SO YOU WANNA’ BE A ROCKSTAR?
The back yard BBQ. We all love it but unless you’re gastronomically inclined or have been invited to the home of someone who is, the food can be pretty mundane. Worry no more. This pulled pork and coleslaw recipe will add a new level of excitement and salivation and leave them screaming for more. Intrigued? Of course you are!
INGREDIENTS – Serves 10-12 pigs or more “normal” eaters- pardon the use of the word “pig” the pun wasn’t entirely intentional.
For the pork-
- A 9 pound Boston Butt –bone in is MOST DEFINATELY preferred. Boston Butt is a misnomer, it doesn’t come from the rear of the pig; that is the ham. It comes from the front above the picnic shoulder and in front of the loin. It’s fatty, gelatinous and is the best cut for pulled pork. Since Boston Butts tend to fall apart during cooking it’s best tie them. If you’re not comfortable doing this your butcher can help.
- 3 cups of chicken stock. You can also use beer or a combination of both.
- 2 tbsp. of sherry (or apple cider) vinegar.
- One large yellow onion
- Three cloves of garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 juniper berries
- Sea Salt
- Ground Pepper
- 1 ¼ cups of Hungry Uncle’s Bajan Barbeque Sauce plus extra to serve with the pork
- Parchment paper
- A Dutch oven or any other (heavy) cooking vessel large enough to hold the pork without too much extra room.
For the coleslaw-
- 5-6 cups of shredded cabbage. This comes to about 1 ½ lbs. It’s fine to buy the pre-shredded bagged variety that’s mixed with carrots.
- 4 cups of Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tbsp. of any type of raw sugar
- 3 tbsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp of ground pepper
- 1/8th tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3 tbsp. of mayonnaise
- Take your pork out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you start cooking it. It will cook more evenly at room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees with a rack in the second lowest position.
- Peel and coarsely chop your onions. Smash the garlic. Doing this will remove the peel.
- Preheat your Dutch oven on medium.
- Rub your pork butt with salt and pepper
- Add 2-3 tbsp. of oil and sauté the onions until they just begin to caramelize. If your pot is not enameled, well-seasoned cast iron or non-stick, you should add the oil prior to pre-heating.
- Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute. Be careful not to burn it.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions and garlic to a bowl.
- Carefully put the pork butt into the Dutch oven and sear on all sides until a light crust has developed. Use clean rubber gloves if you are turning the pork by hand. The meat can be slippery and hot enough to burn you. You can also turn by using a couple of large non-flexible kitchen spoons and/or tongs
- Turn off the heat and add the cooked onions & garlic, stock and/or beer, vinegar, bay leaves and juniper berries. When braising any food it’s important not to add too much liquid. The best guide for this comes from Molly Stevens’ All About Braising. She states never to have the liquid come more than about 1/3 of the way up the item that is being cooked. I’ve found this to be a never fail formula.
- Cover the top of the Dutch oven with parchment paper so it’s just barley touching the pork. Place the lid on top of the paper.
- Carefully transfer to the oven.
- After about 15 minutes, check the pork. If the liquid is not barely simmering and creating steam turn the heat up to 325. Be careful when opening the pot. Don’t get burned by the steam.
- At the 2 hour mark turn the pork over.
- At the 3.5 hour mark check the pork. If it starts to fall apart when you poke it with a fork then it’s done. However, it will likely take a full 4 hours.
- When the pork is done, remove the lid and parchment and place the Dutch oven on a heat proof surface.
- After about 10 minutes, carefully remove the pork to a large cutting board. Again, I recommend using gloves. It’s the easiest way.
- Let the pork sit for about 15 minutes to begin cooling.
- While the pork is cooling, strain the braising liquid into a large heatproof bowl. A key to getting the best flavor is to gently press on the all the solids that remain in the strainer and let the juices drip into the bowl.
- Place the Dutch oven back on your stove, pour the braising liquid in and bring to a boil. Turn down to a fast simmer. Using a stiff plastic or wooden spoon, gently scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any solids. Let the liquid reduce for about 10 minutes.
- Let cool a few minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour the liquid back into the bowl
- Remove any string from the pork and using gloved hands shred all the meat.
- Put the shredded meat back into the pot, add 1 ½ cups of the braising liquid and 1 ¼ cups of Hungry Uncle’s Bajan Barbeque Sauce. Gently mix with a spatula.
- It can be served now but will taste better if it’s refrigerated overnight to allow all the flavors to marry.
- If you’ve refrigerated the pork, it can be reheated at a low temperature in a pot or a crock pot –yes, there actually are a few uses for those things.
- Serve with a seedless soft bun of your choosing along with the coleslaw and extra Hungry Uncle’s Bajan Barbeque Sauce.
- The coleslaw can be prepared at any time while the pork is braising.
- In a mixing bowl combine the apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and cinnamon.
- Put the shredded cabbage into another large mixing bowl and pour the liquid over the top.
- Toss the cabbage using a spatula or your hands.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 or up to 24 hours.
- Remove from the fridge and drain almost all of the liquid leaving a small amount on the bottom of the bowl.
- Add 3 tbsp. of mayonnaise and again using a spatula or your hands toss the cabbage mixture.
- It’s ready to serve.
Ok, I know that was a long process but it is well worth and you WILL be the culinary star of the party. Still feeling a bit overwhelmed? No one ever said show business was easy! You gotta’ pay your dues kid…..it takes a lot of practice to make it to the big stage 😉 Until next time happy cooking and eating.