Tuesday, November 20, 2018

pulled pork, but...

I bought a huge hunk of pork shoulder from Costco last week; I had kept it in the freezer until last night, when I planned to dunk the hunk into my crock pot for a nice, long, slow cook in a bath of my special witches' brew (Coca Cola, Worcestershire, apple-cider vinegar, rough-chopped onions, soy sauce, black pepper, and maybe some garlic). This morning, the smell of the cooked pork was awesome:


I was, however, worried about how much usable pork I'd get. Pork shoulder is a fatty cut of meat, and during a slow cook, the fat either renders out (making the broth into something awesome) or sits there as a gooey, slippery mass (that can probably still be rendered into something usable). Part of the pulling of pulled pork involves putting on kitchen gloves and literally pulling apart the muscle fibers. In my case, not being a fan of greasy clumps of fat that cling to my meat, I do my damnedest to remove any and all traces of fat, gristle, fascia, and sundry connective tissue once the cooking is done.

Today, I woke up too late to do the pulling at home, and I knew I couldn't leave a cold crock pot full of cooked pork shoulder at home all day, so I shrugged and spent some extra time packing the meat up and taking it to the office to be pulled there. That fateful decision led to another: if I truly planned to pull the pork in the office, it would be churlish not to offer any pork to my colleagues. So I bought components for cole slaw and other toppings, brought along a grater to grate carrots for the slaw, and bought bread from the local bakery to make sliders. Because all of this made me very late in arriving at the office, I offered my apologies to the team leader and immediately set to prepping lunch (partly as a way of saying "Sorry I'm late today").

The pork was amazing, and I left it fairly chunky. I don't like it when a pulled-pork sandwich is too fibrous, if you know what I mean. Gimme soft, juicy chunks of meat. Luckily, that's what I got with this batch, as you'll see in the photos below. Unfortunately, I also noticed that there wasn't very much usable pork, so I made a command decision and decided that this batch would go to feed my coworkers at the office. I'll buy another hunk of shoulder tonight, along with a tenderloin (which has almost zero fat) as a way to up the meat-to-fat ratio.

I rationed out three sliders per person. Here's my plate:


The cole slaw was made on the spot, in the office. I used my go-to recipe of cabbage, carrot, black pepper, mayonnaise, and pickle juice. Worked like a charm. Other toppings were cheddar cheese and pickles. The classics. Does anyone put tomatoes on their pulled-pork sliders? I do tomatoes on burgers, but never with pulled pork. And I don't think I'm alone in this way of thinking. Here's the pork, up close and personal:


And finally, a wide shot of the humble spread. No sides like chips or anything—just components for sliders:


The slaw looks a bit gross, swimming in its dressing. I drained it before storing the leftovers, which will be served this evening to the native-speaker English teachers.



7 comments:

Charles said...

Is the title a pun? Because pork shoulder is also called "pork butt"? Or was that just a happy coincidence? Enquiring minds want to know!

I would not put tomatoes on my pulled pork, no. HJ makes a nice red cabbage slaw (vinegar as opposed to mayo, since neither of us like mayo-based slaw) that is ideal as a topping.

Kevin Kim said...

I saw the pun only after writing the title and sounding it out in my head.

I can make a vinegar slaw for you if you want. If you have a favorite recipe, lemme know. HJ puts onions in her slaw, ja?

Kevin Kim said...

Or tell me what you think of this recipe, which sounds delicious.

Charles said...

That recipe sounds spot on. Although... were you already planning on making slaw or not? I don't want to add to your already impressive workload!

Kevin Kim said...

I was indeed planning to do both cole slaw and corn slaw (despite Patrick's thumbs-down on the latter). Making another slaw is easy enough, though, so no worries.

John John McCrarey said...

Damn. Amazing. I'm so basic by comparison. I'm making roast beef in my crock pot this morning and I cut up some onion. I don't even know what a "rough cut" looks like. Mine were somewhere been chopped and diced I guess....

Kevin Kim said...

John,

Yeah, a rough cut (or a "rough chop") is basically what you just described. I do this when slow-cooking with onions so that it's easy to pull the onions out when I'm done.

Our methods of slow-cooking aren't all that different, from what I can see, and you've done plenty of ambitious cooking projects.