Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Un-Barbquezation of Texas Barbequed Pulled Pork

By Robert Earl Keen

Texas Un-Barbequed Pulled Pork makes ya walk like a Texan!
When I was a little *girl*
Only one or two.
The first thing I did enjoy
Was a plate of barbeque.

…Ribs and sausage and a cold Big Red
Barbeque makes old ones feel young
Barbeque makes everybody someone
If you're feelin' puny and you don't know what to do
Treat yourself to some meat eat some barbeque


Officer I did not kill this pig. I lacked the means, motive and opportunity!

Here’s a big confession and I’m relying on your indulgence to protect me from those who seek to rip the “Card-Carryin’- Texan” status from my cold, guilty grip. I don’t own a charcoal pit. *sigh*

Not only are big-boy-pits expensive, but the smoke they put off is obnoxious and hangs in the yard. It invades our house and my lungs and the ol’ asthma just can’t handle it. Plus, our houses are so close together, you can smell the neighbor barbequing eight blocks away.

Beside the lack of means and opportunity, I must confess to hating the toll barbeque smoke takes on pit masters. It’s true. Inhaling that kind of wood smoke, week-in and week-out has got to be exponentially worse for you than smoking cigarettes. Look at any major barbeque pit master and you can see the signs of pulmonary-coronary disease in their faces and necks; the puffiness, the fluid in and around the eyes, the broadened nose, thick neck, thick skin, red, ruddy cheeks…

Our dad died of primary pulmonary hypertension and among other things, Daddy loved to barbeque using  heavy smoke. He was a true Southern boy and a devout Texan, of course he barbequed, every week, at least once or twice a week for about 40 years or more. You could set your clock by it. But seeing him die of that horrid disease, took away any desire I might have to tangle with the dark art of the Texas-kind. I certainly don’t want Denny or the boys tangling with it, either!

There ya have it. I have no means (money for smoke pit), no opportunity (too much smoke is tough on the house, lungs and neighbors), or motive (I hate how barbeque smoke contributed to our Dad’s disease). Of course I’m not gonna get a smoker or barbeque pit any time in the near future.

Texas Un-Barbequed Pulled Pork with Texas Coleslaw
and Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes
But I still love the taste of barbeque! What’s a Texas girl to do? I suppose I could find barbeque joints with que worth making a drive and pay the top dollar barbeque products command these days. Believe me though, even in Texas, truly great barbeque joints are rarer than hen’s teeth! So just know that means a LOT of gas for driving, too.

So I compromise. Yes, it’s a compromise, especially since I hate the taste of artificial liquid smoke products many use to approximate the “barbeque” process.

Liquid smoke smells your house up just as much as real barbeque smoke hangin’ in the yard. But I use a technique that I’m sure many use – I didn’t develop it, but I have refined it to the point that our un-barbeque beats most of the stuff being sold these days.

It’s all about the rub and the sauce and the original quality of the meat. So get ready to find a store or a farmer that sells a good piece of meat. After that, you need to know that although this is an easy method, it isn’t quick. In fact, I often make this a two-day process to make it easier on me. But, oh my, is it good!

Texan Disclaimer – This recipe does not utilize bonafide, Texas wood-smoked barbeque technique. It’s a shameful attempt to approximate the delicious heaven-sent taste of great Texas barbeque. Also, Texas as a state, denies the existence of any part of the pig beyond the spare ribs, in connection with said real-life, bonafide, Texas barbeque.

Texas Un-Barbequed Pulled Pork easy but not quick!
Texas Un-Barbequed Pulled Pork
Yield – 8 Servings
Prep Time – 30 Minutes
Cooking Time – 6 Hours
Resting Time – 20 Minutes

3-4 lb Pork Shoulder Roast
Barbeque Rub
Black Pepper, coarse grind
Dried Parsley
Kosher Salt
Olive Oil
Course Dijon Mustard
Low Carb Barbeque Sauce

Wash and dry meat. Trim all but about 1/8” of fat off pork shoulder. Score meat about 1-inch apart to form a large diamond pattern.

Sprinkle with salt.

Heat sauté pan over medium high heat and brown meat on all sides.

Browning the meat prior to seasoning with mustard and spices keeps the spices and crust from burning and being left behind to season the pan instead of the meat. I usually brown, then season for this reason.

Pour off excess olive oil and return meat to pan. Massage the mustard into the meat being sure to get down in between the diamonds to the pork flesh beneath. Sprinkle liberally with a quality sugar-free barbeque rub, coarse ground black pepper, and dried parsley flakes.

Cover meat and pan tightly with aluminum foil and roast in 200* oven for 6-8 hours. You may also use an indirect cooking method with your propane grill. Make sure to set it to the lowest setting and monitor the temperature. Cooking this tough cut of meat too quickly (any temp above 225*) will cause you to lose too much liquid from the meat. The meat will end up dry and cottony in texture.

Give it the fork test. If the meat easily twists and “pulls” when a 2-prong barbeque fork is inserted, it’s done. If not, seal it back up and put it back to cook a little longer. I find that allowing 1-1/4 hours per pound of meat cooked at 200* works as a good rule-of-thumb.

Notice, there is no barbeque sauce on this meat yet! You don't want to boil the meat in barbeque sauce. It's added at the end of cooking in order to keep the meat roasting not stewing.

Remove meat to a platter. Cover with the aluminum foil and allow meat to rest on the platter for a minimum of 20 minutes.

While the pork rests, deglaze the pan.

Pour off any cooking liquid.

Heat the pan on a burner turned to high.

Deglaze pan with some of the stock and scrape to remove any burnt-on browned bits that remain in the pan. Add those browned bits and liquid to the broth you drained from the pan.

You can either use this broth as a basis for soups, stews and veggies or you can use it to build a barbeque sauce. I usually chill it, then freeze it for later use.

Continue with the recipe at this point or you may also allow the roast to cool completely, then portion out and freeze in vacuum bags or refrigerate until the next day.

Use your hands or two forks and shred cooked pork.

This is called "pulling". I discard quite a bit of the internal fat and sinew found within the pork shoulder because there is plenty to give flavor in the browned crispy exterior fat and because I don't like the texture of this stringy internal fat. It reminds me too much of tripe.

When ready to serve you may either heat pork in the microwave and serve the sauce on the side, (can't recommend that but in a pinch, it makes for a super-quick meal), or add a bit of the pork cooking liquid to a sauté pan.

Add the pulled pork and some of your barbeque sauce, about 1/4c per serving of meat to the cooking liquid.

Heat over high heat or heat on the gas grill on ignite mode. Allow the meat to heat and the sauce to become thick, sticking to the meat.

Serve with coleslaw and a Texas side of your choice. Fluffy Chix love making hot and spicey, Fluffy Chix Texas Coleslaw and Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes.

To a Texan, the sides are ALMOST as important as the quality of the que. We've been known to walk out of a barbeque joint vowing never to return, because as good as the meat tasted, the sides sucked.

Nutritional Information
Nutritional information depends on the individual use of barbeque rub and sauce.

SusieT’s Notes –Move over Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia. You may have invented the barbequed pig, but we stole it from you and made it better! Of course we did. We’re Texas! We’re here. We’re dear. Get used to it!

So it isn’t barbeque. And it isn’t a spare rib. And it isn’t brisket. But it’s good. It’s really good!

You don’t even miss the bread from a bun with this recipe. Additionally, my tummy doesn’t get queasy from too much fat from the fried green tomatoes and the rich pork.

I’m not a fat-phobe. On the contrary, in a sufficiently carb-limited diet, fat is your friend. I just simply believe the fat levels in your diet are highly individual. I find I must limit the fat a slight amount from the original level of the 65-70% fat found in Atkins.

I tend to lose better with fat levels in a 40-60% range. I also have fewer episodes of indigestion and nausea. I’m pretty sure my gallbladder has trouble with fat at times – a bi-product of my former low-fat regime, no doubt.

Using an oven frying method for the green tomatoes, making a lighter version of hot and spicy, jalapeno, Fluffy Chix Texas Coleslaw and removing some of the internal fat found in the pork shoulder yields a slightly lighter, less-rich, but wholly satisfying un-barbeque!

Hang-up the car keys and spend your extra gas money splurging on a light, low-carb beer and tear into a plate of barbeque.

As Robert Earl Keen sings, “Barbeque makes everybody someone. Treat yourself to some meat, eat some barbeque!”

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