Earlier in the summer, SoupAddict had time off from her day job and decided to flip on the ole TV one lazy morning. Martha was on, so SoupAddict plopped herself cross-legged on the floor, like a 6-year-old preparing for Dora, and settled in to watch Martha give the what-for to her hapless guests.
Much to SoupAddict’s happy surprise, however, Martha’s guests included real chefs instead of Hollywood celebrities bumbling their way through a soufflé while awkwardly promoting their latest piece of fluff under Martha’s withering gaze. (Although SoupAddict does admit guiltily to enjoying those withering gaze, what-for segments.)
That day, brothers Bruce and Eric Bromberg, of Blue Ribbon restaurant fame, were on hand to promote their new cookbook by demo’ing their Pulled Pork Sandwiches. SoupAddict was all ears, because it was just one of those times when the right recipe landed at the very moment a craving for same was brewing. And thusly, the weekend menu was planned for pulled pork sandwiches.
This is definitely a “day off” dish, as the pork must roast for hours. Agonizing hours in which your home will be scented with mirepoix*, garlic, cumin, and, gradually, perfectly cooking pork, and there will be nothing you can do about it other than wait.
*Mirepoix (meer-pwah or meer-eh-pwa) is the combination of the aromatic vegetables onions, celery and carrots, and is used as the flavor base for soups, stews and sauces.
The pork shoulder/pork butt is coated completely in a mirepoix-garlic-cumin mixture, marinated overnight and then roasted slowly. The tasty seasoning seeps into the meat as it cooks and imparts a dreamy, savory flavor to the pork.
(No, this dish is not really orange. See, what happened was, SoupAddict was adding vegetables to the food processor for the mirepoix and, not paying attention, kept adding carrots (plural) when only one carrot (singular) was required. This is what happens when you are always planning the next menu in your head and not focusing on what’s before you. SoupAddict knows you’ll do better.)
SoupAddict veers a tad from the Bromberg’s BBQ recipe this time around. Not that the recipe was bad (because it certainly wasn’t), but simply because she’s just not a fan of corn-syrupy cola in sauces. SoupAddict did not really measure out stuff for the BBQ sauce, but just sort of added these ingredients until things seemed right.
This is about 1-1/2 hours in to a 3-1/2 hour roasting. The general rule is 1 hour of cooking for each pound of roast, but SoupAddict wanted to make sure that this 2-1/2 lb. butt was falling-off-the-bone, fork-tender…
… like this. The pork butt practically collapsed on itself in the pan, so tender it was. (Is SoupAddict the only one who thinks it’s weird to have butt for dinner? [Insert Bart Simpson joke of your choice here.])
Mmmm. Drizzle your favorite BBQ sauce over the shredded pork and pop it back into a really hot oven to get all the juices mixing and bubbling.
Pulled pork sandwiches are nigh.
Mmmmmmmm. Break out the cole slaw.
Although not a quick dish, actual hands-on time is only about 20 minutes. But it will taste like you slaved over it for hours. It’ll be our little secret.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
16 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large rib celery, chopped
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1/4 cup coarse salt
1 (5-pound) pork butt**
4 cups barbeque sauce (Brombergs’, or use your own)
8 Your favorite rolls, sliced in half
Place garlic, onions, carrot, celery, cumin, and salt in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add 1/2 cup water; process until well combined. Place pork in a large, deep roasting pan. Rub pork generously with vegetable puree; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add enough water to the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the pork. Cover pan tightly with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil and transfer to oven. Bake until pork is very tender and falling apart, about 5 hours, checking pan occasionally to make sure water has not evaporated and adding more water as necessary.
Remove pork from oven. Let stand until cool enough to handle. (At this point, pork may be kept refrigerated and covered for up to 5 days.)
Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Shred pork with two forks or pull apart using your fingers; discard any excess fat. In a large baking dish, combine shredded pork with 3 cups barbecue sauce. Transfer to oven and cook until mixture is heated through and bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes.
Divide evenly among rolls.
** 5 pounds of pork butt is a powerful lot of meat. This is party-sized, for sure. SoupAddict used a 2-1/2 lb. butt, which was more than plenty for 4 hungry adults, with lots of leftovers.