Published July 1, 1997.
For the most tender, succulent home version of this Southern classic, you need two unusual elements: plastic wrap and a paper sack.
Pulled pork is thought to require special equipment (such as a smoker) and an inordinate time commitment on the part of the cook (many barbecue procedures demand the regular attention of the cook for eight hours or more). Could we find a way around these so-called requirements to make pulled pork more accessible to the home cook?
We wanted to create classic summertime party food, designed to please on a primal level of pleasure: slow-cooked pork roast, shredded and seasoned, served on the most basic of hamburger buns (or sliced white bread), with just enough of your favorite barbecue sauce, a couple of dill pickle chips, and a topping of coleslaw.
After testing shoulder roasts (also called Boston butt), fresh ham, and picnic roasts, we determined that the shoulder roast, which has the most fat, also retains the most moisture and flavor during a long slow cook. A spicy chili rub is massaged into the meat, and the roast is then wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for at least three hours to "marinate." The roast is cooked first on the grill to absorb its smoky flavor (from hickory chips--no smoker required), then put in the oven to finish cooking (largely unattended). Finally, a rest in a paper bag allows the flavorful juices to be reabsorbed by the meat. We provide sauce recipes from North, Midsouth, and Western South Carolina to please fans from each region.list of recipes