Pulled Pork: A Novel

My seester Nini has turned me on to slow-cooking in general and pulled pork in particular. I mean, to quote the Contessa, how easy is this: one pork butt, sauce of your choice, cover, leave for 8 hours, come back to indescribable yumminess.

I still don't have a slow cooker. After this grandiose kitchen renovation and the Wolf Stove of my dreams (yes, I love you darling, you complete me) I feel guilty getting a slow-cooker (no, no, Wolfie, not yet, I promise). I'm sure the slow cooker is much more energy efficient BUT ANYWAY, back to the novel...

JP took the kids skiing the other day, and pork butt (can anyone write that with a straight face?) was on sale at Hannaford's. I picked one up, in keeping with this horrible cold weather and snow and all the comfort food I've been making to conquer it. Pulled pork seemed the perfect thing for après-ski

I Googled around for conventional oven techniques and sauce, mixed and matched a little, and came up with this:

Pulled Pork à la Wolfie

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 C ketchup
  • 1/3 C cider vinegar
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce (my favorite condiment to say)
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325. Throw pork butt into Le Creuset dutch oven (Wolfie is my man but Madame Le Creuset is my bitch). Mix all ingredients, slather all over butt (the pork, not yours). Cover, put into oven. Go away for at least 3 hours and soon the house will become permeated with the most awesome, tangy, barbecue-y smell in creation. My son came in the door after skiing and said "Mommy, I want to eat the AIR!"

Ideally a longer, slower cooking time for pulled pork is best because you essentially want the meat to fall off the bone and you should be able to shred it with two plastic forks. 3 hours at 325 was totally adequate. I needed regular forks to shred it but it tasted awesome. But after you take it out and get rid of the bone, spoon as much fat as you can off the sauce, and cut the real fatty bits off the meat before you shred it. Then mix it all back in with the sauce and let it sit back in the cooker or on the stovetop for about 10 minutes. I added a splash of apple cider for no reason, it just seemed like a good idea.

I'm sure everyone has their own idea of fixin's for pulled pork. I like to serve it with potato rolls, cole slaw and sweet potato fries. I also like a few bread-and-butter pickles on my sammich. And beer of course is great with this meal, although a Dr. Pepper would be a treat as well. I'm quite partial to Dr. Pepper.