Sunday, March 1, 2009

Carolina Pulled Pork with Lexington Red Sauce

You'll need to start this recipe a day ahead to allow ample time for the wood chunks to soak and the flavors of the dry rub to penetrate the meat. Slow, low-heat cooking is key to tender pork that shreds easily. While the pork is still warm, shred it into uneven shards, mixing together some of the crisp, dark outer meat with the moister interior meat. Combine the classic Piedmont sauce--a thin, vinegar-based mixture--with the meat for a tangy kick, or mix it with shredded cabbage for Lexington coleslaw.

13 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork and about 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

* 8 hickory wood chunks (about 4 pounds)
* 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
* 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons paprika
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
* 1 (5-pound) bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt)
* 1 cup cider vinegar
* 2 1/4 cups water, divided
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon canola oil
* Cooking spray

* 1 cup cider vinegar
* 1/3 cup ketchup
* 1/4 cup water
* 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

To prepare pork, soak wood chunks in water about 16 hours; drain.

Combine turbinado sugar and next 4 ingredients (through ground red pepper); reserve 2 tablespoons sugar mixture. Rub half of the remaining sugar mixture onto pork. Place in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and refrigerate pork overnight.

Remove pork from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Rub remaining half of sugar mixture onto pork.

Combine reserved 2 tablespoons sugar mixture, 1 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, and oil in a small saucepan; cook over low heat 10 minutes or until sugar dissolves.

Remove grill rack; set aside. Prepare grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to medium-low and leaving one side with no heat. Maintain temperature at 225°. Pierce bottom of a disposable aluminum foil pan several times with the tip of a knife. Place pan on heated side of grill; add half of wood chunks to pan. Place another disposable aluminum foil pan (do not pierce pan) on unheated side of grill. Pour remaining 2 cups water in pan. Coat grill rack with cooking spray; place on grill.

Place pork on grill rack over foil pan on the unheated side. Close lid, and cook for 4 1/2 hours or until a thermometer registers 170°, gently brushing pork with vinegar mixture every hour (avoid brushing off sugar mixture). Add additional wood chunks halfway during cooking time. Discard any remaining vinegar mixture.

Preheat oven to 250°.

Remove pork from grill. Wrap pork in several layers of aluminum foil, and place in a baking pan. Bake at 250° for 2 hours or until a thermometer registers 195°. Remove from oven. Let stand, still wrapped, for 1 hour or until pork easily pulls apart. Unwrap pork; trim and discard fat. Shred pork with 2 forks.

To prepare sauce, combine 1 cup vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1 1/4 cups (about 5 minutes). Serve sauce warm or at room temperature with pork.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 230 (50% from fat)
Fat: 12.9g (sat 4.6g,mono 5.8g,poly 1.3g)
Protein: 21.4g
Carbohydrate: 4.7g
Fiber: 0.3g
Cholesterol: 74mg
Iron: 1.6mg
Sodium: 692mg
Calcium: 31mg

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross


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