Monday, May 3, 2010

I like big butts and I cannot lie other Q'ers can't deny...

Pork butts that is.  I especially like them already de-boned.  De-boning a pork butt would not only save me time, but stop me from exposing my young GPS to the swearing that went on in the kitchen yesterday morning while doing it.  Okay I admit it, this was the first pork butt I have ever used for pulled pork.  My usual cut is a boneless shoulder, but yesterday I decided to try something new.  In trying something new I learned if the Boston butt does not read boneless, it is not boneless.  Seems pretty simple now that I think about it. Hey, rump roast doesn't read boneless, or eye round for that matter, both boneless.  Remember, I am not a chef.

Sunny Florida is heating up, and when it gets hot outside I have a craving for BBQ.  But we recently relocated to Florida, and we are living in an apartment, which means we no longer have our Weber charcoal grill.  So what's a chick to do when she wants BBQ and doesn't have a grill?  Cook it indoors of course.

I have a great recipe for indoor Memphis style pulled pork that I usually use and it is de~lish, but when Cooks Illustrated (January 2010) came out with a recipe I had to try it.  

In this recipe CI tries to get the smoky flavor you would normally have by using a grill, but you slow roast the pork in the oven.  Now, I know BBQ is a very personal thing to a lot of people.  BBQ pork in the oven is blasphemy to true BBQ worshippers.  "It isn't BBQ if it isn't cooked outside on a grill."  Yeah I know, but I don't have access to a grill and I WANT BBQ!   I don't care that it hasn't slow roasted over a bed of coals or wood, and that it is missing a perfect smoke ring inside.  I care that is satisfies my craving and that my GP's love it and think I am a kitchen goddess (which they do.)   They don't know it's not true BBQ nor do they care.  

I have to admit, I like the method of the recipe, brining, slow roasting, and drying out the meat a bit to get a nice "bark," but, the rub could have used some punch.  I have never ever, ever, ever, made a recipe for BBQ that didn't have garlic powder in the rub.  I love garlic, so I felt that was missing, and some onion powder why we're at it.  Next time I make this I will definitely use my own recipe for rub.  I thought it lacked punch.  The slathering of the meat with mustard and smoke flavor added nice flavor to the bark, this is my first time trying that and I will definitely do that again.  The brine perfectly seasoned the pork, but didn't impart a big smoke flavor.  Good news for me because my hubs isn't a fan of really smoky meats.  All in all the pork recipe its self is great for an indoor pulled pork.  For those who don't like smoke, it isn't very smoky at all.  Pork perfect, my problem was with the sauces.  

I have been dying for a good Carolina mustard based sauce.  I was hoping CI would deliver and well, they didn't.  For me anyway.  I know a few people around the web have tried this recipe and loved the sauces, sorry I am not in that crowd.  Don't know if it was the brand of mustard I used, or the fact that the mustard ratio to other ingredients was way higher than any other I have seen around the web, but the end result was not a keeper in this house.  In fact I dumped it because it went untouched at dinner.   We also felt the Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce lacked punch so I ended up making my own sauce.  I'd give the recipe for that but I just threw together a bunch of ingredients until it tasted good.  All in all this is a great indoor pulled pork recipe,  but for my taste, next time I will change the rub and sauces. 

Pulled pork on homemade buns, with a side of creamy slaw, and oven roasted fresh corn on the cob from the farmers market, life is good.

Indoor Pulled Pork
Cook's Illustrated (January 2010)

Serves 6 to 8

Note: Sweet paprika may be substituted for smoked paprika. Covering the pork with parchment and then foil prevents the acidic mustard from eating holes in the foil. Serve the pork on hamburger rolls with pickle chips and thinly sliced onion. Alternatively, use 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce thinned with ½ cup of the defatted pork cooking liquid in step 5.  The shredded and sauced pork can be cooled, tightly covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat it gently before serving.


      1  cup plus 2 teaspoons table salt
      ½  cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
      3  tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
      1  boneless pork butt (about 5 pounds), cut in half horizontally
      ¼  cup yellow mustard
      2  tablespoons ground black pepper
      2  tablespoons smoked paprika (see note)
      1  teaspoon cayenne pepper


 1. Dissolve 1 cup salt, ½ cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons liquid smoke in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge pork in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. While pork brines, combine mustard and remaining 2 teaspoons liquid smoke in small bowl; set aside. Combine black pepper, paprika, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and cayenne in second small bowl; set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

3. Remove pork from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Rub mustard mixture over entire surface of each piece of pork. Sprinkle entire surface of each piece with spice mixture. Place pork on wire rack set inside foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place piece of parchment paper over pork, then cover with sheet of aluminum foil, sealing edges to prevent moisture from escaping. Roast pork for 3 hours.

4. Remove pork from oven; remove and discard foil and parchment. Carefully pour off liquid in bottom of baking sheet into fat separator and reserve for sauce. Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well browned, tender, and internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1½ hours. Transfer pork to serving dish, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.

5. FOR THE SAUCE: While pork rests, pour ½ cup of defatted cooking liquid from fat separator into medium bowl. Whisk in ingredients (see below).

6. TO SERVE: Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1 cup sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce


      1½   cups ketchup
      ¼  cup light or mild molasses
      2  tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
      1  tablespoon hot sauce
      ½  teaspoon table salt
      ½  teaspoon ground black pepper


While pork rests, pour ½ cup of defatted cooking liquid from fat separator into medium bowl; whisk in sauce ingredients.

Lexington Vinegar Barbecue Sauce


      1   cup cider vinegar
      ½  cup ketcup
      ½  cup water
      1  tablespoon sugar
      ¾  teaspoon table salt
      ¾  teaspoon red pepper flakes
      ½  teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl with ½ cup defatted cooking liquid (in Step 5) and whisk to combine.

South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce


      1   cup yellow mustard
      ½  cup white vinegar
      ¼  cup packed light brown sugar
      ¼  cup Worcestershire sauce
      2   tablespoons hot sauce
      1  teaspoon table salt
      1  teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl with ½ cup defatted cooking liquid (in Step 5) and whisk to combine.


Tizzy Sig

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