Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lazy Sunday: Pulled Pork, Potato Salad and Dr. Pepper Baked Beans

Since reintegrating myself into the workforce, I've discovered that doing things other than watching The Price is Right and cooking can be quite tiring. As a result, this weekend I decided I wanted to do as little as possible aside from finally purchasing a bed (adulthood!), playing lots of Arkham City (and telling Kevin "I'm Batman" in my best Christian Bale voice) and cooking something that would take forever to cook but require minimal effort to enjoy during the Saints game. Because I'm in Texas, I knew it was time to work on my BBQ skills, so I went with my personal favorite pulled pork (brisket be damned!). My taste buds were thoroughly rewarded for my patience and lack of moving with some of the finest pulled pork ever.

Pulled Pork
Modified from
Time: 24 hours (Effort: 1 hour)

3-7 lb Boston Butt Pork

Dry Rub
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground pepepr
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar

Brine Solution
2 gallon ziploc bag
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 qts water
3 tbsp dry rub
2 bay leaves

I'm still a little weirded out by touching raw meat. Sadly, Kevin was still asleep, so I couldn't get him to do it.
The juices let you know it's working.

  1. Find an appropriately sized Boston Butt Pork. Make sure it has a nice layer of fat on the bottom and still has the bone.
  2. Prepare the dry rub by mixing everything together well.
  3. Get the brine solution ready by stirring the salt into cold water until dissolved then mixing in the rest of the ingredients thoroughly.
  4. Place the pork into a large ziploc bag and cover with the brine solution. Make sure the entire pork is covered and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. This will ensure that the pork stays juicy and tender.
  5. Go to sleep.
  6. Wake up and preheat your oven to 225 F.
  7. Remove the pork from the brine solution and pat dry with a paper towel. This will help it form a nice crust.
  8. Cover the pork in the remaining dry rub mix. Be sure to get in any flaps that may exist. Massage in the rub to make sure it stays.
  9. Place the pork fat side facing up in an aluminum roasting pan and cook until the internal temperature reaches 200 F. The pork will be cooked at 170, but letting it reach 200 will help it fall apart (thus the pulled part of the pork). This will take about 1.5 to 2 hours per pound (I had a 5 1/2 lb piece of pork and it took 10 hours).
  10. Let the pork cool to 170 F and pull apart to serve.
It practically fell right apart. A good omen of what was to come.
This pulled pork was complete and utter perfection. The seasoning was amazing (I added the cilantro and cajun seasoning to give it a little extra pop) and the meat itself was incredibly juicy and tender. But pulled pork by itself isn't enough. I rounded out the meal with potato salad, Dr. Pepper baked beans, green beans (for some reason my body was telling me I needed veggies) and two different BBQ sauces.

Potato Salad
Time: 30 minutes

3 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup beef broth
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 tbsp capers, drained
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender (about 12-15 minutes).
  2. Drain the potatoes and mix in the remaining ingredients. Lightly mash to reach the desired consistency. 
  3. Serve either hot or cold.
Until recently, I steered clear of potato salad because of my strong hatred of mayo I developed from early childhood. I can now tolerate mayonnaise, but still prefer to try the non-mayo versions of recipes when I can. This potato salad was nice and tangy with some welcome crispiness. As such, it was a great side for the meal. You won't miss the mayo at all, and you won't have to worry about it spoiling (really it's similar ingredients to a mayo based one just without the extra emulsification step).

Dr. Pepper Baked Beans
Time: 20-60 minutes

2 cans Bush's Bourbon and Brown Sugar Baked Beans
8 oz Dr. Pepper
3 slices of Bacon
1/2 red onion, diced

If you're not starving like I was, you'll let it thicken more to bring out that Dr. Pepper.
  1. Heat up the baked beans on the stove top over medium-low heat.
  2. Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Reserve the grease and pat the bacon dry with a paper towel. Cut the bacon and add to the beans.
  3. Saute the onion in the bacon grease and add to the beans. 
  4. Mix in the Dr. Pepper and let thicken. The longer you cook it, the more the flavor will come out.
These baked beans were an interesting take on your typical side. The Dr. Pepper added an intriguing new element to the mix, but wasn't overly apparent because I got hungry and decided to cook it for only 20 minutes. Next time, I'll definitely go for longer to really bring out the flavor of the world's greatest soda.

Green Beans
Time: 20 minutes

2 cans green beans
4 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 strips of bacon
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Drain the green beans and heat them over medium-low heat.
  2. Cook the bacon in a skillet and reserve the grease. Cut the bacon and put it with the green beans.
  3. Saute the mushrooms and onion in the bacon grease and add to the green beans with salt and pepper.
This is a pretty quick and easy way to incorporate some veggies into the meal without being bogged down by things like having them be healthy that take away from the fun (note to self: remember to go to the gym). Now that the meal was finished, it was time to work on the sauces.

Tangy BBQ Sauce
Adapted From Emeril Lagasse
Time: 5 minutes

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
1/2 tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Columbia Gold BBQ Sauce
From Amazing Ribs

Time: 5 minutes

1 cup yellow mustard
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
3/8 cup sugar
1/2 chicken bouillon cube
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Life is about having choices especially when it comes to food.

  1. For both sauces, just mix them together in a bowl. You might want to use a whisk to help.
  2. Let the sauces sit in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors develop (especially the mustard based one or else it'll just taste like mustard).
Alton Brown always says the best BBQ doesn't need sauce, and I'd have to say that this pulled pork was fantastic on its own, but it doesn't hurt to have a little something extra. The tangy BBQ sauce was the winner of the two probably because it's more what I'm used to from growing up, but the Columbia Gold sauce was a fabulous introduction to the South Carolina way of doing BBQ and provided a nice change-up (thanks to Courtney for recommending it).

The complete meal was a tangy feast for the ages. I'm currently fighting off my food coma to type this up while salivating over the carnitas tacos I'm going to make with the leftovers.

Thankfully, the Saints won by a whopping 62-7, so I was able to actual enjoy the food instead of worrying all game. The only downside to this is that I didn't nervously pace for three hours, so I still need to work off all those glorious calories.

1 comment:

  1. yummy this sounds delicious. thanks for posting up this nice recipe.