11 August 2009

Pulled pork sandwiches

Pulled pork sandwich

We spent the weekend dining in upscale places in Los Angeles last weekend (to be blogged about soon, I think). On the drive back, I had a craving. A greasy, acidic craving. Pulled-pork sandwiches.

Lots of bbq makes good leftovers, but these sandwiches are the only thing I make that is as good as a leftover at work as it is the night I make it. This recipe uses "The Renowned Mr. Brown" pork butt recipe combined with the "Memphis Mustard Pork Sandwich" recipe from Smoke & Spice, one of my two favourite bbq books, slightly modified. We start with a 6 lb pork butt (actually the shoulder cut of pork) and a rub. Rub this mixture onto the pork butt the night before you cook:
¼ cup fresh ground pepper
¼ cup paprika
¼ cup turbinado sugar
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cayenne
Let the pork butt sit in the fridge overnight. The next day, rub the remaining rub into the pork butt. Let the pork butt warm up for 45 minutes while you warm up your smoker. Once you get the smoker to 200°F, start smoking over indirect heat.

Pork butt

I stoked the fire with hickory and charcoal, to give a nice milk smokey flavour, and I smoked for 9 hours. Nine hours gives you plenty of time to relax, and make the remaining parts of these sandwiches. First, make the sop that you'll be mopping on the pork every time you open it:
rest of rub
2 cups cider vinegar
3 tbsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cayenne
Now make the sauce.
3 tbsp butter
¼ cup minced onion
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup white wine vinegar
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
18 tsp cayenne flakes
dash of Sriracha sauce
Sauté the onions in butter until soft. Add everything else, and boil lightly for half an hour, until thickened. Cool the sauce and set aside. It'll be vinegary and delicious.

Pork butt sauce

And finally, an hour or two before serving, make the slaw. Chop the cabbage in a food processor, or by hand to a medium-fine consistency. Then mix:
2 cups chopped cabbage
½ cup minced onion
2 ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar
¾ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
Mustard cole slaw

This slaw is sweet, bright and delicious. It'll mix well with the grease of the the pork.

Now, we continue to smoke the meat. And perhaps you find some way to relax, while smoking. I find the real challenge in smoking meat is being patient enough. Nine hours is a long time, and the last few hours, it starts look pretty delicious.

Smoked pork butt

But be patient. Be patient. And you'll be rewarded.

Smoked pork butt

When you pull the meat off the grill, you'll need to continue with your patience. Let it sit 20 more minutes somewhere your cat can't get to it (I tend to put it in a cold oven). As it cools, the juices congeal a bit, so they won't run out when you cut it.

Now, a native Carolinian will tell you that the proper way to pull pork is to use a couple of meat forks to tear it apart, and that cutting it is shameful. I'm not much of a purist, so I cut and pull. The pork shoulder should be soft enough that tearing it is relatively easy, so pulling is possible, but I confess, I prefer the larger slices of it on the sandwich. Again, my goal is bbq that is good, not bbq that is done traditionally. But this is clearly a preference issue.

Pulled pork

Look at that!!! I tend to taste it a bit while chopping. It's hard to wait much longer.

Now assemble your sandwich. We use soft rolls. Layer the coleslaw, the pork and the sauce.

Pulled pork sandwich

Delicious. Acidic. Spicy. A tiny bit greasy. And tasty.

I love these sandwiches, and I'll be the envy of everyone at work for the next week while I eat them at work.


Britaniola said...

Tried this last weekend and I messed it up. I took it out of the smoker after only 6 hours and had too much cayenne in the mopping liquid. I should have only smoked it for the first three hours as the hickory smoke flavour was overwhelming. I will use apple wood, shorten the smoking time, tone down the spice in the rub and moping liquid and lengthen the cooking time on my next attempt.

BTW...I added 1 cup of brown sugar to the sauce.

Bbq Dude said...

That will certainly sweeten the sauce. I like the sauce pretty tart, but that's a personal preference. Let me know how your next run turns out.

Joseph said...

This is definitely one hell of a lot of vinegar. Do you have something approaching a Carolina Tangy Gold Sauce recipe, or something generally sweeter? The vinegary thing isn't my deal. I like a savory thing, usually. Not enough into the BBQ scene yet to be able to explain it better...just converted my old rusted out gas grill to a smoker on Father's Day, after I got the new Weber Kettle grill. :)

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