Pulled pork really doesn't get the kind of attention it deserves. It's one of those meals that tend to get lost in the shuffle of fancier dishes or lays buried in the pages of a menu - and we don't really think that's fair! With all the varying dry rubs and marinades you can add to it, pulled pork is one of the more versatile recipes you can make. We're here to bring pulled pork back to the table by teaching you how to make it, what cuts of pork are best, and how you can season it to perfection.
Even though you can technically use any cut of pork to make this dish, there are some preferred slabs that butchers and chefs recommend. It's suggested that you make pulled pork from the shoulder, which can be divided into several different cuts. Unless you're heading into your local butcher shop, you probably won't find a 10-16 pound pork shoulder hanging around, which means grocery stores will divvy the shoulder up into two cuts: the Boston butt and the picnic roast. The Boston butt comes from the upper part of the shoulder whereas the picnic comes from the lower part of the shoulder.
The reason why the professionals recommend using the shoulder over other sections is that this body part isn't as drying and can still lock in all the flavor without an extensive rub or marinade. When you smoke this part of the pig, the fat dissolves and the remaining meat will still retain its juices and flavor.
Just because the shoulder maintains its juicy goodness doesn't mean that you should skimp out on additional flavors. Rubs and marinades bring something new to the table and will allow for you and yours to indulge in preferred tastes.
For pork, some of the best herbs and spices you can use range from cumin, thyme, rosemary, garlic, and dill. Of course, you don't need to rely on these tried and true herbs because part of being a chef is all about experimentation. Not to mention, there are tons of different recipes out there that call for different things, so the possibilities are endless for your pulled pork. You can try recipes that include a spicy kick with cayenne pepper and a larger amount of chili powder, or you can stick with a basic pork rub that only really requires salt, pepper, and garlic.
A few tips to remember when you're marinating pork:
Before you get started there are some instruments you'll need to make your meal a success. Generally, you won't need too many tools and you probably already have some lying around the house, but here's an extensive list:
Alrighty, we've officially covered everything you should know before getting started, so let's get into the good stuff! To make this pulled pork, you'll need:
In our opinion, the above recipe is the best pulled pork recipe, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try out other ones. There are lots of unique and popular recipes for pulled pork out there and they're worth a try if you're adventurous.
For example, some recipes have included Dr. Pepper in the mix. After you add the dry rub onto your meat, you pour the soda on top as opposed to a homemade sauce. Other recipes use an abundance of apples in the marinade, which makes it a great twist for fall!
Remember that you can also marinate your pork ahead of time for up to 12 hours. You can apply the sauce after you pull the pork as opposed to mixing it into the slow cooker. It really all depends on your tastes and what works best for you.
Despite the fact that pulled pork is often seen in sandwiches or as a stand-alone food, it can also be used over nachos, in macaroni and cheese, in poutine, or even over pizza.
Don't be afraid to try new things in the kitchen, especially with a versatile recipe like pulled pork. With all the different recipes and seasonings out there, it's entirely possible to create something new and make it your own. Get into the kitchen, break out the trusty slow cooker, and make a pulled pork dish that you won't forget anytime soon!