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Old 01-13-2007, 01:35 AM   #1
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Pulled pork experiment (in progress).

Ok, a little back story is necessary with this.

As a housewarming gift I recieved a bottle of seasoned rice vinegar (roasted garlic, 12 oz) that I have never found a use for (when I remembered it was in my cabinet at all...). I found it the other day and figured I might want to use it.

Also I wound up with a 6 lb center cut pork loin. A planned party that didn't...long story. Suffice it to say I have this large (for my fridge) cut of meat in my fridge and I'm ready to remove it.

I don't often deal with cuts this large (pre-cut pork chops being about my normal (and boring) speed) and I started wondering what I should use it in. I wound up thinking that BBQ might be something to try. Perhaps some pulled pork?

Trouble is, looking around (both here and other places online) it seems that loin cuts aren't the preferred starting place for pulled pork. "Too lean and too expensive" I've seen numerous places. Too lean means it winds up dry... and expensive means it eats your pocket money. Well, I won't let that dissuade me. There are methods that can keep it from drying out, and what the hey, I didn't buy the main ingredient. If it doesn't work, I'll fix it for next time and use cheaper cuts of meat.

Well, doing some research online, and reviewing what I have in my kitchen, I think I can try to do some pulled pork, and decided to put it up on here to both document and double check my work (hoping more experienced people can catch anything bad before it happens) and maybe get some ideas.

The Plan (so far):
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Stuff:
Well our objective is pulled pork. On hand we have one 6 lb center cut loin. A 12 oz bottle of "seasoned rice vinegar". Most of a large bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar. A large bottle of ketchup (I have made my own barbeque sauce (once) that turned out pretty good... gonna give it a try again). Assorted spices and such.

Our tools are limited. Standard Gas Stove/Oven. Large Crock Pot. Given the choice I think we're going with the crock pot.

The Method:
Well so far, I've seen recepies that call for simply plopping your sauce in the pot at the start, and those that call for using water or other liquid in the pot, draining it after cooking, pulling the meat, and then adding sauce and reheating/cooking. I think the latter is the way I'll go.

I think I'm gonna go with a mixture of 1 part seasoned vinegar to 2 parts water for the cooking liquid. Placing some of that in the 'pot and adding the meat (cut into thirds probably, the whole thing won't fit in one piece), adding liquid till it just covers the meat (need help here, do it this way yes/no? If no, use about 1.5-2 cups liquid instead?), and then cooking on low for 9-10 hours or so.

Since I'm going to be working this morning (8 hour shift) it's perfect for me to start it just as I'm leaving for work. My fiancee will be home while I'm at work so it won't be completely unattended... and I'll get home pretty much just in time for step 2.

Since I leave for work at 6 am my time, I've got a couple hours to let you people stew up some ideas and comments before I have to start this.

Go!
---------------

Well, no one has responded as of now... so I'm going ahead as is. Time to prepare. Results as they come in.

---------------

Contact! The meat is in the pot.

I wound up using the whole 1.5 cups of the seasoned vinegar, and a half cup of apple cider vinegar, and 4 cups of water to have enough to cover the meat. Now we wait for it to be done. Time to go be a wage slave!

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Old 01-13-2007, 05:52 AM   #2
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You can make "pulled pork" from your loin--it just won't have that quite rich fatty melting quality that a butt will have and the crusty outside from the dry heat. And you are correct, of course, that it can be made tender.
I love a braised pork loin (with apples and onions) which is essentially what you are doing. I might not have used that much vinegar in the braising liquid--and I might have added some of the BBQ sauce/ketchup instead and let it braise in that. Then remove the liquid (which will be nice and rich with the pork broth from the braising)and simmer it to concentrate to serve on the sandwiches.
It will be quite delicious I am sure.
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Old 01-13-2007, 11:27 AM   #3
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Yo Vapor Trail....


Please let me know how your loin turned out?
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Old 01-13-2007, 03:55 PM   #4
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Well... I'm home from work... looks like it's done... time to shred it and sauce it... Think I'll make the sauce first... so kicking the 'pot over to warm for a bit.

Smells pretty good right now for being just pork, water, and vinegar though.

Ok. Sauce...

Being the second time I've made bbq sauce (and first for pulled pork...) I'm gonna base this off my earlier attempt.

Here's the basic recipe scale up or down as needed. (specific brands I used)

1/2 cup of vinegar-water from the 'pot
1 cup tomato Ketchup (Heinz)
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins)
1/2 tsp. black pepper.
1/2 tsp. mustard (Jack Daniels Honey Dijon)
1/2 tsp. Sweet Basil

This resulted in a tangy, salty, sweet sauce... Can't say I've ever run into anything like it.

As for the meat, I used a butter knife to move the meat around a bit so I could stir up the juices/water/vinegar and get a good mixture to put in the sauce. I rested the tip on one of the pieces of meat to hold it out of the way while I picked up the measuring cup to dip out some of the water/vinegar mix. When I looked back I found the butter knife buried to the handle in the meat... and I hadn't felt a thing. I have a very acute feeling that that meat is tender.
4:41 pm
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Ok... shredded the meat, and oh, yes, it was tender. Put it this way, I used tongs to move the meat out of the 'pot into a plastic tub to shred it. If I grabbed a piece the wrong way, it simply fell apart. I used two forks to shred it, but I think I could have used two spoons and gotten it done. And the meat is tasty even without sauce. I think there may have been just a touch of dryness to it, but nothing that really stood out to me. I don't think I would have noticed if I hadn't been looking for it.

Once I had removed the meat (and all the little pieces left from the harsh tonging) from the 'pot I turned it off and drained the cooking liquid (if you're making this recipe, make sure you reserve a cup of it before draining in case you don't have enough sauce). I shredded the meat, then put it back in the 'pot in stages, adding sauce as I went. Once all the meat was in I dumped in the rest of my prepared sauce (I used about 4x the basic above) and stirred it all up, and kicked the 'pot back to warm.

As for taste...
I may not know barbeque. But I know what I like. And this falls into that catagory like an asteroid into a black hole.

I've got a small Superbowl get-together coming up. I think Pulled Pork just made it on the menu.
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Old 01-13-2007, 06:21 PM   #5
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Decided I'd put up all the ingredients and method without all the commentary... So here it is.

Code:
Requires Large Crock Pot. 
 
6 lb. Pork (cut may vary, loin, butt, shoulder)
1 12 oz bottle Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar, Roasted Garlic Flavor
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 cups of water.
 
Cut pork so as to fit in crock pot easily. 
Combine liquids and pour over and around meat. 
Set crock pot to low. Let cook for 9-10 hours.
Remove meat to plastic tub and shred. Drain crock pot (if using sauce recipe 
below, reserve 2 cups of of the juices/water/vinegar mixture). 
 
Sauce.
 
In a large mixing bowl, combine the following.
2 cups of juices/water/vinegar mixture reserved above
4 cup tomato Ketchup (Heinz)
8 Tbsp. granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. Salt
4 tsp. Worchestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins)
2 tsp. black pepper.
2 tsp. mustard (Jack Daniels Honey Dijon)
2 tsp. Sweet Basil
 
Stir till well blended. 
 
------------
 
After making the sauce and shredding the pork, return the meat to the crock 
pot while combining the sauce. Stir till evenly mixed. Heat on 'low' or 'warm'
until hot, stirring occasionally. Serve on sandwich rolls.
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Old 02-08-2007, 05:38 AM   #6
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if you toy around with this recipe again, try adding a little bit of liquid smoke to the liquid, to try and replicate real smoked flavor a little bit. Also, I don't know if you intended for your BBQ sauce to be so sweet, but "pulled pork" works best with a spicier, less sweet sauce. If that's your kind of thing, consider replacing the sugar in your sauce with cayenne pepper, and up the black pepper a little bit. you could also toy around with pulling out the mustard, or the ketchup, or both for varieties of sauces.
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Old 02-08-2007, 06:32 AM   #7
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Just made pulled pork to serve training session participants. Living in Carolina, we have our VERY opinionated opinions of what BBQ/pulled pork is. Here is mine which has been posted previously. I have auctioned BBQ spreads at charity auctions using this recipe--and gotten repeat "offenders" bidding on it in subsequent years.
Just for information. I served this to 30 people yesterday--cooked 13# of pork butt. The total cost/person with cole slaw, buns, and a marinated salad (peas,corn,greenbeans,celery,peppers, onions), was just over $1/person.

Carolina Pulled pork I posted it a long time ago. 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 at 200*-250*) smoke the meat for 4 hours, keeping the temp low. 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. You will have to slap your hands to have any left over as you take it out of the oven.
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). 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.
To serve, offer bbq sauces, cole slaw (in the Carolinas, it goes ON the sandwich), baked beans, rolls, and banana pudding. For fall bbq's Brunswick Stew is also offered.
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 2-3 TBS coarse black pepper Tabasco 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 but don't know the recipe.
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:36 AM   #8
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i'm an eastern carolinian, and the recipe i learned for sauce was very simple,

apple cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper.

this is a spicy one indeed, and can be added lightly to those who don't want too much hot. I've toyed with it here and there, and the only real value i've added to the recipe was that I mix the apple cider vinegar with equal part banana pepper vinegar.

i've been intrigued by south carolina's mustard sauces for awhile, but can't say i've found a recipe I really like yet.
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Old 02-09-2007, 06:17 AM   #9
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[quote=aesthete]i'm an eastern carolinian, and the recipe i learned for sauce was very simple,

apple cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper.

this is a spicy one indeed, and can be added lightly to those who don't want too much hot.

Yes, they even sell this in our stores!! It is literally a LAYER of about an inch of pepper on the bottom of the quart bottle!! Spicy indeed!!

We have SC friends who brought us BBQ one time with the sauce--I was mildly surprised since I had never had it. I do have a recipe that folks seem to like--if they aren't from NC!! I'll try to find it. ;o)
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Old 03-06-2007, 05:33 AM   #10
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i enjoyed reading this thread because you did it all while posting lol. i bet your keyboard is a mess. good job it sounds delish.
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