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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Carolina Pulled Pork

Making my own REAL pulled pork has always been one of those want to do but really isn't practical things.  There are the recipes for pulled pork in the crockpot.  They look great but most of my friends who've tried them say the texture just isn't the same.  And, of course, the bark is totally missing!  BUT, I wanted to make pulled pork with a real bark.  It's just not practical to keep my gas grill going for the number of hours it'd take.  Nor is it practical to keep a charcoal grill stoked for 12 hours or so.  And, since I'm practically never home and awake for more than four hours at a time, it's impossible to watch either...  So, when I found this recipe in The Dish (by Food and Wine) I thought that's a way I can try to make real pulled pork. 

Saturday afternoon we left the office by 2:00 to get to Kincaid's by 3:00 when they close.  Kincaid's is an old fashioned meat market.  They've been family owned forever.  My great-grandmother, Katharine, used to shop there.  So did my grandmother.  And, when I was a wee tot my mother would take me in and plop me on top of the counter and place her order. Needless to say, the meat is fantastic.  It's where we go when we want a cut of meat that we just can't get at the grocery or if we want something for a special occasion.  Someday, I'd love to have the luxury of buying all my meat there.  Local, fresh, but unfortunately, more expensive than the grocery.  I knew Kincaids would cut the the pork as we needed it.  I also knew they'd have the duck breasts for the Duck Breasts with Crispy Potatoes.   We got there and lo and behold they were having a party.  We got samples of incredible hamburgers.  They'd taken 5 lbs of wagyu beef and ground it with 1 lb of apple smoked bacon.  Sign me up to test those whenever you want!!!  We also tried some cupcakes.  Mine was a bite of coconut goodness and Connie's was chocolate.  Both were just incredible.  I never did find out what the occasion was but certainly hope they're having a repeat next time we're there!!!   Here's a photo of Kincaids:

The recipe called for slathering the pork with a mustard paste then putting it in the oven on low heat for about 12 hours.  Then, you were to  smoke it in a grill for an hour.  Because I had to head to the office, the pork went in the fridge for 8 hours in between.  Once I got home, it went on the gas grill with hickory chips.

Now, you'll notice in the photos below that I totally ignored the recipe's suggestion of disposable aluminum pans.  That's there for a reason.  The gunk cooks on.  Like it's permanently attached.  I soaked the dish overnight with a huge amount of dishwasher soap.  Then, took a spatula to it.  Connie was washing dishes and he said that was pretty easy, smart move to soak it in the dishwashing soap.  I did not whack him over the head with the spatula that I spent 30 minutes with scraping the bottom and sides of the pan.   (Yes, I was tempted but he's such a good guy!)  PLEASE, use a disposable pan and just toss it!

What did we think?  It was a little dry, probably because we bought a much smaller piece than the recipe called for - and it wasn't skin on.  The flavor was fabulous.  But, I'd love to find a way to add some moisture while the pork's doing it's 12 hour cook in a dry oven.  I'm wondering about putting a pan in with some broth and seasonings just to add moisture to the oven.  Or, I may put the pork on a rack and add some broth below. 

Carolina Pulled Pork


1 12-14 lb bone-in pork shoulder, with skin
1 c dijon mustard
2 t freshly ground pepper
2 T kosher salt
1 T sweet paprika
1 T onion powder
8 c small hardwood smoking chips, soaked in water for 30 min then drained

Mix the mustard sauce.  That's the mustard, salt, paprika, pepper and onion powder.  It'll look like sludge.  Really, it will. 

Slather the pork with the mustard sauce. 

Bake at 275 for 12 hours, uncovered.  Remove and put in a warm grill.  Smoke for one hour.  Now, the recipe online goes into smoking on a regular charcoal grill.  If you're into that, please go follow this link:  Carolina Pulled Pork.

adapted from Food and Wine

FOOD and WINE is giving away a year-long subscription to a lucky reader from Kate's Kitchen. Click here to enter and read official rules here.

This post is part of a series featuring recipes from the FOOD and WINE archive. As a FOOD and WINE Blogger Correspondent, I was chosen to do four recipes a week from FOOD and WINE. I received a subscription to FOOD and WINE for my participation.


Monet said...

Your pulled pork seems like just as big of a time commitment as my croissants! I too love a moist, pulled pork, but I've always been too intimidated to try making it at home. Yours looked great, and I'm sure with increased experimentation, you will find the perfect recipe!

Sprinkled with Flour said...

This pulled pork recipe sounds delicious:) I just bought two bone in pork roasts from the butcher, so I'll have to give this one a try. Thanks for sharing:)

Drick said...

always have great success cooking off heat on the gas grill - for 4 or 5 hours using a baste every so often - I find wrapping it up tight in foil the last hour or so really makes it moist ...

Belinda @zomppa said...

Super impressed. Being in Carolina...this is such a great classic, but never tried my own....

Island Vittles said...

Food is soooo good when it takes that long to make it...must be anticipation's effect on our tastebuds...a pan of water on the oven rack below the pork will is a good idea for moisture. Theresa

Lauren Zabaneh said...

I was cracking up about the pan...oh Lord. I've been there.

Sounds wonderful and I love food and wine mag too. just got a new one in the mail yesterday...I savor it.

This recipe looks really great and I like the rub. so flavorful!

what a wonderful story about the meat market that 3 generations have gone too! not many people can say that. I love those family connections and stories. so special.

thanks for stopping by Kate. hugs.

Judy said...

Being from Carolina where pulled pork reigns, we tried this recipe. Only it never made it to the barbecue. I forget why - but it still turned out pretty good after just cooking in the oven.

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

I too have always wanted to make pulled pork and your recipe looks amazing and simple to make. This is a must make! I will enjoy it in California but think of Carolina. Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE pulled pork. One of my favorite sandwiches of all time. This looks and sounds so delicious!


There is not a better regional dish, in my opinion...coming from a pork-aholic! It looks perfect!