Posted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 2:10 pm Post subject: Carolina Pulled Pork
Since Clotilde has now designated "pulled pork" as the confit of the South from her excellent trip, I would love to share my tried and true recipe. North Carolina is arguably the BBQ (the southern name for "pulled pork") capital of the world.
Eastern NC serves a fiery vinegar sauce on theirs. Westhern NC, also know as Lexington style, serves a tomato based sauce with theirs. The recipe below is more western NC style.
The secret of pulled pork's melting tenderness is the low and slow method of cooking--it must not be cooked at a higher temp.
I hope you all enjoy this.
Carolina Pulled pork It is truly easy and delicious.
1 pork shoulder or butt, bone in or out--any size--the cooking time is the same for a 3#or 8# piece.
BBQ rub of your choice or just rub the meat with a mixture of coarse ground black pepper and brown sugar. Let marinate 8 hours or overnight.
Method 1--IF you have a smoker that can control the temp (I have a sidebox smoker and can keep the temp as low as 200*-250*) smoke the meat for 4 hours, keeping the temp low--225-250*. Then place the meat in a 250* oven for 4 hours to finish. It will be meltingly tender and have a wonderful smoky flavor.
Method 2 (and this is the one I have really used for 30 years). Place the meat in a 250* oven for 8 hours uncovered . I have often done them overnight. It will still have the melting tenderness. (The internal temp should be at least 190*)
When ready to serve pull chunks of meat off and then "pull" the meat into shreds by pulling between 2 forks. Do not discard the fat--mix it in. This is not a low fat dish and to really enjoy, use it!!!
For a traditional Carolina serving method very lightly moisten the meat with sweetened vinegar (1 qt. vinegar + 1/4C sugar and 2TBS coarse black pepper).There should be so little of this vinegar on the meat that it cannot be detected.
To warm before serving put the vinegared meat in a pan (black iron frying pan is good) and cover tightly. Heat at 250* until heated. The meat is served without BBQ "sauce". It is added at the table by the folks eating it--never on it before serving.
To serve, offer bbq sauces, cole slaw (in the Carolinas, it goes ON the sandwich), baked beans, rolls/buns, and banana pudding. For fall bbq's Brunswick Stew is often served.
For BBQ sauce here is my tomato based:
1 bottle ketchup (28 or 32 oz.)
1 ketchup bottle of cider vinegar
6 oz. yellow mustard
6 oz. worcestershire sauce
1/2C brown sugar
3 oz. liquid smoke-optional
2-3 TBS coarse black pepper
Tabasco or Texas Pete sauce to your taste
Simmer for 45 minutes.
If you use commercial bbq sauce I suggest diluting them 1/2 with vinegar for this use.
Eastern NC uses vinegar sauces--sweetened vinegar with 1/4C (at least!!) cayenne pepper OR black pepper. It is too hot for me!
South Carolina uses a mustard based sauce
The meat freezes well--I use a vacuum sealer to preserve it well. I freeze in large pieces, thaw, heat a little and then pull the meat.
Joined: 24 Sep 2004 Posts: 443 Location: Paris, France
Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 11:04 am Post subject:
Thank you so much for the recipe! When it is a little less hot here -- we are reaching the 100's these days -- I will definitely give it a try. Of course, our piggies are not exactly the same as yours, but it should work regardless.
And I second Judy's request for your BBQ rub recipe if you get a chance!
Gretchen, this recipe sounds divine, and by some interesting coincidence I bought a pork shoulder yesterday, then came home to find this superb recipe.
Just a couple of questions...
One of our kids adores pork crackling and would live on it if he was allowed. I'm guessing that I can remove the skin and roast it separately in a hotter oven?
Do you have a favourite BBQ rub recipe that you use?
I'm not sure how to use the sweetened vinegar - does it get sprinkled over the meat after it has been pulled? Or over the whole piece after it's cooked?
Do you freeze the meat after it has been cooked?
Thanks in advance, I'm looking forward to trying this.
About the crackling. If you are talking about the thick hard skin, do take that off and I'm sure you can get it to crackling at 400* for a while. But don't take too much fat with it. If you are talking about just the fat "cap" and not the hard skin, I would leave it on to mix into the final pork.
For a rub, I have used something as simple as brown sugar and coarse black pepper. You can use any of the myriad rubs that are around now. The last one I fixed I mixed some brown sugar, coarse black pepper, good paprika, NM chile powder, and sea salt. And I have often made it (many years ago before rubs were so de rigeur) with nothing on it but pepper.
The vinegar sauce can be used after the meat is pulled--and VERY VERY sparingly. You shouldn't even really be able to tell it's there--but it will be.
And yes, freeze in chunks after cooking. I prefer in chunks. When the pork is pulled it is very "fluffy". It compacts when frozen (although I have done it with leftovers) and is OK--just better freshly pulled I think.
Gretchen--I bet a LOT of people have been eyeing this recipe, you sure make it appealing. Two phrases I love to see in a recipe: "Tried & true", and "freezes well". My questions--if using a smoker, omit the liquid smoke? Or would you opt for the liquid smoke either way? Is it a big part of the flavor?
Thank you, ma'am!
Last edited by gingerpale on Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:31 am; edited 1 time in total
Joined: 29 Sep 2004 Posts: 1196 Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:04 pm Post subject:
What a fantastic recipe, Gretchen, thanks again. I cooked it over the weekend in my toaster oven and it was perfect! I only cooked it for about 6 1/2 hours as the top seemed to be on the verge of burning, perhaps the toaster oven's thermostat wasn't quite right. But the pork was superb! We have had 3 meals from it, including risotto with lemon, leek and pulled pork. And I have taken sandwiches to work a couple of times too. There's still a bit left over, but not much. None of it got anywhere near the freezer, you were right about that, Gretchen.
So this is one C&Z recipe that gets 2 thumbs up! _________________ Doing what you like is freedom
Liking what you do is happiness
[My questions--if using a smoker, omit the liquid smoke? Or would you opt for the liquid smoke either way? Is it a big part of the flavor?
Thank you, ma'am![/quote]
I say "optional" because many people don't like the liquid smoke. No, it isn't a "big" flavor and I like it in BBQ sauce. The smoke that is gotten in the smoker is really not a whole lot--or at least as I do it. Our son really prefers it not smoked at all, but done in the oven--or without chips.
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