Dry-Rubbed Pulled Pork
This recipe is from Good and Cheap.
Good and Cheap is a gorgeous cookbook for people with limited income, particularly on a $4/day food stamps budget. The PDF is free (ahora en Español!) and has been downloaded more than 15,000,000 times. I have more cookbooks, too!
There’s a big fireworky weekend coming up. Traditional fare is grilling. May I suggest taking a cue from our southern friends and making pulled pork?
You can make it ahead of time and enjoy your friends and neighbors with abandon!
Cheaper than burgers, seriously
Way more impressive than burgers
You are not eating burgers?
Be careful who you invite because they’ll probably just start showing up all the time
So that’s my case made. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out! And don’t be scared off by the length of the recipe, I explain in detail why you do everything, but at it’s base this is just covering a big hunk of pork in meat and putting it in the oven overnight. EASY.
- 5 lb pork shoulder
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp coffee ground
- 2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 4 tsp smoked paprika
- 3 tsp sweet paprika
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp clove powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Mix the rub ingredients together. Apply liberally to the pork shoulder, pressing it gently into the meat until you've covered every side. Set any leftover rub aside for later. Place the pork shoulder in a large pot with a tight lid or a Dutch oven. Cover with a towel or lid and leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- Pour enough water into the pot to cover the bottom. This will keep the juices from burning. Put the lid on and place the pot in a 200 F oven for 10 to 12 hours. I find it's easier if I cook the pork overnight and pull it out in the morning, but you can put it in early in the morning and have it ready for dinner as well.
- The supposed rule is that cooking takes 1.5 to 2 hours per pound of pork, but I find it usually takes a little longer than that. You are waiting for the internal temperature to reach 200 F. The meat is edible at 160 F, but at higher temperatures the tough connective tissues break down to create the flavor and texture that make pulled pork a delicious and unique treat.
- If you don't have a meat thermometer, figuring out the internal temperature is obviously difficult, but you can test it by feel. Poke the meat with a finger: when it's so soft that it falls apart on its own, take it out of the oven.
- To pull the meat, remove it from the juices and gently tear the pork apart with two forks or with your hands. Discard any larger bits of fat that you don't wish to eat. If any section is hard to tear apart, the meat hasn't cooked enough to break down the connective tissue. If you have the time to spare, put it back in the oven for another couple of hours.
- Once you've pulled all of the pork, mix in any remaining rub and move it to a casserole dish or a large plate. If you aren't eating the meat right away, stash it in the fridge.
- Optionally, if you want to make a sauce from the pot full of drippings, bring it to a gentle boil on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Let the juices thicken for 20 to 30 minutes. The fat will rise to the top: it's the clear, thick layer, not the thin, red liquid below. Skim off as much of the fat as possible. Mix a few spoonfuls of the pan drippings with the pork before serving.
- Feel free to add a little barbecue sauce to the pork if it isn't flavorful enough for you, but try it first, I think you'll be surprised!
There are a million ways to eat pulled pork, but I like it over squishy hamburger buns or in tacos with crunchy vegetables. Traditionally, pulled pork sandwiches have cabbage slaw on them, but anything crunchy will do. (A diner near my apartment does a great slaw with apple and celery root.) Don’t forget some veggies on the side to round out the meal—a simple green salad, corn on the cob, steamed green beans, or any other summery vegetable.
Excellent write up and dish!
Just made it for the first time (omitted the coffee per your note in From Scratch), super simple and a delightful treat for the price. Thanks for the recipe!
Thanks so much! Thrilled you enjoyed it. It’s a favorite of ours too.
I am a diabetic II so for this recipe I cut the brown sugar by half and used natural stevia leaf dried and ground up. It worked well and gave me this special treat without blowing my diet! Thanks for the recipes!