full hour-and-a-half, it was dry and tough.  
  • I serve this with Brioche Buns from Annie's Eats. SO GOOD.  

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