WICKED PULLED PORK
FOR PULLED PORK:
2 bone-in pork butts (8 pounds, or 4 kg, each), untrimmed
2 1/4 cups (535 ml) Savory Pork Marinade Injection (recipe follows)
1 cup (100 g) IQUE Dry Rub
2 cups (475 ml) IQUE BBQ Sauce, warmed
2 cups (475 ml) Pork Marinade Sauce
Spicy Lexington Red Slaw
North Carolina Creamy Vinegar Dressing
Bacon Bit Buns
Marinade injector, heavy-duty aluminum foil, two 9-inch-square (22.5-cm) baking pans or disposable aluminum half-pans, food-handling gloves.
Pulled pork sandwiches are a roadside barbecue staple, and one of our favorite things. Here we stay true to the tradition but elevate the sandwich to another level. Unlike most in the genre, ours combines chopped meat with beautiful, sliced pork from what is known as the “money muscle.” And because there’s no such thing as too much pork, Chris decided one day to add bacon bits to the rolls—an experimental move that proved to be a keeper.
Vinegar is intrinsic to North Carolina barbecue, where we love to eat pulled pork sandwiches. We developed a vinegar dressing for ours that pays homage to the state’s ’cue and complements our version of their red slaw, which is another must. We also give our meat an extra burst of flavor. Traditional marinade is a problem for a big cut like a pork butt because it may only penetrate a few inches over a 24-hour period. So we take a two-pronged approach. First, we inject a marinade into the raw meat before we start cooking to give the flavors a chance to penetrate. Second, we apply a marinade to the cooked meat. The resting pork absorbs the marinade, completing the one-two punch of flavor penetration.
Using a marinade injector, slowly inject the Savory Pork Marinade Injection into each pork butt in nine evenly spaced spots. There should be about 1 ounce (28 ml) of marinade in each spot.
Generously sprinkle IQUE Dry Rub all over each butt and wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 to 8 hours.
Prepare smoker for a long smoking session (see chapter 1). We recommend a mild-flavored wood, such as apple. Place butts on the smoker, fat-side up. Smoke at 250°F (120°C) for 5 hours, or until internal temperature is 165°F (74°C), keeping the lid closed. Use a probe thermometer to monitor it. Turn the meat over, baste with 1 cup (235 ml) IQUE BBQ Sauce, and smoke for 2 hours, until a ruby-red crust has formed on the exterior.
Remove meat from smoker, wrap each butt tightly in aluminum foil, and smoke until internal temperature is 198°F (92°C). At this stage, you can open the lid, so you can switch to a super-fast Thermapen.
Transfer each pork butt to a baking pan, fat-side up. Remove foil, and pour 1 cup (235 ml) Pork Marinade Sauce over each butt. Tent each baking pan with a new piece of foil, and let rest for 1 hour.
Transfer the butts to a cutting board. Pour off the liquid from the pan and reserve. With a very sharp knife, slice the entire money muscle off each butt and place, cut-side down, on a cutting board.
Return the butts to the baking pans and, wearing food-handling gloves, pull the meat into thumb-sized chunks. Don’t process the meat too finely. You want big, bold pieces of pork. Pour back the reserved liquid and stir into the meat. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon (6 g) IQUE Dry Rub. Taste, and add a bit more hot IQUE BBQ Sauce if you think it needs it. Cover and hold in a warm (225°F, or 110°C) oven or on your smoker.
Using a very sharp carving knife, or an electric knife, slice the money muscles into 3/4-inch-thick (1.7-cm) slices.
To make the sandwiches: Place the pulled meat in the center of a platter and fan the sliced money muscle around it. Let your guests assemble their own sandwiches with some pulled and sliced pork, Spicy Lexington Red Slaw, a drizzle of the North Carolina Creamy Vinegar Dressing, and Bacon Bit Buns.
YIELD: 12 Servings
IQUE Dry Rub
1 cup (150 g) turbinado sugar
3/4 cup (225 g) kosher salt
1/2 cup (56 g) high-quality paprika (we like Spanish paprika)
6 tablespoons (45 g) chili powder
2 tablespoons (12 g) cumin seeds, freshly ground
4 teaspoons (6.8 g) mixed peppercorns, freshly ground
4 teaspoons (12 g) garlic granules
3 teaspoons (7.2 g) onion granules
2 teaspoons (9.2 g) MSG (or Accent), optional
1 teaspoon (2.6 g) chipotle powder
Place all ingredients in a spice blender and pulse until it becomes a fine powder. Refrigerate in an airtight container. This rub will keep indefinitely, but try to use within 1 month to ensure freshest flavor.
YIELD: 3 cups (300 g)
IQUE BBQ Sauce
4 cups (600 g) packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) cider vinegar
1/2 cup (120 ml) Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon (4.8 g) dried thyme
1 tablespoon (1.6 g) ground mustard
1 tablespoon (9 g) garlic powder
1 tablespoon (7 g) ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons (3 g) Szechuan peppercorns, freshly ground
1 1/2 teaspoons (3 g) long peppercorns,* freshly ground
1 1/2 teaspoons (3.9 g) chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon (6.3 g) tomato powder, optional
1/2 tablespoon (3 g) hickory powder, optional
4 cups (946 ml) ketchup
1/2 cup (120 ml) light corn syrup
2 tablespoons (15 g) IQUE Dry Rub
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, make the gastrique by bringing the brown sugar, cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce to a gentle boil.
Remove from heat and add the thyme, mustard, garlic powder, cumin, ground Szechuan peppercorns, ground long peppercorns, chipotle powder, and tomato powder and hickory powder, if using. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Stir in ketchup and corn syrup, return to stove, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add IQUE Dry Rub. Let cool and store in refrigerator, preferably in squeeze bottles, for up to 1 month.
YIELD: About 2 quarts (1.9 L)
Pork Marinade Sauce
1 cup (235 ml) white grape juice
1/2 cup (120 ml) cider vinegar
1/2 cup (115 g) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup (175 ml) IQUE BBQ Sauce (page 35)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring all ingredients to a simmer. Use immediately or let cool and refrigerate.
YIELD: 3 cups (750 ml)
Graduate of The Culinary Institute of America
Certified Personal Chef
AngelFood Personal Chef Service and Catering Company
A division of Jewels Quelly Enterprises, LLC
Washington, New Jersey 07882
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