Equipment couple of things you’ll need to

Equipmentand Kitchen StaplesBefore we get started on choosing the best cooking methodfor your meat, there’s a couple of things you’ll need to make your meal prep asstress-free and easy as possible. Make sure you have aluminiumaluminumfoil or Ssaran Wwrap,and sufficient space in your refrigerator. This is absolutely essential whenmarinating your meat, whether it’s for a few hours or overnight.

Give yourself a clear, wide working space. You’re going tobe mixing sauces, preparing rubs, andtearing up some tender pork – make sure you give yourself enough room tocomplete each task, without the fear of tipping something over or spillingessential ingredients.You may have already seen BBQ “claws” online or at thestore. These nifty gadgets are like spiked knuckle-dusters, designed to makeshredding meat quick and easy. If you don’t have your own set of claws, don’tworry about it. As long as you have two strong, sturdy forks you’ll be able toachieve the same effect. Once you’ve got your kitchen in top shape, let’s move on tothe fun part! THEBASICSCHOOSINGYOUR MEATOne of the questions I get asked the most is, “What cut ofmeat should I use for pulled pork?”Most of us are probably familiar with chops or pork loin,but neither of those seem suitable for a delicious BBQ feast. So what cut worksbest, and where can you get it?Typically, when making pulled pork, you’ll want to use apork shoulder.

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Fair warning – this is a big piece of meat. Pork shoulders canweigh as much as 18 lbs., and will comfortably feed overtwenty people. If you’re not feeding an army, however, you’ll probably wantto stick to a Boston Butt. This is the top cut of the shoulder,and can weigh anywhere from 5 to 10 lbs. It’s a nicely marbled cut of meat,meaning it’s extra flavorful.

Usually you can buy it with or without a bone.Though it won’t make a huge difference when it comes to cooking, having abone-in does add more flavor. This beauty will feed a crowd of 12 or morepeople. When making pulled pork, prepare to have a lot of tasty leftovers thatcan be utilized in countless amazing dishes (more on that later).Alternatively, you can get a Picnic Shoulder, which is thelower end of a pork shoulder. This has a larger bone than the Boston Butt,which you’ll have to cut around when pulling your pork. It also has less fatmarbling and more connective tissue than a Boston Butt, so cooking low and slowis absolutely essential.

Luckily for us, low and slow is the name of the gamewhen making pulled pork!Finding these cuts in your run-of-the-mill supermarket cansometimes be tricky. But don’t worry, this can be a blessing in disguise.Broadly speaking, supermarket meats will have less flavor than what you can buyin a butcher shop, mostly because of the industrial way the meat is reared forgrocery stores.

An experienced butcher will also be able to help you choosethe best cut and weight for your meal. So you’ll get a better quality meat andsome expert advice if you go to a local butcher. SMOKER,CROCKPOT,OR OVEN?So you’ve got your meat – now what?There’s more than one way to make perfect pulled pork, soit’s just a matter of finding the method that suits you and your equipment.Chances are if you Ggoogle”How to make pulled pork”, you’ll find a lot of columns and articles by BBQ afficiandoesaficionadossinging the praises of their smokers. Smokers are designed to maintain a lowtemperature (usually around 225 degrees F) while slow-cooking meat with the aidof smoke.

There’s a variety of different kinds of smokers, ranging from smallbackyard affairs to smokers big enough to cook a full hog. The benefits of using a smoker over other methods of cookingare pretty straight-forward: You get tender, slow-cooked meat infused with adelicious smoky flavor. When cooking pork in your smoker, it’s best to stickwith hickory or maple wood chips.

Though oak is a standard go-to for smokingmeats, hickory and maple will add subtle complimentary flavors to your meat.Soak your wood chips in water overnight to stop them from burning up in thesmoker, and add a fresh handful of chipsevery 30 minutes while cooking. Be sure to spritz your meat each time you addmore chips to keep it moist and tender. A quick spritz of apple juice will dothe trick and bring out the sweet natural flavors of the meat.Before cooking your meat, let it sit for 30-45 minutes atroom temperature.

If you place it on the grill straight from the fridge, itwill be too cold and the outside will burn. Placed on the grill at roomtemperature, it should cook nicely and evenly.Once your meat is ready, place it on your smoker with thelayer of fat facing down.

Allow to cook for about two hours before flippingover. Keeping your smoker’s temperature between 225 – 250 F, allow 90 minutescooking time per pound of meat. So if you’re cooking a 10 lb.sBoston Butt, you’re looking at 15 hours of cooking. Good things come to thosewho wait!Wrap the pork in foil for the final two hours,and keep it in the smoker. Cook until your meat thermometer reads 195 – thismeans the fat has been rendered, leaving nothing but melt-in-your-mouth, tendermeat.

Now, not all of us have access to a smoker or 15 hours tospend cooking. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some deliciouspulled pork! Crockpots and standard ovens can save a lot of time,and will still result in a beautiful bit of meat.When cooking with a Crockpot or other slow cooker, placeyour cut in the cooker with the rest of your ingredients (we’ll get to thoseshortly. Set your cooker on low and leave to cook for 8 hours. Alternatively,you can set it to high and cook for 4 hours. These times are based on a 5 lb.scut, as anything bigger isn’t likely to fit in your slow-cooker.

The outcomewill basically be the same – succulent meat that falls right off the bone! Cooking times in a standard oven are similarly speedy.Season your meat and roast it at 450 degrees F for an hour. After the firsthour, reduce your heat to about 300 degrees and place your pork in a deeproasting dish or dutch oven. Pour in your vegetables, stock, and sauces andcover with a lid or tightly-wrapped foil for another 3-4 hours. While slow-cooker and oven pork has to be smaller forpractical purposes, you don’t have to sacrifice intensely delicious flavor.Even if you’re not using a smoker, you can still get that trademark BBQ tasteby adding a few drops of liquid smoke into your mix, or acouple of teaspoons of smoked paprika. Speaking of which, let’s talkseasonings….

SEASONINGS,MARINADES, AND TIPSOne of the greatest things about cooking pork is all thecreative ways you can season it. It’s such a versatile meat, pairingbeautifully with spicy, savourysavoryflavors as well as sweet, fruity ones. Here are just some of my favorite waysto prepare pork, resulting in a dish loaded with exciting flavors.Before you season your meat, I’d advise trimming the layer of fat until it’sabout 1/8th1/8thof an inch thick. This will allow your seasonings to better penetrate the flesh,while still keeping the meat juicy and tender.RUBSIf you’re cooking your pork in a smoker, you’ll probablywant to give it a nice ol’ rub beforehand.

Rubs are mixes of spices and herbsthat you massage into the meat and allow to chill before cooking. Your classic rub should be a balance of sweet and spicy. Try using twotablespoons of brown sugar, two tablespoons of salt, ¼ cup of chillichilipowder, ¼ cup of paprika, and ¼ cup of garlic powder.

Massagethe mixture into your meat thoroughly before wrapping tightly in saran wrap andkeeping in your fridge overnight. The brown sugar will give a rich, caramelized sweetness to the meat, while thespices will bring out the pork’s natural savourysavoryflavors. This rub will give you a standard, traditional BBQ taste that willcompliment most of the dishes in this book.There are a variety of different rubs out there, so don’t be afraid to playaround. If you’re a fan of garlic, why not try swapping out garlic powder forfinely minced fresh garlic? Like your food a bit hotter? Add mustard powder orcayenne pepper to your rub. Once you’ve mastered my basic rub, see where yourcreativity will take you! MARINADES AND BASESThough you’ll also be using a rub if you’re cooking with aslow-cooker or oven, the bulk of your flavor is going to come from what you putinto the dish with your pork.For this, you not only have to pay attention to flavor, but also moisture.

Forcrockpot dishes, line the bottom of your crockpot with half a white onion,diced. Place your pork on top, then add a cup of vegetable stock, ¼ cup oftomato paste, a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar, and 8ozoz. ofBBQ sauce. For cooking in the oven, the method is pretty similar. Roast your pre-rubbedpork for an hour, then place in a deep roasting dish or dDutchoven lined with half a white onion, diced.

Add the other ingredients, coverwith a lid or tightly wrapped foil, andcook. Another good base for dishes like these is to use 1 cup of apple juice insteadof the vegetable stock. You can also substitute the BBQ sauce with 1.5 cups ofketchup, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 2tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

Try them out and see which method youprefer!Don’t forget, if you want to recreate the hickory flavors of smoked BBQ pork,add 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika or a few drops of liquid smoke. This will giveyou an authentic smoky flavor, with none of the fuss!BRININGAnotherpopular question I get from aspiring BBQ-ers is whether or not they shouldbrine their pork before cooking.Brining involves soaking your meat in a mixture of salt, water,and sometimes other ingredients for anywhere from 12-24 hours before cooking.While there are certainly benefits to brining, it’s not essential.Brining can help keep your meat moist while cooking, but if you’re cookingusing a slow-cooker or oven this shouldn’t be an issue anyway.

It can alsofurther infuse your meat with flavor, especially if you choose to add applejuice and/or maple syrup to your salt water mixture.If you’re curious and have time to spare, I’d recommend mixing 3 cups of waterwith ¼ cup of salt and allowing your meat to soak for 24 hours. A Boston Buttwon’t require brining, thanks to its good marbling. But if you choose to cook aPicnic Shoulder, brining might help break down that connective tissue more,resulting in a more tender end product.Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s put your new knowledge to the testwith some mouth-watering recipes!


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