I'm fessing up right from the git-go...the title of this post is misleading (because my pulled pork ending up being chopped). I wanted to pull it, but best laid plans, yatta, yatta. My timing wasn't good and I had twelve hungry people over, so I did what I had to do to get dinner on the plates. These things happen (fairly often to me actually). No one really cares anyway. Chopped, pulled...once you hand someone a tender pork sandwich, lovingly rubbed and smoked for hours, trust me, no one is dissecting it (within five minutes, they're too busy digesting it).
NORTH CAROLINA PULLED PORK
Makes 10 to 12 servings
For the rub:
1 tablespoon mild paprika
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the barbecue:
6 cups hickory chips or chunks, soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover and drained
1 Boston butt (bone-in pork shoulder roast; 5-6 lb.), covered with a thick (½-inch) layer of fat
For vinegar sauce:
2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, or more to taste
5 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
4 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 1/3 cups water
10 to 12 hamburger buns
1. Make the rub: combine all the rub ingredients in a bowl and toss with your fingers to mix. Rub the spice mixture onto the pork shoulder on all sides, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably 8 hours.
2. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and place a drip pan in the center.
3. If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips in the smoker box and preheat the grill to high; when smoke appears, reduce the heat to medium.
If using a charcoal grill, preheat the grill to medium-low and adjust the vents to obtain a temperature of 300° F.
4. When ready to cook, if using charcoal, toss 1 cup of the wood chips on the coals. Place the pork shoulder, fat side up, on the hot grate over the drip pan. Cover the grill and smoke cook the pork shoulder until fall-off-the-bone tender and the internal temperature on an instant-read meat thermometer reaches 195° F., 4 to 6 hours (the cooking time will depend on the size of the pork roast and the heat of the grill). If using charcoal, you'll need to add 10 to 12 fresh coals to each side every hour and toss more wood chips on the fresh coals; add about 1/2 cup per side every time you replenish the coals. With gas, all you need to do is be sure that you start with a full tank of gas. If the pork begins to brown too much, drape a piece of aluminum foil loosely over it or lower the heat.
5. Make the vinegar sauce: Combine vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and white pepper with 1 1/3 cups water in a nonreactive medium-size bowl and whisk until the sugar and salt dissolve. Taste for seasoning, adding more brown sugar and/or salt as necessary; the sauce should be piquant but not quite sour.
6. Transfer the pork roast to a cutting board, loosely tent it with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes.
7. Wearing heavy-duty rubber gloves if desired, pull off and discard any skin from the meat, then pull the pork into pieces, discarding any bones or fat. Using your fingertips or a fork, pull each piece of pork into shreds 1 to 2 inches long and 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide. This requires time and patience, but a human touch is needed to achieve the perfect texture. If patience isn't one of your virtues, you can finely chop the pork with a cleaver (many respected North Carolina barbecue joints serve chopped 'cue).
8. Transfer the shredded pork to a nonreactive roasting pan. Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the vinegar sauce, enough to keep the pork moist, then cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it on the grill for up to 30 minutes to keep warm.
9. To serve, mound the pulled pork on the hamburger buns and top with coleslaw. Let each person add more vinegar sauce to taste.
from The Barbecue! Bible 10th Anniversary Edition by Steven Raichlen
|ay, there's the rub|
|rubbing the pork shoulder|
|hickory chips soaking|
|jamming the smoker box in (I'm sure I wasn't doing it right because |
it seemed very awkward, but it smoked, so hey, whatever works).
|pork shoulder just put on the grill|
|after a few hours|
|almost done (just look at that tasty bark on the outside)|
|large chunks of pork|
|vinegar sauce (I used less red pepper flakes |
hoping it would appeal more to the kids)
|mixing pork with vinegar sauce|
|pork on a bun|
|coleslaw on top|
|close up (deeeelicious)|
Would you turn it down just because it isn't pulled?
I didn't think so.