Big Joe’s BBQ Pulled Pork with Purple Apple Coleslaw
Who doesn’t like barbecued pulled pork? I have learned that the most important factor in cooking great barbecue is time. Nice and easy, slow down, let the great rubs and sauces permeate the meat. It will be flavorful and tender with a mouth-watering taste that will make you wish you cooked more often.
Cooking and preparing pulled pork is an all day process. Some people make it a three or four day process. You’ll notice that I don’t marinate or brine my meat before going into the oven. You can certainly do that, but I think in some cases it really takes away from the taste of the pork.
As for a marinade, I would use a vinegar based marinade, a light marinade that doesn’t overpower the meat. I like using a dry rub and then finishing it with the sauce right before serving.
When making pulled pork almost everybody uses the shoulder cut of pork. The entire shoulder runs on average about 12 – 13 pounds. Most of the people I know who compete in pork competitions use the “butt” cut or “picnic” cut for cooking. That’s what I recommend for you.
When selecting a shoulder butt cut, find one with a good amount of fat on the outside of the cut. This fat will “melt” slowly in the oven or smoker. We’ll be cooking this thing for close to 10 hours. If you have an option of “bone in” take the cut with the bone since the meat is always sweeter and more moist right by the bone.
What You’ll Need:
1 large pork shoulder or butt cut, 6-8 lbs. in size excess fat trimmed. Do not trim any fat that is fully surrounding the meat.
2 cups of rub (I use Butch’s but here’s a rub recipe that I’ve used before that works well)
Big Joe’s Emergency Rub
1 1⁄2 cups brown sugar
1⁄2 cup garlic powder
1⁄4 cup sea salt or Kosher salt
1⁄2 cup onion powder
1⁄2 cup chili powder
1⁄4 cup black pepper freshly ground
1⁄4 cup cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
2 tablespoons of dried thyme
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1⁄4 cup ground cumin
1 1⁄2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
Butch’s Doctored Barbecue Sauce, Big Joe Style
1 bottle 18 oz of Butch’s Mild Barbecue Sauce
1 bottle 18 oz of Butch’s Pyro Barbecue Sauce (if you can’t get Butch’s try an upscale Barbecue sauce)
2 tablespoons of habanero infused honey
1⁄4 cup of orange juice
1⁄2 cup of bourbon liquor (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 package of potato rolls (hamburger style)
Take the pork “butt” out of the refrigerator one hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Generously rub the shoulder with the dry rub. Make sure to get into the crevices, crannies and rub under the flaps of the shoulder. Be generous with the rub and take the time to really get in there.
Place the now rubbed shoulder butt on a rack in a roasting pan. Cover the shoulder with aluminum foil. Make sure that the aluminum foil is not touching the sides of the pork, but that it is fully wrapped. I like to add a 1⁄2 can of beer to the bottom of the pan. Make sure that the beer doesn’t touch the meat. The beer guarantees that the pork will retain moisture.
Cook the pork for approximately 8 hours. Remove foil and cook for 2 more hours. Make your oven time 10 hours. After removing the foil and the pork is back in the oven make the barbecue sauce.
In a large sauce pan, over medium heat add just a 1⁄4 of one bottle of barbecue sauce to pan, add garlic and orange juice, let reduce for about 5 minutes, add the honey and stir well with a wooden spoon. Add the bourbon and remainder of barbecue sauce. Let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
After the ten hours have elapsed remove the pork and let stand for 1 hour. After standing using two forks, shred pork in strips putting pulled pork in serving dish. After pork has been pulled add approximately 1⁄2 – 3⁄4 of the barbecue sauce and mix pork well. Save the other half for sauce on the side.
Big Joe's Purple Apple Slaw
I love coleslaw, It’s a staple during the summer and adds a refreshing side to your summer BBQ’s. Here’s a simple recipe that you’ll enjoy, I use the purple cabbage that’s sweeter than the green cabbage. The more that these ingredients get to hang out the better the flavor. Make it the morning of your BBQ and let it hang out in the fridge all day covered in plastic. You even can’t go wrong making this the day before.
1/2 a head of red cabbage (finely shredded)
1/4 cup minced white onion
2 Fuji apples, peeled cored and finely diced
1 cup of Hellman’s mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. milk.
How to put it together:
In a large bowl mix together the cabbage, onion and apples. In a separate bowl whisk together the mayo, salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice and milk. Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Chill until serving.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.