Friday, September 10, 2010

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a huge fan of pork. I don't like bacon, pork chops, ham, and most pork products. Well, the one huge caveat to that statement is if said pork is thrown on a smoker for hours upon hours until it is tender, smoky and wonderful I love it!

Last Friday I decided to try my hand at doing pulled pork. I've smoked some ribs (with husband's instructions) and they have turned out pretty good so I thought I'd give it a shot. How hard could it be?? Actually, it wasn't too bad. With very little money in hand on Friday I set off early in the morning to hunt me down some meat. I found a nice 8lb pork shoulder for less than $15, then headed over to the 99cent store for some cheap buns and sauce that I could doctor up to make better. Once I got home I got to work on the whole "process." I cleaned out the smoker from its last use and got it started so it would heat up and be ready to go when I was done with the meat. I then pulled all my ingredients for the rub: brown sugar, cumin, garlic, pepper, cayenne, onion powder and a couple other items to make it extra yummy. After I had the rub the way I wanted it, the meat got slathered in the rubby goodness and dropped onto the smoker for a nice long smoke.

The meat officially hit the grill about 10:30am and I thought that would be plenty of time to smoke since husband didn't get off work until 6p and usually home around 7p. Plenty of time, right? Uh, wrong. Of course, had I done my research before hand, I would have known that it takes anywhere between 10 - 15 hours to properly smoke a pork shoulder but that did not stop me from my goal. I went along with my day doing some other chores, but kept an eye on my meat and added my wood chips as needed. Toward the end of the day I noticed that it was starting to look a little dry, so I looked up what the professionals do to avoid this and created my own mop sauce using some apple cider vinegar, oil and some of the rub whisked in. I mopped the shoulder down and it looked just beautiful. Husband called and wanted to be picked up from work that day, so I headed out around 5:30p to pick him up. I left the pork on the smoker to continue to do it's thing until we got back.

I had told Tate that I was going to have a surprise for him for dinner that day, but didn't give him any clues as to what it was. When he got in the car, he immediately wanted to know what his surprise was. Being the deceiving girl that I am, I made him think that I didn't do it today because I didn't feel like it. I told him as a consolation I would take him to Beto's for dinner. He was bummed, but agreed, so back home we went. I told him I needed to stop back at the house first before we went to dinner. We got out of the car and, of course, he automatically smelled the smoke. "Someone's smoking something good." I played it off as that I couldn't smell it. ;~) As I went inside to stall, he was bouncing around the house raring to go to dinner, so I told him, "oh, by the way, could you check on the pork shoulder I have smoking in the backyard?" I think I got him pretty good! He was plenty pleased that I had done that, however, I fessed up that I didn't think it would be done for dinner.

I decided about 7pm to pull the shoulder from the smoker and see how it was doing. It looked great, but not quite pull apart tender. We decided to throw it into the oven at about 275 for a couple hours and just let it melt apart. By this time it had plenty of smoke flavor so once covered with foil it would be fine. We ended up getting Beto's for dinner anyway, but after an additional 3.5 hours in the oven and just sitting there all night I was able to pull the shoulder apart beautifully the next morning.

As you can see, we got plenty of meat off of that 8lb shoulder and Tate made stock from the remaining bone, skin and juices.  I spent most of the day on Monday canning the stock after it had boiled most all day Saturday and been cooled on Sunday.  My pressure canner and I are still getting to know each other, but I'm happy with the results of 5 beautiful quarts of smoked pork stock.  Baked beans here we come!

The pulled pork sandwiches we made turned out amazing and once I doctored the cheap sauce, it was even better!  Not too bad for $15 and a couple days work.  :~)

Happy Eating!


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