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Pulled Pork BBQ

May 26, 2010 - Jill Anderson

As I was thinking about the next recipe to publish it occurred to me that this weekend is the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend.  Being from the South (grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee), ANY holiday is a good reason to have barbeque.   The smell of barbeque sauce on meat is like Channel No. 5 to a southerner.  Any southern girl knows that she can dab a little bit of barbeque sauce behind her ears and land herself a husband!

Before anyone writes a note asking, I did NOT actually meet my husband that way but I would not have been above it had the need arisen.  When speaking or writing about barbeque sauce I can't help but remember my parternal grandfather.  He would slap barbeque sauce on anything that would stand still long enough for him to do so.  He literally used every jar in the spice rack to make his "secret sauce." 

I suppose every family has it's own heirloom barbeque recipe as does mine.  Depending on what part of the country you hale from, it could be sweet, spicy, zesty, thick or thin, chunky or smooth or screaming hot.  Barbeque sauce is after all, a deeply personal thing!

This is the recipe I use for catering events.  It is a rather thin sauce which works out well for stirring in shredded meat.  The meat in question today is a fresh pork picnic but you can just as readily use chicken or beef.  What is different (and easy) about this method is that EVERYTHING goes into one big roaster and it makes it's own sauce as it cooks.

Low and Slow

Personally, I find that using a cut of meat such as a pork picnic works extremely well with this sauce.  A moderate oven temperature and long cooking time makes for fork tender meat and a nicely reduced sauce. 

The longer, slower cook time is important for developing the sugars as the sauce cooks down.   This is especially important should you choose to use beef chuck roast or some other cut that has a lot of connective tissue.  I don't suggest using boneless, skinless chicken breast because the cook time is just too long.  Skinless chicken thighs on the other hand are fantastic.  I use bone-in thighs for extra flavor.

Don't get scared when you see the ingredient list.  I know it looks like everything but the kitchen sink but it really does become a delicious well balanced blend of flavors.  Did I mention this makes enough to feed half the neighborhood?  It freezes well too.

Pulled Pork Barbeque for Sandwiches

  • 6-7 lb. fresh pork picnic, visible fat removed
  • 1 softball sized sweet onion, diced (2 cups)
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 32oz. bottle ketchup
  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons minced bottled garlic
  • 3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons celery seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • salt- start with two teaspoons kosher salt and taste AFTER meat is completely cooked through.  Adjust as needed.
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • soft potato rolls, split
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Place pork picnic in a large (turkey sized) roasting pan.  Add EVERYTHING on the list except the honey.  The order does not matter and there is no need to try to mix everything up at this point.
  2. Cover tightly with foil and roast at 300 degrees for 6-8 hours or until meat is falling apart.  Remove meat to a large board or platter.  When cool enough to handle, shred meat with two forks.  Return meat to sauce.  Taste and adjust salt and stir in honey.  Return meat and barbeque sauce to the oven, increase the temperature to 350 degrees and bake until sauce has reduced to desired thickness.  This USUALLY takes about half an hour.  If there is too much sauce after reducing, spoon off the excess and either use to top sandwiches or freeze for another use.

These are absolutely terrific topped with Sweet Broccoli Slaw (see previous post).  Grill some corn on the cobb and slather it with some chili lime butter and have yourself a PARTY!  Invite the neighbors to celbrate the holiday weekend.  You'll be the most popular person in the neighborhood!

Today's Food Quote

"I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage."  Author and humorist Erma Bombeck


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diced vegetables go into barbeque sauce