Dining date: 5/1/11
I’ve been wanting to make some type of pulled pork for a little while. I wish I had an outdoor smoker – I would totally have smoked a pork shoulder by now. Alas I do not, but I stumbled upon some recipes for oven pulled pork that promised good results.
Combine this with the fact that I stumbled upon these two items from Thomas Keller’s line of Ad Hoc goods, and my idea was set.
I’ve had very good results with some of TK’s at-home products (see: Ad Hoc Fried Chicken), and this would be an opportune time to try some more of them.
Preparing and cooking the pork required lots of time, though with minimal effort. I started by applying the rub all over the pork the night prior, planning to let it sit and marinade in the refrigerator overnight. I also added some fennel seed, as well as fresh garlic and rosemary into some of the cavities.
Early in the morning, I set my oven to 225 degrees. I roasted the pork low and slow for about 10 hours until the internal temperature was 195 degrees. It really seemed to take forever; I had my thermometer in the whole time and I could see the increase in temperature become exponentially slower….I remembered something about this in my high school science class. Resisting the urge to turn up the oven temperature, the gentle cooking ensured the connective tissue had a chance to break down and let the meat become nice and tender.
The exterior of the pork developed a crisp “bark,” and I could easily tell the interior was full of tender meat. However I stayed patient and let it rest for a little while, then separated the large chunks of fat from the meat, and broke apart the meat with two forks.
Voila! I ate some of this right away – the pork was tender, flavorful and moist. But I knew it could be better – I tossed some of the meat in the barbecue sauce and created a sandwich.
I paired the sandwich with some simple potato chips. These were actually pretty good in the sandwich too, adding some saltiness and texture to the sweet, tender meat. I was pretty happy with the way this turned out, and it’s a very cost-efficient way to feed a crowd (pork shoulder/butt is usually less than $2/lb). Though in this case, the Ad Hoc ingredients were quite expensive. One could create a similar rub and BBQ sauce at home for much cheaper, but it was fun to try.