A few weeks back Katie I went to Beau’s Oktoberfest in Vankleek Hill with a few friends. Live music, organic beer and food. Oh, the food. Beau’s did an incredible job of gathering some of the best chefs from the Ottawa Valley together to offer up a myriad of Bavarian inspired cuisine. They had it all – schnitzel, roasted cabbage, wild board, black forest cheesecake, pierogies, sauerkraut - the list goes on and on. Katie and I, however, went with The Smoque Shack‘s pulled pork on a pretzel bun. Juicy, tender, delicious and, as it turns out, inspirational.
So when my Dad texted me on Thursday asking if I wanted to spend the day Saturday cooking with him, I knew what was going to happen. I immediately answered back “Yes! I got it covered Pops.” You see, my Dad’s got a smoker at home. Not any smoker, but the famous Big Green Egg. This thing is phenomenal. My Dad cooks everythig he can on it. Salmon, jerk chicken, ribs, Christmas Turkey…seriously.
With delicious memories of Oktoberfest in my not too distant past, and the thought of making my own pulled pork on the smoker, I promptly went across the street from work to the Glebe Meat Market to order an 8-pound pork shoulder, bone in.
I figured if I was going to spend the day rubbing, smoking, basting and pulling this $35 piece of meat, I might as well do it right. Right? That’s why I decided to serve it on homemade pretzel buns with fresh apple radicchio slaw. True southern goodness. Just like The Allman Brothers.
Go to your local butcher and order yourself an 8 pound pork shoulder with the bone in. Why bone in? More flavour. Then make sure you have the following ingredients for the smoky rub and since this meal was inspired by Beau’s, this amazing Beau’s BBQ Sauce (Sorry to anyone from outside Ontario). Also check out the Pretzel Buns and Apple Radicchio Slaw as they really tie this whole meal together.
Smoky Pulled Pork Rub
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup smoked paprika
1 tbs Kosher salt
1 tbs onion powder
1 tbs dried mustard
1 1/2 tbs ground black pepper
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cinnamon
Beau’s BBQ Sauce
½ bottle Beau’s Lug Tread
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
3 tbs honey
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 cups of fresh apple juice to baste your pork.
Start the day before by prepping your meat. Using a sharp knife, trim the fat and skin, rinse with cool water and pat dry. Mix together your rub ingredients, and generously apply it to the meat. Cover the pork shoulder in platic wrap, and store in the fridge overnight.
Go to bed, and dream of what you are about to create.
Try to get an early start the next day as smoking your pork shoulder will take about 8 hours. Remove your pork from the fridge for about an hour prior to smoking. Time to smoke. Preheat your smoker to about 250F.
Place a drip pan in the smoker over the coals and below the grill to catch the juices. Then add the pork shoulder the the grill and slowly pour the apple juice overtop, letting it fall into the drip pan. The juice will boil and steam up into the pork, giving it flavour and keeping it moist. You will also use the juices in the drip pan to baste your pork throughout the day to prevent it from drying out. Try to keep a consistent temperature between 235F and 250F.
Smoke for about 8 hours, or until the internal temperature has reached 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit.
As your pork is smoking, spend the day making your Apple Radicchio Slaw and Pretzel Buns. I know, this sounds like a lot of extra work. But as a kid my Dad taught me many lessons. One of them was, if you’re going to do something, do it right. So please, please do not use store bought buns and coleslaw. Make the pretzel buns, and make the slaw. It will be worth it. I promise.
Apple Radicchio Slaw.
Also, don’t forget to make your Beau’s BBQ Sauce. Add all of the ingredients into a pot. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer until slightly thick, about 20 minutes. If your sauce is having trouble thickening, mix in a bit of corn starch.
Has 8 hours passed yet? Or has your pork reached an internal temperature of 180-190F? 183.2F? Ooh, perfect. It’s time to tent.
Remove from smoker and wrap tightly in foil for about an hour. This will allow the juice to redistribute amongst the meat. Do not skip this step. This will ensure that your pork is as moist and juicy as possible.
After that painstaking hour has passed, unwrap your pork and place on a large cutting board. Using a large fork, start shredding the pork. You might need to use a knife to slice through the spiced bark, but once you’re through, the meat literally falls right out of it’s crust.
Take a little of the bark, and have a bite. Amazing right? Okay, keep shredding and pulling. Chop the rest of the bark and toss it into the pulled pork mixture for some extra spiced-up flavour. As you pull the pork, add it to a large sauce pan with your BBQ sauce over low heat to keep warm. Once you’ve pulled all of the pork off of the bone and mixed thoroughly with your sauce, you’re ready to go.
Beau’s Pulled Pork with Apple Radicchio Slaw on a fresh Pretzel Bun.