A couple weeks ago, someone posted a link on twitter to this blog, which posted the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Indoor Pulled Pork. I couldn’t wait to try it. It seemed like the perfect idea for Superbowl Sunday and after a few busy weeks, we fortunately had the time and flexibility this past weekend to give it a whirl.
Week: 6 of 52
Cookbook: Cook’s Illustrated, January 2010
I can’t have a pulled pork sandwich without coleslaw, so it goes without saying that the first thing I did was make a batch. Green cabbage + onion + carrot + a little green pepper mixed with a bit of mayo and cider vinegar is a simple, but great slaw.
Now on to the pork! This recipe called for a boneless pork shoulder of about 5 lbs. I took a smaller piece of about 2 pounds given everything else we were serving (wings, chips, sliders), so if the pictures look off, that’s why. The shoulder is brined first in a mixture of salt, sugar, and liquid smoke for 2 hours. Once brined, it’s dried off and then to prepare the pork for baking, you coat it first in a mixture of yellow mustard and liquid smoke. Then you sprinkle on a spice rub of sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
The pork is baked on a rack in a lined, rimmed cookie sheet, covered in parchment paper and aluminum foil for 3 hours at 325. The covering keeps the moisture in. I knocked a little time off this for the smaller piece of meat, but I think it could go the full 3 hours regardless of size.
After 3 hours, pull off the foil and parchment and pour off the cooking liquid and fat collected in the pan and set aside. Place pork back in the oven, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, until outside is well browned, crisped and the temperature inside the pork reaches 200 degrees.
Once removed from the oven, let the pork rest for 20 minutes before shredding. In the meantime, separate the fat from the reserved cooking liquid and mix with the ingredients for the desired barbecue sauce. I made the sweet and tangy sauce, with ketchup, molasses, Worcestershire, and hot sauce.
Mix the barbecue sauce with the shredded pork and serve on a toasted bun, topped with coleslaw, and serve! This was a really great iteration of pulled pork without having to do all the work on a grill. I’d still like to try it the authentic way, but for now, I would happily do this again.
Oh, we also made hamburger sliders with a horseradish-mustard-mayo sauce, Vermont cheddar, and onion rings. It was my attempt at recreating the wonderful burgers at the bar at Michael Schlow’s Radius, and it worked pretty well.
- Boneless pork shoulder
- Liquid Smoke
- Cayenne Pepper
- Yellow Mustard
- Black Pepper
- Buns (we were able to get wonderful slider buns from Iggy’s at a local Whole Foods – they were perfect!)
- Ingredients for desired barbecue sauce
- Parchment Paper
- Aluminum Foil
- Baking Sheet & Rack