Slow Roasted Pulled Pork Barbecue

(Feb. 21, 2020) March is around the corner and the thought of grilling tickles my fancy.

Mouth watering ribs, juicy burgers and succulent shrimp are just the beginning of a season of deliciousness.

Pulled pork barbecue is another favorite. The smoky, tender meat falls apart and the pork is packed with flavor.

But if you do not have a smoker, do not fret. Slow roasted pulled pork barbecue is delicious and can be made year-round and in the comforts of your home.

The cut of meat is the first consideration. Pulled pork barbecue can be made from any fatty pork roast, but the best cut is the shoulder or butt. High in fat and connective tissue, these pieces of meat are the most flavorful part of the hog.

Pork can contain an excessive amount of fat; some fat is a good thing, but too much will produce a greasy mess. Trim any large pieces of fat that are located on the exterior of the meat.

The rub is another consideration. A rub is a spice applied to the exterior of the raw pork.

Typically, a rub is a combination of several spices. You can purchase this product or make your own.

You will need a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or a large thick bottomed pot.

Cook the meat at 325 degrees until it falls apart. Depending on the size of the meat, it will probably take 3 to 5 hours to reach that state.

Cooking the pork in the oven frees one to go about their daily activities.

The pork will need a braising liquid, and chicken stock is the preferred choice. Chicken gives the dish depth of flavor.

Vegetable stock is another option. But the most important to remember, do not use plain water. Remember, you want to infuse flavor into the pork.

I like to add celery, carrots and onions to the braising liquid. It is just another way to incorporate flavor.

Vinegar is a key ingredient and rice vinegar provides the acidity, but on a much softer note. Rice vinegar can be found on the international aisle at your neighborhood supermarket.

If you are a fan of pulled pork barbecue and do not have a smoker or it is still a little cold for the grill, consider slow roasted pulled pork barbecue as an alternative. Enjoy!

Slow Roasted Pulled Pork Barbecue

7-8 pounds bone-in pork shoulder

Spice Rub

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup paprika

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fried crushed rosemary

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 ½ tablespoons onion powder

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

Barbecue Braising Liquid

1 cup chicken stock

½ cup rice vinegar

6 large cloves garlic, chopped

1 large yellow onion, peeled, and coarsely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons Liquid Smoke

2 teaspoons bacon drippings (optional)

1 ½ cups favorite wing sauce

¾ cup favorite barbecue sauce

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the oven racks in the lower half of the oven.

2. Trim any excess fat from the pork. Cut the meat into three smaller sections.

3. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients of the spice rub. Rub the seasoning over the entire surface of the pork. If there is any left over, add to the braising liquid.

4. Warm canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pork sections one at a time and get a good sear on all sides of each section of pork. Remove pork and set aside.

5. Add the chicken stock and rice vinegar to the Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium low, add remaining spice rub, and scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to incorporate all the browned bits and spices.

6. Add the chopped vegetables, Liquid Smoke, ½ cup wing sauce, bacon drippings and pork. Cover and cook until braising liquid comes to a simmer. Transfer pot to the oven and cook approximately 3 to 4 hours, or until meat is fork tender.

7. Remove Dutch oven from the oven. Remove the meat and place on a sheet pan.

Remove the vegetables and discard them. Allow braising liquid to rest for 30 minutes.

Skim the excess fat off the top of the braising liquid. Add remaining wing sauce and barbecue sauce and reduce by a third. Readjust seasoning if necessary.

8. At this point, the meat should have cooled and the meat juices should have settled. Using your fingers or a large fork, shred the pork. Remove any large pieces of fat or any bones.

9. In a large bowl, add the braising liquid, a little at a time, to the pulled pork. Adding a small amount allows one to control the level of moisture. Mix the sauce and pork together. Serve as a sandwich or with sides.

Secret Ingredient – Learning. “I am still learning.”

– Michelangelo

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