- Pulled pork, for sandwiches or otherwise
- Potato salad
- Slaw for people who aren't fans of coleslaw
All of the hard work can be done the day/night before, and it's a good idea: The pork takes a really long time to cook, and if you cook and refrigerate the potatoes, they don't crumble up when you're dicing them for the potato salad. It's pitifully easy to do the finishing touches the next day.
Pulled pork for sandwiches
6-8 pound pork shoulder, also called "pork butt" but it really is shoulder! It should be at room temperature, which means, take it out of the fridge while you mix up the rub and get the foil ready.
Aye, there's the Rub
You can buy a rub or make your own from paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, thyme, oregano and anything else you want, like cumin -- there are recipes all over the Web and none of them are the same! I made a batch using
2T sweet Hungarian paprika
1T smoked Spanish paprika
1T cayenne pepper
2T garlic buds
1T dried thyme
1T mixed dried Italian herbs (mostly oregano)
1T onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
This makes way more than is needed for this one pork shoulder, but keeps well in a jar. I didn't add salt to the mix because I add the salt, and often more black pepper, separately when I'm making something, so this is just the "spice mix" part.
Curses, Foiled Again
Make two double-width sheets of aluminum foil about 2 feet long each by stacking two pieces, folding over one long side TWICE, and then opening the top sheet back and creasing at the seam. Repeat. Now you have two big pieces of foil.
Put the roast on one piece of foil and rub it all over with salt, pepper and the rub, obviously turning the roast to get all sides. This works better if your hands are not wet!
Cover with the other sheet of foil and crimp both sides and both ends -- but fold the ends VERY neatly so you can unfold them easily later.
Place the whole package in any roasting pan you have that's big enough, fat side up so it will drip down through the meat as it melts. Ummmm.
Cook at 300F for 4 hours. Then open up the foil packet and cook for another 2 hours. Then let it cool enough to work with and pull apart into bite-size shreds with two forks. Try not to eat too much of it.
Since you have the oven on anyway, scrub and "poke" some red potatoes and tuck them in the oven anywhere you have room. They'll make great potato salad to accompany the pork later! Piercing the spuds with a fork or even a paring knife lets the steam escape, or so I'm told. Anyway, it seems to work. because when I poke them with a fork later to test for doneness, they do not explode, which is a good thing. This is one time I do not put butter or oil on the skins, because I'm not going to eat them as baked potatoes, but rather will turn them into potato salad and I don't really want the skins to be crispy. Check them after an hour -- if they're in with the pork at 300F, they will take longer than if you usually bake them at 400, as I do. Mine took about 80 minutes; it will depend on the size of the spuds, of course. I think red potatoes are better for salad, but any kind would really do, especially if you cook them ahead and let them cool and "solidify." You could boil the potatoes instead, but that's so silly when the oven is on already.
You can use any good barbecue sauce, make your own, or do what my Dad always did: Start with a bottle of good "store-bought" sauce and doctor it up over medium heat to make it even better. What I added: one caramelized onion, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic buds, a little of the"rub" mix, one small can of tomato paste. You do it by taste. I like mine a little on the sweet side (surprise, surprise!). Some people don't want tomato at all, and that's cool. Refrigerate overnight.
Make hard-boiled eggs for the potato salad and refrigerate overnight. How many? About one egg for each potato, although less will work. You could boil the whole dozen and use the rest for deviled eggs, but I didn't this time.
This is pitifully easy.
Warm up the pork in sauce, adding a little liquid, such as leftover wine, to allow for evaporation. Just simmer it. Meanwhile:
Cube the potatoes, peel and dice the eggs. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika and a little dill weed if you have it and like it. Or any other herbs you want, like basil. Avoid cilantro: People with good taste don't like it. Add sweet pickle relish or chopped pickles and Miracle Whip, or if you must, mayonnaise. For three red potatoes and three eggs, I used two good dollops of MW and a heaping tablespoon of relish.
I love the slaw mix from Trader Joe's that is shredded broccoli stems and shredded carrots. If you can't get that, by all means shred your own, preferably the night before, while waiting on the pork! I used:
- 1/2 package of slaw mix, which is 6 ounces or about 2 cups
- 1/2 package, or 4 ounces, of dried cranberries (about 1/3 cup)
- about 1/2 cup of sesame-honey cashews, or any nut you like but these are the best, from TJs.
- 2 T each of blue cheese dressing and Miracle Whip. Or any salad dressing you like, enough to coat the slaw without being soupy. Salt and pepper to taste, if needed; this dressing was salty enough for me.
By now, the pork should be hot. Dig in. Refrigerate leftovers. Repeat.