Being that West Virginia is south of the Mason Dixon Line our people are traditionally thought of a southern. If you hear my older son, his wife and Grand Mother speak you know you have left the north and headed into Pork Country. Pulled Pork is a favorite of all Southern Families and our’s too. Some smoke it and put in on a grill, some roast it low and slow, and some like me bake it. Any food that you can cook a meal for at least 6 people and put in the oven and forget about for 4 to 5 hours is perfect in my opinion. When we know we will have a large group for lunch or dinner I pull this recipe out, it is Paula Dean classic with my own twists. All you need from here is side dishes and some sweet tea.
Pulled pork is one of the easiest things in the world to make as long as you purchase good meat. I use a Smithfield pork shoulder roast with a nice amount of fat. This is why last week I made that long trip to the I.G. A. store. This roast was 8 pounds when I brought it home, but for a family of 4 adults and 2 children, 4 pounds is just about perfect so I cut the roast in half and put the remainder in the freezer.
Our pulled pork is a combination of dry rub and apple flavorings. I love the combination of sweet apple with the hot tang of the rub spices slowly braised into the roast.
I start with a 4 pound pork roast, placed into a dutch oven and cover it with a dry rub.I often times I use a store-bought rub so that I can save some money on spices I may not have at home. But in case you have them I use black pepper, garlic powder, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, smoky paprika, and salt. I cover the roast and let it set about an hour in the morning.
After resting I add 3/4 cup of brown sugar to the rub making a sweet spicy glaze. To the dutch oven I also add one cup of apple cider vinegar and 2 cup apple juice or apple cider. For cooking I find that the juice seems to have a deeper flavor when cooked but we always seem to have apple cider in the house for drinking so I use it most of the time.
Then top the roast with a nice amount of Salt and Pepper. Put the lid on and bake on 300 degrees for at least 4 hours if you can get 5 hours even better. The meat is tender and will fall apart in the dutch oven and is very hot. Let the roast rest for 15 minutes and then remove to serving platter or large tray.
The roast is sliced ( if that is possible) and served in broth or “pulled” at this point. Traditionally pulled pork should be so tender the you can pull it apart with two forks. In most cases this is true, but I remember that I have cooked a large layer of fat on top of this roast and a healthy size bone and both need removed before the pulling can begin. I usually use a number of tools to get the shredded meat free from most of the fat and bone. Most often this means burnt fingers and a large serving fork.
After finishing up some side dishes depending on who is here for dinner we make two plates of pork. One that is plain with only the natural juices from cooking ( this one is for the husband). Then one that I mix with our families favorite BB-Q sauce ( Sweet Baby Ray’s ). The sauce is not to sweet and thick, perfect for pulled pork sandwiches that the kids love.
On a cold winter night with a couple of side dishes Tom,The Kids and I have a nice meal. Not hard to make and you can add all kinds of toppings to your pulled pork sandwiches. Here in West Virginia you would add coleslaw, out west you would add cheddar cheese, farther down south you may see grilled onions / pickles. What ever you add it is wonderful and feeds a crowd of hungry people with little effort. So think of this the next time you have a party to go to. Bring pulled pork, buns and sauce and you will be the one with all the complements at the end of the night.