Why do I love pulled pork? So many reasons! Because of its meaty flavor… its shredded texture (if you do it right, it just falls apart in your mouth)… oh and its fat content (if you take a little bit off right after you roast it, it’s the perfect amount of fat and meat). The fat melts in the meat, so really how much more tender can you get?
You can put pulled pork on a plate, in a bun, on nachos, in a tostada shell. I’m not exaggerating when I say you can put it on, in, or around so many things. The diversity doesn’t come from the pork itself. It’s the dishes that you put it with. You can put it with a vinegar slaw or a regular slaw, which people usually do. You could go sautéed dish with corn and peas and carrots and things like that. You could put it in zucchini boats and bake it. It goes well with most cheeses, especially smoked cheddars, goudas, asiagos and parms.
I usually make a nice rub for my pork butt:
1 cup Demerara sugar
3 cups chili powder
1/2 cup onion powder
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/2 cup granulated garlic
1/2 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
This is a basic rub so it won’t overpower the sauce. Combine all of your spices together and liberally rub onto a pork butt. Be sure to get the rub in every nook and cranny. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Like I said, you can put anything on it, in it, it doesn’t matter. You can use red banana paste or barbeque sauce or Carolina vinegar or puréed green chilies. You can also use what I used in this one which is a sazon. A sazon is basically a vegetable vinegar puree. A couple of guys I knew from the Dominic Republic taught me how to make a true sazon. I loved it then and I love it now. They showed me the trick to taking a traditional sazon and putting anything you want in it. Mangoes, papaya, coconut, poblano peppers… anything you can think of. I did a mango sazon for this pulled pork dish.
For the sazon:
1 red pepper, seeded and cored
1 green pepper, seeded and cored
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled
4 cups of water or chicken stock
½ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil all of the ingredients until soft. Puree to a paste. Mix with shredded pork and bake covered for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
I made this pulled pork before we started this blog, so I’m sorry I don’t have other pictures. But that reminds me: you don’t have to buy some big R2-D2 looking smoker vessel. I used a little charcoal grill that’s falling apart in my back yard. The handles are falling off, literally. But it works. All you really need are basically wood chips, the pork, and a functioning lid to turn a piece of crap into a smoker.
Place coals on one side of a grill or in the bottom of your smoker. Important: just light one side of the coals and let the flame creep. Too much heat from lighting and all that coal will ruin your pork. Place apple and hickory wood chips (that have been soaked in water) on your coals. Place pork fat side up on the opposite side of the coals and chips. Smoke at 225 to 250 degrees for 4 to 6 hours. When finished, take off the grill and shred in a bowl. If there is too much fat on the cap, you can scrape some off with your tongs.