Pulled pork is a classic American dish that requires slow cooking to achieve a tender, flavorful meat that falls apart easily. Whether you’re hosting a backyard BBQ or simply craving a delicious pulled pork sandwich, learning how to cook it yourself can save you a trip to your favorite BBQ joint. In this article, we’ll guide you through each step of the process, from selecting the right cut of meat to serving it up on your plate.
Choosing the Right Cut of Meat
When it comes to making pulled pork, the type of meat you choose is important. Traditionally, pulled pork is made with a pork shoulder, also called a pork butt or Boston butt. This cut of meat is well-marbled with fat, making it flavorful and tender when cooked long and slow. Pork shoulder can be boneless or bone-in, but bone-in is preferred by many as it adds flavor to the meat.
Preparing the Meat
Before cooking, it’s important to prepare the pork shoulder properly to ensure the meat is tender and flavorful. Start by trimming off any excess fat from the surface of the meat, leaving about a quarter inch of fat intact. This will help keep the meat moist during cooking.
Next, season the pork liberally with your favorite dry rub or spice mix. A classic pulled pork dry rub typically includes salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Be sure to rub the seasoning mix all over the meat, including the sides and the crevices.
Cooking the Pork
There are two main methods to cook pulled pork: smoking and slow cooking. Smoking is a time-consuming process that requires a smoker and several hours of cooking time. In this article, we’ll focus on the easier method of slow cooking.
To start, preheat your oven to 225°F (105°C). Place the seasoned pork shoulder on a large baking sheet or roasting pan, fat side up. Cover the pork tightly with aluminum foil to keep the moisture in and prevent it from drying out.
Cook the pork for six to eight hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 195°F (90°C). You can check the temperature using a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat. Once cooked, remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes, covered with foil.
Pulling the Pork
Now it’s time to pull the pork. With a pair of tongs and a fork, begin pulling the meat apart, shredding it into small pieces. Be sure to remove any excess fat, gristle, or bone that you find as you shred.
If the meat is too dry, you can add a small amount of the cooking liquid to moisten it up. Some people like to mix in a bit of BBQ sauce or seasoning at this point to add more flavor.
Pulled pork is a versatile dish that can be served in many ways. Classic ways to serve pulled pork include in a sandwich, on a burger or hot dog, or as a topping for nachos or pizza. You can also mix pulled pork into baked beans or use it as a filling for tacos or burritos.
To serve your pulled pork, simply pile it onto a plate or bun and enjoy!
– Pork shoulder
– Slow cooking
– Dry rub
– BBQ sauce
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best way to reheat leftover pulled pork?
The best way to reheat leftover pulled pork is to place it in a microwave-safe dish and heat for 30-second intervals until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat it in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until heated through.
Can I make pulled pork in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can make pulled pork in a slow cooker. Follow the same steps for preparing and seasoning the pork, then place it in the slow cooker with a cup of liquid (such as chicken broth or beer) and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Once cooked, shred the meat and mix in your favorite BBQ sauce.