MAN, I wish these pics came out better because this is THE BEST PULLED PORK EVER. Ever! Eat it plain, on a roll with coleslaw, or mop it up in some homemade pork sauce. SO good, and the best part is that it’s pretty hands-off. First, there is a simple brining process for about 8 hours. This is my first brining experience and I have to say, I am a fan. This is what keeps the meat moist while it cooks for so long. Fan. Then, the pork shoulder cooks overnight (about 2 hours per pound…so mine was in there for 10 hours).
Here’s the game plan: The morning before you want to eat this, follow the directions to brine the meat. Let it brine all day, and before you go to bed, season the meat and roast it overnight. The next day, you’ll have perfectly moist pulled pork and it will kind of feel like a miracle.
Make this as soon as you can, you won’t be disappointed.
Here’s what I used:
- 5-6 pound pork shoulder/butt/”picnic half” (why are there so many names?)
- digital thermometer with an alarm — I highly recommend purchasing one of these puppies. I picked one up at the grocery store for $20, and it’s well worth every penny. The thermometer needle goes into the meat while it cooks while the digital reader stays outside of the oven so you can monitor the meat’s temperature constantly while it’s cooking. Score.
- Roasting pan large enough so that there is at least 1″ of space on all sides of the meat, and that is at least 3″ deep.
For the dry rub:
- 1 tbsp of ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cayenne, kosher salt, ground black pepper, and paprika
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
For the brine:
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 8 cups cold water
- 3 tbsp dry rub mix
- 2 bay leaves
For the pork sauce:
- 1 1/2 cups organic ketchup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 6 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp agave nectar
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
STEP 1: Brine it and season it.
- Combine all of the dry rub ingredients together and store in an air tight container.
- Place the pork in a bowl or ziploc bag large enough so that the meat can be submerged in the brining liquid. Combine all of the brine ingredients and pour over the meat. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
STEP 2: Prep it and roast it.
- Preheat the oven to 225.
- Remove from the brining liquid and pat down with a paper dowl. Dry very well, and season with the rest of the dry rub mixture. Massage it in, and place it in the roasting pan fat layer-side facing up.
- Stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the shoulder, but not touching the bone. Set the alarm so that it goes off when the meat reaches 200 degrees. Roast uncovered until the alarm goes off (about 10 hours).
- When the shoulder reaches 200 degrees, turn off the oven and let the roast rest in the oven for about 2 hours, or until it cools down to 170 degree. If the bottom of the pan is dry, pour some vegetable or chicken stock down in the bottom of the pan to keep the pork moist and cover it. Remove from the oven, take the fat cap off and discard.
STEP 3: Shred it and eat it.
- With two forks, shred the meat. This should be easy as the meat will be very, very tender. Eat it plain (delicious) or with some mopping BBQ pork sauce.
- To make the pork sauce, combine the sauce ingredients in a large saucepan and cook for about 20 minutes until the flavors have combined and it thickens slightly.