Monday, November 23, 2009

Pulled Pork Made in the Oven

For a recent office potluck, I decided to honor my Southern heritage by cooking pulled pork. While there is no substitute for wood smoked pork butt, this recipe for beer braised pork butt is as good as any pulled pork dish that can easily be cooked in a New York apartment. If the number of requests I received from my co-workers is any indication, they agreed. The recipe is quite simple, it just takes the better part of an evening to make.

First, rub the bone-in pork butt in the spice mixture. A store-bought spice rub will do, but it's best if you make your own. The rub prescribed in the recipe lends the meat a smoky flavor that gives the dish slight semblance to authentic smoke pork. Let the pork marinate for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Before you are ready to cook the pork, let it come to room temperature.

Next, preheat the oven to 500F. Roast the pork until the pork blackens.

Remove the pork from the oven and reduce the heat to 325F. While the oven is cooling down, pour a 12 oz. dark beer over the pork and have one for yourself. I used Peak Organics Brown Ale. Surround the pork with several cloves of minced garlic. Finally cover it with heavy foil and poke several holes all over the foil to let some liquid escape. Let the pork braise until it is falling off the bone, about 2.5 hours. Remove the pork from the roasting pan and pour the braising liquid into a sauce pan.

Perfecting the braising liquid is key here as it will make for wonderfully moist meat. Add the ketchup, Worchestershire sauce, brown sugar, and dijon mustard to the liquid and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the pork with two forks:

Finally, mix as much of the liquid as desired back into the pork. It will look like too much liquid, but keep stirring it into the pork, as the meat will absorb lots of the braising liquid.

Serve the rest of the braising liquid with the pork. The pork is delicious by itself or a sandwich on a potato roll with cole slaw.

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