Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pulled Pork with Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce and Slaw

Nothing says summer like a pulled pork sandwich, but if you've been making yours with classic tomato-based BBQ sauce, you really are missing out. In my opinion, the better version is made the way they way they like them in the Carolina's, using a mustard-based sauce instead.

Julian's Pulled Pork with Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce
These are great for parties and above I'm putting them on smaller 'slider' buns.

The day before you plan to make the pulled pork, you should prepare the mustard sauce, as time in the refrigerator helps the flavors to meld. But if you don't have the time to do this in advance, you can skip the advance preparation and it will still be good.

Many cuts of pork work for a pulled pork recipe and you can use whatever you have on hand or prefer. Myself I like to use a pork shoulder or butt, as these have more flavor and fat. I know some use a full pork loin, and that certainly will work. But it is a rather lean cut of meat and is boneless, so not ideal unless you really need to make a large volume.

Browning the Pork
You can prepare the pork in the oven, in a crock-pot or on the grill.  They key is that the meat be braised (browned on the outside and then slowly cooked for a long time) until it's fork tender. As I have many other things to do today, I'm going to use the Crockpot (slow cooker). Shown above is a little trick I use to stabilize cuts of meat when I'm browning them on all sides. The fork holds the meat in place.

Mmmm Mmmmm Good!
You can also use this sauce to brush on meats you are grilling. It goes particularly well with grilled pork chops and chicken.

1 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
ground black pepper to taste
3-5 pound pork butt or shoulder roast, bone in preferred
Small Spanish onion, chopped


Mix all ingredients except the pork in an airtight container. Combine and refrigerate (preferably 24 hours, although less will work too.)

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce
Rub the meat with vegetable oil. Brown the pork on all sides using a skillet, the grill or a Dutch oven on the stove top. Saute the chopped onion in the drippings. Then cook it slowly until very tender with the onions.

Grill:  If you grill the meat initially over high heat, move it off of the direct heat once browned and reduce the grill temperature to 325F.  Move the pork roast into a pan to finish cooking. Cook with grill lid closed for about 3-4 hours.  Add wet wood chips for smoke if you desire.

Oven: If using a Dutch oven, after browning in a hot skillet, place in the vessel, add water half way up on the sides of the meat, toss in the sauteed onions, cover and place in a 325F oven for 3-4 hours. Check periodically to ensure the vessel has not gone dry.

Crockpot: If you are using a Crockpot, place the browned roast into the Crockpot with the sauteed onions. Add 1 cup water. Cook covered on the high setting for 3-4 hours or the low setting for 6-7 hours. I like a slow cooking so I prefer the latter.

When the meat is easy to pull apart with a fork, remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Drain the fat and remove the bone. On a cutting board or on a cookie sheet with sides, shred the pork by using two forks to pull it apart.

Warm the mustard BBQ sauce in a pot over very low heat then stir into the shredded pork. Serve on buns. Goes well with a side of Carolina Cole slaw, recipe below. Real southerners like the slaw right on the sandwich.

Sauced and Ready to Serve
As noted above, using a vinegar-based slaw dressing is highly desirable instead of the traditional creamy dressing we use most of the time here in the northern part of the United States. If you haven't had a Carolina slaw before, you chop the cabbages or purchase the shredded cabbage as you normally would. Then you make the dressing. My complete recipe is shown below.

Slaw Ready for Vinegar-Based Dressing

Carolina Slaw with Vinegar Dressing

1 large head of cabbage, finely shredded
1 medium bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium sweet onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated

OR you can substitute the above for two (2) bags of Dole Classic Cole Slaw (14 ounce each).
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cider vinegar

Place all of the dressing ingredients into a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir to combine. Bring ingredients to a low boil stirring regularly. Remove from heat. Pour over cabbage and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3-4 hours.

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