Alden’s Pulled Pork Barbecue
Last week I made my sister-in-law’s pork barbecue recipe for dinner and it was a huge hit. I loved this meal for a variety reasons. Mainly, it’s another great meal in the Dutch oven that involves all the labor way in advance of dinner. (And the labor is minimal with a delicious final product.) It feeds a crowd, makes your house smell good and can be served right out of the Dutch oven. No meat carving involved. Now that we live in an apartment building, we don’t always have grill access so it’s a plus that the cooking process doesn’t involve a grill. This recipe also reminds me of my brother, Rob, who loves pork barbecue, and his wonderful wife, Alden, who makes barbecue for him! Now that I’ve moved away from my family, I find myself gravitating towards recipes that have sentimental value because they remind me of family and they don’t feel as far away.
In preparation for this meal, I bought a 4-pound pork butt because I couldn’t find a pork shoulder. Either works for this recipe and it shouldn’t make a huge difference. (Pork butt is actually part of the pork shoulder.) Before purchasing the meat, make sure to take a look at your Dutch oven to see what size piece of meat will fit in it. You don’t want the meat to be too big.
This is a great meal for serving a large group. There were five of us at dinner and everyone had seconds, plus there were leftovers so I would say that it easily serves 8-10 people.
Alden’s Pulled Pork Barbecue:
Preheat oven to 325. Trim fat from 4 lb. pork shoulder or pork butt. (You really do want to trim the pork because it will make for less greasy liquid when you finish.
Rub meat with your favorite dry rub. I used the following spice blend for my rub:
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon, Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
At this point you can wrap it in foil or Saran Wrap and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours, or you can cook it. (In investigating other pork BBQ recipes, I found that most recommend refrigerating the meat for at least a few hours with the dry rub.)
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Brown pork on all sides, about 4 minutes on each side. (This process locks in the flavor and adds a nice crust to the meat. Don’t worry that you’re going to overdo it. You won’t.)
Put lid on Dutch oven. Put in oven and cook for 3-3 1/2 hours until meat is tender and shreds with a fork.
Skim fat from pan juices, if necessary. Mix meat with pan juices and 1-1/2 c. BBQ sauce. (I used ‘Bone Suckin’ Sauce, extra thick, which is gluten-free.) You’ll find that the meat just begins to fall apart as you shred it with a fork and then sauce mixes in nicely with it.
(I forgot to take a photo of the pork until we’d already started eating, so this isn’t the entire batch. I just brought the Dutch oven to the table and let everyone serve themselves. Truly family style dining!)
Note: when I first removed the pork butt from its packaging (before putting the rub on the meat), it seemed to be falling apart a little bit, so I actually tied it with some cooking string to hold its shape. I kept the string on throughout the browning and cooking process. I’m not confident that it made any difference on the cooking but it definitely made it easier to brown on the stove.
My side dishes for this meal were also yummy and recipes for them will soon follow. I made a baked butternut squash and a salad with fresh mixed greens, pears, goat cheese, pecans, and homemade salad dressing.