Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pulled Pork Shoulder in Black BBQ Sauce

I bought Ed Lee's cookbook back in December and was instantly enamored.  There were so many dishes that I wanted to make.  And then I read the recipes themselves.  The recipes all look delicious but the ingredient lists tend towards and long and complicated.  And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it requires a lot more time and effort, not to mention preparation.  This recipe was one that I had looked at a few times but Alex decided one night when we were having friends over for dinner that we should go ahead and make it.  If we had left it up to me I would have sat on the recipe a little longer because the black BBQ sauce alone had like 25+ ingredients.  But we went with it.  We also made a simple coleslaw recipe with just a touch of mayonnaise that I really enjoyed (and can't manage to find).  I'll keep looking on the theory that I will find it eventually and because I really liked it.  It seemed to me like the perfect coleslaw to pair with BBQ - fresh and crunchy, with just enough mayonnaise to make it a little bit creamy and bind it together.

There was one problem with this recipe.  The flavor was good.  The black BBQ sauce was different.  But the pork was kind of tough.  We cooked it for over 30 minutes beyond what the recipe required, but the meat was nowhere near as tender as we had hoped.  Part of that is our fault since Alex got impatient (and hungry) and took the pork out of the oven when it was fairly tender on one side and not at all tender on the other.  By the time I realized it, it was too late to throw the pork back in the oven.  Generally speaking, we have had more luck with the low and slow cooking approach for pork shoulder, but we wanted to try this recipe as written, which involved blasting the pork shoulder at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time.  In the future, I would revert to the low and slow method.  We actually have a pork shoulder in the oven right now that we cooked at 250 degrees F for 7+ hours thus far.  I will keep you posted on how this one turns out because it's another recipe that we haven't tried before.  But you learn something new everyday.  This time I learned a really nice new rub for pork shoulder.  And if I could find the cole slaw recipe we tried, I would have learned more than one new thing.

Recipe after the jump!

Pulled Pork Shoulder in Black BBQ Sauce
Adapted from Smoke and Pickles:  Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen
By Edward Lee

For pork
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
5 lb pork shoulder, skin-on and bone-in
For black BBQ sauce
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp evoo
1 lb onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup coffee
1/2 cup Coke
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp black bean sauce
1/2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tbsp dried hot Oriental mustard (the recipe actually calls for 1 tbsp dry mustard)
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
juice of 1 lime (we use 1 1/2 limes because ours weren't very juicy)
1/4 cup sesame oil
honey (optional)

Combine salt, cumin, paprika and black pepper in a small bowl.  Put the pork shoulder in a large baking dish or large bowl and pat a thick layer of the rub over the entire surface.  Let stand in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to give the pork a quick cure.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, melt the butter with the evoo over low heat.  Add onions, garlic, jalapenos and raisins.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occassionally, until the onions start to brown and caramelize on the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes.  Deglaze the pan by adding the bourbon, coffee and Coke.  Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.

Add ketchup, soy, balsamic, molasses, Worcestershire and black bean sauce.  Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.  Add mustard, allspice, black pepper, cayenne and smoked paprika.  Simmer about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

Transfer BBQ sauce to a blender, add sesame oil and lime juice and puree on high until sauce is thick and smooth.  Adjust the seasonings to taste (we added roughly 2 tsp of honey and that extra 1/2 lime).  Transfer BBQ sauce to a bowl and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature when ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Wrap the shoulder loosely in aluminum foil and set in a roasting pan.  Pour in a little water (about 1/2 cup) into the foil package.  Roast for 2 1/2 hours.  Check the meat.  If it pulls away from the shoulder blade bone easily when poked with a fork, it's done.

Carefully transfer the pork to a cutting board.  It's easier to pull while still hot.  Pull the pork with two forks and place in a bowl.

Moisten the meat with just enough BBQ sauce to flavor it.  Transfer to a platter and serve hot with additional sauce.

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