Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.
Yum! Low and slow is the way to go for pulled pork. How large is your pork and what temp is the oven set at? When the meat is fork-tender, it's done. I don't usually bother with a thermometer, but 180 should be a good temp. Let it cook a little while longer, and serve some cocktails and nibbles to the anxious guests while they wait. Good luck!
my roast is 9 lbs, oven set at 225.
This suggestion might be too late for you, Diane.....what about cutting the roast in half since it's so large?
it's bone- in so hard to cut in half. Thank you for the suggestions. Great website.
Crank the heat up, how high depends on how soon you need it. Next time you'll know to expect 12+ hrs. for that size and temp. 190F is perfect to shoot for but as Mrs.Larkin suggests, fork tender is all that's necessary (as long as it's above 140F).
225F oven temp is too low for pulled pork. 350F works for me -- I've never done a pork butt/shoulder that large but I like JanetFL's suggestion to cut it in half -- maybe next time, probably too late to help you out now : ) You're right that 190F is ideal for pulled pork (the collagen melts and you get that fantastic texture!)
For excellent pulled pork, I've done 5 or so lbs. of butt/shoulder, tied, braised at 350F until internal temp is 190F. This takes about 3.5-4 hours. If bone-in, you want the bone to slip out cleanly and you'll know it's done.
Diane didn't say she was braising a pork roast. 225F is the target temp for many pitmasters when they're smoking a pork butt and it's a perfectly fine temperature for slow oven roasting. There are those who will argue 250F is optimal (and I often roast at 200F) but we can leave that issue for another time. What's important to know is the longer the roast stays in the oven, more collagen will be converted to gelatin, more fat will be rendered, and enzymatic action will better tenderize the protein fibers.
Braising at 350F is a waste of energy. The laws of thermodynamics state the temperature inside the braising vessel will not rise above 212F as long as there is (water-based) liquid present. Anywhere between 250 and 300 will get the job done (you need a little higher temperature than 212 to efficiently transfer energy from the oven air to the braising liquid).
There's a reason Diane's roast stalled at 150 (or somewhere between there and 170 or so). It has to do with the internal moisture level of the meat. It will stay there until the meat sweats out its free water, maybe for hours. I should have advised her to turn on her convection fan (if she has one) to speed the process. (That's what happens when I try to write while cooking dinner.)
Thank you all. I pulled the roast out at 170. could wait no longer. it shredded, just not as well as I would have liked. The recipe I used had a wonderful rub though, and it had a terrific flavor. I will know better next time to give that large of a roast 12 hours at least.
Diane, I trust that everyone had a very tasty dinner and I am sure that your guests enjoyed a wonderful evening with you. This IS a great website - I learn vicariously through every question asked here. Please post the rub that you used so that we can give it a try.
ChefOno, I recall that Cook's Illistrated said that braising at 350 maintained an ideal simmer throughout cooking, so since then I've always used that as my guideline. You're saying this is incorrect?
Answer below (where I can use paragraphs).
3 T. Pimenton
2T. Garlic Powder
2 t. Cayenne Pepper
1 T. Salt
1 T. Brown Sugar
1 T. Celery Salt
1T. Dry Mustard
Add a bottle of beer to the bottom of the pan.
Cover with foil for the first six hours, then remove foil for remaining time.
Thanks, Diane - it sounds wonderful and I will give it a try!
I am unfamiliar with that CI recommendation and, more importantly, the circumstances involved. (I'd be interested in what they have to say if you have a link.) There are reasons for braising at higher temperatures but 350F is too high for the purpose at hand. The problem is the braising liquid will reach a boil (212F) unless the pot is left uncovered. When it comes to braises, that is not low and slow.
There are three issues to contend with: Enzymatic action peaks right before the enzymes denature, between 120F and 130F. The longer the meat stays close to, but under that temperature, the more tender and flavorful it will become.
However, conversion of collagen (connective tissue) to gelatin doesn't begin until the meat reaches an internal temperature of around 140F. The longer the roast exceeds 140F, the more tender it will become. Fat will also be rendering during this time, so, bonus.
To give a tough cut of meat like a pork butt maximum advantage, sear then set the oven to 200F, lid ajar, for 2 hours (vessel target temperature = 120F). Then raise the oven to 250F and allow the roast to slowly come up past the 140 mark and finish cooking. Allow to cool for at least 30 min. or, ideally, down to 250F in the braising liquid, some of which will be reabsorbed in the process.
I meant cool down to 125F, not 250F.
I'm pretty sure, now that I think of it, that I got that info about braising at 350 from one of the America's Test Kitchen TV episodes, and that it was some sort of chicken dish, though I can't remember what exactly. I understand that chicken and pork butt have different properties, but if, as you say, at 350 the liquid will boil unless left uncovered, when WOULD higher braising temp be recommended, and how high is "higher"?Thanks for the detailed answer, btw. I'm going to have to read that a couple of times over to digest it (no pun intended), but I love learning about the science.
The only reason I can think of for braising above 250F would be to reduce the braising liquid -- both the initial liquid and whatever is produced during cooking. Leaving the lid partially uncovered (or using a parchment lid) allows evaporation of course, but it also reduces the vessel temperature due to evaporative cooling. Hence a higher oven temperature (300?) may be necessary.
Personally, I prefer to reduce the liquid and make any final adjustments on the cooktop after braising, the same as when roasting, where I have better control.
I'm with you on reducing after, and not during, braising. Huh. Will definitely try the lower temp next time. Thanks again for the info.
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