There are certain dishes that I often assume are beyond my cooking skill level that I later find out are a lot easier to make than I thought they would be. Making pulled pork turned out to be one of those. It’s a time consuming process, but it’s pretty simple.
I used a very detailed recipe I came across via Pinterest from the kitchn. I pretty much followed it closely. It suggests using either bone in or boneless pork butt or pork shoulder. I used boneless butt because I could buy a smaller cut and because it seemed like that would be an easier process for my first time.
I trimmed the excess fat and then cut it into six pieces. The recipe suggests cutting the boneless down into smaller parts and that worked out well for a couple of reasons. One is that there is more surface area for seasoning it, i.e. more flavor. Another is that the smaller pieces made them easier to sear.
The recipe provides a list of suggestions for spice rubs and since we were thinking about tacos, I opted for the Mexican option. The recipe doesn’t provide any measurements, so I just went with my instincts. For the 3 pound butt, I used 4 teaspoons of a chili powder mix from one of our local spice stores (I don’t remember which one), 2 teaspoons of oregano, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of ancho chili powder. The recipe also calls for adding salt and pepper to the rub but in my efforts to figure out a blend, I forgot those and added them to the pot later.
I rubbed each cut with a generous amount of the spice mix and then seared the meat. All the pieces didn’t easily fit into our dutch oven at once, so I seared them in batches. the kitchn also has a good write up about how to sear meat.
One thing I did that the recipe doesn’t call for was to deglaze my pan after searing. The recipe calls for liquid, either beer, wine, broth or juice. I opted for beer and used a bit for the deglazing.
I then put all the meat back into the dutch over and added 2 chopped carrots, 1 quartered onion, and about 8-9 garlic cloves. Then, I added the rest of the bottle of beer. The recipe suggests not entirely covering the meat, allowing some of it to remain above the liquid. I brought that to a simmer and then put on the lid and put it in a 325 degree oven for 2 hours.
I checked on the meat at the end of that time and it was pulling apart nicely, so I took it out of the oven. We had plans for the afternoon, so we just left everything on top of the stove covered for another couple of hours.
When we got back, I took the meat out and pulled it apart. We strained the liquid and chopped up the onions and garlic as well as a jalapeño and some green onions. Finally, we grated some Pepper Jack Cheese from Di Bruno Bros. and used some salsa from Green Aisle Grocery and made tacos.