Trevor’s Pulled Pork

By May 16, 2015

This is the recipe for Trevor's (really popular) pulled pork he makes for the Annual Customer Appreciation BBQ. He uses a pig roast brine that's more like a pickle. "I guess you can say I serve pickled pork. It would sound fancier on a menu, wouldn't it?"

The Brine
 1:1:1 apple cider to apple cider vinegar to water (10# ice equals 1 gal water)
 Onions: 2# or more (depending on batch size)
 Garlic, peeled and crushed whole: 2 bulbs
 Mustard Powder: 4 tablespoons per gallon
 Kosher Salt: 1 cup per gallon
 Black Peppercorns: 4 tablespoons per gallon
 Honey (or Sugar): 1/2 cup per gallon
The Pork
 Start with pork shoulders or arm roasts. I used a little bit of everything and mixed it together. I think I had bone-in boston butt pork shoulder, boneless arm roasts, and a few sirloins.
The Other Stuff
 Carrots, Onions, and celery all quartered or roughly chopped. Enough to line the bottom of your roasting pan.
 A lot of Apple Cider Vinegar
 BBQ Sauce (optional)
Brine
1

The first step is to brine all of your meat. And before that first step, you have to make your brine. Start by sautéing the onions and garlic over medium high heat in a heavy bottomed pan with oil. The onions can be quartered and garlic crushed whole. No fancy knife cuts needed.

2

When the onions are translucent (not browned yet), add the apple cider and vinegar. Bring it up to a simmer, stir in the salt, mustard powder, black peppercorns, and honey/sugar. Allow the mixture to start bubbling and turn off the heat. Allow it to steep for 20 minutes or so. Ideally you just let it come down to room temperature. Add ice in the proper proportion.

3

Brine the cut of meat in the solution for 12 to 24 hours. It depends on how thick the cut is. For whole hogs, 24 hours is a minimum. For shoulder roasts that don't have the skin on them (as all of ours don't), 6 to 12 hours is sufficient. Too long and you will taste the excess vinegar in the final product.

Season and Sear
4

Dry the meat with paper towels before seasoning and searing. Seasoned the pork heavily with salt and pepper, then hard sear it in a heavy bottomed cast iron pan with some sunflower oil. I sear each side for about a minute until browned.

Braise
5

In a large roasting pan or large dutch oven, line the bottom with quartered onions, carrots, and celery sticks. Add the pork on top of the vegetables. I cram them in there so I don't need as much liquid to braise. Fill the dish about half way up the side of the meat with apple cider.

6

I then braised the pork all night in an oven at 225 degrees. The cooking time varies a little depending on how much pork you are cooking at a time. I'd say I braised them for about 6 hours until the pork easily pulled away from the bones.

Cool, then Reheat and Reduce
7

After the braising, allow the pork to cool and refrigerate in the dish. The fat will solidify on top of the liquid and the pork will re-absorb some of the cooking liquid. Use a spoon to remove as much fat as possible and throw it out.

8

Warm the pork back up to loosen the braising liquid. It will likely be seized up like very rich stock. Remove the pork from the liquid and shred it. This can be done with a fork and knife or even your fingers. Cook the remaining liquid down by half to concentrate. Add a little salt and vinegar as needed (vinegar to help cut the fat) and mix the pork back in. If there isn't enough liquid, add bbq sauce or more apple cider. The one I did at the potluck had no bbq sauce on it.

Ingredients

The Brine
 1:1:1 apple cider to apple cider vinegar to water (10# ice equals 1 gal water)
 Onions: 2# or more (depending on batch size)
 Garlic, peeled and crushed whole: 2 bulbs
 Mustard Powder: 4 tablespoons per gallon
 Kosher Salt: 1 cup per gallon
 Black Peppercorns: 4 tablespoons per gallon
 Honey (or Sugar): 1/2 cup per gallon
The Pork
 Start with pork shoulders or arm roasts. I used a little bit of everything and mixed it together. I think I had bone-in boston butt pork shoulder, boneless arm roasts, and a few sirloins.
The Other Stuff
 Carrots, Onions, and celery all quartered or roughly chopped. Enough to line the bottom of your roasting pan.
 A lot of Apple Cider Vinegar
 BBQ Sauce (optional)

Directions

Brine
1

The first step is to brine all of your meat. And before that first step, you have to make your brine. Start by sautéing the onions and garlic over medium high heat in a heavy bottomed pan with oil. The onions can be quartered and garlic crushed whole. No fancy knife cuts needed.

2

When the onions are translucent (not browned yet), add the apple cider and vinegar. Bring it up to a simmer, stir in the salt, mustard powder, black peppercorns, and honey/sugar. Allow the mixture to start bubbling and turn off the heat. Allow it to steep for 20 minutes or so. Ideally you just let it come down to room temperature. Add ice in the proper proportion.

3

Brine the cut of meat in the solution for 12 to 24 hours. It depends on how thick the cut is. For whole hogs, 24 hours is a minimum. For shoulder roasts that don't have the skin on them (as all of ours don't), 6 to 12 hours is sufficient. Too long and you will taste the excess vinegar in the final product.

Season and Sear
4

Dry the meat with paper towels before seasoning and searing. Seasoned the pork heavily with salt and pepper, then hard sear it in a heavy bottomed cast iron pan with some sunflower oil. I sear each side for about a minute until browned.

Braise
5

In a large roasting pan or large dutch oven, line the bottom with quartered onions, carrots, and celery sticks. Add the pork on top of the vegetables. I cram them in there so I don't need as much liquid to braise. Fill the dish about half way up the side of the meat with apple cider.

6

I then braised the pork all night in an oven at 225 degrees. The cooking time varies a little depending on how much pork you are cooking at a time. I'd say I braised them for about 6 hours until the pork easily pulled away from the bones.

Cool, then Reheat and Reduce
7

After the braising, allow the pork to cool and refrigerate in the dish. The fat will solidify on top of the liquid and the pork will re-absorb some of the cooking liquid. Use a spoon to remove as much fat as possible and throw it out.

8

Warm the pork back up to loosen the braising liquid. It will likely be seized up like very rich stock. Remove the pork from the liquid and shred it. This can be done with a fork and knife or even your fingers. Cook the remaining liquid down by half to concentrate. Add a little salt and vinegar as needed (vinegar to help cut the fat) and mix the pork back in. If there isn't enough liquid, add bbq sauce or more apple cider. The one I did at the potluck had no bbq sauce on it.

Trevor’s Pulled Pork

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