[Posted by Brooke, Husband's sister/my lovely sister-in-law, mother extraordinaire, and fellow lover of all things sweet.]
I used to be quite the cook. Perusing old issues of Gourmet and planning elaborate dinners to share with friends in the city was easily my favorite past time. Josh and I used to spend endless hours on our deck eating meals that had been thoughtfully prepared and drinking wine till we were dizzy with the delights of summer. Life is a bit different now.
The demise of my cooking probably started when I was pregnant last winter with my darling Eleanor, see here and here. I spent my work day shoveling Saltines into my mouth and praying that I wouldn't vomit in the middle of my phonics lesson. By the time I was home all I could fathom doing was lying on the couch for hours at a time only to climb into bed by 7:30. Since Eleanor's arrival things have continued to slide way down hill. My idea of cooking now consists of Josh throwing a few chicken breasts on the grill while I steam some broccoli and slice some French bread. Sure it's satisfying but there's absolutely nothing exciting about it.
Honestly, I just don't have the time or the energy to cook like I used to. My evening delight is a glass of wine or tea on the couch with my dear husband, not slaving away in the kitchen.
But I do miss cooking and have vowed to make small strides towards being back in the kitchen.
Fast forward to the present. I write this from our family cottage in Holland, Michigan. I'm sitting on the porch admiring a perfectly pink sunset as I am full with fish tacos, another delightful meal we have shared as a family. Each year we try to share the dinner work load a bit by all taking a night to prepare dinner. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to see if I was still capable of executing a memorable and mouth-watering meal. Admittedly, this would not have been possible without my family as they helped me along either with the cooking or the watching of dear Eleanor. All I can say is that this pulled pork is unbelievable, it's everything you want in a pulled pork sandwich, flavorful, saucy, but not too much so, and so tender. You must spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon lazing around the house as this perfect cut of meat slow cooks on the grill and then in the oven, filling your home with the most mouth-watering smells. I promise your effort and time will be rewarded.
There's not much adapting that you'll need to do for this recipe. Just be aware that this isn't a sloppy, extremely saucy pulled pork sandwich. The sauce is light but incredibly flavorful. If you like a saucier sandwich you may want to double the sauce, just be cautious as the mustard in the barbecue could easily overwhelm the delicate flavor of the meat.
South Carolina Pulled Pork
Credits to Cook's Illustrated
Spice Rub and Pork
3 tablespoons dry mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons table salt
2 teaspoons groung black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 5 pound pork shoulder roast
4 cups wood chips (be sure to soak these for at least 15 minutes before using)
Mustard Barbecue Sauce
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Begin by making the spice rub for the pork. Combine the first six ingredients in a small bowl and break up lumps with a fork. Dry the pork with paper towels and rub the mixture all over the pork.
2. Seal your wood chips in heavy duty aluminum foil and cut about 6 vent holes into the packet. Open the bottom vents of your grill. Fill your chimney starter halfway with charcoal and burn for 15 to 20 minutes. Arrange the coals in your grill so that all of the coals are clustered on one side, leaving the other side empty. Place your foil packet directly on the coals, with the vents up. Place the cooking grate over the coals , cover the grill, and open the lid vent halfway. Heat for about 5 minutes; the wood packet will begin to smoke. Rub the grill grate with a bunch of paper towels that have been drenched in vegetable oil and place the pork on the cooler side of the grill and barbecue for about 2 hours, until the pork has a rosy crust.
3. To finish the pork position your oven rack in the lower-middle part of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Whisk together all of the barbecue sauce ingredients and brush the meat with 1/2 cup of the sauce. Place the meat in a roasting pan and cover tightly with tin foil. Bake for 2 to 3 hours testing for doneness by inserting a fork into the thickest part of the meat and removing it. You'll know the meat is done when the fork can be removed without any resistance. When done, remove the pork from the oven and let the meat rest in the pan, still covered in foil for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and let the pork cool enough to handle. Pull meat into thin shreds and toss with the remaining sauce.
4. Serve on kaiser rolls with a scoop of coleslaw over the pork and a side of kettle chips and pickles.