Thursday, July 2, 2009
There's not much I like better than pulled pork. There's just something about the shredded, succulent meat that really hits the spot. As much as I like it, I must confess, the only time I ever tried making it at home was in a slow cooker. The result was enjoyable, but not even close to the real thing.
Last summer, I kept trying to work up the courage to try my own pulled pork, but I didn't trust myself. I let a whole summer of grilling go by, without attempting one of my favourite dishes. I was determined not to repeat the same mistake this summer, so last Sunday afternoon, I finally took the plunge.
My pulled-pork plan started Saturday, at the Moncton Farmer's Market. I bought a boneless pork roast from Springbrook Farms. They raise apple fed pork and free range chicken, I visit their stall every week. The farmer who works the stand is friendly, knowledgeable and clearly cares about the food he raises and sells.
On Sunday afternoon, I took the roast out of the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile I started a two-zone fire and soaked about four cups of hickory chips in water.
While the coals were ashing over, I made a tangy barbecue sauce and put together a dry spice rub. The rub consisted of a the following: kosher salt, cracked black pepper, brown sugar, paprika, chipotle chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder. I mixed the spices together and coated the roast all over. I worked extra hard to press the rub into the flesh to allow for maximum flavour.
Once the fire was ready, I placed the roast over a drip pan, sprinkled on the wood chips and placed the cover on the barbecue. The key to smoking is fighting the urge to look, you just have to trust that the fire and smoke are doing good things to the meat.
Ideally you want the internal temperature of your pork to reach F190 degrees. It took my roast a little over four hours for this to happen. If you're using a charcoal grill, you need to add coals and more wood chips to the fire, throughout the cooking process. I added about ten coals every 45 minutes or so.
Once the pork is done, you cover it in foil and let it stand for about thirty minutes. Afterward the pork should pull apart easily by hand or be shredded with a fork. Mix the meat with a tangy barbecue sauce and serve.
I was really pleased with my first effort at pulled-pork. I served it with barbecued baked beans. It was a deadly combination of tangy barbecue goodness. After I finished enjoying the meal, I sat in a pork-induced euphoria, and wondered why I had denied myself such wonderful barbecue experience for so long. I can't wait to try it again.
What I used:
One 4 pound pork roast (next time I will use a bigger one)
4 cups of soaked hickory chips
1 tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
t tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
tangy barbecue sauce (recipe will be featured in future post)
(If there is left over rub you are not using, you can toss it into your barbecue sauce to add even more flavour).
Note: When smoking meat, you often get a pink smoke ring, which should not be mistaken for undercooked flesh.
This recipe was greatly inspired by one found in Weber's Charcoal Grilling: The Art of Cokking with a Live Fire