That outdoor grilling is a manly pursuit has long been beyond question. If this wasn't firmly understood, you'd never get grown men to put on those aprons with pictures of dancing wienies and things on the front... – William Geist
|The finished beast: pulled pork with white tiger slaw on a ciabatta bun.|
Yesterday I posted about ciabatta buns, so today I’m going to post about how we used them.
We had barbecue – in the dead of winter. And not just any barbecue, but pulled pork.
|When life gives you lemons... This is a pork loin.|
It really should be a pork shoulder (butt) roast.
At this juncture I have to admit to a “seniors moment,” even though I'm far from being a senior.
I thawed out what I thought was a pork shoulder. It was covered with frost and it was pork. Later on – after it was thawed – I discovered that it wasn’t a shoulder. It was a loin. Dejection.
That’s a big difference in the world of pulled pork. What in Canada we call pork shoulder (also known as pork butt in the USA) is the preferred cut for barbecuing pulled pork.
The process of making pulled pork requires low and slow cooking. The fat marbling and sinews in the roast break down and tenderize from within, making succulent meat that almost melts in your mouth.
Pork loin, on the other hand, has very little fat at all through the meat. That means it can be one nasty, dry piece of pork if you’re not careful. It’s about the last piece of meat to use for pulled pork you would ever want.
|Pretend this is a shoulder, nicely browned.|
So there I was, staring at a loin roast. I just had to make the best of it so I blithely carried on, undeterred (but a little apprehensive). Thank goodness it still had its fat cap on and was on the bone. Those two facts may very well have been my saving grace.
So when you look at the photos with this post, think shoulder, even though you’re seeing loin... The result wasn’t really all that bad. I’ve had more moist pulled pork, but the flavour was excellent. So it will work well with shoulder.
It had just the right amount of spicy smokiness. Since this was all done in the oven, the smokiness came from the use of “liquid smoke.” That product is made by distilling smoke through water and then concentrating it. It’s probably terrible for you, but at least it’s not a man-made chemical.
Besides the fantastic buns to hold the pork I made a “two for the price of one” recipe.
I’m sure many readers have heard of Baltimore tiger sauce. It’s a horseradish-based sauce for on pulled pork sandwiches. Lots of people also add cole slaw for some crunchiness either on top or on the side.
I combined the two into the spiciest cole slaw you’ve ever had. It was a perfect accompaniment to the sweet smokiness of the barbecued pork.
This meal does take some time (like this coming Saturday), but the majority of it is hands-off cooking. So it’s not involved. Even yesterday’s buns weren’t much work. They rise overnight.
So if you want to have a great meal for your family that looks like a lot of work (but really isn’t) think barbecued pulled pork, in the dead of winter.
Just make sure you start with the right cut of meast!!
|The end result was fall-apart tender, even with a loin.|
Barbecued Pulled Pork
Time: 5.5 hours | Serves 6-8
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup salt
1.5 kg (about 3 lb) pork shoulder roast
1-1/2 cups vinegar
1 tsp liquid smoke
1-1/2 cups barbecue sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp powdered garlic
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Pace the pork roast in a container and sprinkle with the 1/2 cup of salt. Add enough water to just cover the meat and brine for 1 hour.
At the end of the hour, remove the meat, rinse well and pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the spice rub ingredients together and firmly rub into the surface of the meat.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven (or other heavy ovenproof dish with a cover). Brown the roast on all sides.
Mix the liquid smoke with the vinegar and pour around the roast in the pan.
Cover the pot tightly and place in the oven. Braise the pork for 4 hours. Keep checking periodically, especially for the last hour, and add a little water if necessary for the pot not to dry completely.
At the end of the cooking time remove the roast and shred the meat into long strands using two forks to pull it apart. (Hence the name, pulled pork.)
Gently heat 1-1/2 to 2 cups of your favourite barbecue sauce. Toss the meat with the warmed sauce and serve immediately.
You can also toss with cold sauce and reheat the shredded pork when ready to use. Add a little water and cover tightly with aluminum foil to keep in the moisture.
|Like all cole slaws, this comes together in minutes.|
White Tiger Slaw
Time: 5 min | Servings: 6-8 sandwiches
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup creamed horseradish
1-1/2 tbs dry yellow mustard
2 tbs sour cream
2 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup grated carrot
Mix the mayonnaise, horseradish, mustard and sour cream in a bowl. Grate or julienne the carrot and shred the cabbage.
Mix the vegetables together with the sauce and serve.
If making this as a side dish, as opposed to a sandwich topping, double everything.
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