Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lexington-Style Pulled Pork

I love smoked food, but I especially love when my husband and I work together as a team to make a great meal. After viewing an episode of America's Test Kitchen on PBS, I decided to try smoking a pork shoulder on the grill with my husband's help and create a Lexington-style pulled pork meal. We have tried it once before and loved the intense flavor and aroma from the mesquite flavored wood chips. Today, we are experimenting with hickory flavored wood chips.

To prepare for the smoking process, I thawed a 6-8lb Boston butt pork shoulder roast. It would probably be a good idea to take it from the freezer a couple of days before smoking, unfortunately, I did not think that far in advance so my husband pulled it out this morning from the freezer. I thawed it partially in cool water in the sink and finished thawing in the microwave on defrost for 10 minutes.

The rub recipe from America's Test Kitchen called for 2TBSP sweet paprika, 2TBSP kosher salt, 2TBSP ground black pepper, and 2TBSP brown sugar. Unless I am baking, I never really follow the recipe exactly, so I changed it a little bit by adding 1TBSP garlic powder, 1TBSP cayenne pepper, and an additional 1TBSP of brown sugar. Allow the meat to rest with the rub on it anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours. The smells from the grill on our patio are intoxicating at this moment. Yummmm! Make sure to soak the wood chips for 15 minutes in water to keep from burning on the coals but instead smoke while heating on the coals.

After smoking on the grill for 2 hours, we then transferred the roast to an aluminum disposable pan, covered tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil, and placed in the oven for 2 more hours for 375 degrees Farenheit until fork tender. After removing from the oven, we let it rest for 30 minutes. I next removed the fat cap and set aside, then shredded the meat and discarded any large hunks of fat or gristle. We reserved some of the meat, placed 1lb in freezer bags, to save for tacos or sandwiches another day.

This is the recipe from America's Test Kitchen for the Lexington BBQ sauce.
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
The first time I made this recipe, I followed it exactly, but I feel the Lexington sauce is too vinegary for me and family's taste. So to adjust the recipe and reduce the vinegar flavor, I added 1 cup of Famous Dave 's Rich and Sassy BBQ sauce.