leave your inhibitions at the door
So it seems there’s a lot of interest in the carnitas in a bag that I bought from Costco. It is really delicious and tender, plus super-easy to prepare – either boil the bag or microwave for a few minutes. If you’re a member, it’s definitely worth checking out. Or, if you’re like The Winegetter, find another member to take you there. The downside is that you may get dragged around town on errands to Home Depot and other places. But if you don’t have access to Costco and need a pork fix, this recipe is probably just as easy as heating up pre-cooked bag-o-pork.
There are a number of different ways to make pulled pork with the traditional way involving 12-16 hours of smoking it on a grill or smoker. I’ve seen many recipes that involve using a crockpot or other slow cooker, too. I don’t own a slow cooker nor do I understand the need for one. It seems like a marketing gadget aimed at novice cooks – just a step up from the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie Oven. But hey, what do I know.
I really love the North Carolina-style sauce which is vinegar-based and thin. I always find that the tomato-based sauces from Kansas City or Memphis obscure the flavor of the meat too much. Same goes with the mustard-based sauce from South Carolina. And I suppose I’d have the same problem with the Alabama white sauce which is mayonnaise-based. But I don’t know if I’ll ever find out, because a mayo-based sauce sounds nasty.
North Carolina-style Pulled Pork
This is a really easy method and I make it often. For this recipe, all you need is an oven and time. The actual active prep time is only a couple of minutes; the rest of it is unattended cooking time. The sauce will take you about 2 minutes and can be made at any time during the cooking process. This will serve about 8-10 people easily and still have leftovers. Which you’ll gladly take.
In North Carolina, they usually serve these topped with some cole slaw, but I’m not a fan of the stuff. But if you have some, go for it.
For the pork:
– Huge pork shoulder, whole. Probably about 4-6 pouhds
– Salt and pepper
1. Salt and pepper the shoulder. You can get fancy by adding paprika or cumin, but it really won’t need it.
2. Place in roasting pan and cook at 200 degrees for 8 hours.
3. Go cruise the internet for pictures of Lindsey Lohan. Or Adam Levine. Whatevs
4. After 8 hours, take two forks or some tongs and start pulling apart the shoulder, making it as stringy (or not) as you want.
For the sauce, stir together:
– 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
– ¼ cup of brown sugar
– 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
– 2 Tablespoons red pepper flakes (I cut in half for the kids)
– Teaspoon of Salt
– Dash of Tabasco
I usually mix half the sauce with the pulled pork and serve the rest in a bowl to spoon over individual sandwiches. You can still mix some of it even in if you’re using other styles of barbecue sauce. It adds a nice bite. Or you can skip the mixing part all together and serve it all in a bowl.
What kind of barbecue sauce do you like?