Pulled Pork

Well, I have decided to try something new. I am going to write this Blog as I am preparing the meal. Each time a recipe is used I am going to post it here as it is made. Then at the end of the meal, I am going to give a mini-poll and post the results. It is different, it maybe fun, and isn't that what a Blog is for.

So what is on the menu you ask? Smoked Pork Shoulder, pulled and served on plain hamburger buns. I have been told by a few friends from the south that the meat is the main event so don't waist flavor on an expensive bread.

Keeping the Southern theme going, the menu is going to include Hush Puppies. That fried cornbread piece of heaven. Of course Cold Slaw is the salad side.

Some of you from the south maybe asking, why is he not committing to a part of the south? That is not an easy answer. I think it's because I just love BBQ. Or maybe I just want to please everyone. Maybe I just want everyone to try what I love.

To accomplish this I am going to serve the pork with three sauces, one tomato based, one vinegar based and one that I picked up at the best BBQ restaurant in North Carolina. The Lexington BBQ in Lexington, NC. If you are in the area, I strongly suggest you pay them a visit.

My pork shoulder is only going to be rubbed, I am not going to marinade or brine it. I am looking for the pork flavor to be the focus of the meal. The sauces are just provided as a complementary item.

The shoulder is about 13lbs and should take 1.5 hours/pound to cook......19 - 20 hours at 215-225 degrees F. I will be using my off-set smoker with a hard wood fire using Orange Wood. It will take about an hour to set the fire and control it and a hour at the end of the cooking to let it cool slightly and pull the meat.

Why so long! Basically a shoulder is a tough piece of meat with lots of connective tissue. The goal is to bring the internal temperature up to a point where the connective tissue breaks down. You know when the the 13lbs of chewy meat becomes a little piece of dinning heaven breaks from the temperature of 175 and spikes up to 200 degrees F.

Long story short, I will be lighting the fire at 7:00pm Saturday to feed the crowd on Sunday at 5:00pm

It is after 11:00pm on Friday and I have just finished the sauces and rubbed the shoulder. I want the rub to be on the meat over night to allow the rub a chance to penetrate the meat.

First I covered the shoulder in Olive Oil. Then worked in the Rub.

Rub recipe:
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Lemon Pepper
I wrapped it in plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator.
Next I mixed up the sauces.
Tomato Based:
  • Ketchup (2 Cups)
  • Cider Vinegar (1.5 Cups)
  • Corn Syrup dark (1 Cup)
  • White Sugar (2 tbs)
  • Salt (2 tsp)
  • Garlic powder (2 -4 tsp - to taste)
  • Onion powder (2 tsp)
  • Pepper sauce (to taste, I use 4 tsp)
Mix and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 hour or until thick.
Vinegar based:
  • Cider Vinegar (2 Cups)
  • Ketchup (1 Cup)
  • Corn Syrup (2 tbs)
  • Salt (1 tsp)
  • Cayenne Pepper (to taste - I use 1 tsp)
Mix and refrigerate over night.
Well that is it until tomorrow at 7:00pm when I start the fire.
You should also consider this sauce! Click Here!

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It is 7:00pm and the fire has just been started. Orange Wood will be the fuel and I have build a good size fire in the off set smoker. My goal is to get a good bed of coals and an even temperature.

I have decided to to try and add orange slices to the water. I am not sure we will notice the difference but that what this is all about ...trying new things. I will let you know how it goes.

This will prove to be one long night. I have a few movies and a case of beer ready!

Did I mention that the pork is now sitting on the counter coming up to room temperature.

The temperature goal is 210 - 225 degrees F. I would like to cook it at 210 degrees F.

I will give an update in a few hours.

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It is after midnight, the smoker is at 215 and the shoulder looks good. It has a nice crust forming. I have had to fill the water tray once.

The Orange Wood is burning at a consistent temperature. Not allot to write about other then I am going to try to get a few hours of sleep.

Night!

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Sorry Everyone! I got distracted, but I am back and I have a number of recipes to add. First I want to finish up the pulled pork event recap.

Wow, what a night! The winds kicked up at about 2:00am. Controlling the temperature became really difficult. I ended up pulling up a chair next to the smoker and kept the fire going. I filled the water every two hours and added fresh orange slices as needed.

Just a quick note about the smoke level. I used a fire pit with a small fire in it to "prime" the wood. I burnt the wood till it was well burnt but not falling apart. I would then move the burnt wood to the firebox. I kept the smoke level down, meaning I did not want billowing smoke, just a light whisper. Pre-burning was key to keeping control of the smoke and temperature.

Around 4:30pm the internal temperature jumped to 210 degrees. I carefully moved the pork to a large steamer pan with a baking sheet under the steamer pan for support and tightly covered the pork with foil.

At 5:30 we were ready to eat. The meal included, Cold Slaw, Hush Puppies, Mixed Vegetables, and hamburger buns. I sliced a number of pieces off for those that liked the really smoky outside cuts. The slices were just falling apart. Then I used forks to chunk the rest of the pork.

WOW, It was fantastic. It just melted in your mouth. It was moist and had some orange overtones. I can not say much more then that.

The Sauce: Most liked the tomato based sauce. Living in California I think it was more just a matter of what people were use to. The stuff from the Lexington BBQ was also a hit and a favorite with those that liked more of a kick. All agreed the vinegar based sauce was good anddefinitely worth having again.

Was is worth it? Absolutely I will definitely be taking on this meal again this spring!

  

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