This coming Labor Day weekend I shall be heading out to New Jersey to spend some time drinking beer, dodging possible hurricanes and cooking. This happens a few weekends over the course of any given summer (minus the possible hurricane) but it is usually only once a summer that I do battle against my most ancient of foe, the pork butt.
And, no, that doesn’t mean…you know…pork butt. It’s what they call a pork shoulder, which is what pulled pork is made out of, and it was my great honor and great mistake a few years ago to say, “You know what? I think I’ll try making some of that pulled pork.”
This resulted in hours of research on rubs:
Way too many trips to the hardware store:
The building of a homemade smoker:
And a lot of very tasty, but not quite perfect, cooked pig:
For someone who’s a bit of a neurotic perfectionist, pulled pork represents the ideal cooking project. You can tinker with near unlimited elements from your rub to your smoke to your technique, it takes tons of time so you really feel like you’ve got your teeth into a project, there’s heat management and multiple phases to fret over and at the end everyone is so drunk and starving because it always takes four hours longer than you told them that all you get are compliments on how good it tastes.
This weekend I go into battle one more time. The homemade smoker, sadly, has been scrapped and I am left with only a standard oven for this year’s try.
Lacking the utter craziness of past attempts? Yes.
Downright sacrilegious to barbecue enthusiasts? Yes.
A quest I refuse to give up on despite all of this?
On Saturday it’s time to get my pork on, come hell or hurricane.