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Old 03-30-2009, 12:17 PM   #1
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Oven Pulled Pork

I'm playing around with an oven-method pulled pork (semi-inspired by Alton Brown's method of oven-method baby back ribs).
Picked up some nice pork shoulder that I'm going to dry rub and braise in the oven with a little liquid.

Not sure how it's going to turn out... Here is the gameplan.

4-5lbs. Trimmed Pork Shoulder (Butt End)

DRY RUB:
2-C Brown Sugar
3/4-C Kosher Salt
1-T Onion Powder
1-T Garlic Powder
1-T Chipotle Chile Powder
1-T Black Pepper

THE WET:
1-C Hard Cider
2-T Cider Vinegar
1-T Tomato Paste
1-T Honey
1/2-t Liquid Smoke

I'm going to cut the shoulder into four large 2" thick "steaks" and thoroughly rub them down with the dry rub. Let them rest about an hour for the spices to hydrate and work their way into the meat a bit.

Then I'm going to take some big sheets of tinfoil and lay the pork out. Next, I'm going to roll up the foil, crimp one end, add a 1/2-C of the fluid to each pouch, crimp the other end, and finally stick the foil packs on a cookie sheet in a 300F oven for 3 hours or so.

When the collagen has all melted and the meat is tender, I'll drain the fluids into a saucier and reduce (for a nice tacky sauce). Then shred up the pork and serve on white bread with the sauce.

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Anyone have any good oven-method pulled pork recipes?

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Pictures and results to come.

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Old 03-30-2009, 12:28 PM   #2
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You can make great pulled pork in the oven. However, it should not be braised. Cook it uncovered so a nice crust or bark will form.

Following is my version of oven pulled pork.

BTW, if you are going to the time and trouble to do this, you may as well do two. The cooked and pulled meat freezes well.



Pulled Pork

1 Boneless Pork Butt. Size can vary from 4-8 pounds.

For the Dry Rub:
6 TB Dark Brown Sugar
4 TB Essence
2 TB Salt
2 TB Cumin
2 TB Paprika
2 TB Black Pepper
2 TB Cayenne

Wet Mop Basting Sauce:
1 C White Vinegar
1 C Cider Vinegar
1 TB Dark Brown Sugar
1 TB Red Pepper Flakes
1 TB Black Pepper
1 TB Salt
3 TB Liquid Smoke

Combine the dry rub ingredients.

Rub the seasoning evenly over the pork to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to two days.

The day before cooking the pork, combine the wet mop basting sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a boil and remove from the heat. Refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Bring the pork to room temperature, apply a second coat of the rub and place in a roasting pan, fat side up.

Slow cook it in the oven, basting with the wet mop basting sauce every hour or so.

Continue cooking and basting until the pork is tender and the internal temperature reaches 200-210 F or until the meat readily shreds with a fork. Cooking times will vary from 10-12 hours according to size.

Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

With a knife and fork or two forks, pull the meat apart into shreds.

Toss with barbecue sauce, to taste. Serve on rolls with additional sauce.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:45 PM   #3
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Put your oven on 225/250 and no more. I do 225. I also place my pan of apple juice under the pork and place the pork simply on the exposed oven rack above it. It creates a nice bark all over. If you enclose your pork in aluminum foil it's still good, don't get me wrong. It's just more steaming once those juices get released and is done at a higher temp.

I, personally, am not into a rub of any kind. I simply use olive oil, salt, and pepper. I prefer a vinegar-based sauce but I do that as a finishing product though basting with Andy's wet mop would be just fine by me - especially with no benefit of wood for smoking!!!! The last time I did a 7 - 8 lb. pork butt it took about 20 hours to get to 205 degrees F. I was shooting for 210 but it just wasn't going to happen. Rest for 20 - 30 minutes like Andy said.

I tend to not toss the pulled pork in any bbq sauce but rather pour on as needed i.e., whenever I make a sandwich or a plate. Sometimes the plain pork is good just as is and you can make something else with the leftovers - enchiladas maybe! Also, I never know if I want a red based sauce or a vinegar based sauce.

I agree with Andy - no braising. I really like the oven rack and pan underneath. The apple juice in the pan below really adds a nice flavor to the pork.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:48 PM   #4
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To clarify, I don't sauce the whole batch, I only sauce it when making a sandwich.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:55 PM   #5
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Andy - have you ever made a red slaw to serve on your pulled pork sandwich? It uses the same vinegar-based sauce as I squirt on my sandwich. It's addicting!
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:16 PM   #6
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So you guys recommend a slow roast huh? I'll have to try that next time around for sure. Makes sense I suppose, as the traditional BBQ method is essentially a low n' slow roast (with smoke).

I'm wondering why people cook it for so long at such a low temperature when smoking isn't a part of the process though. The "bark" is certainly something I didn't consider.

I did slice the shoulder into four large planks, which certainly generated a lot of surface area. Perhaps when all the collagen has melted out and it's fall-apart good I'll drain the fluids to reduce into a sauce (as I planned), but I'll put the pork on some racks back in the oven to try and generate some moisture reduction and concentration of flavor on the surface of the meat.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchenelf View Post
Andy - have you ever made a red slaw to serve on your pulled pork sandwich? It uses the same vinegar-based sauce as I squirt on my sandwich. It's addicting!

No, I have only ever made the usual cole slaw. Do you have a recipe?
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:35 AM   #8
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So I altered the dry and wet as follows...

DRY RUB:
2-C Brown Sugar
3/4-C Kosher Salt
1/4-C Smoked Paprika
1-T Onion Powder
1-T Garlic Powder
1-T Chipotle Chile Powder
1-T Black Pepper

THE WET:
1-C Hard Cider
2-T Cider Vinegar
1-T Tomato Paste
1-t Liquid Smoke

Total cooking time was 2.5 hours at 325F. I drained the fluids to reduce in a saucier, and put the meat (just on a sheet of foil) back into a 500F oven. The surface moisture dried up and some of the sugars saturated on the surface of the meat caramelized and darkened, but I felt this was really a waste of time.

The meat was very tender and easily shredded with a couple forks. I did feel that the pork was a bit overshadowed by all the flavors of the rub and sauce. I also felt the salt ratio was a bit high, but not by much.

I like the idea of recapturing all the pork juices - especially all the gelatin that melts out - it really gives a wonderful mouthfeel when reduced and tossed with the shredded pork. It's not dripping with sauce, it just has a finger-licking quality that not tossing with the reduced juices lacks.

-----

I really need to do a side-by-side trial run of a 12-hour slow roast and this "fast" method, but next time I will be simplifying the rub/wet.

I like the sweet molasses flavor from the brown sugar, the faint apple aroma from the hard cider/vinegar, and the smokiness. Next time for the braising method I might forgo the rub entirely and do a true braise with a good initial browning followed by braising with the following...

1-C Hard Cider
1/2-C Brown Sugar
3-T Cider Vinegar
2-T Tomato Paste
1-T Liquid Smoke
1-t Black Pepper
1-T Kosher Salt
1-Clove Garlic - Mashed to Paste

Then once finished I'll drain the fluid along with all the meat juices and reduce into a glaze to toss with the shredded meat. Less salt this time around - I'll just finish the glaze with as much as I want.
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:40 AM   #9
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My bil made some very good pulled pork Saturday in his smoker called the "green egg", a porcelain thing that uses very little charcoal. I'd never seen one, but we do more grilling than smoking. I don't know what rub he used, but the meat was excellent.
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:43 AM   #10
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I cook mine outside on the BBQ for 2 hours and then put in a closed dutch oven with a mop sauce for another 3-4 hours @ 275.

I degrease the sauce and combine it with the pulled meat.
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