Last week something happened that has never happened before. I had a sudden urge to make pulled pork sandwiches. I still don't know where it came from, but I went with it. I looked up a recipe for pulled pork sandwiches, bought a pork shoulder roast, and got to work.
Once my pork roast was in the oven, I started thinking about how much I missed Texas BBQ. I never ate pulled pork in Austin because brisket is the choice cut of meat there, but just the thought of something BBQ-like spurred memories of brisket from Franklin's and baby back ribs from the Salt Lick on a Sunday evening. That was when I knew I had to track down the recipe for Salt Lick's coleslaw. The coleslaw I made didn't really remind me of the Salt Lick's, but it was still really good and I will definitely be making it again. I will share that recipe on Thursday. Today is about pork.
I am happy to report that my roast turned out wonderfully. It was tender, juicy, and very flavorful. And, since there was so much meat for only two people, more than half of it is now in the freezer, just waiting to be used in the future. I love having cooked meat in the freezer because it means that I can easily add some to pasta dishes and salads. When it came to roasting the meat, I followed this Tyler Florence recipe almost exactly. The dry rub is amazing and I will most definitely be using it again in the future. It smells amazing and it is made with spices that you likely have in your pantry. I can't speak to the quality of the BBQ sauce because I used a bottle of Stubb's (sacrilege, I know). But I will try making the sauce next time and I will update this post if I like it.
For now, my major change to the recipe is to add some information for the novice pork roaster. I found that the recipe didn't provide me with enough information on the basics of roasting a pork shoulder, so I will be adding some information in the directions. Before cooking the roast, I spent about half an hour researching how to make a shoulder roast--I really shouldn't have had to do that.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Source: Food Network
3 Tbsp Paprika
2.5 Tbsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Dry Mustard
1 5-7 lb Pork Shoulder Roast (Bone in)
BBQ Sauce (Make the sauce included in the recipe or used a bottled one. I used Stubb's for it's strong vinegar taste since pulled pork is best accompanied by a Vinegar-based sauce rather than a sweeter Kansas-style BBQ sauce.)
Coleslaw (I will post the recipe I used on Thursday).
- In a bowl, combine spices, sugar, and salt together.
- Rub into all sides of the roast. Place the roast in a dish and cover. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to overnight. (Mine marinated for about 4 hours before roasting).
- Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Place roast on a rack in a roasting pan, fat side up. Leave it uncovered and place it in the oven.
- Roast it until the internal temperature of the thickest part registers 170 degrees and it looks like it is falling apart.
- Now, a few notes. Mine was a 3.7 lb roast and it took about four hours and fifteen minutes to cook. According to my research, overcooking a shoulder is difficult because this is a tough cut of meat with a lot of connective tissue (think pot roast). So it actually becomes more tender with time. Some claim that they roast theirs until the temperature reaches 190. I opted to pull mine out at just a little over 170 because I was afraid to go against the recipe. At 170, the meat ripped apart easily with the aid of two forks.
- Once your roast is done, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- While it is still warm, take two forks and start "pulling" the meat. Use one fork to steady the meat and the other to shred it. Put shredded meat into a bowl, pour BBQ sauce on it and toss to coat it well. The recipe says to use half of the sauce you make. I mixed in about a third of a bottle with the meat.
- Place meat on a bun and top it with coleslaw. Serve with speared pickles and extra BBQ sauce on the side.