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Gretchen's Pulled Pork

Marie-Louise_'s picture

b Gretchen’s introduction:
The authentic version of "pulled pork" is the North Carolina BBQ that is smoked very low and slow in a smoker (like overnight, but low heat). It is the stuff the smokehouses sell and make their fame.

b A shortcut recipe for the home:
Take a pork butt, rub it with coarse pepper and cook it pork overnight (8 hours) at 225º–250º uncovered on a rack. Leave all fat on and fat side up. It gets crusty as well as fall apart done. Pull out the bone and "pull" it by shredding by pulling between 2 forks. Add sauce when served. Sauce is either a tomato sauce or a vinegar-based pepper sauce. Or in SC it is mustard based! Don't forget the cole slaw and baked beans. When you "pull" it, leave the fat in!!

The 8 hour time frame is approximate and will vary by the exact weight of the butt. Whether there is a bone in or not should not have much effect in the grand scheme of things. The real answer is: cook it until it falls apart, about 8 hours.

The bone doesn't really seem to make much difference in my experience. Have cooked them both ways and about the same time. I have often cooked them overnight setting my oven timer to turn the oven off. It is not all an exact critical time.

i A critique from our resident curmudgeon (that would be Mean Chef) "The char is orgasmic…. Good, Good, Good. I love pig."

b MC’s variation-Pork Rub (I also used this when I made it)

1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 tbl salt
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cayenne

Rubbed a whole pork butt, put in plastic bag overnight then rubbed again and let sit for a couple of hours.

Big_Daddy's picture

(post #38208, reply #1 of 9)

I finally had a chance to try Gretchen's method for slow cooking a butt and the results were fantastic. It's true a certain atmosphere and comraderie was sacrificed with the oven method but it was a cold and dreary December day that could never have served well for outdoor barbecuing anyway.

I used my Song of the South rub and the smell throughout the house was almost as rewarding as the meal itself. I pulled the pork, made the cole slaw, carved the white bread rolls and mixed the Pig Pickin' sauce all just prior to friends and family arriving for our annual tree trimming party.

Well! You should have seen their faces as they came through the door. "What is that fabulous smell! If I didn't know better I'd swear someone is barbecuing!"

Guess that kinda says it all, now doesn't it :^)


MadMom_'s picture

(post #38208, reply #2 of 9)

hey, bd...what's the recipe for your rub and sauce? our local store had pork butt on sale for $.88/lb, and i got two large ones. gonna try one this week and if it works out, another one when the family gets here christmas. we had a friend who grilled them over a slow fire and used lemon juice, lemon pepper, etc., and they were fantastic, but can't find his recipe. i'm trying to get more ideas, although everyone says gretchen's is fabulous.

Jean_'s picture

(post #38208, reply #3 of 9)

Everything you'll ever need to know about pork etc. is in this thread.

nutcakes_'s picture

(post #38208, reply #4 of 9)

Is it really this simple? I have questions I can't really find the answers to even after reading these threads for months. Where is Gretchen's original posts? Or does she just respond to other people? Perhaps if I just make it, all will become clear.

1. I live near a great Chinese butcher shop that sells pieces with a bone in that are about 4 inches wide. After researching in 'The Complete Meat', I think this may be one of the prized leg roasts from the hindquarters (ham) that they give short shrift to, because they say these are generally unavailable. Gretchen's uses the butt, which I think is the shoulder. I am going to try with the 'ham' piece instead, and I hope that is OK. The shoulder roasts in the book look different than this one. This has a leg bone in it. The shoulder seems to have blade type bones. I am guessing here.

2. The big thing left out is what to do with the skin? The Chinese butcher one has skin all around.

3. What size roast for this many hours? If I can get a smaller one, then how long?

3. What kind of roasting pan? Low or high sides, does it matter?

nutcakes_'s picture

(post #38208, reply #5 of 9)

Didn't Gretchen use water in the bottom, too?

Marie-Louise_'s picture

(post #38208, reply #6 of 9)

Here's one set of questions / answers.
Two of the posts in this thread will lead you back to Gretchen's original posts & a discussion between her and MC.

I'd take off the skin. I trimmed of some of that outside fat, too, but that it not traditional. Pork butt is a lot fattier/richer than I'm used to & it still seemed very rich to me.

Marie-Louise_'s picture

(post #38208, reply #7 of 9)

No, that was MC.

chiqui_new_orleans's picture

(post #38208, reply #8 of 9)

Nutcakes....this is how I did it: Chiqui's Pulled Pork

1- Boneless Pork Butt at least 5 pounds (These go on sale all the time for about $.89 a pound so get a big one and freeze it in portions after it is cooked. It reheats beautifully in the microwave!!)

Rinse and pat dry the meat. Take a very sharp knife and make about 10-15 slits in the fatty side of the meat and fill the slits with slivers of garlic.

In a small bowl combine the following dry ingredients:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 - 1 teasp. Tony's seasoning (to your taste)(this is a creole based seasoned salt)
2 teasps. Lemon-pepper
1/2 teasp. granulated garlic
2 tabsps. Coleman's dry mustard powder
1-2 tabsps. liquid smoke

Mix well and rub all over the pork butt. Wrap meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Early in the morning, place the meat on a rack (you can use a cookie cooling rack if you like) Fat side up and place in a large roasting pan. Pour 1 cup of water in the pan and loosely cover the roast with foil. Let roast sit out for two hours to come to room temperature.

Place in a 250* oven and roast for at least 7 hours.......longer if the roast is larger....figure about one hour and fifteen min. (1:15) per pound. Uncover the roast for the last two hours. (No need to baste) Allow the meat to rest for about 30 after removing from the oven and then, while still warm, take two forks and "pull" the meat to form shreds. Place in another pan and top with a moderate anount of your favorite barbeque sauce. (I like good ole Kraft Hickory Smoked...or homemade sauce that I posted a while back but cannot find!! but you use whatever your favorite is!!)

The traditional way to serve this in on heated buns dressed with a good crispy coleslaw and sliced dill pickles. Enjoy!!

Gretchen_'s picture

(post #38208, reply #9 of 9)

My apologies to all, particularly Nutcakes, for not responding but I didn't see the questions--I don't "subscribe" properly. I think most of the questions got answered on the main board. Do take the skin off but not the fat. It is truly "just that simple". I do think the prepared BBQ sauces are too thick and sharp, but that is my personal preference. Thanks for all the feedback.