When you think ‘pulled pork’, you may also be thinking ‘a mother lode of time and effort’. First you’ve got to rub the pork with some spices, then you stick it in the oven while continuously fiddling with the temperature knob, then you undertake the laborious task of pulling 1.5 kilograms of meat apart, strip by strip – and here, I’m not even mentioning the long moments one spends sitting on the floor in front of the hot oven, staring at the slowly roasting pork in a mouth-watering daze.
Yes, the image I have just painted is surely a reality. You need to come to terms with the fact that, in order to make a near perfect pulled pork roast, you need to be willing to dedicate 8 hours of your time to a single hunk of meat. But don’t worry, there is a silver lining. Those 8 hours – during most of which you can sit around and do other things – will be filled with good scents, good sights, and most of all, the constant promise of the finished product: a buttery, tender mass of flaky pork.
And the best part of it all? In exchange for your time and dedication, you spend little money at the grocery store on this cheap cut of meat. Due to the toughness of the shoulder, it needs to be cooked at a low heat for a long period of time in order to achieve ideal results, and thus is often overlooked in favor of more tender cuts of meat.
I served my meat with some homemade BBQ sauce and fresh chives, then gratuitously stuffed it into some homemade buttermilk potato buns. As an added decadence, I recommend whipping up a quick batch of potato salad with crushed hard-boiled eggs, which can add a wonderful second layer to that pork sandwich.
In my opinion, if you’re spending your day at home or even running some errands, you can find time to make this roast. At the end of the day, you remove the pan from the oven, and everyone within a 100-ft radius is flocking to your doorstep in search of that heavenly scent. Doesn’t sound so bad, eh?
Now, instead of an album review, I am going to introduce a new feature to my blog. I will paint an image and consequently construct a short compilation of songs that I associate with said image. Today will be the first.
The Pastel Beach
This image makes me think of a late afternoon on a beach. The shoreline isn’t buried beneath a sea of drowsy couples, children with plastic buckets, and young friends splashing about in the shallows. Instead, the shoreline is relatively empty, the wind is calm, and the air smells like salt and heat. You’re with a friend, sitting beneath a colorful umbrella, nursing a few bottles of beer, having some good laughs. Now hit play.
The music that accompanies the scene is light, lively and warm. The pastel color scheme creates an image that is well-worn and comforting, like an old pair of jeans.
1. “The Ruminant Band” by Fruit Bats
2. “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
3. “Still Sound” by Toro y Moi
4. “The Line” by Cherry Chapstick
5. “Quitter’s Raga” by Gold Panda
6. “Since I Left You” by The Avalanches
7. “Idle Heart” by Bear In Heaven
8. “Keep On Lying” by Tame Impala
9. “Bees” by Caribou
10. “Cooking Up Something Good” by Mac Demarco
11. “I Don’t Wanna Pray” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
12. “Little Things” by Doug Hoyer
13. “Disappear Always” by Wild Nothing
14. “At My Heels” by Twin Shadow
Now, back to the food!
Perfect Pulled Pork
1-1.5 kg pork shoulder, with bone
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Line a roasting pan with a layer of foil and place the pork shoulder inside. Evenly rub all sides of the meat with the dry rub, then put uncovered in the oven for 45 minutes. This initial blast of heat will give your pork a nicely caramelized skin.
Remove pan from oven, decrease oven heat to 275°F. While the oven is cooling, cover the pan with foil or put a fitted lid on top. Slow cook in the oven for 6 hours, removing once every two hours to baste the pork in its own juices (I used a silicon brush to drag the liquid over the meat).
After 6 hours, remove the pork from the oven and baste for the third time. Reheat the oven to 400°F. Set aside the overlying foil (or the lid). Put uncovered pan in the oven for 20 more minutes, or until the outer layer of the pork is a beautiful golden brown. Remove the pork from the oven, replace overlying foil, and let the pork stand for 30 minutes before pulling.
To pull, use two forks or your fingers to flake apart the meat – this step will be intuitive, trust me. Place the pulled meat in a separate bowl. When deciding how much fat to discard, I usually leave out a large portion of the outer layer, but I always let some slide by – without it, your meat will be dryer!
Serve as is, or with your favorite BBQ sauce. I made my own BBQ sauce, then stuffed the meat into homemade buttermilk potato rolls.