Wednesday, July 29, 2009

For Posterity--the pulled pork recipe, because it worked.

Homemade Pulled Pork

Step One--cook the pork

For some batches I did it this way:
1 Tbsp. turmeric
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. granulated garlic
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar

Cut a pork loin (8-10 lbs.) into approximately four equal pieces. Rub each chunk with the seasonings. Use two crockpots and put two seasoned chunks into each crockpot. Sprinkle any remaining seasoning equally over the tops. Add a scant cup of water (maybe 3/4 cup). Cook on high for 4 hours, then on low for 4 hours. Remove from crockpots, pick off the fat and shred the meat with forks.

Reserve the broth. Cool, skim off fat, then warm it up and strain it through cheesecloth (or an old t-shirt, that's what I used, lining a colander). When making repeated batches, don't bother about skimming and straining until the end, just keep it in a pitcher or something, and use this liquid instead of water to moisten each ensuing batch.

When I got burned out on mixing my own seasonings to rub the pork, I just used Goya Adobo seasoning (available in the Goya part of the foreign foods aisle at Wegman's). It is good.

While the pork is cooking...

Step 2--make the barbecue sauce

(I start this right at the end of the cooking time for the pork, just before I get ready to take it out and shred it)

1/3 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cans tomato paste
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1-2 (I like 2) tsp. liquid smoke
a little water, as needed

In a fairly large saucepan, melt the butter and cook the onion in it until very soft. Add the brown sugar and continue cooking until caramelized.
Stir in 2 cans of tomato paste. Then add the molasses, apple cider vinegar, salt, granulated garlic and liquid smoke. Add about 1/4 cup water, and simmer, loosely covered, over very low heat until pork has been shredded. If it takes you a long time (more than an hour) to finish shredding the pork, be sure to check the sauce, stir and add more water if needed.

Step 3--combine the pork and the sauce

After shredding the pork, it should fit into one crockpot (if you are using two of different sizes, use the bigger one at this point). Put the shredded pork into the crockpot (remember, you drained off the broth earlier), and pour the barbecue sauce over it. You may want to do it in two or three layers... pork, sauce, pork, sauce, etc. Cook on low for another hour or so for flavors to meld. Cool and put into freezer bags. (I prepared 5 loins, but only thawed and served 3.)

If you are making a lot and reheating it for a graduation party, here is where all that reserved, skimmed and strained broth comes in... as you are reheating the pulled pork before the party starts, add some broth now and then to keep it moist.

Serve with a bottle of nice, smokey BBQ sauce on the side for people to use as a condiment.

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