Conventional wisdom holds that it’s best to try out a recipe before cooking it for company. I tend to agree. But, sometimes it just can’t be avoided.
Case in point, in my case (now there’s a mouthful): slow cooked pork shoulder.
The truth is, I had slow cooked pork once before, but it was a different recipe, and I was acting as the sous chef. In that instance the title really meant that I fetching ingredients, going so far as to make a New Year’s morning trip to the local grocery store. So, yeah, not much kitchen time after all.
But, I had wanted to cook up a summer picnic since sometime in the Spring. As with anything, the best laid plans sometimes get derailed by living. I was determined not to let this one go. However, as I live alone, testing out a recipe that calls for 5-7 pounds of meat seemed an unrealistic proposition.
I was going to have to wing it on this one and hope against hope that I didn’t screw it up.
I’m happy to report that it was a resounding success. The trick here is letting low heat and time do the bulk of the work for you. There’s some prep worka dry rub that can be applied up to the day before.
And, you’ll have to pull it. But that’s quick work since, by the time you’re at this step, the meat will have almost fallen off of the bone. Besides, by that point, all of your guests will have arrived, to keep you entertained while you put the finishing touches on the dinner.
This pork doesn’t need much. Just some barbecue sauce (see note below), white bread, and slaw. I’ll be posting a recipe for slaw in the next few days, so check back.
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence
The biggest change that I made to this recipe was to double up the rub and use a mix of cayenne and paprika to make the pork a little spicier. I also served the barbecue sauce on the side, rather than mixing it in with the pulled pork. I thought the meat was plenty tender on its own, so didn’t need nearly as much sauce on it as the recipe suggests. Since that’s a matter of personal preference, I’m including the recipe here. Florence suggests you mix half of the sauce with the pulled pork from the get go and use the rest to moisten as needed.
4 TBS paprika
3 TBS cayenne pepper
2 TBS garlic powder
2 TBS dark brown sugar
2 TBS dry mustard
6 TBS kosher salt
6-8 pound pork shoulder
Trim excess fat off of the pork shoulder and pat dry.
In a small bowl mix the paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together and combine to form a rub. Spread the spice rub all over the pork and marinate, covered, at least one hour and up to overnight.
When you are ready to cook the pork, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pork in a roasting pan and bake it for approximately 6 hours. The pork will be ready when its falling apart and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the pork roast from the oven and allow it to rest at least ten minutes. While the pork is still warm, pull the meat into shreds using two forks. Hold one form in place and use the other to pull the meat away.
Serve the shredded pork with barbecue sauce (recipe follows), white bread and slaw.
1.5 cups cider vinegar
1 cup mustard (I used Dijon)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer, stirring for at least ten minutes until the sugar dissolves and the sauce becomes thick. Take off of the heat and allow to cool to just above room temperature.