Being the delicate, gentle flower that I am (don't question it), I don't really cook much meat at my house. Sure, every dish includes meat, but very little food that I prepare is just meat. I bought my husband a grill for Christmas two years ago, and a smoker for Christmas last year. Hint, hint, honey!
But since I've recently gotten in the habit of making mass quantities of food and storing it away (a sign that I will eventually turn into a carbon copy of my grandmother), I thought I would cook a huge hunk of meat and see what happened. My sil Ashley sent me a pulled pork recipe that calls for a day of brining and about a day of slow cooking.The results were unfathomably delicious.
I'd never brined anything before. Every time I even think about brining, the song "Feels Like the First Time" pops into my head. But with the lyrics "Brining for the first time." I'm sure I sang this while I cooked and it won't get out of my head. Maybe I should make this a video blog and embarrass myself a little more.
Really, brining is no pretty easy. It tenderizes the meat, adds flavor, pulls out the blood. I recommend it if you've got the time.
I let my pork brine overnight and while I was at church Sunday morning. Then I tossed it in the oven when we got home, and it was ready around 9 p.m. that night. We didn't have it for dinner, but I went ahead and pulled the pork, set some aside for dinner the next night and put the rest in the freezer. I hope it doesn't have the texture of shoe leather when I decide to thaw it out.
It's a long process but requires very little hands-on time. Plus, when it's all said and done, there are numerous ways you can use the pork: pulled pork sandwiches, pulled pork nachos, pulled pork tacos. I'm starting to sound like Bubba Gump.
Ty and I made Pulled Pork Tostadas.
Heaven. On. Earth.
I used tostada shells from the grocery store and layered them with refried beans, pork, hot sauce, lettuce, tomato, sour cream. I don't think Ty and I spoke much during dinner. I was shoveling it in too fast to speak. Just mumbles and mmms of delight.
I'm thinking we'll eat these again for Super Bowl Sunday ... queso would be a good addition.
Here's the recipe, use it how you will. But may I suggest the tostada?
Slow Roasted Pulled Pork
1 whole boston butt
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar
Mix well and store in an air tight container.
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 qts cold water
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp dry rub mix
Add salt to cold water and stir very well until all the salt is completely dissolved. Then add the brown sugar, dry rub and bay leaves and stir well to combine.
- Rinse the pork shoulder and place in a large container, pour in the brine solution until the shoulder is completely covered. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
- Remove the pork shoulder from the brine solution, pat dry with paper towels, place in a baking pan that is bigger than the shoulder by at least an inch in length and width and at least 3 inches deep.
- Sprinkle dry rub onto the surface of the shoulder and massage in such that it adheres to the surface. Coat all sides. Make sure the fat layer of the shoulder is facing up before cooking.
- Place baking pan uncovered in a 225 degree oven on the middle rack. Insert a probe thermometer into the center of the thickest part of the shoulder but not touching the bone.
- Monitor the temperature throughout cooking. Do not remove from the oven until the center of the shoulder reaches 200 degrees. When the shoulder has reached 200 degrees, shut off the oven and let the roast cool for a couple of hours before removing from the oven. If the bottom of the pan is dry or crusted with dried spices the cover the pan with foil to retain internal moisture of the meat during the cooling process.
- When the temperature drops to 170 degrees or slightly lower, remove from oven. Place on a large, clean work surface and remove the large sheet of crusted fat from the top. Pull apart with two forks. It will pull very easily.