Carolina Style Pulled Pork

I had been having trouble with my smoker and maintaining the heat in it while cooking.  One of the suggestions I had gotten was to cook with lava rock on the heating element, and so I set out to Grill Works in Marion to pick up some lava rock and because I had read that I might not want to put the lava rock onto the heating element itself and damage the heating element, I ended up adjusting and turning the heating element upside down.  This resulted in not getting as much smoke and while the temperature stayed constant, it didn’t seem to heat as much as I would have liked it to heat.  Next time, I’ll likely try putting less lava rock with the heating element facing the correct direction.

Nonetheless, this recipe from Food and Wine 2009 tasted delicious.  I was so glad to bring it into work to share with others and then continue to eat.  I even considered adding it to a pizza, but didn’t end up making the pizza.

Carolina-Style Pulled Pork

Carolina-Style Pulled Pork

1/4 c dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp sweet paprika
2 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp dry mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
7 1/2 lb bone-in pork shoulder, skin removed and thick layer of fat scored
3/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c yellow mustard
2 Tbsp honey

In a bowl, mix the brown sugar with the paprika, chile powder, dry mustard and 2 Tsp each of salt and black pepper; rub the spice mixture all over the pork.  Refrigerate the pork, covered, overnight.

Light a grill (smoker).  Set a drip pan in the center of the grill bottom and surround with a single layer of lit coals.  Place the pork fat side up on the grill over the drip pan.  Cover and cook for about 8 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 175 degrees.  Replenish with a layer of lit coals every hour as needed to maintain a steady temperature of 200 to 250 degrees inside the grill.  Transfer the pork to a rimmed baking sheet and cover loosely with foil.  Let rest 30 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk the vinegar, mustard, honey, and 2 teaspoons of pepper.  Pull the pork from the bone in large shreds.  Add the pork to the mustard sauce and toss.  Season with salt and serve with the buns.


Best Smoked Pulled Pork

I have mentioned my intentions for making more ice cream this summer.  About the same time I obtained the ice cream maker, I also acquired a smoker, which I haven’t used often enough.  I blame it on not being home all the time and rarely having a day when I’m here most of the day, but that might not be legitimate.  Either way, using the smoker has not been something I’ve done frequently.  There’s also the possibility that I’ll never be as good as my dad, just like there are a few recipes my mom makes that I refuse to do because I can’t get it quite right…

I decided to try and use the smoker a little more and when pork was on sale, I bought a pork shoulder and found this recipe on the Sweet C’s Designs website.  It was really good.  It had a nice amount of bark, and I really appreciated the additional flavor offered by the cardamom and cinnamon.  I heard on a podcast a couple weeks ago about the role of cardamom in recipes and this seemed like a fun way to add it.

So, for a week, I snacked on this pork.  I added it to eggs, salads, sandwiches, and ate it on its own.

Best Smoked Pulled Pork

Best Smoked Pulled Pork

1 pork shoulder or Boston butt
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp seasoning salt
2 Tbsp ground pepper
3 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp celery salt
2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp cardamom

Mix ingredients except for pork together in a bowl.  Remove the pork from package, pat dry with paper towels and allow to come to room temperature.  Apply rub and refrigerate overnight.  Soak wood chips overnight in water.

Remove meat from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.  Prepare smoker.  When coals are glowing and gray, add the pork to the smoker.  Keep the meat as far from the fire as possible.  Add a handful of wet wood chips/block to fire.  Cover and let cook.  You’ll want to keep your temperature between 200 and 225 degrees.  It should take 12-14 hours to smoke a 7-10 pound butt.

Cook until meat is at least 185 degrees, but it will pull apart easier if it gets to 205 degrees.

Pork Shoulder Roasted with Citrus Mojo

After making some salsas as of late, and pulling out the Twin Cities Chef’s Table cookbook to throw together the Crusher Cookies, I was flipping through it and one recipe caught my eye.  This recipe for Brasa’s Pork Shoulder Roasted with Citrus Mojo looked ideal for a week when I had evening commitments and could eat on this recipe over and over.  The cookbook is a collection of recipes from different restaurants in the Twin Cities, this one from Brasa.  Click on the website and tell me you don’t want to go there today to eat.

Pork Shoulder Roasted with Citrus Mojo

Brasa’s Pork Shoulder Roasted with Citrus Mojo

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c minced onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 c fresh lemon juice
1 c fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
5 lb bone-in pork shoulder

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the lemon and orange juices and simmer for 2 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar.  Transfer half of the mojo to a blender and let cool.  Refrigerate the remaining mojo.

Meanwhile, in a jar, shake together the garlic and onion powders, pepper, and cumin.  Add 2 tablespoons of this dry rub to the mojo in the blender, reserve the remaining rub.  Add Worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon salt to the blender and puree until smooth.

Put the pork in a sealable 1-gallon plastic bag and pour in the marinade.  Press as much air as you can from the bag and seal.  Refrigerate pork for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.  Bring the pork to room temperature before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set a rack in a roasting pan large enough to hold the pork.  Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.  Rub the meat all over with the remaining dry rub and transfer pork to the rack.  Roast pork for 3 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees.  Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees and roast the meat for approximately 3 hours longer, until very tender and an instant-read thermometer reads 180 degrees.  Remove the roast from the oven and cover with foil; let rest for 30 minutes.

Shred the meat, discarding the bones and excess fat.  Season pork with salt and pepper.  Serve with the remaining mojo.

All-Day Pork Shoulder with Apple Cider

This is another recipe from the Small Victories cookbook, that I decided to make as a response to the challenge.  It seemed like the perfect night before Thanksgiving sandwich, simple, tender meat, and a nice contrast to the turkey we’d have the next day.

All-Day Pork Shoulder with Apple Cider.jpg

All-Day Pork Shoulder with Apple Cider

2 tsp salt
1/4 c maple syrup, dark brown sugar, or honey
1/4 c Dijon mustard
4 1/2 lb pork shoulder, at room temperature
2 c apple cider

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, maple syrup, and mustard.  Rub the pork all over with the mixture and put fat side up in a large roasting dish or cast-iron skillet that holds it comfortably.  Pour the apple cider around, not over the pork.

Roast the pork for 15 minutes, just long enough to let the maple syrup start forming a crust on top, then turn the temperature to 250 degrees.  Let the pork roast, turning it once every 2 hours, until the exterior is beautifully browned and the meat is incredibly tender, 7 hours (6 hours are okay, as are 8, this isn’t too exact).

Transfer the pork to a cutting board and use a knife and/or tongs to shred the meat.  Return the meat to the roasting dish to really saturate the pork with all of its juice.  Serve it warm.  Or if you’re making the pork ahead of time, shred it and let it cool to room temperature in its cooking liquid, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.  Warm in a 300-degree oven or over low heat on the stovetop.