Monday, May 9, 2011

Philly Food Lovers' Pulled Pork

Animal Kingdom, the winner of the Kentucky Derby may have been a long shot at 30-1, but this dish is a sure bet.  Pulled pork is the perfect dish for a crowd.  It is shockingly easy to prepare, can be done ahead, and is quite versatile.  This version has a southern bbq slant, since it was the centerpiece for our Derby Day Party Menu, but you can use the same cooking technique for a variety of flavors.  Go Mexican with salt, cumin, chili pepper,  lime juice and beer and serve the pulled pork on tortillas.  Douse it with garlic, salt, pepper and white wine for an Italian version and serve on chunky rolls with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone.    But whatever your preference, this foolproof method will produce tender, delicious meat every time.

Pulled Pork for 10

6 lbs boneless pork loin (or 9 lbs bone-in roast)
3 Tbsp Rub-a-dub-dub, or your favorite barbecue spice blend
1 Tbsp liquid smoke
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup beer (any variety)
1/4 cup barbecue sauce

1 large, oven-proof, covered roasting pan

Heat oven to 225.  Place pork in large roasting pan and drizzle pork with liquid smoke and vinegar, then rub with spice blend to coat.   Drizzle bbq sauce over top, and pour beer into bottom of pan.  Cover pork and place in oven for 8 hours.  Turn and baste once or twice during cooking.  (Cooking can be done overnight).  When pork is done, it will fall apart easily when a fork is inserted into it.  To "pull" the pork, take two forks and gently tear the meat apart.  Serve on rolls with your favorite barbecue sauce.  We recommend Down Home Barbecue Sauce, available at the Down Home Diner in Reading Terminal Market

For our Kentucky Derby Party, we plated the pork and served it with braised collard greens and Creamed Copes Corn with Rice.  Copes corn, a dried super-sweet corn, is available at the PA General Store in Reading Terminal Market, (see recipe in upcoming post).  Our party was on the formal side, so we served everything for knife and fork consumption.  But for a casual party, we recommend serving the pork on rolls with a side of potato salad or cole slaw.   In parts of North Carolina, the slaw goes right on the sandwich--and it's delicious.   Potato chips are also a traditional accompaniment in some areas; I recall a long ago visit to a friend's home in rural Tennessee when her Mama, who we all called "Miss Bonnie" served us pulled pork.  I started to eat my sandwich and she stopped me, horrified.  "Honey," she said, "we don't eat barbecue without chips down here!" and she dumped a generous pile of Ruffles on my plate.  Life was good.

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