The two of us learned early on that we both love good barbecue. There’s just something amazing about eating smokey, juicy, tender, fall-apart meat. The idea of what barbecue really means is a hotly debated topic and can range from pulled pork to brisket, from sauce to dry rubs, even from a back yard to an industrial sized super-pit. I have to confess, I don’t care whether it’s a dry smoked brisket, a vinegar-soaked pulled pork sandwich, or a sauce heavy rack of ribs. I love all of it.
Of course, it isn’t the healthiest thing in the world. Eating out at places that specialize in fatty meats and cornbread so sweet you’d swear it was really just cake is satisfying in the flavor department, of course, but it can be a little tough on the wallet, the waist, and the arteries. Coming up with something that had similar flavor while being better in other departments became a must for us. Especially since pulled pork is one of Molly’s favorite things.
For now I’m just going to show off how we make the meat itself, the sauce and the sandwich can wait for another day. Why? Because this pork is good enough to be eaten on things other than just a sandwich. It’s great in a taco, it’s great with cheese and crackers, it’s even great on its own. It doesn’t need any extraneous things getting in the way of the flavors that get infused into the meat. Don’t get me wrong, it still tastes great when you put some sauce on it. But maybe this can create a new idea of shredded or pulled pork for you.
The thing that makes the big difference, in my opinion, is the combination of the apples and the apple cider vinegar that go in the pot with the meat. It takes on a lot of flavor between them and all the other aromatics only help. After the meat cooks, we pull it out and let it cool for fifteen or twenty minutes before we start to pull it all apart. While we pull, we make sure to remove as much extra fat off the meat as we can. This helps us get a leaner finished product, and helps us to feast greedily on it.
|Meal type||Main Dish|
- 3-4lb Pork Shoulder
- 2 Carrots (chopped)
- 2 stalks Celery (chopped)
- 1 Yellow Onion (chopped)
- 4-5 cloves Garlic (peeled)
- 2 Granny Smith Apples (chopped)
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1 tablespoon Peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Seed
- 4 cups Chicken Stock
- 1.5 cups Cider Vinegar
- Water (to cover)
|Put pork shoulder into a large stock pot or dutch oven.|
|Put all remaining ingredients into the pot with the pork, adding water until the meat is covered if necessary.|
|Bring the pot, covered, to a very light simmer. Let the meat simmer for four hours.|
|Remove the meat and let it cool, then pull it apart into shreds, removing fat where you can.|