Its a perfect day for a picnic, and pulled pork sandwiches are a nice addition to the basket of provisions. Well I’ve just put the pork shoulder into the oven overnight to cook. A ten pound shoulder cooking at 225 degrees takes about eight to ten hours. Then, in the morning, comes the resting… then the shredding. The whole house has that bbq scent which is almost as good as the aroma of coffee when getting up in the morning. Now that the heavy lifting is done for the pulled pork picnic main course… its time to reach into the fridge and pull out the secret sauce which I made last night…. let’s keep this secret between us.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Texas Pete’s
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Place all of the ingredients in a small, non-reactive sauce pan and bring to a boil. Whisk until the sugar and salt is completely dissolved, remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.
I poured the sauce into a plastic squeeze bottle and let rest in the refrigerator over night before using. I get these squeeze bottles at the party supple store. Make your own labels and put your creative side to use. I use about a quart of the bottle while pulling the pork, then pack the remainder in the picnic basket so friends can add as they choose.
While traveling through the Carolina, I must stop and enjoy the savory, vinegar pulled pork bar-b-que shacks that litter the region. In Santee, South Carolina they make a pulled pork seasoned with mustard. Although I usually make this using a slow-roast method, in a 220 degree oven for 6 hours or so, I’m taking a different track for this experiment. While consulting some pulled pork aficionados, there is an alternative to the ‘dry’ slow-roast, ad that’s the ‘wet’ crock-pot method. So, since the Bet Yet market had pork shoulders on sale… I’m going to try the ‘wet’ method.
Here’s what I’ll need:
- 1 (3 pound) pork shoulder
- 4 cups water, or as needed
- 4 cups cider vinegar, or as needed
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
Place the pork shoulder into the ceramic bowl of a slow cooker. Pour enough water and white vinegar into the slow cooker to assure the pork is completely covered, maintaining a 1-to-1 ratio of vinegar to water. Add the salt. Put the ceramic bowl in the refrigerator and allow the pork to marinate at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
Drain enough of the liquid from the ceramic bowl until about 1/2-inch of pork is left exposed. Add the onion to the remaining liquid. Season the exposed surface of the pork with the cumin, mustard, chili powder, and brown sugar. Place the bowl into the base of the slow cooker and cook on High until the pork is tender and falls apart easily, 8 to 10 hours.
Carefully remove the pork to a cutting board; shred the meat into strands using a pair of forks. Remove and discard any excess fat.
Serve this with some Cajun spiced rice and veggies…