Pulled pork at it's best!

The Pork Barbecue Secret

by Dave Kessler

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For less than the cost of two pork barbecue sandwiches at a "rolling smoke" barbecue restaurant, you can make enough authentic pork barbecue to feed a small neighborhood. When you pull up to a barbecue restaurant, be it a shack or an edifice, you usually smell a lot of smoke from a hardwood fire and just imagine a whole hog being roasted for your dining pleasure.

That's part of the ambience of a successful barbecue food business. But, truth be known, somewhere in the back kitchen a chef or cook is pulling tender cooked pork from a ten pound pork butt that only makes up a small fraction of a two hundred pound market-ready pig.

You can purchase the same cut of meat at your local super market and usually at a very good price. Butchers sell pork butts under various names with Boston Butt being the most popular. Boston butts are often used as a "loss leader" to get you in the door and you'll often find them on sale.

While barbecue restaurants generally do roast or smoke the pork butts you can skip this part of the process for something a whole lot easier. Simply put the whole pork butt into a large pot, add enough water to come to the top of the meat and put a lid on the pot. Bring the water to a boil, and when it's at the rolling boil stage, turn the heat back to a simmer and continue simmering covered for three hours.

At the end of the three hours remove the pot from the heat and remove the lid. Let it sit for a half-hour to cool down. Use tongs, or meat forks, to pull the meat from the bones. You'll easily be able to discard the fat, gristle and bones at this time. You'll end up with a nice big bunch of very juicy and very tender pulled or shredded pork.

You can add your favorite barbecue sauce and serve the meat in nice fresh buns for super sandwiches. If you feel you must have some authenticity, you can add a little "liquid smoke."

If you want to add a down-South touch, you can top the meat in your sandwich with some rough-cut coleslaw. Just chop the cabbage and slaw ingredients with a knife rather than running it through a food processor.

For a back to the islands party, you can add commercial jerk sauce offered by many manufacturers. This is generally a hot and spicy sauce.

This pulled pork also is a good addition when making chili. Try it instead of hamburger. You can also make a delicious pork pot pie by using 1 1/2 cups of the meat, a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, a can of condensed cream of celery soup with the can of water and two pie crusts. Line the pie plate or casserole dish with one pie pastry, mix the ingredients together and fill the crust, top with the remaining crust and bake according to instructions for a double crust pie. As they say today, "It's all good!"

Dave Kessler is the author of Skinny Cooks Can't Be Trusted.

Take the Next Step

  • Visit your local super market or meat market to find the best deals on pork butts!
  • Continue to trim food costs by visiting our food & groceries section to get tips and tools for keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.

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