I am almost ashamed at how often I make this.
It is a fact. You can’t beat fall-off-the-bone pulled pork. Not only does it taste mighty fine, and can effortlessly feed a crowd, but the preparation is borderline slothful. You take a dirt-cheap hunk of sinewy meat, slather it in a blend of spices, and then plop it in a pot with a splash of liquid. The oven does all the tedious work while you go drink Rosé on the deck, or something very important like that.
Your unmerited reward: unctuous, tender chunks of meat, moistened in a subtly spiced pool of pan juices.
A few words on fat: while a thick layer of adipose tissue isn’t probably desired on your bottom, I assure it is mandatory on a pork butt. Whatever you do, don’t go diet mode and start cutting it off to save calories. You’ll end up with a tough and bone-dry slab of meat.
One last note, this is truly the meal that keeps on feeding. Once cooked, I divvy up my bounty into several zip-top bags, toss them into the freezer and then have any number of easy dinners available on a whim. Here are a few ideas: fajitas, barbecue, tamales, pozole, zuppa di fagioli, etc.
SLOW ROASTED PORK
Adapted from this recipe, originally published in the late and great magazine, Cottage Living (R.I.P.)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground paprika
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 (6-pound) or 2 (3-pound) pieces Boston butt or pork shoulder
1 cup apple juice or orange juice
1/2 cup water
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl; rub spice mixture all over pork.
- Place pork fatty side up in a large Dutch oven. Pour juice and water around meat. Cover with oven safe lid or aluminum foil; roast for 5 hours or until meat is fork-tender. Uncover and cook an additional 30 minutes until skin is crispy and cracks.
- Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes before shredding with two forks. Once pan juices have cooled the fat will begin to pool, skim off some of this fat. Serve and store meat with some of the cooking liquid to keep things moist.
*** Slow Cooker Alternative ***
I passed this recipe on to my friend Susan ages ago and she likes to make it in her crock-pot, as follows: place spice-rubbed pork shoulder fat-side up in crock-pot, pour juice and water around meat, cook 10 hours on LOW.