I made this barbecued pork on Sunday, and I have spent the past two days trying to think of how I can possibly tell you how delicious it is. Truth is, I can’t. My writing skills are failing me, and every time I try to speak a single descriptive word about this pork, I start salivating and drool starts to come out of my mouth. It is just that good. But for you all, I will try.
The funny part is, the fact that I made this at all happened sort of by accident. I was at the store, and there was this pork on sale, and it looked like a pork roast and it was a good deal, so… I bought it. And then I came home and read the label and it said, “Pork butt roast.” And to be honest, I giggled a little bit. I guess I’m not as mature as I’d like to think I am sometimes. So basically I had no idea how to prepare a butt roast (hehe). Google to the rescue. I found out from my search that a pork butt roast is actually a piece of meat taken from the shoulder, and that it is the perfect candidate for slow-cooking in liquid, or braising. This recipe caught my eye, and the rest is history.
It’s simple enough. You make a dry rub from lots of different spices, namely garlic and chile powder, coat the roast and put the whole mess in a screaming-hot oven for almost an hour. This sort of sears the meat, sealing in all those lovely juices. Then you take it out, give it a little shower in beer, add some more garlic, and then put it back in a low oven for a few more hours to braise its little heart out. When it’s all done, the meat pretty much falls apart at the merest provocation. I have never seen meat so tender. A few gentle tugs with a fork and you have the most delicious-looking pile of shredded barbecue and steaming juice that you’ve ever seen. You then take all that yummy liquid and add a few other little things to make a quick barbecue sauce and toss it back in with the pork. At this point, you can commence with eating more barbecued pork than you have in your entire life. Because you won’t be able to stop yourself. Seriously. Case in point: After he had downed two heaping sandwiches of this stuff, I asked hubby if he wanted dessert. He replied that yes, please, if I could get him another sandwich for dessert, that would be great. It is that good.
If you are thinking that this is a long time to keep your oven on in the summer, you are absolutely right. My kitchen was very hot. It was worth it. But still, if you’d rather not sweat out some calories before eating huge amounts of pulled pork, I imagine you can finish this off in your slow cooker. After the 45-minute initial oven time, you could transfer the whole contents of the pan to your slowcooker, add the beer and garlic, and then cook it on high for the remaining time. I think I’ll try the slow cooker method next time I make this. Which will be as soon as the leftovers run out. Obviously.
Beer-Braised BBQ Pork
adapted, barely, from David Lieberman’s recipe
For the dry rub:
2 tablespoons salt
About 40 grinds black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground marjoram (or coriander)
2 teaspoons ground mustard seed (I used Penzey’s Bavarian Seasoning)
12 ounces beer
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 3.5-5 pound pork butt
Combine the rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub all over pork butt. (He he. Ok, last time, I promise.) Place pork in a roasting pan or baking dish with sides about two inches high. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. You could also let it sit in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and cook the pork for 45 minutes until dark browned and even blackening in places. Remove from oven.
Lower the oven to 325 degrees F. Pour beer over the top and add chopped garlic around the pork. (Be careful when you add the beer; the pan is extremely hot and it might splatter. Pour in a little of the beer in at a time, and stand back.)
Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or twice with regular foil. Poke about 10 holes all over the top of the foil. Cook pork butt 2 1/2 hours longer until so tender that it comes away very easily from center bone.
Place the meat on a plate and pour the pan juice into a saucepan. To the pan juices add:
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
Bring to a simmer until reduced by half , about 20 minutes. If you like a thinner sauce, you don’t need to cook it as long.
While the sauce is boiling down, pull apart the pork with two forks. Pour the sauce over the pulled pork and work through until fully absorbed. Serve on hamburger buns (Seriously, we decided cheap white buns are the best for this. But if you’d rather use a heartier roll, by all means, go for it.)