Recipe: carolina-style pulled pork
I wrote about pulled pork earlier this year during my Summer of Barbecue, but I never gave a recipe for it. Barbecue is regional in the US. Heck, my MIL just told me last weekend that barbecue in Memphis differs from barbecue in the rest of Tennessee! The varieties could make your head spin and your colon tremble: sweet, spicy, vinegar-base, tomato-base, thick, thin, beef, pork, ribs, pulled, sliced, smoked, and don’t forget the hot-links. I like them all, really. But in southern Virginia, we get a heavy influence from North Carolina and so tonight I paid homage to Carolina pulled pork for dinner.
One of my favorite acts in cooking is the Magic Act, where you take cheap cut of meat and cook it forever, whether by dry or moist heat, and render it a tender heap of Culinary Nirvana. Since we’re talking Carolina barbecue, you automatically know it is 1) pork and 2) vinegar-based sauce. And if you didn’t know, it’s about time you learned. An excellent part of the beloved piggy (besides the belly and the leg) is the shoulder, aka butt, Boston butt, Boston roast, shoulder blade roast. It is a favorite for barbecue (and also of Chinese cooking!) for its wonderful flavor, marbling, tenderness, moistness, and low cost. The trick is low and slow heat.
I tend to believe that authentic barbecue is smoked over coals for hours on end. I could do that where I live, but then I might burn down the entire National Forest, so I slow cook in the oven. It’s a more practical approach.
the components of the dry rub