Slow-cooked pulled pork is a summertime favorite; however, many barbecue procedures demand the regular attention of the cook for eight hours or more. We wanted to find a way to make moist, fork-tender pulled pork without the marathon cooking time and constant attention to the grill. For the meat, we determined that a shoulder roast (also called Boston butt), which has significant fat, retained the most moisture and flavor during a long, slow cook.
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We massaged a spicy chili rub into the meat, then wrapped the roast in plastic and refrigerated it for at least three hours to "marinate." We cooked the roast first on the grill to absorb smoky flavor (from wood chips--no smoker required), then finished it in the oven. Finally, we let the pork rest in a paper bag so the meat would steam and any remaining collagen would break down, allowing the flavorful juices to be reabsorbed.
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RECIPE: BARBECUED PULLED PORK
Pulled pork can be made with a fresh ham or picnic roast, although our preference is for Boston butt. If using a fresh ham or picnic roast, remove the skin by cutting through it with the tip of a chef's knife; slide the blade just under the skin and work around to loosen it while pulling it off with your other hand. Four medium wood chunks, soaked in water for 1 hour, can be substituted for the wood chip packets on a charcoal grill. Serve on plain white bread or warmed rolls with dill pickle chips and coleslaw.
1 (6- to 8-pound) bone-in Boston butt roast
3/4 cup Dry Rub for Barbecue (recipe follows)
4 cups wood chips, soaked in water for 15 minutes and drained
1 (13 by 9-inch) disposable aluminum roasting pan
2 cups barbecue sauce
1. Pat pork dry with paper towels, then massage dry rub into meat. Wrap meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
2. At least 1 hour prior to cooking, remove roast from refrigerator, unwrap, and let sit at room temperature. Using 2 large pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap soaked chips in 2 foil packets and cut several vent holes in tops.
3A. For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent halfway. Light large chimney starter three-quarters filled with charcoal briquettes (4 1/2 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Place wood chip packets on coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 5 minutes.
3B. For a gas grill: Place wood chip packets directly on primary burner. Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 15 minutes. Turn primary burner to medium-high and turn off other burner(s). (Adjust primary burner as needed to maintain grill temperature around 325 degrees.)
4. Set roast in disposable pan, place on cool side of grill, and cook for 3 hours. During final 20 minutes of cooking, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
5. Wrap disposable pan with heavy-duty foil and cook in oven until meat is fork-tender, about 2 hours.
6. Carefully slide foil-wrapped pan with roast into brown paper bag. Crimp end shut and let rest for 1 hour.
7. Transfer roast to carving board and unwrap. Separate roast into muscle sections, removing fat, if desired, and tearing meat into shreds with your fingers. Place shredded meat in large bowl and toss with 1 cup barbecue sauce. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.
RECIPE: DRY RUB FOR BARBECUE
Makes about 1 cup
You can adjust the proportions of spices in this all-purpose rub or add or subtract a spice, as you wish.
1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in small bowl.
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