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Substitute for pulled pork?

I've been seeing a lot of pulled pork recipes lately. What kosher meat could I substitute for it?

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  1. Brisket, or chicken. You could also do a shoulder or chuck roast, and slow cook and then shred it. I have done it with all of them. Sometimes I just cook and shred the meat and add char b que bbq sauce to it and cook it down a little.

    4 Replies
    1. re: paprkutr

      I've done it with boneless chicken thighs, using a recipe from Eating Well mag/website. It's really easy and delicious (if I do say so myself!).

      1. re: queenscook

        chicken thigh was my instinct. a bit sweet and fatty like pork. breast would be all wrong and leg too stringy (although I guess the OP could say to hell with the cost and go with duck - is there such a thing as Kosher duck? I'm posting as I have friends who may not be strict, but also care about BBQ)

        1. re: hill food

          There is most definitely such a thing as kosher duck.

          1. re: GilaB

            I thought so, thanks. and happy to hear, maybe my screenname should be Oh God I Love Duck.

    2. At Clubhouse Cafe in NYC they do a wonderful Pulled Veal sandwich.

      1. Well, basically, pastrami is a lengthy process that people go through in order to make beef taste like pork.. A cheat which I have done is to purchase a corned beef and then coat with dry rub, or cover with mustard and then the seasoning packet and let that marinate for a couple of days..

        Then, I smoke the meat for a good 15 to 18 hours at 180 degrees.. That mimicks that taste pretty good..

        Another option you have is to purchase short ribs.. If you have a good relationship with your butcher, you can ask for them to be cut about 8 inches long... Then you can throw them in the smoker.. These are some amazing ribs..

        Or, you can take regular short ribs, smoke them for a couple of hours.. Then throw them in a stock pot that you have carrots, celery and onions cooking in.. Add some tomato, add some white wine, some bay, and cook for 8 hours or so.. The meat will be super soft and fall apart.. It will have the consistency of pork and the smokey undertone.. Remove the bones, heat in a pan, add some bbq sauce.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Daniel76

          I've had pork and I've had kosher pastrami and they taste nothing alike.

          1. re: DeisCane

            Gotta agree on the pastrami/pork thing. If i were to make a kosher version of pulled pork, i woudl use veal. Veal is often used in kosher wontons instead of pork. While it is not the same exact taste, it is not a bad subsitution. Hey itkeeps me happy and I will admit to really loving won ton soup when i woudl eat it virtually anywhere.

            1. re: Prettypoodle

              Brisket is probably the best substitute, if cooked properly. While the flavor is bolder, it acquires the same stringy texture.

              1. re: DeisCane

                When I shred the dark meat chicken, it's also pretty stringy. For me, the BBQ Pulled Chicken I make is more about the sauce, especially for sopping the bread/rolls. Actually, partly due to this discussion, I decided to make it for yom tov. (We're far from traditional around here!)

                1. re: queenscook

                  YUMMY! I liek to do "untraditional" meals on "traditional" days too. we do T day here and I forget the last time we did turkey. I know we did dairy last year becasue we wanted a specfic pie for dessert and it is dairy! (oh and it is sold as a fundraiser too for a group that provides healthy meals to the very ill and their families so it was both yummy for us and for others too!)

                2. re: DeisCane

                  hmmmm... what is pastrami but, brisket..

                  1. re: Daniel76

                    A fair point but the seasoning and cooking that pastrami goes through is very different from pulled pork.

                    1. re: Daniel76

                      Actually, pastrami is an entirely different cut than brisket. Traditional pastrami usually comes from the belly of the cow, the same area that we get beef frye. That is why it is so fat. Some make pastrami from the shoulder, chuck or even the top of the rib or brust deckel. While these cuts are much leaner, there is nothing better than hot pastrami the old fashioned way.

                      1. re: chicago maven

                        Well, pastrami isn't a cut at all. It's a finished product, like prosciutto is a finished product, and not a cut of pork.

                        I was under the impression that pastrami is a brisket (well, piece of the brisket) that's been corned and then smoked. At least, that's how I've made pastrami at home - take a 3 lb hunk of brisket, corn it for a few days, then rub pepper and coriander on it, then smoke it for a few hours.

                        1. re: foreverhungry

                          You are right, Pastrami is not a cut. As I said, you can make pastrami from almost any cut, including brisket. The traditional fatty pastrami is made from a cut called the navel. For the most part, it is used for scrapes for sausages or the such but a very small part can be made into pastrami or beef frye.
                          I'm sure that your version is much leaner and tastier. (if you don't prefer the fat dripping out of the hot pastrami sandwich!)

            2. veal - i've heard from many chefs that if they had a choice between pork or veal they would use veal.

              3 Replies
              1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                veal is the entire animal.. there are lots of parts of a veal.. veal breast for example is something that you can be shredded and breaks down.. veal cutkes, not so much..

                1. re: Daniel76

                  Touche - veal roast - not breast, but shoulder or neck

                  1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                    I was more concerned with mocking the texture than the taste, but I do appreciate the responses. The duck idea is interesting to me because we do duck only once a year at Succot time (too time consuming to prepare, too little meat). I don't see the stringy possibilities of veal, but I could try it. I do want the substitute to go with the rest of the recipe I have. I will post it at some point. Thanks for the responses.

              2. As a Southerner, I have to ask this question. What style pulled pork are you trying to mimic? I'm assuming, from the name "pulled pork" that you mean North Carolina-style, possibly Eastern. I don't think you mean Texas-style since they don't use pork, they use beef. That would exclude all the heavy tomato-based sauce recipes.

                The pig pickin' is a traditional local party event here. We came up with Pig Pickin' Chicken to serve to kosher/non-pork eaters at our neighborhood pig pickin's. It involves treating whole chickens exactly the same as you would a whole pig. Butterfly them, season them, and cook low and slow over wood or regular charcoal, if necessary. Towards the end use a standard Eastern Carolina mop and serve with vinegar and pepper sauce. Lots of work, darn tasty chicken.

                Low and slow is the key.

                1. To be honest, I think you're going to have some trouble here. It's like saying you want salmon cakes, but don't want to use salmon.

                  With all due respect to some of the posters, the best beef substitute would be a beef clod - essentially, the beef shoulder. It's the only beef cut that resembles a pork shoulder - as well it should. It's not a common cut of beef, but a good butcher should be able to get you a 5-8 pound clod steak - just ask him to not trim it much, as you want the fatcap. It's one of the very few beef cuts that will hold up to a 6+ hour smoking process.

                  Brisket is also a great substitute - but brisket can be very tricky to cook well. While it has a nice fat-cap on it, brisket itself is lean-ish and tough. It's meant to be sliced thin, not really shredded. IMO, it's one of the most difficult cuts of meat to BBQ correctly.

                  I'm not sure why anyone would use veal. Veal itself is A) expensive, B) delicate in flavor, and C) lean. All 3 of those fly in the face of pulled pork - slow smoking an inexpensive, fatty, and very flavorful hunk o meat to essentially denature the proteins and tenderize it. With adding so much smoke, rub, mop sauce, and (should you use it) BBQ sauce, there'll be zero veal flavor yet, which would be a shame to the veal and your pocketbook.

                  Beef ribs are an interesting choice, but again, they are pretty expensive. Also, I'm not sure how well beef ribs would stand up to slow and dry heat, as opposed to their typical cooking method of slow and moist heat.

                  In the end, I think chicken thighs might be your best option, if you can't do a beef clod. Mind you, part of what makes pulled pork "pulled pork" is the textural difference between the caramelized and dried bits of outer meat (due to the Maillard reaction? Does it take place at those lower smoking temps of around 200 - 250F?), and the succulent, moist tender interior. When it's all chopped and mixed, and your get both in a mouthful, well, that's what pulled pork is all about. Not sure you can get that with chicken thighs.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: foreverhungry

                    If you can't find Shoulder clod at your butcher, a beef chuck roast will work just fine. Depending on which part of the clod you get, it could be too lean. Tell the butcher what u want to do with it and they will help...most butchers have heard it all!

                    1. re: purchaser1

                      I think one of the key pieces of information that's lacking is whether the OP plans on smoking the hunk of meat, as pulled pork is done, or whether they plan on doing it in the oven or crockpot. The difference between low dry heat and low moist meat is very important, as some cuts of meat don't work well under dry heat. I'm not sure how a beef chuck roast will do in the smoker for 6 hours.

                      To me, with this dish, if it's smoked, then the meat is the star of the show (and thus the right choice is critical). If it's done in the oven or crockpot, the choice of meat is almost irrelevant, and the sauce/spices become the star of the show.

                  2. We made both pulled beef and pulled chicken when the restaurant was around, and we had proponents of each one. Neither was really a substitue for pulled pork in terms of flavor, but each smoked, pulled meat made an excellent sandwich, topped with homemade coleslaw. In fact, the pulled beef was our most popular item on the menu, the pulled chicken was the second most popular. I made pulled beef from either brisket, or a blend of bisket and beef shanks (along with any beef leftovers I had). I think people preferred the mixture to the 100% brisket, due to the richness of the melted collagen. Chuck or shoulder clod (synonymous) can be used to good effect, but it goes from underdone to overcooked very quickly.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ganeden

                      Thank you to you, Ganeden, and to all. I continue to read the responses, but do not think I will have time to do this for this holiday. I will refer back here when I am ready. I was more interested in the texture rather than mocking the flavor of the pork. I do think I will smoke it, but that concerns me and I do not wish to overshadow it with a heavy sauce so i will need some help with that. More advice will be helpful as I go on.

                    2. Pulled Turkey BBQ is something I make all the time; people who don't eat pork LOVE it as well as those who are pork eaters. Most of the time I buy whole bone in turkey breasts; sometimes I'll use whole turkey (which I think is better) when they're on sale I'll buy 4 or 5 and store in my freezer. If I'm using the breast, I'll cook it whole; if the whole bird, I'll spatchcock it. It gets slow cooked over indirect charcoal halfway then wrapped in foil to finish the job. It always comes out moist & juicy.

                      After cooling, it gets pulled (or chopped) and I make a fabulous sauce which includes apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and ancho chiles. Very popular