Today was a No Good, Horrible, Rotten, Very Bad Day. For baby James, that is. If you are new here, baby James has Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which is fancy-pants for very-bad-heartburn-that-makes-Baby-James-cry-all-day-long. He's on medication for it... but it doesn't work. I know, I know. We're going to get a different medication, but that doesn't mean that today was full of rainbows and ponies and fun. In fact, by 10am, I knew I was going to spend the rest of the day sitting on the couch, jiggling an unhappy baby who insisted in poking out his lower lip and looking irresistibly cute and sad (and periodically screaming) all day long.
I've learned that when it's one of THOSE days, the no-good, horrible, rotten, very bad days, it's best to just roll with it. It's no use trying to resist, and thinking about all the things I should get done is just frustrating. If I've got plans for a big fancy dinner recipe, they're canceled. Which is why pulled pork sandwiches are SO awesome.
Wait... pulled pork sandwiches? Aren't those difficult and time consuming? Not even! I've always been intimidated of making pulled pork because it looked hard... and like a lot of work. All day kind of work. Now I know they are easy-peasy. Slather a pork butt (hehe.... Oh, I'm sorry, was that childish?) with a spice rub, bake, and shred. That's it! The slathering and the shredding are honestly so easy my 3 month old kid could do it.
I like this recipe because I can throw this together in a pinch, I don't have to bother with it all day long, and when it's done we have something fantastic to eat. So if you're having a no-good, horrible, rotten, very bad day, or even if you are just having a busy day where you need to get stuff done, this recipe is fantastic. It packs a lot of punch in the taste department, it has a big "wow" factor, and... am I forgetting anything? Oh yeah! It tastes amazing.
Summer Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, June 2009
The only downside to this recipe (if that's even possible) is that the pork butt has to cook all day, and is places where it's hot... you might not want to turn your oven on in the middle of the day. No fear! This is a spectacular do ahead recipe. Do the baking the evening before when it's cool out. Then all you need to do on barbecue day is serve. Easy peasy.
Obviously, the buns in the pictures are onion wheat buns (gluten!) that Nate has been enjoying. I've been eating my pulled pork sandwiches on gluten-free bread, which, while tasty, is rather less photogenic.
By the way, a pork "butt" isn't what it sounds like (::snicker:: Oh, I'm so immature). It's actually a shoulder cut. It's quite flavorful and it is mega-cheap. I bought mine for $1 a lb, though I am sure prices vary by location. It's quite a fatty cut, but the fat renders out in the long cooking (yet another reason to bake this in the oven instead of stew it in the crock pot).
5lb pork butt roast
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup coarse salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 garlic cloves
2 cups water
2 - 3 cups Classic Homemade Barbecue Sauce (Or some storebought sauce... pansy. Just kidding. Kinda.)
8 sandwich buns
2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (for serving)
Finely mince 3 garlic cloves, and place in a medium bowl.
Add 1/2 cup dijon mustard to the bowl.
Add 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar...
... and 1/4 cup coarse salt...
...add in 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (wow! gorgeous!)...
... 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, my personal favorite...
... and finally, 2 tablespoons coarsely ground pepper.
Mix it all together...
... place your 5 lb pork butt on a roasting rack...
... and slather with the spice paste.
Add 2 cups water to the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover securely with tinfoil. Let sit for at least 1 hour to absorb spice paste, or up to over night (or longer!).
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cook, basting hourly, for about 6 hours, until pork is tender and pulls apart easily. Remove from oven and let cool.
Shred pork (with your fingers or with two forks), and toss with 2-3 cups barbecue sauce.
Serve atop a toasted onion bun with sliced cabbage.