Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Pulled-Pork Problem...

So I thought I was being absolutely brilliant by planning pulled-pork sandwiches for this week's "unplugged" night. [My teenage daughter suggested that once a week we "unplug" - no phones, computers, TV's OR lights (that part's just an excuse to have candles) - and play games. It's awesome!] This week she'd invited many friends, and we had no idea how many would show up, so pulled pork was a natural. Easy, enough for any size crowd, great leftovers and everybody loves it. Perfect, right?

The best laid plans...

Problem Number 1: My local grocery store had no "4-5 lb." boneless pork shoulder roasts; the smallest I could get was 9 lbs. Oh well, the more leftovers the merrier, right?

Problem Number 2: A million different ways to cook it! My recipe called for using the slow-cooker. And while I do have an overly large crockpot, it's still not going to hold 9 lbs. One recipe says braise overnight, another says pan-sear then put in a dutch oven (which I do not own); many use a smoker or a charcoal grill (also don't have either of those). Then there's...

Problem Number 3: Cooking time. I seriously underestimated the amount of time this baby's gonna take to cook! (Luckily, I'm finding this out tonight; much better than tomorrow around Noon - right?) One recipe says 225 degrees for 1-1/2 to 2 hrs. a pound (so 14-18 hours???). Another says 300 degrees for 8 hours (does this cover larger roasts too?). And apparently, the meat is subject to its own timeline - there's no cut-and-dry like there is for turkey. Dang it!

With no time to change my meal plan, I have done some serious research. I have now perused twenty different pulled-pork recipes and have formulated my plan of attack:

Solution Number 1: Use my hubby! "Honey, this has to cook all day and I don't like to get up before Noon. Will you put it in the oven when you leave for work?" (It looked better when I dotted all of my "I's" with hearts - jk!)

Solution Number 2: I have learned to make KILLER ribs - seriously, fall-off-the-bone melt-in-your-mouth ribs. I shall apply what I have learned to this cut of pork. Oh yes I will!

Solution Number 3: A wing and a prayer!

Since we do ribs a lot, I already had my trusty "rib rub" at the ready.

It's my proprietary blend, but it includes the usual stuff: some brown sugar, various chili powders, herbs, etc. (If you're really interested, post & I'll share, but for now it's kind of long and I want to knock this post out.)

Since foil big enough for this monster roast simply doesn't exist, I'll use my tried-n-true "dollar store foil pan" lining my roasting pan solution (it makes for zero clean-up - a huge plus in my cookbook).
Just look at this bad boy (that's a Full-Size roasting pan, folks):
I'm still going to wrap it in foil - tightly - but that's for "steaming" purposes, not for liquid containment. [Notice the box of wine in the background - it's a requirement; according to Julia Child: "I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food I'm cooking."]

Covering it in dry-rub, heavily, both sides, then making sure it's "fatty" side up:

Now I'll wrap it as tightly as I can in the foil (using a second sheet on top), leaving a little "funnel" at one end to pour the braise in in the a.m.

I'm leaving the braise and the start to hubby when he leaves for work. I'm going with 250 degrees pretty much all day. Stay tuned for how this all turns out...

No comments:

Post a Comment