Tell me about pulled pork
Seriously. I was raised in NY and live in Canada. Pulled pork - or any sort of BBQ, for that matter - is a deep dark mystery to me. I need a basic primer on the subject.
I understand how you slow cook the pork and pull it into shreds. Then what? Do you mix sauce into the shreds or do you just serve the pork on a bun and add the sauce yourself? What kind of sauce? And does anything else go on the sandwich? Finally, I gather cole slaw is the classic accompaniment - what kind? Creamy or not?
It's crazy! I feel more at home discussing the fine points of a tagine or pad thai than southern barbecue. I must be missing something really important. Are there no other pulled pork neophytes out there?
First off you need a smoker to cook the pulled pork to be true bbq , any other method is just not the real thing.
I use picninc shoulder cut of pork, or the pork butt, and it cooks until it is done at least 12 hours in the smoker.
I shred the meat, put it on the roll, and squirt some bbq sauce on the shredded meat. I also sometimes top the meat & bbq sauce with the creamy coleslaw and make that part of the sandwich.
Disclaimer: all of the above is my humble opinion, and is not meant to offend.
I have no smoker, so I cook mine over indirect heat on my charcoal grill for several hours, then transfer to a LC french oven and cook at 250 for several more hours. Usually 6 total. I add some vinegar and a bit of sugar, black pepper, red pepper and salt to the oven. When the meat is done, I use a gravy separator to defat the cooking juices. I shred the pork and combine it with the juices. Then I let it set a spell.
I serve on buns with a vinegar-based sauce on the side, as well as cole slaw (using both may and vinegar), pickles and onions.
I get very good reviews for it.
But I'm a Yankee, serving it to other Yankees, so who knows?.
Above two are fine. Some folk say no sauce, just toss the meat with some cider vinegar and hot sauce and you're good to go. Cole slaw has to be creamy.
Living in NYC I can't smoke or grill my shoulder, so I just put a rub, slow cook in a low oven for half a day, take it out, reserve crispy skin for a side, shred meat, toss with a tomato-y BBQ sauce and serve on white bread with creamy cole slaw, sliced pickles and maybe a slice of cheese. The cheese, I think, is a Yankee addition.
The above methods all work well. I know people who use their crockpots and get good results too. The key is to cook it slow and low to break down the tough connective tissue and keep the meat from drying out.
I just bought some 10 hour Pulled Pork from Cumbrae's today (in Toronto). It's naked i.e. no sauce on it and came in a vacpak. Am going to going to sauce it myself and see how it goes.
If you are like me and don't have access to a smoker or grill, you can make a good approximation in the oven. I love Tyler Florence's recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...
Creamy cole slaw is the traiditional accompaniement, but I prefer the cole slaw to be dressed with a balsamic vinagrette instead.
the book "smoke and spice" by bill and cheryl jamison is a good place to start, as is www.virtualweberbullet.com. if you have a smoker, like the weber smokey mountain, you can make incredible bbq by yourself, especially if you cheat with an electronic temperature control like a bbq guru.
bbq cooking is defined as "low and slow," and cooking cuts with a lot of connective tissue such as the pork shoulder (used for pulled pork) this way melts away most of the fat and connective tissue, basting the meat from the inside out, leaving it tender and highly flavored. the use of different kinds of smokewood such as oak, pecan, apple etc. also help tweak the flavors.
i've been smoking meats for years, and never cooked my pulled pork less than 20 hours over indirect heat in my smoker. i brine the shoulders, dry cure them overnight with my rub and baste it every few hours on the smoker. any less and i've found you don't get as tender a meat or as good a "bark" (the crust that forms on the outside). i serve mine straight up with a vinegar sauce and a yogurt based slaw on the side.