Are you intimidated by preparing a big ol'hunk of meat? Well I am. Ever since that fateful Christmas when I ordered a spendy piece of beef for Christmas dinner which totally flopped...of course I had just had our third child several days before, was entertaining our in-laws, had said baby with a severe case of jaundice, our oldest was coming down with chicken pox, and an ice storm was brewing outside...so I guess I can claim an excuse or two. But regardless that beautiful chunk of meat was overcooked and tough. I think I decided then and there to just stick with the elk and venison that came home from my husband's hunting trips.
Truth is we do mainly eat game meat, and it is rare that I purchase beef anymore. But the meat that has fascinated me most lately is a pork roast. The kind that fall apart, get pulled apart, and slathered with sauce and served on a bun...pulled pork some call it. So I bit the bullet and bought a 7 pound or so pork shoulder roast and decided to go for it.
Now to be fair, I must say that my hubby purchased a Traeger wood pellet grill last year. This machine is capable of cooking most any meat without drying it out and giving it the most wonderful smoky flavor, so I did have some help on my side.
But here's what I did. Took the pork, rubbed it with Traegger Pork and Poultry seasoning, and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning I fired up the grill with hickory pellets in it and kept it at the smoke setting. The roast was put on the grill about nine o'clock and forgotten about until ten or so when I brought out the vinegar mop sauce that I found in the Traeger cookbook. It is nothing more than a sliced onion bathing in a 2:1 ratio of vinegar to water along with a few tablespoons of brown sugar, some kosher salt, and pepper.
Every hour I brushed the roast with the sauce. Why do this? I'm not a grill king to know the scientific reason, but I do know that when the meat was done, the outside crust was beautifully crispy with a wonderful tangy kind of bite to it. About nine hours later, the meat had reached its target temperature of 170 degrees. I let it set as long as the mob at home would allow it and then began to shred it up and serve it on buns with some coleslaw.
It was incredibly moist and tasty and salty and smoky and just plain good. I was pretty impressed. Served up plain on the bun it was good, but with just a little bit of sauce added to it to zip up the flavor, it was incredible. The down side was that there was just one container of meat left over and here I had big plans on how to use the remaining meat. Guess that's a good thing though.
While writing this post I thought I would check to see if I could gather any other tips that would would help produce fantastic pulled pork and came across this YouTube video by BarbequeWeb.com. I was rather excited to see that my pork shoulder looked liked theirs so I guess I was on the right track. I didn't let the internal temperature get as high as theirs and did not wrap the meat in foil to let it rest for 45 minutes. I have a feeling both of those items together would have made my pork-pulling a little easier, but I don't think you could have improved on the taste at all. Nope. It was still pretty tasty.
Next chunk of meat for the grill? I'm not sure yet. Any suggestions? I think I'm getting the hang of it.