Pork shoulder is an inexpensive cut, and the luxuriously tender meat it yields can be used in a myriad of dishes from tacos to soups to next day sandwiches. Cooking pulled pork is easy and isn’t an attention hog so you can spend your time cooking up other tasty things, or in my case caulking some window trim. It’s the perfect food to entertain a crowd. You don’t need a slow cooker–just a heavy bottomed pot and a working oven. In fact, if you were to use a slow cooker, you would miss out on the coveted crunchy bits of crust that form from this method of braising.
So let’s start with some spices…
Measure them out or eyeball it–I won’t tell
Add in the oil to make a paste.
Now for the pork. I use Longhorn Meat. They are the best.
Now cut it up–the smaller the pieces the faster it will cook. If you wanted to cook the shoulder whole, it would take you at least a day. Cutting it into 5 to 6 inch cubes will cut in half that cooking time. Make sure to be conscious of the bone. It’s the first cut I make and it dictates the exact size of the rest of the pieces. It’s more important to have the pieces the same uniform size than it is what actual size the pieces are. Does that make sense? Rub that spice mixture all over it. Get it up in there. And let it sit for a few minutes while you heat up your dutch oven.
Brown the meat on all sides in batches and then squish all the pieces back into the dutch oven, fatty sides facing the heavens.
Open one of these guys and dump it in.
Repeat with whatever you’re drinking at the time. I wasn’t drinking this, but it is gluten-free and we had some lovely gluten intolerant guests over. Always make sure to check for food allergies. Also, this cider stuff had the perfect amount of sweetness to go with the pork. I’d do it again, and again, and again…
Now add enough water to come up at least halfway to the top of the pork. Insert into a cold oven and set it to 300F. Do not cover the pot. Do not open the oven. Just go do something else. I mean it. For 5 whole hours.
Ready? Is it falling apart? Yum. Pull the meat apart into another dish. Reduce braising liquid by half and pour over the pulled pork. Garnish with some cilantro if you’re cool like that.
This is only half of the pork. So much pork.
But sooooo tasty!
- one 5 to 7 lb pork shoulder, bone in
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp celery salt
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp ground mustard (if you use spreadable mustard, up this quantity to a couple tablespoons)
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ¼ cup canola or corn oil (plus one tablespoon)
- small can of mild green chiles, or spicy
- bottle of beer or cider or wine or whatever you are drinking at the time
- Combine all the spices with the oil to form a spice paste. Set aside.
- Cut the pork into Texas grapefruit sized pieces (5 to 6 inch extra large cubes), ensuring to work along side the bone. It is more important to make sure the pieces are about the same size than it is what size they are. Try and keep them close to a pound and a half each. This will ensure even, fast cooking and some awesome crispy bits to gnaw on.
- Rub the spice paste all over the pork and let sit for about 5 minutes or however long it takes to heat up a large dutch oven.
- Place a tablespoon of oil in a large dutch oven and wipe it around and out with a paper towel. Ideally, you want a very thin coat of oil on the bottom of the dutch oven.
- Once the pan is hot enough that a drop of water will sizzle, brown the pork in small batches, ensuring to turn on all sides, allowing each one to achieve a nice crust.
- After all the pork pieces are browned, stuff them all back into the dutch oven, ensuring any fatty bits are facing up. Pour over the can of green chiles and the booze.
- Pour cool water over the pork so that the braising liquid comes at least half way up the height of the pork.
- Place in a cold oven and set the temp to 300F.
- Walk away and leave it alone, uncovered, alone.
- Check it at 5 hours. If it pulls apart, remove from the oven and continue. If not, keep checking it every 30 or so minutes.
- Pull the pork from the pot and shred it as you like.
- Reduce the braising liquid by half and pour over the pork.
- Garnish with lime, cilantro, green onions, or how you do.