Tell me about pulled pork

What is pulled pork, how do you make it, and is it worth the effort?

I have a pork roast, bone in, basically from the knee down. It's about 10 to 12 lb and still has the rind on it. Can I make pulled pork from this?



Author Comment
What you have is most likely a fresh (not cured) ham, also called a pork picnic. It will work for pulled pork, but I would remove the rind. Usually I also have the butcher bone mine (and save the bones to cook for stock).
Use your favorite dry rub and coat the meat well, then refrigerate overnight. Bone-in, it will take 4-6 hours to cook over indirect heat or in a smoker at about 275 degrees F. Periodically brush it with a wet "mop" mixed with vinegar, brown sugar, crushed red pepper flakes and just a little canola oil. When the meat has a good crust and is cooked thru until it will shred easily, remove from smoker. Put it on a rimmed cookie sheet or on a large pan to shred so you don't lose the juices. We usually put it on the bun like this and add our sauce individually, but you can mix it with your favorite barbecue sauce before hand if you choose. And yes, it is worth the time!
WileyP January 23, 2013
Potato rolls tend to be a little lighter and sweeter than your run of the millwhite or wheat bread rolls. Sweet + pork = yum!
WileyP January 23, 2013
Worth the effort? WORTH THE EFFORT? I can think of few culinary efforts so worthy of one's time. Dry rub is used to marinate the meat for 12-24 hours. Then comes a long, low-temperature cooking, starting with a little smoke. Often a little mopping with an apple cider mixture near the end of the cooking adds some great flavor and tenderness. Then comes the pulling, where you lift out the bone(s) (it's so dang tender you don't need a knife to get them out!) and use your hands, a couple forks or even a cleaver or two to break the meat apart.

Along the Carolina coast, they tend to barbecue the whole hog, mixing the pulled meat from all the different parts of the pig. The sauce they use along the coast is a very thin vinegar/brown sugar/chile/black pepper concoction and is a wonderful addition to the meat. As you move inland, you find more and more folks that use just the shoulder or "butt". Their sauce (or "dip") is much the same, but with a little tomato in it.

A properly served pulled pork sandwich will be served on a homemade potato roll with a little sauce, then topped with fresh creamy cole slaw. A dill pickle wedge goes on the side. If you'd like, I'll be happy to send you a few recipes for the pork, sauces and cole slaw.
trampledbygeese January 23, 2013
Yes please do share.

How does a potato roll differ from regular wheat bread roll?
lazychef January 23, 2013
I would add that it is MORE than worth the effort, because it is in fact very little effort at all to prepare! A simple spice rub and a very long time in the oven at moderate heat are all that are required. Then whip up a quick NC-style bbq sauce (apple cider vinegar, honey, cracked red pepper, ketchup and other seasoning to taste) and eat on hamburger buns. So, so simple!
HalfPint January 23, 2013
Pulled pork freezes beautifully, though I would freeze it 'unsauced'.
Maedl January 23, 2013
I have never made pulled pork, but I have eaten more than my share. There are regional variations, and the version I am addicted to is North Carolina pulled pork, which uses a mustard and vinegar based sauce.

I noticed Penzys had a pulled pork recipe in the recent catalogue, which I have set aside to try. See

The pork cut you mentioned sounds like it would make a mouth-watering Bavarian pork roast with crackling crust--in other words, I think I would use a different, less expensive, cut for the pulled pork. Penzys' recipe recommends pork butt or shoulder. I think you want some interior fat to keep the meat juicy during long, slow cooking.
trampledbygeese January 23, 2013
Thanks for the info and link.

This was actually a dirt cheep cut, I got the whole leg (and much of the hip meat) for under $25, I think it was 99 cents a pound, which is really good for pork here. I took the 'ham' part and cut it into smaller roasts with the skin on top for crackling (we love pork fat in our house) and also cubed some for the freezer for either pork-a-dobo or for putting in the grinder later. But the left over roast, I guess it might be called a giant hock, part looked so traditionally ham shaped that I just left it as is and stuck it in the freezer.

I'm thinking of either making pulled pork or curing it or making pulled pork. I've never done either before, but it looks tasty.

I might pick up another leg today if they still have them on sale. Does pulled pork freeze well?
aargersi January 23, 2013
Pulled pork is slow cooked until it is fall-apart tender, and the "pulled" part is using two forks or your hands and shredding the meat, then often mixing it back in with the pan juices or perhaps your favorite BBQ sauce. Whether or not it is worth the effore is a matter of opinion although I SUSPECT that most people would answer with a resounding YES! Your cut sounds like it would work fine - I would recommend looking at several recipes online and gleaning your favorite ideas from each. You will need to decide on a flavor profile and such ... I did a little searching and I think you can roast that rind into cracklings and get a tender pull apart roast too - you might have to remove the rind at some point though. More research needed!!!
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