It’s getting to be that time of the year that I’m super anxious to get the barbecue out and get to some grilling. Okay, what I really mean is get my Hubby grilling. Even though I’m learning to grill (I’m no longer afraid to light it – Yay!), this is his one cooking domain and I don’t want to take over, like I have with all of his other cooking projects (like pizza). However, right now we don’t have access to a barbecue/grill. So, I had to fake it. This indoor pulled pork tastes almost like the real thing – smoky and delicious. Except it’s made in your oven. I used to always make pulled pork in my slow cooker, but it was always turning out kind of watery. Not this one. It’s cooked with dry heat, and a spice rub, so there is no possible way that it can turn watery. The pulled pork does take several hours to make, from start to finish, so you’ll need to do it on a day that you’ll be home. It also makes A LOT of pulled pork, so it’s great for having people over, or be prepared to have leftovers for days. No worry though, you can make pulled pork pizza, nachos, tacos or omelettes in addition to the standard sandwiches.
This delicious pulled pork starts with a pork butt roast, cut in half. This is for 2 reasons: to increase surface area to load on more of the flavorful rub, but also so it cooks a little faster. The pork gets brined for a couple of hours to make sure it stays nice and moist and flavorful.
Then comes the rub: first mustard and liquid smoke, then the spices. Pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne, sugar and salt to be exact. This gives the pork a nice spicy crust.
Once the pork pieces are fully coated with the rub, they go into the oven, all covered up in foil. Later the foil is removed to get the edges nice and crusty.
After removing the foil, you’ll pour the drippings into a container to save. As you can see, you get lots. This will go into the homemade BBQ sauce. You will be skimming the fat off, and the easiest way to do this is to cool it in the fridge or freezer so the fat solidifies and you can just scoop it off.
This is what the pork looks like when it’s done. Is your mouth watering yet?
After letting it cool for a bit, you shred, or pull it. You’ll probably end up eating a lot in this step, but remember – it gets even better when it’s coated with the delicious homemade BBQ sauce.
The sauce is the easiest part. You don’t even have to cook it! You just stir up some ketchup, molasses, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, pepper and some of those pork drippings you saved. Some of it gets stirred in with the shredded pork, and some gets saved to drizzle over your sandwiches.
Now let’s not forget about the veggies. This coleslaw gives the pulled pork sandwiches a nice color and crunch, and I would NOT recommend going without it. The coleslaw itself is a mix of shredded green and purple cabbage and carrots. To save yourself some work, you could by a pre-shredded bag of coleslaw mix, but the result won’t be as crunchy. The dressing is a nice light vinaigrette – totally different from store-bought coleslaw that is often drowning in a creamy, calorie-laden dressing. The dressing is a mix of cider vinegar, sugar, canola oil, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and celery seed. The salad can be made and dressed ahead of time, and actually gets better after sitting for awhile and absorbing some of the dressing.
When it comes time to assemble, place a big scoop of pulled pork onto your bun (I used my homemade hamburger buns of course), a pile of coleslaw on top of that, and drizzle it all with some of the BBQ sauce.
Serve with extra coleslaw and the side of your choice. It’s especially great with a nice cold beer, and a big bowl of watermelon for dessert. Doesn’t that sound like summer on a plate?
- 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 5 pounds boneless pork butt roast cut in half horizontally
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 2 Tablespoons ground pepper
- 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspooncayenne
- 1 1/2 cups ketchup
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoons hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
- 1/2 small head green cabbage shredded
- 1/2 small head purple cabbage shredded
- 2 medium carrots peeled and shredded
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Dissolve 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar sugar and 3 Tbsp liquid smoke in 1 gallon (4 L) cold water in a large bowl. Place pork into brine, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
While pork is brining, stir together mustard and remaining 2 teaspoons liquid smoke in a small bowl. Mix pepper, paprika, cayenne and the remaining 2 Tablespoons brown sugar and 2 teaspoons salt together in a small bowl.
Adjust oven rack to lower middle position, heat oven to 325°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil and set a wire rack over top.
Remove pork from brine, dry with paper towels. Brush mustard mixture over pork to cover. Sprinkle paprika mixture over pork and pat down to stick. Place pork on the wire rack over foil-covered baking sheet. Place a sheet of parchment paper over pork, then cover with foil, sealing the edges completely. Place baking sheet in oven and roast for 3 hours.
Remove pork from oven. Remove and discard the foil and parchment that are covering the pork. Carefully remove wire rack with the pork on top and set aside. Carefully pour pork drippings from foil-lined pan into a bowl or measuring cup and place in fridge to cool. Replace wire rack and pork and return to oven to cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours, or until the center of the pork reads 200°F on an instant-read thermometer.
Transfer pork to a platter or cutting board and loosely cover with foil. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Spoon the fat from the top of the pork drippings and discard. In a medium bowl, whisk together ketchup, molasses, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of the pork drippings. Set aside.
Shred the pork with your fingers or 2 forks. Toss with 1 cup of sauce. Reserve the rest of the sauce for serving.
Toss cabbage and carrots together in a large bowl.
Stir vinegar, sugar, canola oil, Dijon, celery seeds, salt and pepper together in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.