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Old 02-05-2006, 12:36 PM   #1
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Gretchen's Carolina pulled pork

At the request of Buckytom in another thread I would like to share this VERY tried and true recipe for real pork BBQ. You can either do it all in the oven or you can do it part in a smoker and finish in the oven. THE most important thing is that the temp must never go above 275* at the most--250* is the best.

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 (I will post mine if you want) 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 225-250* 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!!! The pork can also be chopped.

For a traditional Carolina serving method very lightly moisten the pulled meat with sweetened vinegar (1 qt. vinegar + 1/4C sugar and 2TBS coarse black pepper). It should be so little that you don't even know it has been added.

To warm before serving put the vinegared meat in a pan (black iron frying pan is good or Le Creuset) 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 (western NC style):
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. The one in T&T from Big Daddy is a good approximation of Maurice's of Columbia, SC.

Note that for traditional pulled pork BBQ, it is served without sauce. Sauce is added at the table, if any is wanted.

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Old 02-05-2006, 04:04 PM   #2
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GMTA Gretchen! I started doing pulled pork BBQ last summer, and your Method #1 is exactly how I do it! My family goes nuts for the stuff, but that's probably because they've never experienced the real thing until I started making it.
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Old 02-05-2006, 11:23 PM   #3
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yay!!!! you are the famous gretchen. i've heard of many people, far and wide that have made it and now swear by your recipe. i am going to try this soon. thank you very much for posting it here.
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Old 03-23-2006, 05:44 PM   #4
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Thanks Bucky! What BBQ Rub did you use?

Gretchen.....I'd sure like your recipe for the BBQ Rub also. The recipe sounds awesome.
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Old 03-23-2006, 06:26 PM   #5
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Gretchen, Gretchen, Gretchen....
That sounds so good, thanks for sharing. I am pleased to find your methods and sauces very similar to my own, so I can heartily endorse them to any and all.
Please, pray tell, what part of the country are you from, or more importantly, from where did this recipe hail?

I consider myself comfortable around a pit or a smoker; having been born and raised in Memphis, detoured to Florida for a while then Texas for a good spell. Thus I have seen BBQ from the two most important places... but at least in Tennessee and the Carolinas, Georgia etc, they start with the right animal...

Now... please expand if you will on the Maurice's sauce, and also if you have a clone of Carolina Treet, that would be devine. Then if you have a good white sauce, like for BBQ chicken- my day would be complete.
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Old 03-24-2006, 02:26 PM   #6
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Hopz, see if this thread has the white sauce you were looking for:

http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...hlight=alabama
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Old 08-13-2006, 04:10 PM   #7
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Maurice's BBQ sauce, typical to SC, is a thinned down mustard sauce. I stopped through there on my way back from my daughter's (in GA) not so long ago. Just a best guess, and it's not rocket science, yellow mustard, possibly cider vinegar and perhaps some brown sugar to cut the 'twang' out of the vinegar a tad.

The sauce is much thinner than regular yellow mustard and much thicker than Eastern Carolina BBQ sauce. (Which, as I'm sure you true Q fans know is the absolute perfect way to eat the stuff. LOL.)

Honestly, to each their own. I'm a West Coast (beef-eatin') transplant, but I live on pork.

Ciao,
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Old 08-25-2006, 01:29 PM   #8
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Gretchen - the pulled pork sounds sooooooo good. I think it'll be perfect with this:

From "Smoke & Spice" - this is amazing!

Golden Mustard Barbecue Sauce

1 c. white vinegar
1/2 - 3/4 c. yellow mustard
1/2 medium onion minced
1/4 c. tomato paste
1 Tbs paprika ( we used smoked)
6 cloves of garlic minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

MIx the ingredients in a saucepan with 1/3c water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the onions are tender and the mixture thickens. Use the sauce warm or chilled, will hold for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

We also added (non traditional, I'm sure) 2 or 3 ounces of Maker's Mark bourbon.
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Old 09-24-2006, 02:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen
Then place the meat in a 250* oven for 4 hours to finish.
I never thought of doing this! What a great way to not have to babysit the coals since a lot of the flavor is already in there!

Gretchen, do you wrap in foil or just place in a low-sided pan?
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Old 09-24-2006, 05:29 PM   #10
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Gretchen, I'm going to try your recipe for the sweetened vinegar and BBQ sauce next time I do a butt.
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Old 09-24-2006, 05:53 PM   #11
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I've done something similer to the 4hr + 4hr method but I've always done the oven side covered with a bit of liquid. I think this will work much better and I'll know tommorrow at supper!

Thanks to all in the thread, this is why I keep coming back here.

Only problem is which of these sauses to do?

edit: I usually smoke with applewood, hey, I do live in Washington; what would be the traditional wood and I'd love contrasting opinons on other choices.
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:11 PM   #12
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It is always uncovered. Crust, crust crust.
Andy, the sweetened vinegar should be SO little that it is not even noticeable that it is added to the meat. It is only for "moisture"--not "wet"!!
Enjoy. If I can help, let me know. It is a dead easy prep and the most delicious BBQ you will ever eat.
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:19 PM   #13
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Method 2 (and this is the one I have really used for 30 years). Place the meat in a 225-250* 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.

Would you say that a LC or Staub dutch oven would be a good choice? Is there any chance of the meat burning, since there's no liquid and it's cooked uncovered?
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzyQ3
Method 2 (and this is the one I have really used for 30 years). Place the meat in a 225-250* 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.

Would you say that a LC or Staub dutch oven would be a good choice? Is there any chance of the meat burning, since there's no liquid and it's cooked uncovered?
SuzyQ3 - I'm going to assume that it is a pan with lower sides than a Dutch oven. I'll wait for that answer too - I was wondering the same thing. I would imagine the sides would keep too much moisture in to keep it from forming a good crust.
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:23 PM   #15
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Gretchen; I've made the pork butt as you did, in the oven. I've also found that the slow cooker, left on low, produces that same melt-in-your mouth texture as the slow Q or slow oven approach. AFter the meat is perfect, then, it's just a matter of seasonings and flavorings. And yours sounds incredible.

I'm wondering what a honey/dijon mustard sauce would do for this dish. But I think that I would have to offer several sauce condiments, a tomato/brown sugar/smokey sauce, a honey-mustard sauce, and the sweetened vinager sauce. Then there'd be something for everyone.

What's your favorite kind of roll to serve it on? I'm thinking kaiser rolls, hamburger buns, and whole-grain hoagie buns. But then, this might be great in whole-wheat pita bread, or maybe on English muffins.

All I know is that like everyone stated, pulled pork is a huge hit in my house and at pot-lucks. I made it for the first time last spring. My youngest daughter told me not to make it anymore because it was hard on her waistline and she just couldn't resist it. My other kids just made sure they left with most of the left-overs.

I'm going to try duplicating your technique, but on a Webber grill with chunks of apple wood for smoke. I should be able to get the temp right by using a limited number of charcoal pieces and putting the meat over the part of the grill with no carcoal under it. Close the vents most way and watch closely. I think I'll need a drip pan underneat to catch the fat so that it can be returned to the meat after pulling.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:41 PM   #16
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Goodweed - your honey/Dijon just seems too - well, untraditional, for us pulled-pork lovers! It does, however, sound like a good beginning to a whole new sauce - even a grain mustard versus the Dijon - now you've got me thinking!

I have to serve these on sesame-seed topped buns ONLY (lol) topped with my North Carolina slaw and hamburger chips. That's the ONLY way. and I have two sauces that I drizzle on, one on each half! lol

Goodweed - Have you ever put applejuice in your drip pan? It gives an amazing flavor to the finished product.
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Old 09-24-2006, 11:34 PM   #17
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i made something like this tonight. i couldn't find my copy of gretchen's recipe, so i used a recipe for "carolina pulled pork" from a cookbook passed down to me after my uncle passed away. i had a lot of fun reading the old recipes and tips, as well as my aunt's (also passed many years ago) notes and newspaper clippings from the early 60's.

essentially, the pork shoulder was brasied in a spicy/sweet vinegar. unfortunately, it didn't form the crust as mentioned in gretchen's instructions.

first, i rubbed the shoulder roast with a combo of brown sugar, sea salt, black pepper, and paprika. it marinated in the rub for a few hours.

then, the roast was placed atop a few quartered red and yellow onions, and shallots in the slow cooker.
i mixed together red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, hot pepper flakes, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, dijon mustard, and cayenne pepper. the vinegar mix was poured over the roast in the crock pot, and it was covered and cooked on high for about 5 hours.

after removing the skin and fat, the meat was shredded by hand and a little of the fat mixed back in. i chopped up the onions/shallots, adding them to the shredded meat.

it was absolutely delicious. i found that by adding the cooked onions, you don't have to add that much fat as it replaces the needed moisture.
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Old 09-25-2006, 03:57 AM   #18
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I've never cooked pork shoulder or pork butt. Which would have the least fat? Also, could I do the same thing, but with ham? Is the ps or pb fresh or cured?
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:36 AM   #19
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To answer the last first.
Pork shoulder and pork butt are the same part of the pig. The "butt" is the lower part of the whole shoulder.
The fresh ham is from the hind leg of the pig and is really too lean for making pulled pork.
The rolls are traditionally (in NC) just fluffy white hamburger rolls. Just as in Texas to my HUGE surprise and amusement, you are given a loaf of Wonder Bread to take home with your smoked brisket!!
I personally do not care for so much bread so have used Hawaiian rolls on occasion or potato rolls from the bakery. The main reason I use these is just for a smaller roll. Anything is fine.
As for the pan, low sided is better because the meat should never "braise" as it would in an LC but should roast all around and form a crust of the most delicious brown crust.
No, not having any liquid in the pan will not cause it to burn. It is at a very low temperature, the meat is very moist and fatty and exudes a lot of delicious juices that I usually simmer down to a quite elegant aspic/verjus to flavor gravies.
A mustard style sauce is what is served in SC--but it is just plain yaller mustard with vinegar and other spices. If a grainy mustard suits tastes, far be it for me to say nay.
The traditional wood for smoking would probably be hickory--hardwood and fairly assertive. But smoke is smoke. Too much smoke is not good, in our opinion. My son actually prefers it non-smoked.
Goodweed, I would not add fat that has dripped out of the meat with cooking back to the BBQ. When I say "mix in the fat--this isn't a low fat dish", I am talking about the fat that remains in/on the cooked meat, not the rendered fat.
For the BBQ sauce, I (of course) recommend my tomato based BBQ sauce. If you try it, I don't think you will regret it. It is different from any purchased sauce--my family says I should sell it.
Again, the sweetened vinegar is not really a sauce. It is a "moistener" and flavor layer. It should be used in such a small amount that it is not even noticeable to look at the meat--moist, not wet is the word.
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Old 09-25-2006, 11:30 AM   #20
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Gretchen, thanks much for the info. I'm going to make pulled pork this weekend and will try your advice using the slow and low with apple wood on the Webber Kettle. i like the sounds of your sauce and will make it as well, though I have to improvise a little and omit the brown sugar. I'll just replace it with Splenda and mollases. Same flavor, a fraction of the carbs.

Again, thanks. Oh, and as I think about it, the plain yellow mustard and honey is T&T. The Dijon will be an experiment. I'll make just a little of it and see how it tastes. I'm expecting a flavor similar to Hickory Farm's Sweet-Hot mustard.

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