29 April 2009

North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork

Every time I think my life is beginning to resemble normalcy again, I find that it isn't. I went to a Neko Case concert a little while ago- we had a great time but halfway through the concert I got really sad. My mom loves Neko Case and I know she would have loved to be there, but then I looked around at the noise and the crowds and I realized she wouldn't be up for it. I hope she will be one day.

Every time I get a few normal days, every time I think I might be able to go to yoga two days in a row, there I go again- back to the hospital, to waiting rooms and scans and pain and tears. Of course, I cannot complain, not being the one actually going through the constant tests and pokes and prods. But nonetheless, I feel as if I'm caught between a sense of normalcy and complete imbalance.

And thus, we cannot move forward here on the blog yet. I mean, last time I mentioned homemade North Carolina-style pulled pork, and who would want to move on from that?? I've always wanted to make this ever since a friend made it for a dinner once, and I finally found the occasion and procured the recipe.

To clarify, North Carolina-style is a slow-roast pork that is combined with a very vinegary-peppery sauce. It's not like those other sticky-sweet barbecues, and because this recipe is only an approximation of the real thing, it doesn't have the exact smoke and char of a pit barbecue. But none of those things detract from the recipe at all- the sharp vinegar pairs nicely with a dollop of coleslaw on a good soft (homemade!) burger bun.

I suppose I cannot just move on with my life at the drop of a hat because my life is different than what it was before. I can't just go back to what's familiar, I need to reevaluate, readjust. Maybe I need to feng shui, I don't know. Whatever it is, I hope it involves a little more me time, and a little more cooking.

for 8-10 gigantic sandwiches

A. 4 lb. boneless pork roast--pot shoulder blade or Boston butt
(or you could use a bone-in roast, in which case double the weight)

B. salt, pepper, cut garlic cloves

C. 1 onion, sliced
1/2 cup cider vinegar

D. 3/4 c. white vinegar
3/4 c. cider vinegar
1T. sugar
2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 t. fresh-ground pepper
1 T. good quality hot sauce--for instance, Crystal. (NOT the pure-heat type like Tabasco)
1 to 2 t. salt

Rub A with B. Cook in Crockpot with C. c. 10 hours. (If you don't have a Crockpot, brown meat in oil and then bake with C in covered roaster 3-3½ hours at 325º. )

Cut cooked meat into chunks and then shred by hand, discarding fat.

Put meat in a saucepan, mix D and pour ALMOST all of it over the meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat has thoroughly absorbed the sauce, adding more sauce if needed. (You want the meat to be well soaked but not soupy.)

Serve with soft white buns that will soak up the juices. You can add cole slaw right into the sandwich or have it on the side.


Anonymous said...

I love Carolina Style Barbecue -- this recipe is a little different than mine, but one tip I have is to add smoked paprika to the rub -- it adds a wonderful smoky flavor that makes you think you're almost actually eating barbecue.

Delamonda said...

I love your blog. I hope your mom gets better and then all these things you cook will make you happy again!

Anonymous said...

Where did you find the Halal pork?

Susan said...

Sometimes you need that "me" time.
Thank you for sharing the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Having grown up in NC, and having bbq EVERYWHERE you went, I never fully appreciated the taste until I read how you described the flavors. Since pulled pork is so popular down here, you have to be careful to find places that don't dry it out. Dry meat ruins everything! But I will have to try making it at home, the hubby would love me for it!

Miss Vicki said...

I live in GA and prefer the NC style pulled pork. Can't wait to try the recipe. The sweet and real salty pulled pork with the strong smoke flavor isn't my cup of tea. Your recipe sounds perfect. Yumm...with good cole slaw and a pickle?

hahaha...Halal pork!!! Kinda like Kosher pork?

coloured light said...

hmmm. i dont eat pork, but it sounds like a really lovely recipe. do you think it would work with a shoulder of lamb as well? the idea of "pulled" lamb is somehow really yummy!

unclelonghair said...

Thanks for the recipe. You should try it "cuban style", the flavors are orange, lime, garlic, and cumin. You can make a "mojo" sauce (pronounced mo-ho, not Austin Powers style) which is oil, vinegar, juice, oregano, garlic, and cumin.

Regarding pulled lamb, that should work, a Lebanese restaurant near me has a dish of stewed lamb with yogurt and mint, the lamb is fall-apart tender, I suspect it is a lamb shoulder cooked similar to this recipe.