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:
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.¼ cup fresh ground pepper¼ cup paprika¼ cup turbinado sugar2 tbsp salt2 tsp dry mustard1 tsp cayenne
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 rub2 cups cider vinegar3 tbsp fresh ground pepper2 tbsp salt1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce1 tbsp paprika1 tbsp cayenne
Now make the sauce.
3 tbsp butter¼ cup minced onion1 cup tomato sauce1 cup white wine vinegar3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce1 tsp coarse salt1 tsp sugar¼ tsp fresh ground pepper1⁄8 tsp cayenne flakesdash 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.
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 cabbage½ cup minced onion2 ½ tbsp Dijon mustard1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar¾ tsp sugar¼ tsp salt
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.
But be patient. Be patient. And you'll be rewarded.
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.
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.
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.