We generally consider pulled pork as coming off the barbecue tender, smoky and delicious. That my dear readers are some tasty vittles to be sure. It also requires a serious amount of time outdoors tending to your rig, maintaining the fire and laboriously mopping your pig to keep it moist. What I'm offering you today is a ridiculously easy way to get the same lick smacking juicy and tender pork with a different flavor profile, no smoke, but in its place fragrant herbs, onions and garlic.
By using the sous vide technique we have minimal preparation time with none of the angst!
Pulled pork comes from the pork shoulder and there are many names for it; Boston butt, pork butt, pork shoulder. It can be boneless or bone-in and comes from the upper shoulder of the pig.
So why do we sometimes call it pork butt or Boston butt? Well my young porky Padawan there are a few stories that clarify just that. The most credible for me goes back to colonial days when the lesser cuts of meat (pork shoulder being one of them) was transported in casks and barrels that were referred to as ‘butts’. Much of cargo going in and out of the US came through Boston, so Boston became synonymous with ‘pork butts’ – thus I give you the Boston butt.
Pork shoulder is considered a tougher meat and is chock full of fat. That’s why it works so well in traditional BBQ because it requires hours upon hours of slow cooking to tenderize while the fat maintains the moisture. That's also why the sous vide technique is also perfect for my pulled pork. Be careful when you remove the butt from the bag it's going to extremely tender and please don't discard the incredibly flavorful cooking juices left in the bag. I like to moisten the meat up after I hand pull it for a final flavor boost.
I love it on nachos but whether you put it on a bun, stuff it inside tortillas or add it to soups this pulled pork sous vide will become your new best friend.
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large onion, peeled and cut julienne
• 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• 1/2 cup thyme, fresh, minced
• 2 large bay leaves
• 1/4 cup kosher salt, coarse, or as needed
• 1 whole pork shoulder, bone-in
1. Preheat the SV1 to 162°F/72°C
2. In a large skillet over medium heat add the olive oil and when hot follow with onions and garlic.
3. Salute the mixture for 5-10 minutes or until the onions and garlic are softened and translucent.
4. Fold in the fresh thyme and bay and heat through about 1 minute or so.
5. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool completely reserve.
6. Rub the entire surface of pork shoulder with the salt.
7. Using a suitably sized large VacMaster bag add the pork shoulder and follow with the completely cooled onion mixture.
9. Gently place the bagged pork shoulder in the preheated SV1 and cook for 24-26 hours.
10. Keep your eye on the water level and be prepared to top off with hot water. Depending on your setup it’s a good idea to cover the water tank of the SV1 with a lid or plastic wrap to slow down evaporation.
11. Remove the pork shoulder from the SV1 and carefully remove from the pork from the bag and reserve the cooking juices.
12. Preheat the oven to 400°F/205°
13. Place the hot cooked pork shoulder fat side up on a suitable sized cutting board. Gently pat dry with paper towel and using the tip of a sharp knife cut parallel lines on the surface of the shoulder fat being careful not to cut into the meat. Repeat in the other direction at a 60-degree angle from the first, resulting in diamond shapes.
14. Place pork shoulder fat side up on roasting pan or similar and place into the preheated oven and roast for 10–15 minutes, or until the surface caramelizes and is nicely browned and crispy.
15. Remove the pork from the oven and let cool.
16. When cool enough to handle begin to pull and shred the pork with your fingers. Alternatively use a large knife and cut the pork.
17. Place the pulled pork in a large bowl and moisten with the reserved cooking juices.
18. Serve immediately