I don’t eat a lot of meat. I probably easily could go vegetarian both for ethical and economic reasons. But I would miss certain things—like a juicy cheeseburger hot off the grill, like bacon with breakfast, like barbecued pulled pork on a soft, squishy bun.
I was in the mood for pulled pork last week, so I did a little online research, picked up a hunk of meat at the grocery store and set to work one night.
Here’s the recipe (inspired by The Pioneer Woman):
1 large yellow onion, quartered
1 5- to 7-pound pork shoulder (also known as a Boston butt)
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates cinnamon-chipotle rub
1 20-ounce bottle Dr Pepper
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Separate onion quarters and lay pieces on bottom of large Dutch oven.
Unwrap and rinse pork shoulder. Season shoulder liberally with salt and pepper, then coat it generously with cinnamon-chipotle rub.
Place roast, fat-side down, in Dutch oven on top of onion pieces. Pour Dr Pepper, molasses and water over over roast. Drop in cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
Cover and place in oven for at least six hours, turning halfway through, if possible. (I attempted to flip my roast after three or four hours, and I was unable to because the meat was falling apart, which is good! I pulled it apart a bit more to allow it to cook more and soak up more of the cooking liquid.)
Test the meat with a fork; if it easily pulls apart, it’s done. Remove from oven and let stand until cool. Skim or spoon fat off the top, if possible, then use two forks to separate meat into bite-sized pieces. Strain liquid from meat and either use or store immediately.
We had pulled pork sandwiches using some of the meat the day after it was cooked, and we had barbecue pulled pork pizza using more of the meat a few days later.
I made this pizza crust (and I will never, ever use another recipe again it was so fabulous) and stretched the dough to fit a large, rectangular baking sheet. I baked the crust in a 450-degree oven for 5 minutes, then brushed it with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce. I spread 8 ounces of the pulled pork evenly over the crust, then laid thinly sliced red pepper rings over the top. I sprinkled on 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of shredded colby jack cheese and baked the pizza for about 15 minutes, until the crust was crispy and the cheese was bubbly and brown.
The meat was incredible. It was sweet and aromatic from the Dr Pepper, cinnamon-chipotle rub and cinnamon stick. It was savory and smoky from the molasses and rub. It was tender and juicy.
The sandwiches were tasty, but the pizza stole the show; it got rave reviews from Christopher and his co-worker, who came over for dinner that night. I think it is one of the best pizzas I have ever had—and it came out my kitchen!
I froze whatever meat was left so I can use it as the base or inspiration for a couple other dishes soon. I’ll have to come up with something good.
Now do yourself a favor and go buy a big ol’ pork shoulder and make this recipe!