How’s this for a bone-headed move? I made this amazing, amazing pulled pork, packed everything up for a beautiful night of music under the stars in the heart of one of the world’s greatest cities…
…only to realize when we arrived that I had forgotten…THE BBQ SAUCE!!! Curses!
As a testament to how good this pork was, however, it tasted really good even without the sauce.
It wasn’t until the next day at lunchtime that I was able to finally taste the complete recipe the way it was meant to be (including sauce, Coke Zero and a pickle).
I was also relieved after my experience with Miss Sara’s Memphis-Style Barbecued Red Hot Pokers; ribs so spicy you need an asbestos throat and an aloe vera chaser.
And this recipe is simple: the pork spends 2-1/2 to 3 hours in a slow oven with minimal accompaniment and is then finished on the grill. Serve with the West Tennessee Thick and Sticky BBQ Sauce (but definitely NOT the Say’s Vinegar Barbeque Sauce) or your favorite. Miss Sara also says you can throw the butt in an oven bag and just toss in the oven for the same amount of time.
Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork Butt
Adapted from Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen
One 5-lb. bone-in pork butt
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly-ground pepper
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 cups West Tennessee Thick and Sticky BBQ Sauce (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Pat pork dry and season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Place pork, fatty side up, in a Dutch oven and add the vinegar and water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and roast, undisturbed, for 2-1/2 to 3 hours until tender.
Light a full chimney starter of charcoal and let burn until half the coals are grey. Dump coals into grill, replace grill grate, cover, and let the grate heat for 5 minutes. Scrape clean.
Brush the pork with about 1/2 cup of the BBQ sauce and transfer to the grill. Cover and cook until all sides are slightly charred, about 15 minutes per side.
Remove pork from grill, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Using a fork, pull the meat into large pieces, removing any large chunks of fat. Serve on buns passing reserved sauce.
West Tennessee Thick and Sticky BBQ Sauce
Makes about 2 pints
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
4 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 cups distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
1/2 lemon, cut in half
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the ketchup, water, vinegar, Worcestershire, brown sugar, mustard, pepper flakes, salt and pepper and stir to mix. Squeeze the lemon juice into the sauce and add the lemon quarters.
Bring the sauce to a low boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and reduces slightly. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly, and remove and discard the lemon quarters. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use, up to 3 weeks.