I’ve had an itch to try doing homemade pull porked for a few weeks, and I finally got my act together last night and this morning to analyze recipes, and get started reasonably early.
Most of the recipes I found online were for the slow-cooker. We’ve got one of those, but the ceramic pot part is presently doing duty as the crock for a batch of mincemeat (a post for another day…). On top of that, pulled pork from a slow-cooker crock-pot just doesn’t feel like it’s even close to being true to style. On the other hand, we don’t have a smoker, and the incipient snow that is mixed in with the usual Vancouver December rain today makes the prospect of using the gas grill, er, uninviting. So, oven roasting it shall be.
My inspiration is this recipe from the CBC Vancouver Cooking Club that features the work of George Siu and Park Heffelfinger of Memphis Blues Barbeque House. That said, I’ve strayed a long way from their recipe…
Let’s start with the rub. I decided to use ingredients on hand, substitute some fresh ingredients for dried, and use way less salt:
fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped (~1/2 cup)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped (~2 tbsp)
1 large shallot, finely chopped (~3 tbsp)
1 tbsp dried oregano
1.5 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
It’s plenty moist thanks to the fresh cilantro, garlic, and shallot, so I guess we have to call it a wet rub…
Rubbed on to all sides of a 4.7 lb pork butt roast, and ready to got into the over, fat cap side up:
About 90 minutes into the initial roasting for 3.5 hours at 300ºF, and looking yummy. I used the “traditional” top and bottom heat setting on our convection oven (no fan) for “low and slow” cooking.
After 3.5 hours of roasting, I removed the roast from the oven and wrapped it in foil so that it would finish cooking by steaming in its own moisture. Then it was back into the oven (still at 300ºF, traditional) for 90 more minutes, with a check for doneness (is it ready to fall apart?) at that time. If it wasn’t ready to be pulled, it could have been cooked for another half hour, but that wasn’t the case.
The roasting pan was well coated with caramelized and burned juices, so I opted to transfer to a big bowl for the pulling. I kept the juices that were inside the foil, and drained what juices I could from the roasting pan. Then I went to work with a pair of forks and pulled the meat apart. The bone just fell out to be discarded. By the time I had shredded all of the meat with the forks it had cooked enough that I could dive in with both hands, and “knead” the juices into the meat. Yum!
The first meal that we had from this roast was paired with Driftwood Fat Tub IPA for me, and Merridale Scrumpy cider for Susan. The sides were a bean salad, and my mother’s Johnny Cake:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup corn meal
1 c buttermilk
1-1/3 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. Add the corn meal and buttermilk. Sift the remaining dry ingredients together, add to the wet, and mix.
Bake 20 minutes at 400ºF on the pizza setting of our convection oven (or 30 minutes on the traditional, no fan setting).
I had run out of energy to do anything special about a sauce, so we just used some Compliments Kansas City style sauce left over from a Whistler weekend in the summer. Thinking about sauces, though, reminded me of the 6 or 8 different ones that we tried at Kev’s Smoke House in Stayton, OR on our cycletour in August. Must look some of those up for next time…
Overall, I’m happy with how this turned out. It takes time, but mostly it’s just cooking time. Having done it once I know that as long as I get started before noon, I can just relax and enjoy the great smells from the kitchen the next time I get the itch.